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The context
The House passed the Inflation Reduction Act today, sending the ambitious spending bill to Biden's desk. The bill includes landmark spending on climate change initiatives, healthcare, and new tax provisions.
Politics
Friday, August 12, 2022

Inflation Reduction Act Off to Biden

The context
The House passed the Inflation Reduction Act today, sending the ambitious spending bill to Biden's desk. The bill includes landmark spending on climate change initiatives, healthcare, and new tax provisions.
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Off to Biden

  • The bill is a long-awaited victory for the Biden administration, who made passing a new Democratic spending agenda a core part of his presidential campaign.
  • The bill almost died in the Senate but was revived when Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer reached a compromise on the current bill to avoid a Republican filibuster.
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Key wins

  • President Biden's administration has secured some key wins in cooperation with Congress. In addition to passing the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress passed the PACT Act, approved Finland and Sweden's applications to NATO, a bill requiring background checks for young gun buyers, and the CHIPS and Science Act.
  • While most Republicans were not sold on the bill, Democrats passed the bill in the House today.
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House seals the deal

  • The bill includes $740 million in spending to enact new climate change initiatives, make healthcare less expensive, and create new tax provisions.
  • The bill passed the House with a 220-207 vote.
  • Senate Democrats have been negotiating the bill's specifics for about a year. Every House Democrat voted in support of the bill.
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Technology

Amazon Rings Viral TV

August 12, 2022
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The context
MGM, a production company, owned by Amazon, is developing a viral video show featuring footage from Amazon Ring cameras.
Technology
Friday, August 12, 2022

Amazon Rings Viral TV

The context
MGM, a production company, owned by Amazon, is developing a viral video show featuring footage from Amazon Ring cameras.
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Ring ring

  • MGM is developing the show "Ring Nation" hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes. The show will feature videos from the Amazon Ring.
  • The show will reportedly feature videos of people falling, proposals, and other shenanigans.
  • Amazon acquired Ring in 2018 and has caught significant flack over the use of footage in police investigations. Amazon bought MGM, the company making the show, earlier this year.
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Sykes signs in

  • Comedian Wanda Sykes will host the show.
  • The series will feature videos submitted by users of the Ring camera.
  • The show is expected to debut on September 26.
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Technology

Australia Fines Google

August 12, 2022
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The context
Google has been hit with a $43 million fine by the Australian court for misleading users about the collection and use of their location data on Android phones.
Technology
Friday, August 12, 2022

Australia Fines Google

The context
Google has been hit with a $43 million fine by the Australian court for misleading users about the collection and use of their location data on Android phones.
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Location tracking

  • Google will pay up after they were found to have breached Australian Consumer Law from 2017-2018 by failing to accurately represent which settings allowed Google to compile and use location data from Android phone users.
  • Google tried to fix the settings error by the end of 2018.
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Secretive practices

  • The case began in 2019 when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission began investigating Google's collection of personal location data from Android users without their explicit consent.
  • The setting, "Web & App Activity," which enabled location tracking, did not specify that increased search speed or accuracy would be powered by Google knowing the phone's location. Users could only turn off the location tracking element in a completely different setting.
  • When setting up a google account on Android, the settings failed to mention that they use location tracking data, giving users no option to opt-out.
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The context
The unsealed warrant obtained by the FBI to seize 33 items revealed that the FBI was looking for documents related to espionage, nuclear weapons, and classified secrets when they raided former President Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago.
Politics
Friday, August 12, 2022

Trump Warrant Unsealed

The context
The unsealed warrant obtained by the FBI to seize 33 items revealed that the FBI was looking for documents related to espionage, nuclear weapons, and classified secrets when they raided former President Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago.
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Warrant still under wraps

  • While the warrant obtained by the Justice Department that authorized the raid on Mar-a-Lago remains sealed, sources close to the investigation told reporters at the Washington Post that the warrant was to find documents that were related to nuclear weapons.
  • The documents were taken from the White House and stored at Mar-a-Lago.
  • The Post emphasized that the seizure of the documents reflected the anxiety felt by the Department of Justice about classified secrets and documents about nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands.
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Trump disagrees

  • President Trump responded to the report, calling the allegations that the documents pertained to nuclear secrets false.
  • He has not opted to release a list of the documents taken from his residence, even though the FBI gave him such a list.
  • Trump did say that his lawyers will not oppose the release of the list of the original warrant used to search Mar-a-Lago.
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Receipts

  • The receipt of the items taken in the raid was also publicized today.
  • The list of items contains a dossier regarding the pardon of Roger Stone, documents about the President of France Emmanuel Macron, and several other classified documents.
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Authorized search

  • The warrant reveals that the DOJ is investigating Trump for three possible criminal violations: violating the Espionage Act by sharing defense information, tampering with records, and hiding records from the National Archives.
  • The warrant authorized the agents to remove anything that had evidence of the three criminal violations from Mar-a-Lago.
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Investigation escalates

  • The issuing judge unsealed the warrant obtained by the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago in search of documents that Trump took from the White House.
  • The warrant revealed that the DOJ is investigating Trump under the Espionage Act and for potential obstructions of justice.
  • The agents were instructed to seize any documents that were categorized as classified, showed evidence of tampering, or were related to domestic defense.
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The context
A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that teens are abandoning Facebook and spending most of their time on Youtube, Tik Tok, and Instagram.
Technology
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Meta Waves Goodbye to Teens

The context
A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that teens are abandoning Facebook and spending most of their time on Youtube, Tik Tok, and Instagram.
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Meh attitude

  • While Gen Z's screentime is increasing, their usage of Facebook is declining. The generation seems to have moved on from Facebook. Only 32% of teens use the platform.
  • While Facebook struggles, Tik Tok is thriving. 67% of teens use the video-sharing app.
  • The latest data reflect an attitude of ambivalence amongst teens towards Facebook.
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Over it

  • Teens spend most of their time on Youtube, with Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Instagram as solid contenders for their time.
  • YouTube is used by 95% of teens.
  • In 2013, a Pew Research study of teens' social media use showed that 71% of teens used Facebook.
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The context
The Federal Election Commission will allow Gmail to spam-proof campaign emails from politicians.
Technology
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Google Green-lights Campaign Emails

The context
The Federal Election Commission will allow Gmail to spam-proof campaign emails from politicians.
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Inbound to inbox

  • The FEC voted 4-1 to allow Google to proceed with a pilot program to enable campaign emails to bypass Gmail spam filters, landing them right into users' inboxes instead of the spam folder.
  • Republicans had previously criticized Gmail filters for selectively banning their emails from users' inboxes for their content.
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Spam-proof

  • The approved program allows political committees to apply to bypass Gmail's spam filters and send spam or spam-like emails directly to users' inboxes.
  • The program won't prevent campaigns from using spam-like tactics, like those employed by Trump's campaign, to target users.
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The context
Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke for the first time today about the decision to raid Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago. Garland said that he signed off on the search and has moved to unseal the search and seizure warrant and publicize the list of items taken in the raid.
Politics
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Merrick Garland Takes the Mike

The context
Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke for the first time today about the decision to raid Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago. Garland said that he signed off on the search and has moved to unseal the search and seizure warrant and publicize the list of items taken in the raid.
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Garland speaks

  • Attorney General Merrick Garland delivered two minutes of remarks in response to the growing anger amongst Republicans over the search of Mar-a-Lago.
  • He called the raid a necessity since earlier attempts to recover the documents Trump's team was storing in Florida had failed.
  • He added that he filed a motion to unseal the warrant, which granted the FBI permission to conduct the raid and seize the documents from Mar-a-Lago. He also moved to unseal the receipt of the items taken in the raid.
  • Garland reminded reporters that the FBI is filled with dedicated civil servants, and attempts to disparage the agency's agents were misguided.
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Team informed

  • In his remarks, Garland told reporters that Trump's legal team had been informed of the search and that a representative from his counsel was present during the search.
  • Trump will have the opportunity to request that the warrant and receipt of seizure remain sealed.
  • The raid was in response to a DOJ investigation on behalf of the National Archives that is requesting the return of documents that Trump removed from the White House and stored at Mar-a-Lago.
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Entertainment

The Ezra Miller Dilemma

August 11, 2022
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The context
The increasingly erratic behavior of The Flash's star, Ezra Miller, is reportedly causing Warner Bros. to reconsider the film's fate.
Entertainment
Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Ezra Miller Dilemma

The context
The increasingly erratic behavior of The Flash's star, Ezra Miller, is reportedly causing Warner Bros. to reconsider the film's fate.
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Three choices

  • Warner Bros. caught significant flack online after they scrapped the release of Batgirl but are seemingly moving forward with the release of The Flash starring Ezra Miller.
  • Miller has been all over the news for their erratic behavior. They was arrested for felony burglary in Vermont, and state authorities are searching for a woman and her children who were last heard from while staying with Miller.
  • The parents of a minor whom Miller exerted their influence on also filed for a restraining order against the star.
  • Miller reportedly did reshoots for the film inbetween arrests and while Warner Bros. was well aware of their extremely problematic behavior.
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Backlash

  • Warner Bros. can either scrap the film entirely, limit Miller's press exposure, or prevent him from interacting with the press during the film's promotion.
  • The studio may be weighing an option where Miller returns home and seeks professional help, after which they could speak to the press explaining their behaviors.
  • The studio may choose to release the film without involving Miller in the promotion of the project and replace them in any subsequent sequels.
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Politics

Beto Bites Back

August 11, 2022
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The context
Beto O'Rourke, who is running for Governor of Texas against incumbent Greg Abbott, called out a heckler during a campaign stop who was laughing as O'Rourke spoke about the Uvalde Shooting.
Politics
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Beto Bites Back

The context
Beto O'Rourke, who is running for Governor of Texas against incumbent Greg Abbott, called out a heckler during a campaign stop who was laughing as O'Rourke spoke about the Uvalde Shooting.
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F-bomb

  • At a campaign stop in Mineral Wells, Texas, the Democrat Beto O'Rouke was holding a town hall where he spoke about the Uvalde Shooting, which killed nineteen children and two adults.
  • During his remarks, a heckler started laughing, which prompted O'Rouke to call him out, saying that while the shooting might be funny to the heckler, it was certainly not funny to him.
  • O'Rourke added the expletive, mother f* while addressing the heckler.
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Viral campaign

  • O'Rourke's exchange with the heckler has gone viral.
  • Gun control has become a central tenet of O'Rourke's campaign, and he has criticized incumbent governor Gregg Abbott for failing to protect students from mass shootings. During his office as governor, Abbott has loosened gun regulations and refused to pass any gun control measures.
  • At a press conference after the shooting in Uvalde, O'Rourke confronted Abbott, saying his policies were to blame for the deaths at Robb Elementary School.
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The context
The Department of Justice unsealed records today that revealed that former national security advisor John Bolton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were the targets of an assassination plot by a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Shahram Poursafi.
Politics
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Bolton and Pompeo Targeted in Assassination Plot

The context
The Department of Justice unsealed records today that revealed that former national security advisor John Bolton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were the targets of an assassination plot by a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Shahram Poursafi.
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Targeting Bolton

