12.10.2019

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Need To Know
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Justice Department Releases FBI Report
The Justice Department's inspector general released the results of a yearlong probe into the FBI's surveillance of the 2016 Trump campaign, heavily criticizing the Bureau for its handling of the investigation but finding no political bias in its origins. At issue is a counterintelligence effort launched in July 2016 scrutinizing potential coordination between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The case was eventually merged into the larger probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller (background here), though President Trump has often criticized the investigation as an effort to spy on his campaign and ordered the Justice Department to review its origins. Notably, the report concluded the FBI's surveillance warrant was not based solely on an unverified private intelligence report known as the Steele Dossier, circulated during the 2016 election cycle. However, the report reserved scathing criticism for errors committed by FBI staff, particularly omissions and inaccuracies in the court application to surveil campaign aide Carter Page.

Read the full report here.
'No Signs of Life'
At least six people were killed and more than 30 injured after a volcano on New Zealand's White Island erupted with little warning yesterday. Officials, who were prevented from reaching the remote and uninhabited island through Monday, held out little hope for another eight people who are missing; aerial reconnaissance reported no signs of life. Volcano monitoring systems gave little reason to suggest such massive activity was imminent, though the island's geometry lends itself to spontaneous eruptions. The mountain has shallow magma existing in a complicated balance with surface water and water trapped in rocks - even small disturbances can cause rapid steam buildup, released in powerful but short-lived explosions (great breakdown here). The New Zealand government opened a criminal investigation this morning probing whether companies were negligent in shuttling tourists to the island. 

Those who evacuated in time took footage of the aftermath.
Renowned Fed Chair Dies
Paul Volcker, whose thinking influenced the US economy for more than six decades, passed away yesterday at his home in New York. Volcker is best remembered for his time leading the Federal Reserve under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, during which he was widely credited with reigning in runaway inflation. High energy prices and loose monetary policy in the 1970s (deep dive) had led to runaway inflation and high unemployment and Volcker, taking over in 1979, immediately rose interest rates to an unprecedented 20%. He withstood immense political pressure as the move induced a short-term recession, but was ultimately reappointed to a second term as inflation fell from a peak of more than 14% in 1979 to under 3% in 1983. Among other positions, Volcker was named to President Obama's economic recovery team, where he pushed for the Volcker Rule, which tightens restrictions on the financial industry. He was 92 years old. 
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Soccer star Megan Rapinoe named 2019's Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated for work both on and off the field (More)
> 2020 Golden Globe nominations announced with "Marriage Story" (6), "The Irishman" (5), and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (5) leading film noms; see full list of film and TV nominees (More)
> Stephen Strasburg signs deal with Washington Nationals for $245M, richest MLB contract ever for a pitcher (More) | Heisman finalists announced: QB Joe Burrow (LSU), QB Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma), QB Justin Fields (Ohio State), and DE Chase Young (Ohio State) make final group (More)
Science & Technology
> Winners of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship announced for 2020; more than 40 top college students will spend two years studying in the UK (More
> China orders all government offices to remove foreign software and hardware from computers within three years; seen as part of broader push to wean off US technology (More)
> Nanoparticle injection lights up calcified fatty deposits in arteries, allowing early detection of blood vessel plaques that could trigger heart disease and strokes (More)
Business & Markets
> All-female founder teams took in just 2.8% of US venture capital funding in 2019, at total of $3.3B; small proportion is still an all-time high in the US, up from 2.2% last year
(More)
> Amazon files complaint accusing President Trump of exerting improper pressure which allegedly led to Microsoft winning Defense Department’s $10B cloud contract (More)
> Big Pharma giants Merck and Sanofi each to acquire cancer drug makers for $2B+, both at 100%+ premiums (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> House Judiciary Committee expected to unveil two articles of impeachment against President Trump; one focuses on abuse of power and one on obstruction (More)
> Finland's Sanna Marin set to become the world's youngest prime minister at age 34; will lead a coalition of four parties, all headed by women (More)
> Supreme Court leaves in place Kentucky law requiring doctors perform ultrasounds to patients before administering abortions (More)
In-Depth
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An Unwinnable War
Washington Post | Craig Whitlock. After a three-year legal battle, this bombshell report based on 400 insider interviews reveals US officials were less confident - and making less progress - in their strategy to win the war in Afghanistan than they told the public. (Read, $$)

Editor's note: If you've used up your free reads for the Post, read about the report here.
The Long Walk
Outside | Caitlin Giddings. Feeling like "an artist in purgatory," multi-platinum singer-songwriter Mike Posner set off this past summer to do something many romanticize but few try - walk across America. Finding fame less fulfilling than he imagined, Posner launched an east-to-west journey in search of authenticity. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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The year's most hopeful images ($$, Atlantic). 
Pitchfork ranks their 100 favorite songs of 2019
The number of Americans training to teach is sinking.
TikTok releases the most viral clips of the year.
Unironically named electric scooter startup Unicorn fails spectacularly.
How White Claw and wellness changed drinking culture.
...and this whiskey collection is expected to fetch $10M at auction.
Everyone involved in the feel-good story of 2017 has now pleaded guilty.
Clickbait: Were you the one that saw this historic box office bomb?
Historybook: Poet Emily Dickinson born (1830); Spanish-American War ends (1898); First Nobel Prize ceremony held (1901); RIP comedian Richard Pryor (2005); Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet dies (2006).
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