4.30.2019

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Need To Know.
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ISIS Leader Reemerges.
The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, appeared on video for the first time in five years, speaking in a taped recording released yesterday by the organization's propaganda arm. The 40-second speech comes one month after the group was eliminated from the Syria-Iraq border regions, but just over a week since the group supported a devastating bombing in Sri Lanka that killed over 250 people and injured 500 others. Analysts say the video, in which Baghdadi recognizes the group's losses in Syria and Iraq, highlights the group's pivot from attempting to hold and defend tracts of land to a shadow terror campaign. Baghdadi, who was born to a lower-class Iraqi family, was a relatively unknown religious academic until 2006, when he joined the Islamic State and steadily rose through its ranks (see profile here). 

If you read one item today, check out this story on the organization's financial strength despite being defeated on the battlefield. 
Woodstock 50 Canceled.
A music festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock was canceled yesterday, just three months out from one of the most highly-anticipated concerts in recent memory. The move came after the event's financial backers pulled out, following a delay in the opening of ticket sales and a failure of the organizers to obtain a mass gathering permit from New York's Schuyler County. The three-day event originally included headliners like Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Chance the Rapper, and the Black Keys - before the Black Keys pulled out two weeks ago citing a "schedule conflict". Backers of large-scale music festivals have been on edge since the highly-publicized debacle of the Fyre Festival in 2017, in which thousands of fans were lured to a deserted patch of sand in the Bahamas only to find the event never actually came together. The new Woodstock was meant to be an homage to the iconic 1969 music festival that drew over 400,000 people to a dairy farm outside of New York City. 

Organizers insist the band will play on
John Singleton.
Oscar-nominated director John Singleton passed away yesterday after he was taken off life support following a stroke last week. The 51-year-old was most well-known for his 1991 debut film Boyz N the Hood, a gritty and influential look at life in South Central Los Angeles. The film notched Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, making Singleton the youngest person and first African American nominated for the award. He went on to write and direct films like Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, and Baby Boy. The decision to move Singleton from life support capped a week of family disputes, where Singleton's daughter filed a lawsuit in an effort to prevent his mother, Sheila Ward, from assuming temporary guardianship over his estate. 
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
Brought to you by Casper
> Actress Lori Loughlin and 16 others formally enter not guilty plea in college admissions scandal (More)
> 2017 US Open tennis champ Sloane Stephens and American soccer star Jozy Altidore get engaged (More)
> Halima Aden becomes first Sports Illustrated model to wear a hijab and burkini in the magazine's annual Swimsuit Issue (More)

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Science & Technology.
> Astronomers may have made first-ever detection of a black hole eating a neutron star (More)
> Squid skin inspires next-generation space blanket that allows wearer to tune how much heat is trapped (More)
> Scientists say global 5G wireless coverage will disrupt weather satellites' ability to monitor atmospheric water vapor (More)
Business & Markets.
> US Labor Department rules "gig economy" workers (Uber drivers, etc.) are contractors, not employees - if opinion holds, companies will not have to offer contractors minimum wage or pay workers' taxes (More)
> Hotel giant Marriott rolls out home-sharing platform, Homes & Villas, to compete with Airbnb - will offer 2,000 "premium and luxury homes" in 100+ cities (More)
> Alphabet (Google) misses earnings expectations, shares down 7% in after-hours trading (More) | Co-working office giant WeWork files for confidential IPO - was last valued at $47B (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submits resignation; move was expected following conclusion of Mueller report (More)
> Number of reported US measles cases hits 704, tying the highest single-year total since 1994 only four months into the year; about 500 of the cases are in unvaccinated patients (More)
> Lawyers for President Trump file lawsuit to block subpoenas requesting Trump Organization financial records from banks (More)
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In Depth.
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The Dirty Fight to Dry Your Hands.
The Guardian | Samantha Subramanian. When Dyson released the Airblade, a hand-dryer that blows at speeds greater than 400mph, it knocked the humble paper towel from its perch of bathroom supremacy. The result has been an all-out bathroom brawl with environmental, financial, and medical battle lines. (Read)
How China’s ‘Unicorns’ Shook a Bicycle Town.
New York Times | Alexandra Stevenson and Cao Li. Investors eagerly supporting the Chinese bike sharing boom created a number of 'unicorns', startups worth more than $1 billion. But as the boom turned to bust, Chinese manufacturing towns like Wanqingtuo were left with fleeing workers and a mountain of rusting bikes. (Read, paywall)
Etcetera.
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Mapping America’s deadly weather and extreme temperatures (paywall).

The Russian military is using beluga whales for unknown porpoises.

Officials say over 270 Indonesian election workers died from fatigue on the job

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Following Avengers: Endgame's record-breaking opening weekend, here are the top 25 highest-grossing films of all-time

Samsung unveils a $16,000 vertical, rotating high-definition television.

BYU valedictorian comes out during graduation speech.

The IRS officially recognizes the Satanic Temple as a religious organization.  

Clickbait: This is not how you want to end 26.2 miles.
Historybook: George Washington becomes 1st President of the US (1789); Louisiana Purchase doubles the size of the US (1803); Adolf Hitler commits suicide in underground bunker (1945); HBD actress Gal Gadot (1985).
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