  • Sharam Poursafi was charged with plotting to murder John Bolton after a drone strike killed Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. Soleimani served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and at the time of his death, he was the leader of an elite special ops group.
  • Poursafi repeatedly attempted to pay $300,000 to the unnamed source in the investigation to kill Bolton, who was a national security advisor when the strike killed Soleimani.
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Pompeo as well

  • In the correspondences between Poursafi and the source, he hinted that he had a $1 million job for a second hit.
  • The Department of Justice revealed that the second hit was meant to target former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
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The context
Starlink applied for $885 million in subsidies from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to provide internet to rural America, which the FCC approved in 2020. But today, the FCC rejected their application because Starlink failed to demonstrate its ability to provide the service.
Technology
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Major Blow to Starlink Expansion

The context
Starlink applied for $885 million in subsidies from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to provide internet to rural America, which the FCC approved in 2020. But today, the FCC rejected their application because Starlink failed to demonstrate its ability to provide the service.
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Changed mind

  • The FCC tentatively approved Starlink's application in 2020 for subsidies to provide internet to rural parts of America at the cost of $885 million over ten years.
  • But, the FCC rejected their application today, saying that the plan was too expensive for consumers and that Starlink had failed to demonstrate that it could follow through on the proposal.
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Try again

  • Under the Starlink proposal, rural customers would need to purchase a $600 dollar satellite dish to get access to broadband satellite internet.
  • Starlink had applied to access subsidies $9.2 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.
  • The head of the FCC said that the cost of the satellite made the plan "risky" and added that there was little proof that the proposal would provide quality internet to users.
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The context
Disney announced their Q3 results today, and they blew past experts' predictions with massive subscriber growth and higher-than-expected top and bottom line earnings. They also announced their intention to launch an ad-supported subscription in December.
Technology
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Disney's Earnings Beat Expectations

The context
Disney announced their Q3 results today, and they blew past experts' predictions with massive subscriber growth and higher-than-expected top and bottom line earnings. They also announced their intention to launch an ad-supported subscription in December.
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Pack the parks

  • The number of Disney+ subscribers hit 152.1 million during the third quarter. Experts had initially predicted that the number of subscribers would grow to 147 million.
  • Disney also revealed that they beat bottom and top line earning expectations. The boost in revenue was partially due to increased spending at Disney parks and on experiences.
  • Disney's Q3 revenue was $21.5 billion.
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Ad-supported plan

  • Disney announced they will launch an ad-supported plan on Disney+ for $7.99 a month on December 8th.
  • As of December 8th, Disney will raise the price of their original, ad-free plan to $10.99 a month.
  • Netflix is also launching an ad-supported plan, which isn't expected to launch until 2023.
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The context
Former President Donald Trump invoked the right to remain silent in his deposition with the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, today.
Politics
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Trump Pleads the Fifth

The context
Former President Donald Trump invoked the right to remain silent in his deposition with the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, today.
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Silent interview

  • Former President Donald Trump sat down with New York Attorney General Letitia James today to be deposed in a civil case determining whether the Trump organization falsified documents to avoid taxes and secure loans.
  • Before being deposed, Trump released a statement saying he intended to invoke the fifth amendment, meaning he would remain silent in the face of James's questioning.
  • Trump finally testified after a lengthy legal back and forth between the Trump family and the Attorney General's office. The Trump family tried to avoid the subpoena to testify in the civil case.
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Plead the fifth

  • President Trump said that he decided to remain silent at the advice of his attorneys. He also called the civil case unfounded and politically motivated.
  • Trump's children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. were deposed earlier in the month as part of the investigation.
  • James's office has been investigating Trump's organization for falsifying financial statements tied to his New York business dealings to obtain tax cuts and loans.
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The context
Ford is finally taking new orders for its electric F-150 Lightning truck, but with the caveat of a $7,000 price hike.
Technology
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Ford's Newest Truck, at a Cost

The context
Ford is finally taking new orders for its electric F-150 Lightning truck, but with the caveat of a $7,000 price hike.
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Rising prices

  • Ford paused reservations for the F-150 Lightning for nine months, but they reopened reservations today. But, they raised the price of the truck by $7,000.
  • Ford said the reason for the price hike is the rising cost of materials and technological components.
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Long list

  • The cheapest model of the F-150 Lightning will be listed at $46,974 instead of the original price, which was less than $40,000.
  • Ford is betting that demand for electric vehicles will stay high enough to sustain the price hike.
  • The price hike reflects a global shortage of components that go into electric vehicle batteries.
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The context
Google launched a new campaign in an attempt to publicly shame Apple into improving texting between Android and iOS users, and it is pretty petty.
Technology
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Google Goes After Apple

The context
Google launched a new campaign in an attempt to publicly shame Apple into improving texting between Android and iOS users, and it is pretty petty.
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Over here!

  • RCS is a cross-platform messaging protocol designed to streamline and improve the messaging experience between iOS and Android users.
  • To pressure Apple publicly into adopting RCS, Google released a new "Get the Message" website that aggregates why the tech giant should hop aboard.
  • They also started a hashtag with the same name as the site.
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Going public

  • In Google's campaign, they claim to be pushing Apple to get with the times and adopt the messaging protocol.
  • Apple uses SMS and MMS for messages outside of iMessage, which Google slammed, calling them outdated. Google wants Apple to adopt RCS instead.
  • Google's push for RCS is unlikely to make Apple change its mind about adopting RCS for non-iMessage texts.
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The context
President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Bill into law today to boost domestic production of semiconductor chips through a series of subsidies available to companies like Intel to build out their chip-manufacturing capabilities.
Politics
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

CHIPS Bill Signed into Law

The context
President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Bill into law today to boost domestic production of semiconductor chips through a series of subsidies available to companies like Intel to build out their chip-manufacturing capabilities.
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Signed in

  • The Senate passed the CHIPS bill off to Biden, and he signed the ambitious bill into law today.
  • Biden was joined by a crowd of tech executives, members of Congress, and observers as he signed the bill.
  • The bipartisan bill invests billions into semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research on American soil. It also includes tax credits for companies that invest in semiconductor chip manufacturers.
  • The bill joins a list of recent accomplishments for the Biden administration, including the passage of the Democratic spending agenda in the Senate and a successful drone strike that killed al-Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan ahead of the midterms.
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Competitive edge

  • The bill aims to help the US compete with countries like China, which is investing billions into its chip-manufacturing capabilities, and protect the country from supply chain disruptions that may be caused by tensions with China or the ongoing war in Ukraine.
  • The bill will provide $52.7 billion in subsidies for chip manufacturers to build domestic production plants and pull their manufacturing stateside.
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The context
The FBI raided former President Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago yesterday. President Trump was in New York City at the time of the raid, which seemed to be focused on seizing documents from his home.
Politics
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

FBI Raids Mar-a-Lago

The context
The FBI raided former President Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago yesterday. President Trump was in New York City at the time of the raid, which seemed to be focused on seizing documents from his home.
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Executing the raid

  • The FBI executed a search warrant to look for documents that are part of an ongoing investigation from Trump's time in office which may have been transported or stored at his resort in Palm Beach.
  • While Trump announced the search last night, the FBI began searching his residence yesterday morning.
  • The National Archives requested the search as part of an ongoing investigation into the handling of classified documents during Trump's presidency.
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Republican Backlash

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican Representative from California, expressed outrage at the raid. He said that if Republicans win the House in the upcoming primaries, they will investigate the DOJ for raiding Trump.
  • Republican allies of Trump decried the raid, calling it an overstep of the DOJ's powers.
  • Democrats defended the raid, calling it an appropriate measure as part of the ongoing investigation into Trump.
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The context
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will head to key battleground states this month to campaign for Trump-backed candidates ahead of the midterm elections.
Politics
Monday, August 8, 2022

DeSantis is on the Move

The context
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will head to key battleground states this month to campaign for Trump-backed candidates ahead of the midterm elections.
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Uniting the GOP

  • Governor Ron DeSantis will stump for several Trump-endorsed candidates in Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania ahead of the 2022 midterms.
  • DeSantis's agenda to visit the key battleground states shows his growing political influence amongst GOP voters. His presence is being presented as part of an effort to unite GOP voters.
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Rallying for

  • Governor DeSantis has quickly become a popular rising star in the GOP.
  • He will speak at the Turning Point Action "Unite and Win" rallies.
  • Some of the notable candidates that DeSantis will stump for are JD Vance, Doug Mastriano, Blake Masters, and Kari Lake.
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The context
In February 2020, Travis McMichael, his father George McMichael and their friend William Bryan followed and killed Ahmaud Arbery. Today, Travis and George McMichael were sentenced again to life in prison, plus ten years, for federal hate crimes.
Politics
Monday, August 8, 2022

George and Travis McMichael Sentenced Again

The context
In February 2020, Travis McMichael, his father George McMichael and their friend William Bryan followed and killed Ahmaud Arbery. Today, Travis and George McMichael were sentenced again to life in prison, plus ten years, for federal hate crimes.
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Re-sentenced

  • Travis McMichaels was sentenced to a second life sentence, which he will serve in state prison. His lawyer requested that he serve his sentence in federal prison because he had received death threats and was worried for his safety.
  • Today's sentencing follows the conclusion of a trial in November in which all the McMichaels were convicted of murder and given life sentences.
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Federal charges

  • Travis and his father were sentenced on federal hate crime charges, and the second life sentence is largely symbolic since the two are already serving life sentences for Arbery's death.
  • Travis and his father pursued Ahmaud Arbery after he jogged through their neighborhood and shot him. Their friend William Bryan filmed the shooting.
  • Federal prosecutors showed text messages and posts from social media in which the McMichaels wrote and shared negative comments about Black people to bolster their argument that Arbery's death was a hate crime.
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The context
The family of Gabby Petito is suing the police in Utah for $50 million for failing to protect her from her boyfriend at the time, Brian Laundrie.
Entertainment
Monday, August 8, 2022

Gabby Petito's Family Sues Police in Moab, Utah

The context
The family of Gabby Petito is suing the police in Utah for $50 million for failing to protect her from her boyfriend at the time, Brian Laundrie.
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Family files

  • Gabby Petito's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against police in Moab, Utah, for failing to investigate her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, after they responded to a report of domestic violence between the couple.
  • The officers involved in the suit are then-Chief Bret Edge, ex-Assistant Chief Braydon Palmer, and Officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins.
  • The officers responded to a report of domestic violence between the couple, in which Petito was filmed while in distress, and officers left after the two said they did not want to press charges.
  • The family is suing, alleging that if the officers had been adequately trained to respond to domestic violence incidences, they would have known that Gabby was a victim of intimate partner violence and would have taken her into protective custody.
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Telling footage

  • The body camera footage from the interaction between police and Gabby shows her in distress and crying. Officers left the scene without thoroughly investigating the couple's claims that they were fine.
  • The suit alleges that by neglecting to respond properly, the officers were complicit in Petito's death at Laundries hands.
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The context
The crypto-mixing service, Tornado, which was allegedly used by North Korean hackers and the hackers who made off with Nomad's digital assets, has been sanctioned and blacklisted by the U.S.
Technology
Monday, August 8, 2022

