10.24.2018

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Need To Know.
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Sandra Day O'Connor.
Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice, announced yesterday that she was withdrawing from public life due to a diagnosis of dementia with the possibility of Alzheimer's. O'Connor, who made the announcement in an open letter to the public, said she reached the decision after being physically unable to continue with public engagement due to the condition. She was appointed in 1981 by then-President Ronald Reagan and is considered a moderate Republican by many, but tilted left in a number of high-profile cases (explore her positions here). Most notably, she upheld the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade a number of times despite her own personal beliefs, but agreed that states had the right to regulate abortion. Before joining the Supreme Court - she was confirmed by a vote of 99-0 - O'Connor was an Arizona state senator who rose to become the first female majority leader of a state senate anywhere in the country. She stepped down in 2006, citing in part her husband John's battle with Alzheimer's. 

See her career in photos here
EU Rejects Italian Budget.
The European Union rejected Italy's 2019 budget as too risky, a first for the organization and a rebuff to Italy's recently elected populist government. Because each member of the EU is affected by others' spending, each member country must submit its annual budget for approval. It was the first budget for Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a political newcomer who was nominated to the post in May and backed by the country's burgeoning Five Star Movement (see background). The new budget includes populist priorities like a minimum income for all citizens, tax cuts, and scrapping extensions to the country's retirement age. The result is a projected deficit of 2.4% of GDP, and while that is under the ceiling of 3% allowed by the EU, the proposal failed to adequately address existing debt. Italy has a 130% debt-to-GDP ratio, the second-highest government debt in the EU - trailing only Greece, who needed an 8-year, $330B bailout to keep it afloat
US Launches Cyber Counter-Offensive.
The US has begun a broad effort to disrupt foreign actors, most notably Russia, from interfering in the upcoming midterm elections. It is being led by the Defense Department's US Cyber Command, originally developed to protect military networks in 2009, and is the first known operation focused on protecting US elections. The new effort focuses on both traditional hacking attacks as well as so-called influence campaigns where foreign agents purposefully spread disinformation among social networks. The latter was one of the most widely used tools during the 2016 election, usually coming in the form of divisive online content. The news comes on the heels of an announcement by the Justice Department that a Russian woman had been charged with leading a $35M effort to influence the midterms in an operation known as Project Lakhta
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Rapper Drake passes 1964 Beatles record for most Top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with 12 in single year (More)
> Boston Red Sox defeat Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 to take 1-0 World Series lead (More) | Game 2 tonight in Boston, see full preview (More)
> One winning ticket sold in record Mega Millions $1.6B lotto drawing, with $913M estimated cash payout; $620M Powerball drawing is tonight (More)
Science & Technology.
> Researchers pinpoint how the spinning ducts of black widow spiders transform proteins into super-strength silk (More)
> World's oldest intact shipwreck, a 2,400-year-old ancient Greek vessel, found in the Black Sea (More)
> New technique mass produces cell-sized robots by taking advantage of how brittle materials fracture (More)
Business & Markets.
> Tesla shares surge 12% as long-time short seller reverses course, bets on stock rising long-term; company will announce earnings tomorrow one week earlier than scheduled (More)
> Richard Branson to step down as Chairman of high-speed transportation business Virgin Hyperloop One; says a more actively involved leader is needed (More)
> Earnings Season: Construction equipment manufacturer & industry bellwether Caterpillar shares drop 7% on higher costs (More) | Wireless giant Verizon beats Wall Street expectations, shares up 4% to highest level in 20 years (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Hurricane Willa makes landfall near Mexican resort city of Mazatlan with 120 mph winds, now downgraded to tropical storm (More)
> House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) floats transitional plan that has her stepping down as Speaker in 2020 if the Democrats retake the House in November (More)
> Health officials say that overdose deaths from US opioid crisis beginning to level off, with deaths falling slightly over six consecutive months (More)
The 5 W's of Bright Cellars.
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Etcetera.
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The Titanic II will set sail in 2022, retracing the original's maiden voyage
Two rarely seen stories from Ernest Hemingway to be published next year.
A decade's worth of CEOs discuss how to be a chief executive
The best websites for wasting time in 2018
The 25 best distilleries across the US
This Japanese artist turns fruit and vegetables into intricate art
After canceling her own wedding, this former bride-to-be donated the venue to strangers in need
NASA snaps photograph of perfectly rectangular iceberg
Clickbait: Scientists find new type of sea cucumber, also known as the headless chicken monster (w/ video). 
Historybook: Black Thursday US stock market crash, exchange falls 11% in one day (1929); RIP Jackie Robinson (1972); HBD rapper Drake (1986); RIP Rosa Parks (2005); Bloody Friday hits worldwide stock market with indices dropping 10% (2008).
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