11.21.2019

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Need To Know
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Sondland Alleges Quid Pro Quo
The US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified yesterday he worked through Rudy Giuliani at the direction of President Trump to have Ukrainian leaders visit the White House on the condition they investigate the business dealings of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Sondland said he disagreed with Giuliani's involvement but saw nothing improper at the time (read testimony) and also operated under the belief - though was not explicitly told - that nearly $400M in military aid hinged on the Biden investigation (deep dive here). The testimony culminated a forceful reversal for Sondland, a Trump administration political appointee, who said he was unaware of any preconditions during previous testimony. Observers said Sondland's testimony supports Democrats' argument that the president used US foreign policy for political gain; Republicans focused on a Sept. 9 conversation in which Trump told Sondland he "wanted no quid pro quo."

Impeachment proceedings will eventually land in the Senate and are expected to extend into 2020
Deadlocked in Israel 
Israel's former military chief Benny Gantz notified President Reuven Rivlin that he was unable to form a coalition government yesterday, one month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed at the same task. The country has been mired in political gridlock since April, when Netanyahu's conservative bloc fell one seat short of a majority in national elections, sparking a rerun in September that resulted in a virtual tie with Gantz's Blue and White Party. With neither able to assemble a governing alliance, anyone else in Parliament has 21 days to find a solution before the country heads to its third national election in less than 10 months. At the core of a fractured government is a simmering dispute over whether to require military service for the country's ultraorthodox population, who have long received an exemption. 
Prince Andrew Steps Back 
The Duke of York announced yesterday he will step back from public royal duties amid fallout from an interview where he discussed his friendship with the now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The interview was meant to rebut allegations implicating Prince Andrew in Epstein's underage sex trafficking operation (watch in full). Instead it backfired disastrously  as Andrew failed to appear empathetic to Epstein's victims and defended his friendship in light of the contacts it provided him as Britain's special trade representative. At a functional level the country's government is mostly run by Parliament and cabinet members with the royal family playing a largely symbolic role, often promoting British interests abroad and supporting charitable work - a number of groups said they were cutting ties with the prince in the wake of the scandal.
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Newcomers Lizzo (8 nominations), Billie Eilish (6), and Lil Nas X (6) lead 2020 Grammy nominations including for Record of the Year (More)
> Memphis basketball star and likely No. 1 draft pick James Wiseman to sit 10 more games for accepting money from coach Penny Hardaway (More)
> Batman movie "Joker" to get a sequel; film is first R-rated movie to earn more than $1B at box office (More)
Science & Technology
> Researchers discover new antibiotic to fight gram-negative bacteria, the first since 1968; such bacteria have a outer membrane that protects against typical antibiotics like penicillin (More) | Read abstract here (More
> Google says it will restrict microtargeting for political ads; advertisers will only be able to target based on age, gender, and zip code (More)
> Rare meteor shower may be visible tonight over Eastern US and Canada; the Alpha Monocerotids have been observed in 1925, 1935, 1985, and 1995 (More)
Business & Markets
> Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raises ~$13B on the Hong Kong stock exchange, the world’s largest share offering in 2019 (More)
> General Motors suing Fiat Chrysler for allegedly corrupting labor talks which cost GM billions of dollars (More) | United Auto Workers (UAW) president resigns amid US corruption probe (More)
> PayPal to acquire discount shopping browser extension Honey for $4B (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> See highlights from fifth Democratic primary debate (More) | ...but do the debates even really move the polls? (More) | Who is expected to drop out before next debate in December? (More)
> Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh faces 11 federal charges; Pugh resigned in May over allegations she used the office to push her self-published children's book series (More)
> Utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric begins shutting off power to 375,000 homes in northern and central California ahead of high fire-risk weather (More)
In-Depth
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In Plain Sight
NYT | Eliza Shapiro, Brittainy Newman. More than 114,000 students in New York City are homeless - either in shelters, on the streets, or temporarily living with others. Take a personal look into the daily lives of two of them and the challenges they face as they pursue a stable education. (Read, $$)
An Unlikely Heist
ESPN | Kevin Arnovitz. Read the wild story of how an NBA executive stole $13M from the Sacramento Kings - a scheme blown open by a simple question from the human resources department. (Read)
 
 
Etcetera
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Here's how much you need to retire comfortably in each state
This website lets you compare median salary by school and college major
Amazing video of a woman saving a koala from Australia's raging fires
How #HustleCulture is hurting American families
Oxford names "climate emergency" as its word of the year.
Astronaut tweets a stunning photo of Detroit from space
Ranking the world's 100 best soccer players.  
Why we should all know our colleagues' pay
Clickbait: Doctors put a human into suspended animation
Historybook: French philosopher Voltaire born (1694); Thomas Edison announces phonograph invention (1877); HBD Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk (1965); HBD baseball great Ken Griffey Jr. (1969); Robert Mugabe resigns as president of Zimbabwe after 37 years in office (2017).
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"Common sense is not so common."
- Voltaire
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