Stopping Tornado in its Tracks

The context
The crypto-mixing service, Tornado, which was allegedly used by North Korean hackers and the hackers who made off with Nomad's digital assets, has been sanctioned and blacklisted by the U.S.
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No interaction

  • The U.S. Treasury is getting serious about cracking down on crypto's bad actors. The Office of Foreign Asset Control at the Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash, putting it on the Specially Designated Nationals.
  • Now, all U.S. citizens and businesses are banned from using Tornado or interacting with Ethereum wallet addresses tied to Tornado.
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No more money laundering

  • Tornado Cash is a cryptocurrency mixer that bad actors, like hackers financed by North Korea at Lazarus Group, have used to launder money through. Lazarus allegedly laundered $455 million on the platform.
  • Tornado mixes together transactions on the platform to make it harder for authorities to trace.
  • The Treasury accused Tornado of allowing criminals to launder more than $7 billion in crypto since it launched in 2019.
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Technology

Nvidia Shares Slump

August 8, 2022
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The context
The graphic processing units and chip designer Nvidia announced they expect their second-quarter earnings to be less than expected by experts. They cited falling demand for video or online gaming as the reason for the anticipated 19% drop from their first-quarter earnings.
Technology
Monday, August 8, 2022

Nvidia Shares Slump

The context
The graphic processing units and chip designer Nvidia announced they expect their second-quarter earnings to be less than expected by experts. They cited falling demand for video or online gaming as the reason for the anticipated 19% drop from their first-quarter earnings.
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Warning signs

  • Nvidia warned investors that its second-quarter revenue is expected to drop 19% from its first quarter. Intel and Sony Group also warned investors that they might not hit their expected earning targets due to lowered demand.
  • The gaming industry is being impacted by inflation. Consumers are starting to limit spending on discretionary items like gaming consoles.
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Left behind

  • Nvidia expects its revenue for Q2 will be $6.70 billion, which is significantly lower than the projected revenue of $8.10 billion.
  • The Senate passed the Chips Act, providing subsidies for semiconductor chip makers like Intel. Nvidia is a chip designer, so they are not eligible for the subsidies. Nvidia's exclusion could be contributing to the pricing of its shares falling.
  • Shares in Nvidia have plummeted since they announced their Q2 earnings.
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Politics

Sinema's Sold

August 5, 2022
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The context
Senator Kyrsten Sinema will support the Inflation Reduction Act proposed by Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer after they agreed to change tax proposals in the act, allowing Democrats to overcome a Republican filibuster and pass the act.
Politics
Friday, August 5, 2022

Sinema's Sold

The context
Senator Kyrsten Sinema will support the Inflation Reduction Act proposed by Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer after they agreed to change tax proposals in the act, allowing Democrats to overcome a Republican filibuster and pass the act.
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Moving forward

  • Krysten Sinema is a Democratic senator from Arizona whose support for the bill is crucial to overcoming a potential Republican filibuster on the ambitious spending agenda.
  • She indicated that her support had been won after changes to the bill's tax provisions, including removing a new proposed tax on carried interest and paring back corporate tax increases.
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Votes to come

  • Sinema added that in exchange for her support, she got Democratic leaders to remove a tax increase on wealthy hedge fund managers and private equity executives and add provisions to boost the clean energy economy.
  • She also fought to include billions in drought relief money for states like her home state of Arizona, which is suffering from extreme drought.
  • Now that Sinema is on board, a vote on the agenda can be scheduled.
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Technology

Roomba, by Amazon

August 5, 2022
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The context
Amazon will acquire iRobot, the makers of the Roomba, for $1.65 billion.
Technology
Friday, August 5, 2022

Roomba, by Amazon

The context
Amazon will acquire iRobot, the makers of the Roomba, for $1.65 billion.
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Ready to Roomba

  • iRobot is a maker of home cleaning solutions robots based in Bedford, Massachusetts.
  • The $1.65 billion deal values iRobot at 22% higher than its last closing price, and Amazon will pay $61 a share to purchase the robot maker.
  • iRobot is a trusted name in the home-robot sector, and Amazon will be able to leverage the robot-makers branding to sell its own home technology.
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Smart purchase

  • iRobot will integrate into Amazon, but Amazon intends to keep the robot maker's CEO, Colin Angle, in his position.
  • Roomba has been selling automatic home vacuums since 2002 and is beloved by customers. Amazon will leverage the robot's software integrations and AI-driven decision-making.
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Technology

Apple Warns Suppliers

August 5, 2022
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The context
Apple has warned suppliers to cease using labels that read "made in Taiwan" to comply with Chinese labeling rules in the wake of Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island.
Technology
Friday, August 5, 2022

Apple Warns Suppliers

The context
Apple has warned suppliers to cease using labels that read "made in Taiwan" to comply with Chinese labeling rules in the wake of Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island.
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Anything but the R.O.C.

  • Apple reportedly told suppliers today that products from Taiwan must be labeled as made in "Taiwan, China" or "Chinese Taipei."
  • Products made in Taiwan are often labeled as being made in the Republic of China, which China does not support since it implies Taiwanese independence.
  • Taiwan is a leading global supplier of semiconductor chips that companies like Apple use in their products.
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Give and take

  • China is Taiwan's leading trading partner. Exports from Taiwan exceed imports to the island from China, placing them in an economic problem where they need China to continue to buy their products.
  • China could decide to leverage the import to export surplus by sanctioning and restricting exporters from Taiwan.
  • China relies on Taiwan for semiconductor chips and the supplies needed to manufacture the chips domestically.
  • China prodded at Apple's supply chain today as the campus of their supplier Pegatron Corporation was searched by economic authorities to check for labeling violations.
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The context
China has finally levied its response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China has pulled out of several critical areas of cooperation, including climate change initiatives, and imposed sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family.
Politics
Friday, August 5, 2022

China Responds to Pelosi Visit

The context
China has finally levied its response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China has pulled out of several critical areas of cooperation, including climate change initiatives, and imposed sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family.
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Chinese military show

  • After Pelosi and the congressional delegation accompanying her left Taiwan, China embarked on its largest display of military might in the seas and skies surrounding the island. The military drills featured missile launches that hammered at the island's borders and flew above Taipei.
  • Taiwan maintains that the military show of force will not be met with any Taiwanese military action.
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China tests the waters

  • Five missiles fired at Taiwan by China landed in Japanese waters off of Hateruma. Pelosi and the congressional delegation are currently in Japan.
  • Japan and six other nations, including the U.S., responded to the missile launches by encouraging China to stop, saying there was no reason for China to lash out. China canceled a foreign minister's meeting with Japan in response to the statement.
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Economic avenues

  • Another path that China is taking to demonstrate its alleged ownership of Taiwan is by enforcing labeling rules on imports from Taiwan.
  • The rules, created in 2015, state that products originating in Taiwan must be labeled as made in "Taiwan, China."
  • Apple reportedly told its suppliers to comply with the labeling rules.
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The context
The cryptocurrency exchange platform Solana revealed today that hackers gained access to users' holdings through Slope Finance's mobile wallet, where some Solana users stored their cryptocurrency holdings.
Technology
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Ongoing Fallout from Solana Hack

The context
The cryptocurrency exchange platform Solana revealed today that hackers gained access to users' holdings through Slope Finance's mobile wallet, where some Solana users stored their cryptocurrency holdings.
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Theft linked

  • Solana's entire ecosystem of holdings was drained by hackers who stole the platform's currency and USD coins.
  • After an investigation into the hack, Solana revealed that hackers gained access through the mobile wallet app, Slope.
  • Slope Finance is a mobile wallet that allows users to complete transactions and store cryptocurrency. It is believed that hackers accessed Solana's holdings through users' Slope wallets.
  • Over $4 million in assets were stolen in the attack.
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The context
BlackRock will partner with Coinbase Prime to offer institutional investors a channel for purchasing and holding crypto. The value of Coinbase shares rose in response to the deal.
Technology
Thursday, August 4, 2022

BlackRock Goes For Crypto

The context
BlackRock will partner with Coinbase Prime to offer institutional investors a channel for purchasing and holding crypto. The value of Coinbase shares rose in response to the deal.
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Here we go

  • BlackRock is a massive asset management firm, and they announced today that they will partner with the crypto wallet, Coinbase to allow institutional investors to access cryptocurrencies directly.
  • Users of Aladdin, BlackRock's investment management platform, who also use Coinbase, will now be able to use the platform for crypto trading, storage, prime brokerage, and reporting capabilities.
  • Instead of managing assets on different platforms, investors can manage their crypto and traditional investments on the same platform.
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Signaling something

  • BlackRock's and Coinbase's shares rose in value after news of the partnership was released.
  • Aladdin and Coinbase Prime users will only be able to manage Bitcoin on the platform.
  • The deal is a much needed infusion for Coinbase, which has been struggling through the crypto winter and was forced to lay off staff a month ago.
  • It is also facing an investigation by the SEC over whether it allowed Americans to trade crypto assets which should have been defined as securities.
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The context
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is suspending the democratic state attorney, Andrew Warren, over his refusal to prosecute people who violate Florida's ban on abortions or gender-affirming surgeries.
Politics
Thursday, August 4, 2022

DeSantis Doubles Down

The context
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is suspending the democratic state attorney, Andrew Warren, over his refusal to prosecute people who violate Florida's ban on abortions or gender-affirming surgeries.
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DeSantis strikes

  • State Attorney Andrew Warren said he would not prosecute individuals who perform abortions or gender-affirming surgeries like mastectomies or sex-change procedures.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis responded by suspending Warren for neglecting his duty as a state prosecutor.
  • Warren expressly declined to prosecute individuals who perform abortions after three and half months of pregnancy which was recently banned by a new Florida law.
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Sorry Warren

  • Andrew Warren is one of 70 state prosecutors and attorney generals across the country who ha said that they will not prosecute those who receive or provide abortion services.
  • In the executive order suspending Warren, DeSantis writes that he has the authority to suspend officials for neglect of duty, adding that Warren's refusal to enforce criminal charges effectively vetoes state laws.
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The context
The Department of Justice has filed charges against four Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their role in the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by officers conducting a no-knock search shortly after midnight while she slept in bed with her boyfriend. The officers fired 32 shots.
Politics
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Garland Charges Louisville Police Officers

The context
The Department of Justice has filed charges against four Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their role in the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by officers conducting a no-knock search shortly after midnight while she slept in bed with her boyfriend. The officers fired 32 shots.
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Justice for Breonna Taylor

  • The DOJ is accusing the four officers, Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison, Kelly Goodlett, and Kyle Meany, of fabricating evidence they presented to get a search warrant.
  • The officers told the judge issuing the warrant that a target of their investigation had been picking up packages of drugs at Taylor's home.
  • The charges against the officers involved aren't the only action the DOJ is pursuing against the Louisville police department. Another team at the DOJ is investigating the department to determine whether they are engaging in a pattern of misconduct.
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Fabricated evidence

