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Need To Know.
Mueller Makes Public Statement.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller held a press conference on the conclusions of his recently-ended probe yesterday, his first public comments since his appointment nearly two years ago. The probe originally focused on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election but expanded to examine obstruction of justice charges against President Trump. The report ultimately supported the intelligence community’s assessment that coordinated interference by Russian actors did occur, but did not find sufficient evidence of a broader conspiracy involving the Trump campaign. Mueller reiterated yesterday that a sitting president could not be charged with a federal crime and that the probe did not reach a conclusion either way on obstruction charges. He also nipped talk of testifying before Congress in the bud, saying any testimony would not go beyond what was in the report. Watch the press conference here.
Here’s background on what Mueller meant when he said a sitting president could not face federal indictment.
Israel Heads for New Elections.
Israel’s government spiraled into a political crisis after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a majority coalition in Parliament, forcing the government to dissolve the body and forcing a new round of elections. Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with the rival Blue and White Party in last month’s elections, with both winning 35 seats. There are 120 seats in the Knesset - the country’s legislative body - and President Reuven Rivlin gave Netanyahu, seeking his fifth term in office, six weeks to cobble together a majority from nine other parties that won seats. Netanyahu was only able to secure a 60 seat coalition, falling one seat short, after failing to reconcile (paywall) ultra-nationalist and ultra-orthodox factions. In an attempt to head off Rivlin from allowing someone else a chance to form a majority - and become Prime Minister - the conservative party pushed through a bill late last night dissolving the body. Netanyahu’s failure comes as he faces corruption charges in two separate cases, one for allegedly accepting improper gifts and a second for trading political favors for positive news coverage. Elections will be held on September 17th.
The Nepalese government is considering rule changes to how it issues permits to those seeking to climb Mount Everest, according to reports yesterday (paywall), in the wake of one of the deadliest climbing seasons on record. Out of roughly 1,100 climbers who made the ascent this season, 11 have died, or about 1% of all climbers, and the deaths come amid a surge in inexperienced hikers looking to make the trek. Expert climbers have said that this glut, combined with loosely-regulated companies springing up to meet the demand and a short window of ideal weather, have combined to create perilous conditions. Climbers looking to summit Everest have been forced to wait for hours near the 29,000-foot-high peak - as captured in this jaw-dropping photo - where oxygen levels are dangerously low. Nepalese officials, who have been reluctant to slow the issuance of permits due to the revenue brought in (up to $11,000 for foreigners per permit), suggested that applicants must show proof of climbing at least one other 8,000-meter (26,250-foot) peak before being granted a permit.
>Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek reveals that his stage 4 pancreatic cancer is in near remission following chemotherapy (More) > St. Louis Blues defeat Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime to tie up the best-of-seven series at 1-1 in the Stanley Cup Final (More)
> Broadway shows earned a combined $1.8B for the 2018-2019 season, the most of all-time and up 9.5% from 2017-2018 (More)
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Science & Technology.
> Astronomers find a “forbidden” Neptune-like planet orbiting a distant star in a region where models predict no similar-sized gas planet should exist (More)
> Renowned Wellcome Sanger Institute, one of the world’s leading genomics centers, to close animal research lab (More)
> Physicists celebrate 100th anniversary of measurements made during 1919 solar eclipse that confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity (More) | How mass bends space and time to create gravity (More)
Business & Markets.
> Apparel stocks Abercrombie & Fitch and Canada Goose down 25%+ on poor earnings, stock drop ripples through apparel sector (More)
> US stock markets down (S&P 500 -0.7%, Dow -0.9%, Nasdaq -0.8%) again on continued US/China trade war fears (More)
> Boeing 737 Max will not fly before August, as Boeing works with regulators to address safety concerns (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Democratic National Committee raises criteria for third primary debate, candidates must poll at 2% in at least four major polls (up from 1% in 3 polls for first two debates) and have at least 130,000 donors (More) | DNC will hold 12 primary debates, first on June 26-27th (More)
> Man sets himself on fire on lawn in front of White House in downtown Washington, DC; motive unknown (More)
> Chinese telecom giant Huawei files legal motion to declare the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act unconstitutional; bill bans federal agencies and contractors from using company’s technologies, citing spy threat (More)
The End of Forgetting.
Vox | Sean Illing. The excessive documentation of our lives in the Digital Age has created an unintended and unwanted side effect - we can never forget. With an old photo, tweet, or post liable to surface at any moment, many are finding it difficult to experiment with new ideas or forgive those who have done wrong. (Read)
The Shady World of Truffle Fraud.
Eater | Ryan Jacobs. As a purveyor of fine food and drink, Italy takes food crime very seriously. Criminal organizations in the country make an estimated $27B every year of counterfeit foods, and at the top of the list are white truffles - a delicacy currently going for $1,300 per pound on the open market. (Read)
Historybook: Joan of Arc is burned at the stake (1431); RIP historian and philosopher Voltaire (1778); First Indianapolis 500 is held (1911); Lincoln Memorial is dedicated (1922); HBD musician CeeLo Green (1974).
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