10.8.2019

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Need To Know
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US Steps Out of Syria
The White House signaled yesterday it would pull forces out of northern Syria, making way for a Turkish operation meant to remove Kurdish forces from the Syria-Turkey border region. The move represents a significant shift in US policy in the tumultuous region, effectively leaving Kurds - the region's fourth largest ethnic group, sandwiched between Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq (see 101) - without US backing. Kurdish fighters had been a key ally in ridding ISIS from eastern Syria and western Iraq, but are regarded as terrorists by the Turkish government. The announcement drew bipartisan criticism, most notably from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who argued Iran would benefit from the resulting instability. President Trump - who announced a more general pullout from Syria in January - said the US needed to leave "endless wars" in the region.
NBA Tweet Causes China Firestorm
The NBA's Houston Rockets and officials from the league's front office are taking heat from multiple sides over a now-deleted tweet by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressing support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. The tweet complicates the NBA's billion-dollar relationship with China, which has been sensitive to outside perception of the escalating tension in Hong Kong. Chinese fans - 500 million of which watched at least one NBA game last year - were outraged, prompting a flurry of apologies from league officials and stars like James Harden. The Rockets are especially beloved in China, having been home to Hall-of-Famer Yao Ming. The NBA - a league known for letting players and coaches express themselves - also took criticism at home for what was viewed as a strong-handed reaction to the comments. 

Morey's timing was particularly poor, with the NBA playing a slate of preseason games in the country this week. 
Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded
Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine yesterday for their work in identifying the mechanisms underpinning how cells sense and manage oxygen levels. Oxygen plays a key role in many cellular processes, from metabolism to the creation of new blood cells, and while its importance has been long known, understanding how cells respond to varying amounts of oxygen proved elusive (go deeper). Pinpointing these processes is central to discovering new treatments for ailments ranging from cancer to heart attacks. The recipients included William Kaelin (from Harvard and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Peter Ratcliffe (University of Oxford), and Gregg Semenza (Johns Hopkins) - the trio also won the 2016 Lasker Award, which often foreshadows a Nobel prize. The award is the first in a week of Nobel announcements, one given out each day, with the prize in Physics being revealed this morning. 
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture
> New York Yankees top Minnesota Twins 5-1 to advance to American League Championship Series (More) | Check out complete playoff bracket and schedule (More)
> The Beatles' Abbey Road reissue hits #3 on Rolling Stones Top 200 albums chart 50 years after its 1969 original release (More)
> Brendan Gleeson, Jeff Daniels tapped to play President Trump, James Comey in upcoming CBS miniseries based on Comey's 2018 book (More)
Science & Technology
> Climate protests break out in multiple cities across the world, blocking traffic in major downtown intersections; more scheduled over next two weeks in 60 cities (More)
> New drug delivery capsule engineered to withstand the gastrointestinal tract, capable of orally delivering drugs like insulin that normally require daily injections (More)
> Supreme Court declines to hear University of Wisconsin's $500M patent infringement suit against Apple, effectively ending the legal challenge (More)
Business & Markets
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> US economists project trade war will slow GDP growth in 2019 to 2.3%, down from 2.9% in 2018 (More)
> General Electric freezes pension plan for ~20k employees, no changes for retirees receiving benefits (More) | Study says companies acquired by private equity firms result in 4.4% more job losses in first 2 years (More)
> Indian hotel startup OYO raises $1.5B at $10B valuation, will use capital to expand further internationally (More)

How can I own a Banksy that doesn't shred itself? With Masterworks, of course. 1440 readers can get exclusive access to the Masterworks platform for investing in blue-chip art today (More) #Ad
Politics & World Affairs
> UK accuses wife of US diplomat of using diplomatic immunity to flee country after killing person in August car crash, asks US embassy to have her return to face charges (More)
> Federal judge allows New York prosecutors access to President Trump's state tax returns, dismissing challenge from Trump legal team (More)
> Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam signals Chinese military may step in if four-month-long protests continue to escalate in violence (More)
In Depth
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How the Prison Economy Works
Guardian | Richard Davies. With only the basic amenities and food available for inmates, prisons take the economic principle of supply and demand to the extreme. Here's how innovation flourishes when economic freedom is stripped away. (Read)
"You Won't Believe What Happened"
Vanity Fair | May Jeong. In the midst of an 8-month investigation into a suspected prostitution and trafficking ring - not uncommon in South Florida - Palm Beach County police were shocked when New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft walked through the doors. At this point the 79-year-old will likely escape legal consequences, but will his reputation? (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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The fastest-growing languages in the US are from Africa

Ranking where America's happiest employees work
Having wanderlust? Here are the best cities in the world to visit this year
Woman finds $250,000 watch tucked in a thrift store couch

Five wild elephants perish trying to save calf that fell over waterfall
...meanwhile a miracle dog is rescued from rubble a month after Hurricane Dorian.  
How a ticketless woman sneaked onto a Delta flight without ID
Florida officials capture record-setting 18-foot-long Burmese python
Clickbait: Zombie Angelina Jolie arrested for blasphemy.
Historybook: RIP American politician John Hancock (1793); HBD civil rights leader Jesse Jackson (1941); HBD Sigourney Weaver (1949); Cats debuts on Broadway (1982); Office of Homeland Security is created in wake of 9/11 attacks (2001).
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