  • The DOJ is accusing the officers of violating Taylor's civil rights, which resulted in her death, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
  • The officers used a no-knock warrant to enter Taylor's home while she slept with her boyfriend. Taylor's boyfriend believed an intruder was entering the apartment, so he fired a shot in self-defense. The officers responded by firing 32 shots, killing Taylor.
  • The no-knock warrant the officers used to enter her home was obtained after they lied on the affidavit they presented to the judge who issued the warrant.
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Entertainment

Brittney Griner Sentenced

August 4, 2022
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The context
Russia delivered the verdict in the case of WNBA player Brittney Griner, sentencing her to nine years for drug possession and smuggling charges. Griner was detained after vape cartridges were found in her luggage while she was playing in Russia during the WNBA offseason.
Entertainment
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Brittney Griner Sentenced

The context
Russia delivered the verdict in the case of WNBA player Brittney Griner, sentencing her to nine years for drug possession and smuggling charges. Griner was detained after vape cartridges were found in her luggage while she was playing in Russia during the WNBA offseason.
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Nine years behind bars

  • The presiding judge in Griner's case ruled that she intentionally broke the law by traveling with vape cartridges containing THC.
  • Griner and her legal team maintained that she had made an honest mistake and was unaware she was breaking the law.
  • The Biden administration released a statement about the sentence, saying it was unjust and calling for her release.
  • The Biden administration hopes to conduct a prisoner swap that would return Griner and fellow American detainee Paul Whelan home to the states.
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Griner caught in the middle

  • Griner was found to have a minimal amount of THC oil, but she has become a political pawn in the ongoing fallout between Russia and the U.S. over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • In addition to being sentenced to nine years in a penal colony, Griner must also pay a fine of about $16,000.
  • There is immense pressure on President Biden to negotiate the Olympians' return from her family and the WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury.
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Technology

TwitchCon Under Fire

August 3, 2022
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The context
TwitchCon in San Diego announced they won't require attendees to wear masks, or be vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend the convention, prompting some creators to opt out of the conference altogether.
Technology
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

TwitchCon Under Fire

The context
TwitchCon in San Diego announced they won't require attendees to wear masks, or be vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend the convention, prompting some creators to opt out of the conference altogether.
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Creators say no thanks

  • Twitch is a live-video game streaming service where users can tune into their favorite player's streams and watch them play. Users can also stream games they are playing with friends.
  • Twitch is hosting a convention in San Diego at the same convention center where San Diego Comic-Con was hosted. Several attendees reported contracting Covid-19 from Comic Con despite mask mandates that were in place.
  • The streaming platform decided to forgo mask and vaccine mandates, making some creators reconsider their attendance as Covid-19 numbers are on the rise again and monkeypox cases spread in California.
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Pandemic ongoing

  • While the state of California doesn't currently mandate indoor masking, Twitch could enforce its masking policy at the convention.
  • While a convention on the side of TwitchCon is going to be 100% safe, attendees feel more comfortable with masking and vaccine mandates in place.
  • The conference takes place in October, so the organizers have plenty of time to change their minds.
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The context
Votes have settled in key primaries in Missouri, Michigan, Washington, Arizona, and Kansas. In the contentious race for GOP nominations, Trump endorsed candidates either flailed or triumphed, and Democrats played a sneaky hand in Michigan.
Politics
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Takeaways from August 2nd Primaries

The context
Votes have settled in key primaries in Missouri, Michigan, Washington, Arizona, and Kansas. In the contentious race for GOP nominations, Trump endorsed candidates either flailed or triumphed, and Democrats played a sneaky hand in Michigan.
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Kinzinger on Meijer defeat: ‘Democrats own that’

  • Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan is one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump and denied his election fraud claims in 2020. He ran for the GOP primary in Michigan to defend his seat in the House against challenger John Gibbs.
  • John Gibbs is a fervent Trump supporter and a 2020 election denier.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee decided to make a play in Michigan. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to run ads that supported Gibbs's campaign for the House seat.
  • The DCCC hopes the Democratic candidate for the seat will have a better shot at defeating Gibbs since he is a Trump extremist. The gamble is that voters won't be drawn to Gibbs's extreme right-wing takes and will opt to vote Democratic.
  • Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger decried the DCCC's decision, saying they were punishing a good Republican and they would be to blame if Gibbs wins.
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Arizona swings for Trump

  • Trump endorsed candidate Mark Finchem won the Republican nomination for Secretary of State of Arizona.
  • Blake Masters, who Trump also endorses, won the GOP nomination for Senator.
  • Both Finchem and Masters are supporters of Trump's claim that he won the 2020 election. Masters won the nomination against Rusty Bowers, who testified in the January 6th committee hearing about how he resisted pressures from Trump's team to overturn election results in Arizona.
  • Arizona is a significant battleground for the GOP's hope to flip the 50-50 balance of Republicans to Democrats in the Senate.
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Key races

  • In Michigan, conservative commentator Tudor Dixon won the Republican primary and will face the incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump endorses Dixon.
  • In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the primary in the race for a Senate seat against former Gov. Eric Greitens. Greitens resigned from his post in 2018 after his wife revealed that he had been coercive and abusive towards her and their son.
  • Democrats had hoped that Greitens would win, which would bolster their candidate's chance of winning the seat since Greitens's return to politics saw him run as a full-blown Trump-ist.
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The context
Last night's primaries led to a significant victory for pro-choice activists in Kansas. The state overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to an abortion in its state constitution and reject a proposed amendment that would remove the right.
Politics
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Kansas Protects Abortion

The context
Last night's primaries led to a significant victory for pro-choice activists in Kansas. The state overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to an abortion in its state constitution and reject a proposed amendment that would remove the right.
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Constitutional right

  • On Tuesday night, Kansas voters overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to an abortion in the state's constitution from a proposed amendment that would allow lawmakers to restrict or ban abortion.
  • The dramatic shake-up represents the new political world post-Roe v. Wade was overturned. Kansas is a deeply red, conservative state, so the decision to protect the right to abortion blurs party lines.
  • Even in rural, red counties, abortion opponents were outvoted by pro-choice voters.
  • The New York Times estimated that voter turnout was about 50%.
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Voters in Kansas decide to keep abortion legal in the state, rejecting an amendment

  • The proposed amendment would have removed the right to an abortion in the state's constitution, allowing lawmakers to ban the procedure outright.
  • Kansas restricts access to abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, only allowing patients to access the procedure if their life is at risk.
  • Kansas also mandates that pregnant patients get an ultrasound before being allowed to get an abortion.
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The context
The online investing platform Robinhood is having a tough Wednesday. The company announced it would cut about 23% of its staff, and the New York State Department of Financial Services slapped the crypto-trading division of the company with a $30 million fine.
The context
The online investing platform Robinhood is having a tough Wednesday. The company announced it would cut about 23% of its staff, and the New York State Department of Financial Services slapped the crypto-trading division of the company with a $30 million fine.
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Slimming down

  • The CEO of Robinhood, Vlad Tenev, said that company will cut its staff by 23%. The layoffs are expected to mostly impact employees in operations, marketing, and program management.
  • Tenev cited a broad crypto-market crash and the deterioration of the online investing world with a looming recession and rising inflation.
  • Robinhood released its second-quarter earnings, and they were disappointing. Their results showed a decline in the number of active users and stored assets on the platform.
  • Robinhood's earnings in the second quarter totaled $318 million and increased from the first quarter's earnings of $299 million.
  • Robinhood previously laid off 9% of its staff in April.
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New York breaks ground

  • The New York State Department of Financial Services has taken its first regulatory action against a crypto firm by fining Robinhood for $30 million.
  • Robinhood employed some shoddy business practices to operate its crypto trading arms, including understaffing the division, violations of anti-money laundering, and cybersecurity regulations.
  • According to financial regulators, Robinhood was not compliant with crypto-trading regulations when they were granted and started operating under a New York state license.
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The context
The Senate voted on the PACT Act again today after it failed to pass last Wednesday when 41 Republican senators unexpectedly blocked the bill. The PACT Act expands military healthcare benefits for veterans whose health was compromised by burn pits or toxic chemical exposures while serving. The Senate ultimately voted to pass the bill with no amendments.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Senate Votes on the PACT Act Again

The context
The Senate voted on the PACT Act again today after it failed to pass last Wednesday when 41 Republican senators unexpectedly blocked the bill. The PACT Act expands military healthcare benefits for veterans whose health was compromised by burn pits or toxic chemical exposures while serving. The Senate ultimately voted to pass the bill with no amendments.
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Another shot to pass

  • The PACT Act's failure to pass was a surprise because it had easily passed in the Senate before going to the House. When the Senate re-received the bill last week, it was blocked from passing by Republican senators, led by Pat Toomey.
  • Now, the bill has another chance to pass after Senator Chuck Schumer announced a vote slated for Tuesday evening.
  • The Republican hold-up stems from an objection to the definition of the type of spending on veteran healthcare. The $400 billion in spending is labeled as "mandatory," which Pat Toomey claimed could be spent on something other than veteran healthcare if the care does not total that amount.
  • The Senate will vote on Toomey's amendment, which defines the allocated spending as discretionary and not mandatory.
  • The failure to pass the bill was on the heels of Senator Joe Manchin and Schumer reaching a deal to introduce the Democratic Agenda, which included funding for climate change projects.
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PACT Act passes

  • The Senate voted to pass the PACT Act today in a vote of 86-11, meaning that the veterans who camped outside of the Capitol building since it failed last week can finally go home.
  • The bill will now go to President Biden's desk, who is expected to sign it into law.
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The context
The defamation trial against Infowars's Alex Jones and the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting began today with emotional testimony from the parents and clashes between Jones and the presiding judge.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Alex Jones Trial Kicks Off

The context
The defamation trial against Infowars's Alex Jones and the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting began today with emotional testimony from the parents and clashes between Jones and the presiding judge.
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Impact of Jones's claims

  • Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of a son who died in the shooting, testified today about the horrific impact that Alex Jones's repeated public claims that the shooting was faked has had on their lives.
  • Both spoke about the 'living hell' they have endured thanks to death threats and ongoing harassment from believers of Jones's claims that the shooting was faked by actors and is a conspiracy.
  • The Texas-based trial will determine how much Jones will pay to the parents in damages.
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Details from the courtroom

  • The dramatic trial included sparring between Jones and the presiding judge, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.
  • Gamble admonished Jones for his repeated refusal to tell the truth under oath.
  • Before the trial began, Jones released videos that viciously slandered Judge Maya Guerra Gamble and the defendants in the case.
  • Jones's company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy on Friday, which could impact the eventual sum he is forced to pay the defendants.
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The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. elected official to visit the island nation in 25 years amidst simmering tensions between the U.S. and China over the visit and Taiwan's sovereignty.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Nancy Pelosi Touches Down in Taiwan

The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. elected official to visit the island nation in 25 years amidst simmering tensions between the U.S. and China over the visit and Taiwan's sovereignty.
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Plane touches down

