10.17.2019

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Need To Know
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Sweeping Opioid Case Begins
Jury selection began yesterday in the largest opioid lawsuit to date, in what is a consolidation of more than 2,000 smaller cases from across the nation. Federal prosecutors allege a number of players - from large multinational corporations to individuals - aggressively pushed high volumes of prescriptions down the opioid supply chain while misleading consumers about their addictive nature. At the root of the case, officially named the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, is the charge that prescription painkillers acted as a gateway to more dangerous opioids like heroin and fentanyl. Almost 50,000 Americans die each year after overdosing on opioids and nearly 80% of heroin users say they began by abusing prescription painkillers. The proceedings began amid reports three major drug distributors were offering an 18-year, $18B settlement to resolve their role in the cases. 

Studies say one in five people given a 10-day supply of prescription opioids will develop some form of long-term dependence.
GM Labor Strike Nears End
Negotiators from General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative deal yesterday, potentially ending the four-week strike - the longest strike against the company since 1970. Details of the agreement, which must be approved by union members, were not released but are said to include a requirement GM builds certain new vehicle models in US factories. The strike, which began Sept. 16, included close to 50,000 GM workers in 30 factories across 10 states. Driving the talks was criticism by the UAW that GM hadn't made up for labor concessions made during the 2008 recession when bankruptcy restructuring allowed the company to draw back benefits for workers. The strike is projected to have cost GM upward of $1.5B in production and $3,000 in average wages for picketing employees. Under the deal, workers would return to the factory floor Monday. 
...While Chicago Teachers Hit the Picket Lines
More than 300,000 students will stay home today in Chicago as teachers in the nation's third-largest school district announced they will strike starting today. The announcement came after last-minute talks between the teachers union and the city's new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, fell through. Sticking points go beyond pay and time off, with both sides circling a 15-16% raise over 3-5 years. Union officials are looking to secure promises of smaller classes, more paid time to prep for lessons, and increased support staff for the district's nearly 20,000 teachers. Roughly three-quarters of the students in Chicago Public Schools are considered economically disadvantaged (see stats). The strike follows a wave of similar protests that have rippled across the country over the past year, from North Carolina and Oklahoma to Arizona and Los Angeles. 
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture
> Boxer Patrick Day dies three days after suffering brain injuries in fight with 2016 Olympian Charles Conwell; 27-year-old becomes boxing's third highly publicized death in recent months (More)
> Valerie Lundeen Ely, former Miss Florida and wife of Tarzan star Ron Ely, stabbed to death by son who was later shot and killed by police (More)
> Disney CEO Bog Iger, Netflix execs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos top Hollywood Reporter's annual list of Most Powerful People in Entertainment; see full Top 100 list (More)
Science & Technology
> Researchers find mammalian skin keeps its own circadian clock, independent of the brain and eyes (More)
> Oxford University researcher under investigation for illicit sale of ancient Bible fragments to Washington, DC's Museum of the Bible (More)
> Officials from US, UK, and South Korea say they've dismantled one of the largest dark websites for child exploitation, with 8 terabytes of content (More) | What is the dark web? (More)
Business & Markets
> FCC approves T-Mobile and Sprint $26B merger to combine nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers; deal still faces lawsuit from group of state attorneys general (More)
> US stock markets fall slightly as US retail sales slip 0.3% in September, missing analyst projections of 0.2% growth and falling for the first time in seven months (More)
> Netflix shares surge about 8% in after-hours trading after beating earnings expectations, but missing subscriber projections; ends Q3 with 158M paid members (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Breaking: Maryland Representative and African-American congressional leader Elijah Cummings (D, MD-7) passes away at age 68 after medical procedure (More)
> Election 2020: House progressive leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to back Sen. Bernie Sanders as Democratic presidential nominee (More) | Election 2019: Obama jumps into Canadian national elections, supporting current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (More)
> Senior aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies he resigned last week over belief career diplomats were not politically protected by the Department (More) | ... and House passes resolution rebuking US pullout from northern Syria after contentious White House meeting (More)
In-Depth
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The Unbreakable Bond 
ESPN | Mina Kimes. The first of ESPN's new once-a-month feature, Cover Story, examines the relationship between star NFL receiver DeAndre Hopkins and his mother, Sabrina Greenlee. Despite an acid attack that left her blind two decades ago, Greenlee still raised four children as a single mother, and Hopkins' stellar career now stands as a testament to her perseverance. (Read)
Hyper-Personalized Medicine is Possible (and Costly)
MIT Tech Review | Erika Check Hayden. When doctors announced they had developed a cutting-edge genetic treatment specifically tailored to 6-year-old Mila Mikovec's incurable and fatal Batten disease, it represented a monumental medical milestone. With millions poured into a drug made for a single person, hyper-personalized medicine seems possible - but is it feasible? (Read, $$)

 
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Etcetera
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The Paris Zoo unveils a disturbing new... animal? 
... and an encounter between a fox and marmot wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year award
An intricate map showcasing America's beautiful fall foliage ($$, WashPo). 
From our partners: These might be the most cozy pair of shoes you'll ever own. #Ad
The world's first 20-hour flight is about to take off
Walmart will now deliver groceries directly into your fridge
These four periodic elements make up most of the human body
Jury slams Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist.
Clickbait: Watch a police officer save a driver seconds before a train collision
Historybook: HBD Mae Jemison, first African-American woman in space (1956); HBD Eminem (1972); Mother Teresa wins Nobel Peace Prize (1979); Earthquake near San Francisco kills 63 (1989); RIP civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy (1990).
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