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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—Verily's quick takes on the happenings of this week.

Argentina wins the World Cup, defeating France in a penalty shootout

Argentina beat France 4-2 in penalty shots in the World Cup final on Sunday, marking it the first (and final) World Cup win for soccer legend Lionel Messi.

“One of the most dramatic major sporting events in history saw the teams tied 3-3 after extra time, with the French ultimately missing twice in the shootout before Gonzalo Montiel converted to seal an exhausting and emotional victory,” NBC reports.

This is Argentina’s second World Cup win, with its last win not since 1986. When asked before the game if this would be his last World Cup, Messi said, “Yes. Surely yes. There’s a lot of years until the next one, and I don’t think I have it in me, and finishing like this is best.”

This year’s FIFA World Cup has been marked by upsets, with Morocco beating Portugal and becoming the first African country to advance to the tournament’s semifinals. Croatia also bested Brazil, the favorite for the tournament and the No. 1-ranked team in the world.

On the sidelines, this World Cup has also seen its share of controversy. This year’s tournament was hosted in Qatar, the smallest nation to host the World Cup but one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It has been accused of committing human-rights abuses, including mistreating the migrant workers used to build infrastructure for the World Cup, resulting in thousands of deaths.

The next World Cup will take place in 2026 and will be hosted by 16 cities across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. —Madeline Fry Schultz

DJ for the ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss dies of suicide

Stephen Boss, best known as “Twitch,” the DJ for the Ellen DeGeneres Show, died on Tuesday in Encino, CA. of a gunshot wound. Investigators have ruled his death a suicide based on a note he left at the scene.

Boss was a freestyle dancer, choreographer and former contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. He appeared in a handful of movies as a dancer and actor, including Hairspray and several Step Up movies. Boss joined the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2014 as a DJ and remained until the show ended earlier this year. Boss served as an executive producer on the show since 2020.

Boss was married to Allison Holker Boss, and they celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary last week. Together they had Holker Boss’s daughter Weslie from a previous relationship, who Boss had adopted, and son Maddox, age six, and daughter Zaia, three.

Holker Boss confirmed Boss’s death in a statement.“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us,” Holker Boss said. “Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans. To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear that someone who brought so much joy to a room, was hurting so much behind closed doors,” singer and actor Justin Timberlake tweeted Wednesday. “I’ve known Twitch for over 20 years through the dance community—he always lit everything up. You just never know what someone is really going through.”

DeGeneres issued a statement stating that she is “heartbroken.” “Twitch was pure love and light,” she wrote on Instagram.

Countless tributes were posted to Boss on social media, prompting criticism that those who knew him were trying to make his passing about themselves. However, Andy Lassner, former producer for Ellen DeGeneres Show, posted on Instagram, saying that Boss truly was “everyone’s friend,” and that the tributes and remembrances of friendships with Boss are “all true. It’s all real.”

"He was everyone's friend. He really did care for every single person who worked at the show and everyone in his life," he said. "And the thing is if you met him just once—you felt that feeling. That light." —Gabriella Patti

Golden Globe nominations: 'The Banshees of Inisherin,' HBO and Netflix shows, dominate

For those who follow award season, the Golden Globe nominations are out. The film category was dominated by The Banshees of Inisherin, a comedy-drama set in Ireland that nabbed eight nominations. The next most-celebrated was Everything Everywhere All at Once, a heartwarming sci-fi film with six nominations. Steven Spielberg’s The FabelmansBabylon, a film about 1920s Hollywood, and the biopic Elvis each got five nods.

HBO/HBO Max and Netflix led the television nominations, with nominations going to shows like HBO/HBO Max’s House of the Dragon and Hacks and Netflix’s The Crown, Ozark, and Wednesday. With five nominations, Abbott Elementary was the most popular show, followed by shows including The White Lotus and Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is responsible for the nominations, has been criticized for its lack of diversity among members. However, beginning in fall 2021, the association started to clean house, boosting "the racial and ethnic diversity of their membership to over 51 percent,” according to Deadline.

Despite recent changes, this year’s nods didn’t go to as many women as expected. Variety reports that “the big headline is that in a year when female auteurs such as Sarah Polley (Women Talking) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King) created some of the most critically acclaimed films, the best director category is entirely comprised of men. Spielberg and McDonagh will vie for the directing trophy against Baz Luhrmann (Elvis), Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water).”