  • Nancy Pelosi and the congressional delegation accompanying her landed in Taiwan today in the face of threats from the Chinese president that there would be serious repercussions to her visit.
  • Bejing claims Taiwan is a rogue province, and while the U.S. has agreed to abide by a policy of neutrality on the issue, Pelosi herself supports a democratic Taiwan.
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Bipartisan support

  • Pelosi's trip has garnered support from both sides of the political aisle.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended Pelosi's decision to visit Taiwan.
  • McConnell said that Pelosi has every right to visit the country and that he hopes that upon her return, she will be more sympathetic to calls to increase military spending to support American efforts to compete with China and maintain peace in the Pacific.
  • He also pointed out that a former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich visited the nation in 1997, so Pelosi is not breaking with precedent by meeting with Taiwanese leaders in Taipei.
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Military drill response

  • China has announced that it will conduct military drills in the sea and airspace between mainland China and Taiwan. They are likely to cross into Taiwanese airspace and over the maritime border.
  • The drills were expected to begin on Thursday, but the Chinese military has now announced that the drills will begin Tuesday night before Pelosi leaves on Wednesday.
  • The drills will encircle the island of Taiwan from all four directions. They will likely include missile launches and displays from Chinese aircraft and ships.
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The context
The Justice Department is suing Idaho over its abortion ban because it violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act by preventing medical professionals from providing abortions in medical emergencies. The case is the first suit by the DOJ since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
The context
The Justice Department is suing Idaho over its abortion ban because it violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act by preventing medical professionals from providing abortions in medical emergencies. The case is the first suit by the DOJ since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
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First response

  • Idaho's ban is highly restrictive, and the DOJ is suing because the near-total ban violates federal law, which mandates that women be given abortions in cases of a medical emergency.
  • According to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, hospitals that receive federal funding must provide emergency medical treatment. The DOJ will argue that in some cases, abortion is a life-saving, required emergency medical procedure for pregnant patients.
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Taking on Idaho

  • Idaho's abortion ban is one of the most restrictive in the nation, and it will take effect later this month. The ban includes a provision that would make providing an abortion a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • The DOJ is suing because the bill will make it essentially impossible for pregnant patients to obtain life-saving reproductive care for conditions like preeclampsia or ectopic pregnancy.
  • In his announcement of the suit, Attorney General Merrick Garland references a growing number of cases where pregnant patients have reported being denied abortion services in the case of medical emergencies.
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The context
A group of French iOS app developers is suing Apple over fees that make it difficult to sell their apps in the Apple app store and over antitrust practices that make it difficult to sell their apps anywhere else.
Technology
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Antitrust May Take a Bite of Apple

The context
A group of French iOS app developers is suing Apple over fees that make it difficult to sell their apps in the Apple app store and over antitrust practices that make it difficult to sell their apps anywhere else.
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Too high

  • The developers are suing Apple in a California court, alleging that the company is overcharging developers to use the app store and that those high fees are unlawful because developers have no choice but to pay them to use the store to sell their apps.
  • This isn't the first time Apple has faced an antitrust suit from developers over its dominating app store. This particular suit seeks damages for violations of federal and California antitrust laws and a reprieve from anti-competitive practices.
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iOS or bust

  • The suit accuses Apple of only allowing iOS devices to be sold on the App Store to force developers to pay unlawfully high fees.
  • The plaintiffs will be represented by Hagen Berman, a law firm that successfully sued Apple last year over their App Store policies. They won a $100 million settlement in the suit. Berman also recently sued Apple for antitrust practices with Apple Pay.
  • The suit wants Apple to reimburse developers for overcharging and allow for competition in iOS app distribution.
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Technology

Nomadic Coins

August 2, 2022
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The context
Hackers stole almost $200 million in coins from the cryptocurrency transactions platform Nomad. Nomad announced the hack today, saying they were working to return the coins to the rightful owners after hackers exploited a security upgrade to drain the company.
Technology
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Nomadic Coins

The context
Hackers stole almost $200 million in coins from the cryptocurrency transactions platform Nomad. Nomad announced the hack today, saying they were working to return the coins to the rightful owners after hackers exploited a security upgrade to drain the company.
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Stolen coins

  • The crypto firm, Nomad, was hit by a massive hack which resulted in the theft of $190 million in cryptocurrency assets.
  • Nomad is a bridge allowing users to send coins or assets across blockchains like Avalanche, Ethereum, Evmos, Moonbeam, and Milkomeda C1.
  • Before the hack, Nomad raised $22 million from investors last week. The investors included Coinbase.
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Not much left

  • The hackers drained Nomad of almost all of its stored assets.
  • They accessed the coins by exploiting a security update that allowed them to mimic legitimate transactions. When users sent assets through the bridge, Nomad never checked the exact amount, which allowed the hackers to request sums of money that didn't belong to them.
  • Nomad's announcement of the hack revealed they had hired a blockchain intelligence and forensics agency and were working to return the coins to the rightful owner.
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The context
As more and more players leave the PGA tour, enticed by massive sums of money to join the Saudi-backed league, LIV Golf, Greg Norman revealed that Tiger Woods turned down a $700-800 million offer to join the tournament.
Entertainment
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Tiger Woods Turns Down Deal

The context
As more and more players leave the PGA tour, enticed by massive sums of money to join the Saudi-backed league, LIV Golf, Greg Norman revealed that Tiger Woods turned down a $700-800 million offer to join the tournament.
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According to Norman

  • Greg Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf, a new tournament/league backed by Saudi Arabian investors. Norman himself is a former pro-golfer.
  • Norman has called LIV Golf the future of golf in the face of criticism from PGA Tour golfers.
  • Woods has been a vocal critic of the league, saying golfers who join are turning their back on the tournament that got them where they are today.
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Funky funding

  • Norman made the comments during an interview with Tucker Carlson, who attended the LIV Golf tournament hosted by former President Trump at his course in Florida.
  • In the new league, golfers are guaranteed payouts, regardless of their performance in the tournament.
  • Golfers Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson both received large sums as signing bonuses. Mickelson received $200 million, and Johnson received $150 million.
  • The funding for the league comes from Saudi Arabia, which some have criticized as an attempt to distract from the country's record of human rights violations.
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The context
President Biden confirmed this afternoon that a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command in al-Qaeda during 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden's successor.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

U.S. Kills al-Qaeda Leader

The context
President Biden confirmed this afternoon that a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command in al-Qaeda during 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden's successor.
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Most wanted

  • Ayman al-Zawahiri was at the top of the most wanted list for his role in overseeing and organizing the attacks on 9/11. After the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden during Obama's presidency, al-Zawahiri stepped into the deceased leader's shoes as the head of al-Qaeda.
  • According to officials, the drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri was carried out over the weekend, and the strike hit a house in Kabul where the leader was hiding out.
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First since exit

  • The strike that killed al-Zawahiri is the first since the United States withdrew troops from Afghanistan last year.
  • Officials said that the U.S. military did not conduct the strike, leading some to speculate that the CIA had conducted the strike.
  • The successful strike is a win for the Biden administration that pulled troops last year.
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Biden confirms

  • In Biden's remarks, he calls the strike an example of the U.S. maintaining its ability to conduct operations and pursue high priority targets even without soliders on the ground in Afghantistan.
  • The Biden administration said that there were no civilian casualties in the strike in the residential neighborhood in Kabul.
  • After al-Zawahiri's death, all the top conspirators in the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed.
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The context
Guy Reffitt, who participated in the Capitol riots, has been sentenced to the longest sentence of any January 6th rioters. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for leading rioters into the Capitol while carrying a gun.
Politics
Monday, August 1, 2022

Guy Reffitt Sentenced to Seven Years

The context
Guy Reffitt, who participated in the Capitol riots, has been sentenced to the longest sentence of any January 6th rioters. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for leading rioters into the Capitol while carrying a gun.
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Lit match

  • Prosecutors used body-camera footage from Guy Reffitt to argue that he incited fellow rioters to storm the Capitol.
  • Reffitt didn't actually make it into the building. He was stopped when he clashed with the police line.
  • Prosecutors argued that Reffitt's actions constituted domestic terrorism, which the judge presiding over the case disagreed with.
  • Both Reffitt's children testified and asked the judge to be lenient with their father, who they explained had been caught up in the fervor of Trump's claims that the election was stolen.
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Less than the asked

  • Prosecutors sought a 15-year prison term for Guy Reffitt.
  • Reffitt asked for leniency from the court, citing mental health and medical struggles that began when he lost his job in 2019 before the pandemic started. He became involved in extremist groups like the Three Percenters movement in Texas.
  • Other rioters have not faced nearly as much prison time as Reffitt. Still, prosecutors made the case that he was an active organizer in the event and that he committed domestic terrorism.
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The context
The popular scooter and e-bike sharing company, Bolt Mobility, has all but vanished, leaving behind hundreds of e-bikes and ghosting city officials who are desperate to know where in the world they could have gone.
Technology
Monday, August 1, 2022

Bolt Mobility Bolts for the Hills

The context
The popular scooter and e-bike sharing company, Bolt Mobility, has all but vanished, leaving behind hundreds of e-bikes and ghosting city officials who are desperate to know where in the world they could have gone.
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Nuisance for small scale cities

  • The Miami-based e-bike and scooter sharing company Bolt Mobility is co-owned and co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.
  • Bolt had contracts in several smaller-scale cities like Burlington, Vermont, and Richmond, California.
  • Bolt was rapidly climbing the start-up ladder after acquiring the assets of Last Mile Holdings, which opened up contracts with 48 new cities.
  • They also recently secured a massive funding boost from Ram Charan in May.
  • Now, they seem to have vanished or gone out of business. Attempts by the press or city officials to contact the company have gone unanswered.
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Bikes with no home

  • Following the news that the start-up may have folded, the stock price has dropped from $10 to just 50 cents.
  • While some cities had advanced notice that the company was shutting down, some have been completely unable to reach the company.
  • The company left behind scooters and bikes, with no clear plan in place for cities to get rid of the equipment and no way to contact the company about the leftover inventory.
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The context
New York Mayor Eric Adams has declared a state of emergency in the city over an ongoing Monkeypox outbreak. The state of emergency will allow Adams to focus resources on vaccinating and educating New Yorkers to prevent the spread of the disease.
Politics
Monday, August 1, 2022

Adams Issues State of Emergency

The context
New York Mayor Eric Adams has declared a state of emergency in the city over an ongoing Monkeypox outbreak. The state of emergency will allow Adams to focus resources on vaccinating and educating New Yorkers to prevent the spread of the disease.
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State of emergency

  • Mayor Adams declared a state of emergency in NYC after the city health department declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.
  • The emergency order will allow Adams to supersede local efforts to curb the outbreak and coordinate a city-wide approach to vaccinate, treat, test and educate as many people as possible.
  • New York has reported 1,472 cases, but the number may be higher due to errors in reporting.
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New York on notice

