6.20.2019

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All your news in a single email. We scour 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more - all packaged in a 5-minute read below.
Need To Know.
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NXIVM.
Keith Raniere, the leader of what court filings and witness testimony described as a cult, was convicted yesterday of racketeering, sex trafficking, and other charges. The group, known as NXIVM (pronounced nex-e-um), operated behind the facade of a multi-level marketing scheme selling executive development seminars. The case against the group gained wide publicity after it was revealed that Smallville actress Allison Mack and Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman helped Raniere operate a “master-slave” structure that branded women with his initials and attempted to control them via blackmail. Raniere will be sentenced in September, facing up to life in prison.

Read an excellent inside look at the group here (paywall, NYT).
Iran Shoots Down US Drone.
Iranian forces reportedly shot down a US military drone overnight, after officials said it was found flying in the country's airspace. The US said the drone was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, one of the most strategic waterways in the world and where two oil tankers were attacked - allegedly by Iranian forces - last week. Tensions in the Middle East have risen, with Iran ramping up production of non-weapons grade nuclear material as the 2015 nuclear deal has unraveled, and US officials have reportedly been concerned that the country may squeeze the Strait since early this year. The news came one day after Iran-backed militias reportedly hit a US-protected oil field in southern Iraq with rocket fire, wounding three. It was the fourth time in the past week that US installations had been fired on in the area. 

Separately, Chinese President Xi Jinping begins the first state visit by a Chinese head of state to North Korea in 14 years today. 
Malaysia Air Flight 17.
International investigators charged four men, three with ties to Russian military intelligence, in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Air Flight 17 that killed 298 people. The incident happened amid a separatist struggle in Eastern Ukraine, facilitated by Russia who sought control of the strategic Crimean Peninsula (101 on conflict). Investigators concluded that a missile smuggled in from Russia was used to knock down the commercial flight en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, though it is unclear whether rebels knew the aircraft was commercial (and not military) at the time. The four men had international warrants issued for their arrest but will likely be tried in absentia - Russia’s foreign ministry rejected the findings and the country’s constitution prohibits extradition of Russian citizens.
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Duke's Zion Williamson expected to be #1 pick in tonight's NBA Draft (7:30 ET, ESPN); see full mock draft (More)
> Library of Congress names Joy Harjo as US Poet Laureate; first Native American to hold title (More) | What is the Poet Laureate? (More)
> Netflix nabs Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut with film adaptation of musical Tick, Tick...Boom! (More) | Miranda to return to Broadway with hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme (More)
Science & Technology.
> New software allows smartphones and home assistants to detect, report cardiac arrest while you’re sleeping (More)
> YouTube considering moving all children’s content to separate app amid criticism, challenges in moderating content (More)
> Soft robotic fish powered by a fluid that both carries energy and moves fins, dubbed “robot blood” (More)
Business & Markets.
> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +0.3%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.4%) after Fed Chairman Powell hints at potential interest rate cuts in 2019 (More)
> Workplace communication platform Slack to begin trading today on NYSE; reference price for direct listing at $26/share representing ~$16B valuation (More) | What is a direct listing? (More)
> American Airlines to order 50 Airbus planes, in blow to Boeing amidst 737 Max grounding (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> United Nations report calls for probe into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in 2018 killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi (More)
> White House rolls back Obama-era regulation on coal plants, letting states determine whether to require upgrades of existing plants (More) | ... and coal plant retirements neared record levels in 2018 (More)
> House Judiciary subcommittee holds first hearing on reparations to descendants of former slaves in over a decade (More)
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In Depth.
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How the CIA Made Google.
Medium | Nafeez Ahmed. Through a Pentagon-sponsored group, the NSA and CIA seed-funded Google - and numerous other start-ups - to stay atop the ever-evolving world of information technology. But while doing so, the US government arguably bypassed the democratic process to enable a future of mass surveillance. (Read)
The Buried Treasure of Forrest Fenn.
Money | Julia Glum. Facing a cancer diagnosis, veteran-turned-art-collector Forrest Fenn decided to bury the bulk of his wealth in the Rocky Mountains, leaving clues to anyone who wanted to try and find it. He lived, but the hunt he sparked has driven over 350,000 to look for his buried treasure. (Read)
Etcetera.
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Americans are unhappy with the state of political discourse.

San Francisco set to ban all sales of e-cigarettes across the city.

Here's why you should toss your to-do list and start timeboxing

More employers are offering “unlimited vacation” to prospective employees.

Train carrying bombs and hazardous materials derails in Nevada

Deceased performers are going on tour - via high-def holograms.

Berlin will freeze rents across the city for five years

Great white shark gets up close and personal with New Jersey fishermen (w/ video).

Clickbait: This spider eating a possum is nightmare fuel.
Historybook: Samuel Morse patents the telegraph (1840); HBD Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson (1942); Mobster Bugsy Siegel is killed (1947); HBD actress Nicole Kidman (1967); Manjil–Rudbar earthquake kills 35-50K (1990). 
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