If you want to tune in, watch the Golden Globes on NBC on Tuesday, January 10. —MFS

Iran publicly executes protestors

As protests in Iran have continued following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was killed in the custody of Iran’s morality police for allegedly breaking hijab rules, Iran’s retaliation against protestors has grown more frightening as they begin executing protestors.

On Thursday, December 8, Iran carried out the first execution. 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari was hanged after being found guilty in a Revolutionary Court of "moharebeh" (war against God). He was accused of blocking a street and wounding a member of the pro-regime Basij militia in September.

Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-winning movie The Salesman, was detained by Iranian authorities after posting on Instagram in solidarity with Shekari.

‘’His name was Mohsen Shekari.’’ Alidoosti wrote. ‘‘Every international organization who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity.”

On Monday, December 12, another convicted protestor, 23-year-old Majidreza Rahnavard, was executed less than a month after being arrested. Rahnavard was hanged publicly from a construction crane. The Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, warned that Rahnavard’s execution so soon after his arrest signaled “a significant escalation of the level of violence against protesters.”

There are currently thousands of protestors awaiting trial in Iranian custody, and there is growing fear of max executions.

According to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran, over 18,200 people have been detained by Iranian authorities, and at least 495 have been killed in demonstrations, including children. —GP

Twitter suspends accounts of journalists, bans the promotion of other social media sites

On Thursday evening, Twitter suspended the accounts of more than half a dozen journalists from the Washington Post, CNN, the New York Times, and others. The accounts were suspended after Twitter company owner Elon Musk accused the reporters of posting “basically assassination coordinates” for himself and his family.

The suspensions came the day after Twitter changed its policy on sharing “live location information” and subsequently suspended the account @ElonJet, which has been using public flight data to track the use of Musk’s private plane.

The Washington Post reported that they had not seen any evidence that their reporters had posted such information despite Musk claiming that the journalists had “doxxed” him. Many of the banned reporters have been covering the changes occurring at Twitter and were banned without warning.

“It’s impossible to square Twitter’s free speech aspirations with the purging of critical journalists’ accounts,” American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. “The First Amendment protects Musk’s right to do this, but it’s a terrible decision. Their accounts should be restored immediately.”

Musk was later challenged that night by several journalists in a Twitter Spaces chat about his claims of “doxxing.” Musk also launched two Twitter polls asking users if he should reinstate the journalists’ accounts. 3.7 million Twitter users participated, most favoring reinstating the accounts.

As of Saturday, December 18, Musk had reinstated several journalists' accounts; however, late Saturday evening, Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz was suspended from Twitter.

Lorenz shared the news of her suspension in a Substack post and claimed that Musk was directly involved in her suspension. At the time of her ban, Lorenz was awaiting a response from Musk in a tweet she mentioned him in asking for comment on a story.

Twitter escalated things further on Sunday by announcing that the platform will no longer allow users to promote their accounts from other social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram.

"We recognize that many of our users are active on other social media platforms. However, we will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter," Twitter Support tweeted Sunday. —GP

Good News

Nuclear fusion breakthrough is big, but slow-moving, progress

For the first time ever, a nuclear fusion reaction generated net energy, producing more energy than it took to create the reaction. The announcement came on Tuesday from the Department of Energy, which revealed that the historic reaction took place at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. In essence, scientists were able to create their own mini sun.

It took decades to get here, but that doesn’t mean we will see any meaningful effects from this soon. CNBC reports that “fusion power will not be contributing electricity to any power grid for at least a decade, according to most industry watchers. To get there, there will have to be many more technical breakthroughs beyond what was celebrated on Tuesday — and the money to fund them.”

So how much power was generated? “We got out 3.15 megajoules, we put in 2.05 megajoules in the laser,” said Mark Herrmann, a program director at Lawrence Livermore. “That’s never been done before in any fusion laboratory anywhere in the world. So it’s super exciting.”

This breakthrough is incredibly promising for the future of clean energy. It may sound like something out of a science fiction story (and it is), but it could lead to a real, bright future. —MFS

Watch of the Week

Telemundo announcer Andrés Cantor covered the final moments of the World Cup with great emotion. As one viewer tweeted, "I decided to watch the World Cup Final on the Spanish feed even though I don’t speak a word of Spanish just because their announcers' passion makes the game 100x more exciting. When Argentina won, one of the announcers was literally CRYING. There’s NOTHING like passionate football fans."