  • The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, declared a state disaster emergency on Friday night, which would authorize more medical professionals like nurse practitioners and pharmacists to administer vaccines.
  • Hochul also said she would pressure the federal government to send New York more vaccines.
  • New York currently leads the country in the number of cases, with California in second place.
  • The virus is spread through physical contact, and patients experience flu-like symptoms with a raised rash and lesions.
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The context
Amazon is launching a same-day delivery service that includes items from Mall-superstars PacSun, GNC, Superdry, and Diesel.
Technology
Monday, August 1, 2022

Bring the Mall to You with Amazon

The context
Amazon is launching a same-day delivery service that includes items from Mall-superstars PacSun, GNC, Superdry, and Diesel.
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From home

  • Prime members in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Seattle, and Washington D.C. will be able to shop from select retail stores with same-day delivery.
  • An Amazon delivery partner will pick up the items from the retail store's location and bring them to the shopper's door instead of Amazon carrying them in their warehouses.
  • The current offering of stores will expand to include 100% Pure and Sur La Table, according to Amazon.
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Trip to the mall

  • Prime members can also opt for same-day pick up from stores if they don't want delivery.
  • Non-prime members will also be able to access same-day-pick up from the retail stores but will need to spend a minimum of $25.
  • The move is likely a play to enhance Amazon's growing fulfillment business without needing to expand its warehouses.
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The context
The Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, has been canceled after a court ruling made it impossible for the festival to ban guns on the premise.
Entertainment
Monday, August 1, 2022

No Music at Atlanta Midtown

The context
The Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, has been canceled after a court ruling made it impossible for the festival to ban guns on the premise.
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Called off

  • In 2019, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that businesses that have a short term on publicly owned land cannot ban guns on that land while they have the lease.
  • The Music Midtown festival is held on public land at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. The Georgia court's ruling means that the festival cannot ban weapons like guns on the premise during the festival.
  • Most companies who throw concerts like Midtown Music will not host festivals in places where concert-goers can bring guns to the premise.
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Unsafe for viewers

  • In response to being unable to ban guns and amidst rising gun violence in the US after mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, the concert organizer, Live Nation, canceled the upcoming event.
  • The concert has long banned guns on the premise, but in recent weeks their social media has been flooded with comments from pro-gun activists threatening to sue the company if they are denied entry for carrying a gun.
  • While Live Nation did not specify the exact reason for canceling the event, sources told Rolling Stone that Georgia gun laws were to blame.
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Entertainment

Deshaun Watson Suspended

August 1, 2022
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The context
The quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson, has been suspended for six games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after inappropriately soliciting massage therapists.
Entertainment
Monday, August 1, 2022

Deshaun Watson Suspended

The context
The quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson, has been suspended for six games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after inappropriately soliciting massage therapists.
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See you in 6!

  • Deshaun Watson recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits that alleged that Watson solicited sexual acts from women whom he hired as massage therapists.
  • The women alleged that Watson hired them as massage therapists but soon began to make unwanted sexual advances during the massages, which he often requested take place at hotels.
  • The sexual misconduct suits put the NFL team, the Browns, in a tough spot since the misconduct occurred while he was with the Houston Texans.
  • The NFL pushed for a year-long suspension, but apparently, Watson's lawyers and the players union talked them down to a six-game suspension without pay.
  • Jacoby Brisset will take over for Watson during his suspension.

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Impact of the games

  • All of the suits relate to Watson's behavior while with the Houston Texans. Watson was recently traded to the Cleveland Browns and is set to make $230 million over five years with the team.
  • The lack of fine means that Watson's salary from the Browns will be largely unaffected by the six-game suspension.
  • The player's union and Watson's lawyers said that because Watson hadn't been convicted of a crime, he shouldn't face a year-long suspension or a fine. A Texas grand jury declined to indict Watson on sexual misconduct charges.

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The context
The House voted to pass an assault weapons ban after overcoming internal party drama. The ban is the first in 30 years to pass in the House after Congress failed to renew a ban passed in 1994 and expired in 2004.
Politics
Friday, July 29, 2022

Reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban

The context
The House voted to pass an assault weapons ban after overcoming internal party drama. The ban is the first in 30 years to pass in the House after Congress failed to renew a ban passed in 1994 and expired in 2004.
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Ban passes

  • The House voted on the bill to reinstate an assault weapons ban. The ban passed with a very narrow margin of 217-213.
  • The vote on the ban came after the Democratic party failed to secure enough votes to pass a broader agenda of public safety bills.
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Down to the wire

  • The House is scheduled to go on recess in August, so they are working to pass legislation quickly.
  • The House was meant to vote on a broader public safety agenda, but disagreements within the party over language in a policing bill caused the original plan to vote on the policing bill to stall out.
  • Pelosi decided to vote on the ban instead of the broader agenda.
  • Only two Republicans joined Democrats to support the bill, which doesn't bode well for the bill's chances in the Senate.
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The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leaves today to lead a congressional delegation on a tour of Asia. She plans to stop in Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. But, the proposed final stop on her tour, Taiwan, is causing tensions between China and the U.S. to flare.
Politics
Friday, July 29, 2022

Pelosi's Trip to Asia Stirs Controversy

The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leaves today to lead a congressional delegation on a tour of Asia. She plans to stop in Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. But, the proposed final stop on her tour, Taiwan, is causing tensions between China and the U.S. to flare.
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On a jet plane

  • The White House has declined to offer specifics about Pelosi's schedule while traveling to Asia.
  • China has long claimed Taiwan as a rogue province, while Taiwan maintains it is a sovereign nation. Political experts fear that China will invade Taiwan.
  • China has warned the U.S. that Pelosi's visit to Taiwan would be inflammatory.
  • President Xi Jinping and President Biden spoke by phone for over two hours yesterday about the rising tensions. Jinping warned Biden to abide by China's claim to Taiwan.
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Experts concerned

  • Political experts are worried that if Pelosi does stop in Taiwan, it will lead to a military crisis in the region.
  • Pelosi will fly via military aircraft, which experts worry China will claim is an invasion of Chinese airspace.
  • If Pelosi does visit Taiwan, she will be the highest-ranking U.S. lawmaker to visit the island nation in over two decades.
  • Biden has suggested that the U.S. will support Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, breaking with the longstanding policy of "strategic ambiguity" regarding Taiwan's sovereignty.
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History of tensions

  • China's military demonstrations in the Taiwan Strait have become increasingly aggressive.
  • The White House has walked back statements by Biden saying the U.S. would support Taiwan with military aid if China did invade Taiwan.
  • Historically, Pelosi has had a long history of poking at China. In 1991 she visited Bejing to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre, where the Chinese military killed students protesting the communist government.
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The context
A report from Politico broke the news today that the Department of Justice is investigating a security breach of the federal court system that occurred in early 2020. Lawmakers were informed of the hack in March 2021.
Technology
Friday, July 29, 2022

Hack Hits the Courts

The context
A report from Politico broke the news today that the Department of Justice is investigating a security breach of the federal court system that occurred in early 2020. Lawmakers were informed of the hack in March 2021.
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Committee hearing

  • House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler revealed that the DOJ is investigating a security system failure that occurred in early 2020 at a committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department's National Security Division.
  • Nadler revealed that three hostile foreign actors had attacked the federal court's filing system, which resulted in a data breach and a system failure.
  • He also said the committee learned about the hack in March of 2021.
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Data breach

  • Members of the committee expressed concern that they were just being alerted to the hack.
  • In early 2021, the federal court system announced they would be going low-tech and opting out of using digital case management and electronic case files system. At the time, they claimed it was a result of the Solar Winds hack, but now it seems like their own hack could prompt the decision.
  • The details of the hack and which countries could be involved are not publicly available.
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The context
Instagram has been the talk of the tech-town this week after Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian posted a photo to their stories telling Instagram to stop trying to be Tik Tok. The flack caused Instagram's CEO to take to the internet to say that Instagram is doubling down on showing users recommended content instead of content from the people they follow, but they have now walked back on that declaration.
Technology
Thursday, July 28, 2022

We Want the Old Instagram Back

The context
Instagram has been the talk of the tech-town this week after Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian posted a photo to their stories telling Instagram to stop trying to be Tik Tok. The flack caused Instagram's CEO to take to the internet to say that Instagram is doubling down on showing users recommended content instead of content from the people they follow, but they have now walked back on that declaration.
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Popular opinion

  • Instagram has been increasingly pushing Reels and Ai-recommended content onto users' accounts, and people are frustrated.
  • Kylie Jenner and her sister, Kim Kardashian, are some of the most followed stars on the platform, and both shared messages on their accounts lamenting the direction Instagram is taking.
  • Users are frustrated that they are being shown mostly ad content or content from people they don't follow when they really just want to see their friends.
  • Adam Mosseri responded to the backlash, saying that while Instagram will continue to support photo-sharing, they are looking to transition to a video-based platform.
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Twice as much

  • Mark Zuckerberg seemed unconcerned by the backlash, saying that the platform will double the amount of Ai-generated content users see on their accounts.
  • Currently, 15% of content on Instagram is Ai-recommended. Zuckerberg says he wants to double that percentage by the end of 2023 to compete with Tik Tok, whose content recommending algorithm is their golden goose.
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Nevermind!

  • Adam Mosseri has changed his tune, saying that Instagram will reverse its test, turning users' feeds into mostly recommended posts and videos.
  • He also announced that the internal data from the test reflected the backlash expressed on social media.
  • Instagram still plans to transition to prioritizing videos/reels, but Mosseri said they would find a better way to do it.
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The context
A California judge ruled that Uber doesn't have to offer wheelchair-accessible rides in every market.
Technology
Thursday, July 28, 2022

Judge Makes a Ruling On Uber Accessibility

The context
A California judge ruled that Uber doesn't have to offer wheelchair-accessible rides in every market.
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Judge decides

  • The judge ruled that Uber was not violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing wheelchair users with accommodating rides.
  • The two plaintiffs in the case use motorized wheelchairs and live in New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi. They contend that Uber violated the ADA by not providing them with rides that could accommodate motorized wheelchairs.
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Not every city

  • The ruling means that it is up to Uber which cities they offer wheelchair accommodations in.
  • Uber settled a lawsuit with the US Department of Justice that claimed that Uber discriminates against disabled passengers. As part of the settlement, Uber will issue credits to disabled passengers that had to pay wait fees.
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The context
The Department of Justice is now actively investigating former President Donald Trump's involvement in the Capitol riots and is collaborating with the Jan 6th committee to access their findings.
Politics
Thursday, July 28, 2022

DOJ Pursues Jan 6th Committee Findings

The context
The Department of Justice is now actively investigating former President Donald Trump's involvement in the Capitol riots and is collaborating with the Jan 6th committee to access their findings.
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Criminal probe

  • The DOJ revealed it is investigating Trump's actions leading up to and on the day of the Capitol riots.
  • The Washington Post said that experts familiar with the probe say investigators are looking into phone records of his top aides and conversations between Trump and his team before the riots.
  • The aim of the probe is to determine which illegal actions Trump directed his team members to do and whether he committed any illegal acts.
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Come campaign or high water

