The 7The 7

Friday briefing: A suspected Chinese spy balloon; January job growth; Grammy Awards; Netflix passwords; and more


A suspected Chinese spy balloon was spotted flying over the U.S.

Billings resident Chase Doak spotted an unusual object over Montana on Feb. 1. The Pentagon has been monitoring a Chinese surveillance balloon for several days. (Video: Chase Doak)
  • Where? It was seen in the skies over Montana this week, U.S. officials said yesterday. The Pentagon briefly considered shooting it down before deciding it was too risky.
  • Why it matters: The balloon’s flight path goes over “a number of sensitive sites,” an official said, and the incident comes at a time of peak tension between the world powers.


Republicans kicked a Democratic congresswoman off a House committee.

  • Who? Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Republicans yesterday voted to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee after an angry debate on the House floor.
  • Why? Republicans said it was because of past antisemitic comments. But Democrats said it was payback after two Republicans were similarly punished in 2021 for violent social media posts.


The U.S. economy picked up 517,000 jobs last month.


Confidence in police has dropped after the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols.

  • What to know: Americans are more doubtful that police officers are properly trained to avoid excessive force or treat White and Black people equally, a Post-ABC poll found.
  • Why it matters: The poll suggests last month’s beating of Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, by Memphis officers has affected overall views of police.
  • Who’s changing their minds? It mainly appears to be White and Hispanic Americans.


An “epic, generational arctic outbreak” is hitting New England today.

  • What that means: Wind chills in northern Maine could approach minus-60, the lowest in decades. That’s cold enough to cause frostbite within 5 minutes.
  • Advisories also cover much of the northern Plains, Upper Midwest and the remainder of the Northeast (south of New York).


The Grammy Awards are this weekend.

  • What to know: Beyoncé leads the way with nine nominations. Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti” is the first all-Spanish-language record up for album of the year.
  • The ceremony: Comedian Trevor Noah is hosting, with performances by Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, Lizzo, Brandi Carlile and more.
  • How to watch: The show is Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS and Paramount Plus.


Netflix gave people an accidental preview of its password-sharing crackdown.

  • What to know: It inadvertently updated its site in some countries this week to say users will have to reconnect every 31 days to confirm their primary location.
  • We’ve known this is coming: Netflix said last fall that you’d soon have to pay a fee to share your account with someone who doesn’t live with you.
  • When will the change actually happen? Netflix plans to roll it out more broadly over the next couple of months.

And now ... as we celebrate Black History Month: Read about the latest version of “The 1619 Project.” Plus, the man who showed how schools should teach about race.

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