Prince Andrew, Surf City, and America's Most Haunted CitiesEverything you need to know for today in five minutes.
Good morning. It's Tuesday, Oct. 12, and we're covering the probe into Britain's Prince Andrew, California's recovery from a damaging oil spill, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
British law enforcement dropped an investigation into Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, following Virginia Giuffre's allegations of sexual assault on at least three occasions of the then 17 year old. Police said they had reviewed several documents, including a lawsuit filed by Giuffre against Andrew in New York in August. Giuffre alleges that Jeffrey Epstein—a US financier who died by suicide while in custody on sex trafficking charges—forced her to have sex with Andrew when she was a minor at alleged trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home. Andrew has denied the claims.
The British royal was relieved from public duties in 2019 following a widely criticized interview, in which he stated he regretted associating with Epstein and that what Giuffre claims never happened.
The decision comes during a period of criticism against British police and its treatment of crimes against women. The New York lawsuit remains ongoing, alleging assaults in New York and the US Virgin Islands. The prince has until Oct. 29 to respond to the claims in New York.
'Surf City' Reopens
California's Huntington Beach reopened yesterday, roughly 10 days after a burst underwater pipeline leaked thousands of gallons of oil into the sea about 5 miles off the California coast. The reopening comes much more quickly than initial projections, which suggested beaches of Orange County, south of Los Angeles, may be closed for months.
A pipe overseen by Houston-based Amplify Energy was first observed to be leaking last Saturday, when workers near an offshore platform noticed a sheen on the ocean surface. By this weekend, Coast Guard investigators concluded the pipe was likely damaged months ago by an errant ship's anchor, and may have been repeatedly hit by other anchors in the intervening period.
Initial assessments suggested up to 126,000 gallons seeped into the Pacific Ocean, though later estimates reported as little as 29,400 gallons may have escaped.
A COVID-19 Pill
Drugmaker Merck requested authorization from US health regulators yesterday for its antiviral medication combating the effects of COVID-19. If approved, it would be the first pill available in the country to help treat symptoms of the disease. A decision is expected within a few weeks.
Clinical data released last week showed a roughly 50% decrease in hospitalizations. The pill is not a vaccine; it was developed to be administered orally after a patient has already contracted the illness. In trials, 7.3% of people who took the medication died from COVID-19-related issues, compared to about 14% in the control group. See a technical explanation of the treatment here.
New COVID-19 cases reported in the US continue to tick downward, now averaging around 86,000 cases per day (see stats). Daily deaths linked to the coronavirus have fallen to around 1,500, down more than 15% from late September.
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>Kenyan runners sweep Boston Marathon for eighth time since 2000 as Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyogei win men's and women's races (More) | Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigns after past homophobic, racist emails surfaced (More)
>Netflix co-CEO defends Dave Chappelle in staff memo after the comedian made controversial remarks about the trans community in latest stand-up special (More)
>NHL returns tonight with back-to-back champs Tampa Bay Lightning taking on Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 pm ET, ESPN); see preview of the upcoming season here (More) | Boston Red Sox tops Tampa Bay Rays to advance to AL Championship Series (More)
>Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences awarded to three researchers for their work in designing experiments that study cause and effect in complex social situations (More)
>Magic Leap, one of the earliest companies to develop the augmented reality space, reports a $500M investment at a $2B valuation (More)
>Modeling finds roughly one-third of dimethyl sulfide emitted by plankton is incorporated back into clouds; findings alter climate change models that incorporate cloud formation contributions from sea life (More)
Business & Markets
>US stock markets fall (S&P 500 -0.7%, Dow -0.7%, Nasdaq -0.6%) as investors await earnings season kickoff (More) | Shares of Southwest Airlines down 4% after canceling over 2,000 flights since Saturday (More)
>Walmart and Netflix partner, open online store for Netflix consumer products from popular streaming content (More)
>Co-CEOs of private equity giant KKR to step down; pair were some of earliest financiers to use leveraged buyout strategies (More)
Politics & World Affairs
>House expected to pass short-term debt ceiling raise today; agreement, already passed by the Senate, would raise the borrowing limit thru early December (More)
>Early Iraqi election results suggest pro-Iran parties underperformed in the vote; Sunday's voter turnout was around 40%, the lowest in the post-Saddam Hussein era (More)
>Facebook whistleblower to meet separately with the company's oversight board and the United Kingdom parliament (More)
Why Is the US Media So Negative?
Freakonomics | Stephen Dubner. (Podcast) How the current state of journalism is incentivized to maximize our negative biases, fueled by social media algorithms. (Listen)
'Everything Went Wrong'
Chicago Sun-Times | Neil Steinberg. A look back at the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, a devastating tragedy that ultimately transformed the city and its residents. (Read)
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Historybook: Christopher Columbus reaches the Caribbean, believes he reached the Indies (1492); American playwright Alice Childress born (1916); RIP Wilt Chamberlain (1999); USS Cole is attacked by suicide bombers, killing 17 American sailors (2000); Eliud Kipchoge becomes first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon (2019).
"Everything is habit-forming, so make sure what you do is what you want to be doing."
- Wilt Chamberlain
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