  • Attorney Merrick Garland has said that the criminal probe will continue even if Trump runs for president in 2024.
  • In an interview with Lester Holt, he told the NBC anchor that the Justice Department will pursue charges if appropriate regardless of Trump's status as a candidate.
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Key collaboration

  • The Jan 6th committee will share witness statements, testimonies, and evidence directly with the DOJ as part of their criminal investigation.
  • The DOJ will have to request access to the materials and provide compelling cause for obtaining them for the committee to share their evidence.
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The context
Former late-night host and comedian John Stewart has long been a vocal advocate for veterans. So, today when GOP senators in the Senate blocked a veterans health bill that provided funding for medical care for veterans harmed by poisonous gas, John Stewart lashed out against the GOP.
Entertainment
Thursday, July 28, 2022

John Stewart Reacts to Blocked Veteran's Bill

The context
Former late-night host and comedian John Stewart has long been a vocal advocate for veterans. So, today when GOP senators in the Senate blocked a veterans health bill that provided funding for medical care for veterans harmed by poisonous gas, John Stewart lashed out against the GOP.
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Anger from Stewart

  • The Senate failed to pass the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act after GOP senators prevented the bill from getting the 60 votes it needed to pass.
  • John Stewart has campaigned on behalf of legislation to provide medical aid funding for first responders to 9/11. He has campaigned on behalf of the act, which would extend benefits to veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits in the middle east and veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
  • Stewart took to Twitter to lambast Senator Pat Toomey, who encouraged other Republicans not to pass the bill.
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Stewart takes up the cause

  • John Stewart spoke in front of the press today, encouraging the Senate to reconsider the bill. He called out GOP senators for flipping after initially passing the bill a little over a month ago.
  • The bill failed to pass the Senate because of additions and changes made to the bill by the House that GOP senators called "budgetary gimmicks."
  • According to data from the Defense Department, the Veterans Association denies more than 70% of disability claims stemming from burn pit exposure. The bill would make it easier for veterans to get care by lowering the evidence requirement and extending the time to file for disability related to toxic exposures.
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The context
Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are proposing a new Democratic spending agenda. The pair authored the new bill that includes measures to address climate change, taxes on the wealthy, and healthcare reforms.
Politics
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Democratic Agenda Rides Again

The context
Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are proposing a new Democratic spending agenda. The pair authored the new bill that includes measures to address climate change, taxes on the wealthy, and healthcare reforms.
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Manchin's feeling cooperative

  • Senator Joe Manchin previously refused to support the Democratic spending agenda because of the lack of provisions targeting inflation.
  • He reversed his earlier position today to support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
  • The act will make a down payment on deficit reduction, invest money into the domestic production of energy and bolster domestic manufacturing capabilities, and finally, aim to reduce the U.S.'s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

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Details of the bill

  • Among other things, the bill aims to reduce energy costs and increase clean energy production in the U.S.
  • The bill also allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices of prescription drugs for patients.
  • The funding for the package will come from $739 billion in new revenues from several changes to tax policies, including imposing a 15% corporate minimum tax. Funding will also come from the money saved by Medicare from prescription drug savings and a stricter I.R.S enforcement of tax policies.
  • The bill will have to pass in the Senate next week and then the House before it lands on Biden's desk.

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Technology

Meta's Rare Miss

July 27, 2022
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The context
Meta has posted its first-ever quarterly revenue decline in Q2 and announced that its chief financial officer, David Wehner, will become its chief strategy officer.
Technology
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Meta's Rare Miss

The context
Meta has posted its first-ever quarterly revenue decline in Q2 and announced that its chief financial officer, David Wehner, will become its chief strategy officer.
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First ever

  • The revenue decline is Meta's first ever since it went public in 2012.
  • The decline has some experts speculating whether Facebook/Meta's long-lasting and strong growth period is behind them.
  • Meta also projected weak third-quarter revenue, expecting between $26 billion and $28.5 billion, less than the $30 billion expected by analysts.

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C-suite changes

  • David Wehner will transition from his role as CFO to chief security officer.
  • Susan Li, who is currently the VP of finance, will become CFO.
  • Meta also announced they would be cutting costs to increase revenue.

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The context
President Biden has proposed freeing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the proposed swap.
Politics
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Biden Proposes a Strategic Trade

The context
President Biden has proposed freeing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the proposed swap.
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Blinken breaks the wall of silence

  • Secretary of state Antony Blinken will speak to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov directly for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • The proposed swap was offered weeks ago, but it was announced today that Blinken will speak with Lavrov in the coming days.
  • While Blinken has declined to offer specifics, CNN reported that the U.S. will leverage arms dealer Viktor Bout.
  • Paul Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 on alleged spying charges, which he denies.

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Confusing legal system

  • Brittney Griner's trial is ongoing, and the WNBA star has been detained in Russia since February.
  • During her trial today, she told the courtroom that she had not been informed about her rights and had been tossed into a downright confusing legal system without any information about how to defend herself.
  • Griner has pleaded guilty, saying she inadvertently packed the vape cartridges she is accused of trying to traffic.

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Politics

CHIPS is a Go

July 27, 2022
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The context
The Senate passed the CHIPS Act to subsidize the domestic production of semiconductor chips. The bill will provide a $280 billion boost to chip production to compete with Asia.
Politics
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

CHIPS is a Go

The context
The Senate passed the CHIPS Act to subsidize the domestic production of semiconductor chips. The bill will provide a $280 billion boost to chip production to compete with Asia.
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Chips on the table

  • The $280 billion bill will move to the House. President Biden has been a vocal supporter of the bill alongside industry CEOs and Intel.
  • Intel invested a massive amount of money into building a chip production plant in Columbus, Ohio, and recently secured a partnership with a Taiwanese chip designer.
  • Intel, Texas Instruments, Micron Technology, Global Foundries, and Samsung will receive most of the subsidies.

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Domestic production

  • The bill includes $52 billion in subsidies which will go to microchip manufacturers to encourage them to pull microchip production stateside.
  • The bill, which was two years in the making, aims to strengthen the domestic production of chips and create jobs.
  • There is a renewed urgency to pass the bill due to ongoing supply chain disruptions, which have made the production and transport of chips more difficult and unreliable.

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Science and chips

  • Supporters of the bill said that the motivation for passing the bill came from China's massive investment into its own domestic chip production capabilities.
  • Supporters also say the bill will help create jobs in American cities if companies take advantage of the subsidies to build factories in the States.
  • The bill also provides money for the research and development of technology across several federal agencies.

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The context
The Web3 startup Unstoppable Domains raised $65 million in Series A funding, reaching a $1 billion valuation.
Technology
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Truly Unstoppable Domain

The context
The Web3 startup Unstoppable Domains raised $65 million in Series A funding, reaching a $1 billion valuation.
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Unicorn status

  • Unstoppable Domains is a platform that allows users to create and mint a unique digital identity that is stored as an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • The company has registered 2.5 million domains/identities to date.
  • Pantera Capital led the investment round. Other investors include Mayfield, Gaingels, Alchemy Ventures, Redbeard Ventures, Spartan Group, OKG Investments, Polygon, CoinDCX, CoinGecko, We3 syndicate, Rainfall Capital, Broadhaven, EI Ventures, Hardyaka, Alt Tab Capital, Boost VC, and Draper Associates.

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Big bet

  • The platform has integrations that allow users to use their unique digital identity, which is tied to the blockchain, to log purchases, trade crypto, or even prove their identity to log into services like email.
  • The unique domain also makes sending or selling crypto easier since it can replace a lengthy wallet address that users might mess up.
  • The founders believe that people should be able to own their own digital identity, and investors apparently agree.

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The context
As record high temperatures slam into the U.S., the Biden administration has launched Heat.gov, a website with resources and instructions for Americans impacted by the heat.
Politics
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Biden Launches Heat Wave Website

The context
As record high temperatures slam into the U.S., the Biden administration has launched Heat.gov, a website with resources and instructions for Americans impacted by the heat.
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Hot launch

  • The heatwave which shocked Europe has hit the US, already shattering hundreds of local temperature records.
  • Extreme heat is particularly dangerous for the elderly and other at-risk Americans without access to AC.

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Website contents

  • The website contains heat maps, historical data, and information about community resources for people looking to find ways to cool off or avoid the extreme heat.
  • The launch is part of President Biden's National Climate Task Force, which was announced last week with a series of initiatives to provide Americans with resources to handle increasingly extreme temperatures and weather events.

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Multi-agency effort

  • Extreme heat events, like the heat wave that's heating the pacific northwest and the northeast, are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., and they disproportionately impact urban low-income communities.
  • Several government-funded agencies participated in creating the website, including the National Integrated Heat Health Information System, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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The context
Trump returned to DC for the first time since leaving the office of President to deliver a speech at the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit, hinting that he may be running in 2024.
Politics
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Trump Addresses DC

The context
Trump returned to DC for the first time since leaving the office of President to deliver a speech at the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit, hinting that he may be running in 2024.
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Two feet on the ground

  • Trump's return to DC comes after the conclusion of the first round of the January 6th hearings, where a House special committee laid out the case for his involvement in the coup attempt.
  • The speech will tease his intentions to run for president again in 2024.
  • Both Trump and his former vice president, Mike Pence, are planning to address supporters in the capital today, dramatically illuminating the rift between the two.

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Contents of the speech

  • In Trump's speech, he advocated for several policy measures to curb crime in America.
  • One such policy adjustment he called for is to impose the death penalty on convicted drug dealers. He also called for an increase in police presence and police presence.
  • He also proposed moving homeless encampments outside of cities to inexpensive plots of land owned by the state.

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The context
Meta is raising the price of the Quest 2 headset by $100 next month, raising the cost of admission to the metaverse.
Technology
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Meta Raises the Prices of Quest 2 Headsets

The context
Meta is raising the price of the Quest 2 headset by $100 next month, raising the cost of admission to the metaverse.
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Meta's looking for revenue

  • The steep price hike is remarkable, considering the headset was one of the best deals in the virtual reality gaming world for years.
  • Meta does not profit from the Quest headset sales because of the high cost of manufacturing and shipping the headsets. Supply chain shortages and inflation have made them even more expensive to manufacture.
  • Antitrust regulators may sue Meta for selling the product for such a low price that they forced out competitors and then raised the price, effectively forcing users to pay more for the dominant product.

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More to come

  • Meta announced a new headset edition, the 256G version, will come out on September 1st.
  • Meta also said that it has a whole slate of VR goodies to come, which may start with the launch of the Quest Pro, a full-color, hyper-realistic headset with depth sensors.

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The context
Russia has announced that they will leave the International Space Station after 2024 and build their own space outpost.
Technology
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Not So International Space Station

The context
Russia has announced that they will leave the International Space Station after 2024 and build their own space outpost.
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Until 2024

  • The new chief of Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, announced that the country would be opting out of the International Space Station program after 2024 to focus on building its own Russian outpost.
  • The design of the ISS means that the Russian and US sections are interdependent.
  • President Joe Biden has directed the International Space Agency to remain in operation until 2023.
  • The announcement comes about two weeks after a deal was finally reached between the US and Russia to trade seats aboard Russian and American spacecraft traveling to and from the ISS.

