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The sun shines over China's Kunlun Station in Antarctica in 2019. Photo: Liu Shiping/Xinhua via Getty Images

Argentina's Esperanza Base on Antarctica's Trinity Peninsula reached 65°F (18.3°C) on Thursday, notching the continent's warmest temperature in recorded history, per the World Meteorological Organization.

Why it matters: Antarctica is one of the globe's fastest-warming regions with temperatures rising 5°F (2.8°C) in the past 50 years, spurring the retreat of 87% of the glaciers along the Antarctic peninsula's west coast, the Washington Post reports.

  • The continent's last record-breaking temperature of 63.5°F (17.5°C) was recorded in the same location — near the peninsula's northernmost tip — on March 24, 2015.

Worth noting: The WMO referred to the temperature reading as "a likely record" as it still has to be officially reviewed and certified.

Go deeper: Climate models suddenly predict much faster warming, stumping scientists

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

3 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Qatar's prime minister (R) attends the 2019 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.