Closing arguments in the sex crimes trial of former Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein are expected today and tomorrow, marking the close of one of the biggest cases brought about by the #MeToo movement. Weinstein faces five charges of sexual assault in New York over accusations brought by two women - though more than 80 have spoken out against him - and faces separate charges in Los Angeles after the conclusion of the current trial. Weinstein had reportedly wanted to take the stand before his defense wrapped Tuesday but was talked out of it ($$, NYT) by his lawyers. Deliberations are set for Tuesday and the case may wrap by the end of next week.
Photos of a feeble Weinstein entering the court with a walker following a car wreck went viral, though doctors say it may be medically necessary.
A lawsuit brought by the state of Massachusetts presented new evidence yesterday that electronic cigarette giant Juul intentionally illegally marketed their products to an underage audience. According to documents, the company allegedly rejected at least one adult-oriented marketing campaign in favor of a strategy placing ads in youth-oriented outlets like Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Seventeen Magazine, and more. The company - and broader e-cigarette industry - has spent the past year fighting two separate battles. The first relates to a rash of illnesses and more than 50 deaths that were largely linked to off-market products with lung-damaging chemicals. The second, targeted more specifically toward Juul and its 75% market share, involves accusations the company pitches nicotine-containing products to underage teenagers and children. Studies have shown repeated nicotine use alters the brain's dopamine sensitivity and can drive longer-term addiction.
About 40% of high schoolers say they've vaped at least once, and about one-quarter say they've done so within the past month.
Francis Nixes Priest Proposal
Pope Francis rejected a proposal yesterday by a council of Roman Catholic bishops that would have allowed married men to serve as priests in remote dioceses. The decision from the progressive Francis is a victory for conservative voices in Church leadership who argued overturning the nearly 1,000-year-old prohibition on the practice created a slippery slope. It also avoids a high-profile public break between Francis and his predecessor retired Pope Benedict XVI, who recently cowrote a book decrying the possibility of creating exceptions to the vow of celibacy for priests. The number of active priests has stayed nearly flat for five decades despite the global Catholic population rising by 65% to 1.3 billion (see data). The original proposal was limited to the Amazon, where parishioners can wait months to see a priest. Francis' letter set aside the idea and instead focused primarily on the responsibility of environmental stewardship over the rainforest.
For those of you who study the history of technology and investing, there's a pretty clear pattern. Every 10 years or so, a new technology emerges that changes lives, both in terms of functionality and investment opportunity.
Now, another once-in-a-decade innovation is emerging and The Motley Fool is here to cover it. Set to roll out in the US and worldwide, 5G technology is believed to be the final step in achieving a true "Internet of Things" and could be one of the greatest arrivals in technology since the birth of the internet. When it does drop, it will have everyone (and everything) talking, with the value of goods and services enabled estimated to be worth $12.3 trillion.
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In the Know
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> US men’s soccer union releases statement in support of pay raise for US Women’s national team (More) | Two Ohio State football players dismissed after arrest on felony rape, kidnapping charges (More)
> Rick Moranis signs on to star in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” sequel for Disney (More) | ... and “The Mighty Ducks” reboot starring Lauren Graham picked up by Disney Plus (More)
> MLB announces new rules for 2020 including that pitchers must face minimum of three batters before exiting game; see full list of rule changes (More)
Science & Technology
> High-precision robots pass first test for use in supermicrosurgery, assisting surgeons in procedures involving blood vessels less than one millimeter in diameter (More)
> Global carbon emissions leveled out in 2019, largely due to renewable power sources, despite global economy growing by 2.9% (More) | Scotland launches $65M effort to restore peat bogs; globally peat bogs hold one-quarter of world's soil carbon despite being just 3% of land area (More)
> Fossilized 100-million-year-old nest provides the oldest known evidence of modern bees, suggesting they evolved alongside early flowering plants (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +0.7%, Dow +0.9%, Nasdaq +0.9%) to fresh record highs on news coronavirus may be slowing (More)
> US Department of Education opens investigations into Harvard and Yale for allegedly failing to disclose billions in funding from foreign countries (More)
> Essential, a smartphone startup founded by the creator of Android, shuts doors; company had raised $330M (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> After seeing numbers slow, China reports 15,152 new coronavirus illnesses with 254 more deaths, partly due to change in how cases are classified (More)
> US budget deficit hits $391B for fiscal year through January, a 25% spike over same period last year; government projects annual deficit to pass $1T in FY2020 (More)
> Attorney General William Barr to testify next month to House Judiciary Committee over alleged White House intervention in sentencing of Roger Stone (More) | Senate votes on War Powers resolution today that would limit military operations against Iran without Congressional approval (More)
The Airbnb Scam That's Taking Over London
Wired UK | James Temperton. As the market for short-term rentals in pricey cities booms, scams taking advantage of unwitting travelers are proliferating. Topping the list is this London scheme, involving hundreds of dodgy listings, thousands of fake accounts, and an entire London block converted into a de facto hotel. (Read)
The Intelligence Coup of the Century
WashPo | Greg Miller. Since World War II, more than 120 countries have relied on one company to encrypt their most sensitive transmission. Governments knew the company, Crypto AG, had several international clients. What they didn't know was since 1970 it had been owned by the US and Germany, who snooped on their most secretive communications - enemies and allies alike. (Read, $$)
A true 'Internet of Things.'
It won't be much longer until the interconnectivity and communication promised by the Internet of Things finally arrives, especially now that 5G technology is starting to pop up around the world. And when it does become mainstream, this under-the-radar company could absolutely blast off.
Historybook: HBD Chuck Yeager, first pilot to break sound barrier (1923); HBD talk show host Jerry Springer (1944); Nashville sit-ins begin (1960); RIP French opera singer Lily Pons (1976); Earthquake in El Salvador kills 315, injures 3,400 (2001).
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