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End of an era

  • Russia intends to fulfill its commitments to the other partners in the ISS before withdrawing from the project.
  • The ISS is run by Russia, the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Canada. Instead of investing in repairs on the existing ISS or pitching in to build a new one together, Russia will opt to build its own station.
  • The ISS is used to conduct research in zero gravity and test technologies for future space travel.

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The context
Over the weekend, The World Health Organization declared the worsening Monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The White House is expected to respond as global cases surpassed 16,500 in 74 countries.
Politics
Monday, July 25, 2022

Monkeypox May Be a National Emergency

The context
Over the weekend, The World Health Organization declared the worsening Monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The White House is expected to respond as global cases surpassed 16,500 in 74 countries.
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Learning from past mistakes

  • The White House is reportedly working on finding and naming a monkeypox coordinator to meet the outbreak head-on as cases rise in the US.
  • The push to name a coordinator comes two months after the first case was confirmed in the US. The Biden administration is looking to learn from the bungled response to the Covid-19 pandemic by being proactive about its response to monkeypox.

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Not yet an emergency

  • The Biden administration is also reportedly weighing whether or not to declare Monkeypox a public health emergency.
  • An emergency declaration would allow the administration to collect better data about the outbreak and disseminate information to the general public more easily.
  • The declaration could come later this week as part of a larger announcement that the US intends to distribute 800,000 doses of vaccinations for the disease.

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The context
Hulu refused to run ads submitted by Democrats running in midterm elections that contained subjects like abortions, climate change, and gun safety. Hulu has not provided any reasoning for the decision.
Politics
Monday, July 25, 2022

Hulu Versus Democrats

The context
Hulu refused to run ads submitted by Democrats running in midterm elections that contained subjects like abortions, climate change, and gun safety. Hulu has not provided any reasoning for the decision.
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Upset Dems

  • Three central issues on voters' minds in this midterms are abortion rights, gun control, and climate change.
  • While Hulu has accepted political ads on their streaming service in the past, something changed this year. Hulu rejected and refused to run ads from Democrats running in the upcoming midterm elections.
  • The Washington Post reported the story on Monday, after weeks of rejections by Hulu to run the ads.
  • Hulu reps have not responded to the Democratic Committee's requests for information about why the ads were not run.

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Streaming issues

  • Three Democratic organizations submitted the ads in question, and they were submitted to Facebook, Youtube, Roku, NBCUniversal, ABC in Philadelphia, and ESPN. The ads went live on all platforms except for Hulu.
  • While Hulu is not legally required to run political ads as it is not technically a broadcast service, Democrats were outraged that they skipped out on the ads and have not provided a reason for their decision.
  • Democrats have previously clashed with Hulu for contradictory guidelines for ads and content issues.

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The context
T-Mobile agreed to a $350 million settlement with victims of a 2021 cyber attack where about 76.6 million users' data like data names, dates of birth, and even Social Security numbers were stolen from T-Mobile.
Technology
Monday, July 25, 2022

T-Mobile's Massive Settlement

The context
T-Mobile agreed to a $350 million settlement with victims of a 2021 cyber attack where about 76.6 million users' data like data names, dates of birth, and even Social Security numbers were stolen from T-Mobile.
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Terms of engagement

  • In the 2021 cyberattack, data about T-Mobile users was stolen by hackers.
  • As per the settlement terms, they will pay a total of $350 million to users whose data was stolen and spend an additional $150 million to improve their cybersecurity.

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$5 dollars

  • If you are a T-Mobile user, you may be entitled to a whopping $5 if your data was stolen in the hack.
  • It may take users several months to be notified that they are entitled to settlement money from the class action lawsuit.

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The context
Intel has struck a deal with Taiwan-based MediaTek. MediaTek will use Intel's Foundry Service to produce chips in an ongoing strategic partnership.
Technology
Monday, July 25, 2022

Partners with All the Chips

The context
Intel has struck a deal with Taiwan-based MediaTek. MediaTek will use Intel's Foundry Service to produce chips in an ongoing strategic partnership.
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Chips on the mind

  • Intel is pushing to increase chip-making capability, both domestically and internationally. Intel is developing a large chip production plant in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Last year, Intel launched its foundry service to take advantage of a global chip shortage.
  • MediaTek is a Taiwanese smartphone chip designer and the partnership means that Intel Foundry Service will produce chips for the company.
  • The CEO of MediaTek called the deal a part of a push to diversify its supply chain and said the partnership was an opportunity to expand on an already robust relationship between the two companies.

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Big boost

  • The deal will bolster the domestic production of chips.
  • Intel was outperformed in the chip-making market because of internal manufacturing problems and fierce competition in Taiwan by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung.
  • The partnership could be a huge boost for the domestic production of chips. Intel is lobbying for the passage of a domestic chip production bill in Congress, and this deal could help pass that legislation

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The context
Elon Musk allegedly had an affair with Sergey Brin's (co-founder of Google) wife.
Entertainment
Monday, July 25, 2022

A Tale of Two Billionaires

The context
Elon Musk allegedly had an affair with Sergey Brin's (co-founder of Google) wife.
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Musk denies report

  • According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Elon Musk had an affair with his close friend, Sergey Brin's wife.
  • Brin and Musk have been close friends since 2008 when Brin helped Tesla through the recession with a $500,000 cash infusion.
  • Musk allegedly got on one knee to beg for forgiveness at a party earlier this year, according to the WSJ. Apparently, Brin also told his advisers to sell his investments in Musk's companies.

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Alleged "dry spell"

  • Elon Musk denied the report today, saying that he has been going through a "dry spell," so he couldn't have had an affair with Brin's wife, Nicole Shanahan.
  • Brin and Shanahan filed for divorce in January, and according to the report, her brief affair with Musk was at least partially to blame.
  • The affair also allegedly ruined Musk's friendship with Brin.

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The context
Former Trump advisor and podcaster Steve Bannon has been convicted of contempt of Congress.
Politics
Friday, July 22, 2022

Steve Bannon Found Guilty

The context
Former Trump advisor and podcaster Steve Bannon has been convicted of contempt of Congress.
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Outcome of a long-awaited trial

  • Bannon is on trial for two counts of contempt of Congress after refusing a request for information from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.
  • Bannon refused a subpoena to testify and provide records of the days preceding January 6th.
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Conviction

  • Bannon was convicted for failing to testify and for failing to provide documents.
  • Bannon's team argued that Bannon had the executive privilege which prevented him from testifying. Prosecutors argued that Bannon was a private citizen after Trump fired him in 2017, leaving him without executive privilege protections.
  • Bannon will face sentencing in October, but he could face up to two years in prison for the charges. Each of the counts he was convicted on carry a minimum sentence of 30 days in prison.
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The context
Ford will reportedly slash the jobs of 8,000 employees in order to expand its electric vehicle manufacturing.
Technology
Friday, July 22, 2022

Impending Ford Layoffs

The context
Ford will reportedly slash the jobs of 8,000 employees in order to expand its electric vehicle manufacturing.
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Fueling expansion

  • Ford split into Ford Blue and Ford Model E. Ford Blue is the company's legacy combustion engine manufacturing business. Ford Model E is their electric vehicle manufacturing arm.
  • The cuts will happen at Ford Blue as it aims to reduce operating costs to spend more on manufacturing electric vehicles.
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Delicate balance

  • Ford is gearing up to spend $50 billion to make two million electric vehicles annually by 2026.
  • Automakers like Ford are spending big bucks on manufacturing electric vehicles.
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Entertainment

McMahon Retires

July 22, 2022
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The context
Vince McMahon is retiring as the WWE chairman and CEO after taking leave amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations and alleged hush payments made to female employees.
Entertainment
Friday, July 22, 2022

McMahon Retires

The context
Vince McMahon is retiring as the WWE chairman and CEO after taking leave amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations and alleged hush payments made to female employees.
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McMahon's out

  • After the Wall Street Journal broke the bombshell report that Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon had paid millions to former female employees, McMahon announced he would be stepping back as the WWE conducted an investigation into the payments.
  • Now, the controversial CEO announced he is retiring. His daughter, her husband, and WWE president will step up to fill the hole he's leaving behind.
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Professional wrestling shake up

  • McMahon's daughter and Nick Kahn will serve as co-CEOs and co-chairmen of the WWE board of directors.
  • McMahon bought WWE from his father in the 1980s and transformed the wrestling empire into the entertainment force it is today. But, his empire was rocked when the Wall Street Journal allegations questioned his leadership.
  • His daughter Stephanie's husband, Paul Levesque, is returning to WWE as EVP of Talent Relations.
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Technology

Snap Stock Implodes

July 22, 2022
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The context
After posting poor Q2 earnings, Snap's stock value is in a freefall, diving as much as 38%.
Technology
Friday, July 22, 2022

Snap Stock Implodes

The context
After posting poor Q2 earnings, Snap's stock value is in a freefall, diving as much as 38%.
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Bad day to be a stock

  • Snap stocks are having a meltdown after the company posted disappointing Q2 earnings yesterday.
  • The report showed that the company did not meet revenue forecasts. Due to ongoing market uncertainty, they did not provide guidance on revenue or performance in future quarters.
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Unfortunate outcome

  • On Friday morning, the shares of Snap had fallen 35% in value.
  • Snap pointed to market uncertainty, slowing demand for its ad platform, and competition from apps like Tik Tok when they justified the disappointing results.
  • Snap plans to slow hiring to account for the lost revenue.
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The context
Last night's hearing about the Capitol riots showed that Trump refused to ask to stop the violence at the Capitol for nearly three hours despite his aides and every other person at the White House begging him to stop. The committee also showed footage from the riot, including some less than flattering footage of Senator Josh Hawley.
Politics
Friday, July 22, 2022

Further Fallout from Jan 6th

The context
Last night's hearing about the Capitol riots showed that Trump refused to ask to stop the violence at the Capitol for nearly three hours despite his aides and every other person at the White House begging him to stop. The committee also showed footage from the riot, including some less than flattering footage of Senator Josh Hawley.
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The final chorus

  • The committee showed unaired footage of Trump taping a video announcement condemning the violence at the Capitol.
  • In the footage, he slammed his palm on the podium and struggled to say that his presidential term was over. In the video, he tells the team watching the taping, "I don't want to say the election is over."
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Brief focus on Hawley

  • Senator Josh Hawley was photographed with his fist in the air, cheering on the crowd protesting outside the Capitol that would eventually storm the building.
  • A Capitol Police Officer testified that his gesture riled up the crowd of protestors.
  • After the image was displayed, the committee then showed security footage of Senator Hawley running away as he fled the rioters he had just cheered on outside the building.
  • The footage of Hawley running prompted laughs from the hearing attendees.
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The context
The January 6th Hearing today focused on Trump's inaction during the 187 minutes in which rioters breached the Capitol and sent the vice president and congress fleeing and hiding for their lives.