7.22.2022

Jan. 6 Panel, Crisis in Italy, and the Mighty Avocado Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, July 22, and we're covering the final scheduled Jan. 6 hearing, political chaos in Italy, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Jan. 6 Hearings (Part Eight)

The House Select Committee investigating the events surrounding the storming of the US Capitol last Jan. 6 held its eighth public hearing yesterday evening, focusing on witness testimony and documents describing the actions of former President Donald Trump during the day.

 

In particular, the panel walked through the roughly three-hour period following his morning speech to supporters and his first public statement attempting to defuse the mob (see timeline). Testimony from White House staff alleged the former president followed the events on television, but decline to intercede despite pleas from aides. Separately, previously unreleased Secret Service audio from agents protecting then Vice President Mike Pence feared for their lives, with some reportedly making goodbye calls to family. See other key moments here

 

The hearing was marked as the committee's final scheduled public appearance, but the Democrat-led panel said it will now hold more hearings in September. 

Sentence in Floyd Killing

Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison yesterday for violating George Floyd's civil rights during a fatal police encounter two years ago. The judgment was less than the maximum of six-and-a-half years requested by federal prosecutors. 

 

Lane was part of a trio of additional police present when ex-officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd while attempting to arrest him, ultimately killing him. Video shows Lane assisting in restraining Floyd by the legs (video breakdown; warning sensitive content). Lawyers for Lane, who was a rookie officer at the time of the incident, argued Lane suggested shifting Floyd to his side but was rebuffed twice by Chauvin. 

 

Lane separately pleaded guilty to state-level criminal manslaughter charges in May, with sentencing expected in September. Two other former officers on the scene, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, pleaded not guilty and face trial early next year

Italian Elections Set

The political crisis in Italy entered a new stage yesterday as Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his resignation for the second time in a week. President Sergio Mattarella accepted the resignation but asked Draghi to stay on as government caretaker until snap elections in September.

 

Draghi was appointed in February 2021 to lead Europe's third-largest economy out of the coronavirus pandemic. A career banker with stints at both the World Bank and Goldman Sachs, Draghi was viewed as a guarantor of stability, having carried Europe through the Great Recession and protected the strength of the euro. More recently, Italy has suffered steep inflation, spillover effects from the war in Ukraine, and the worst drought in decades.

 

Recent polls have shown a coalition of populist and conservative parties are likely to win a majority during the next elections. Watch a breakdown of the shifting political alignments here (w/video). 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and U2 headline list of 2022 Kennedy Center Honorees chosen for their lifetime contributions to American culture (More)

 

> The 2022 Tour de France wraps Sunday; Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard currently leads two-time defending champ Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia (More)

 

> Ricky Martin's nephew withdraws allegations of harassment; judge lifts temporary restraining order against the singer (More)

Science & Technology

> Monarch butterflies now considered endangered; studies estimate North American populations have dropped anywhere from 20% to 70% over the past decade (More)

 

> Physicists demonstrate "qudits," or quantum-based digits that allow quantum computers to perform calculations with eight states instead of the classical binary zeros and ones (More)

 

> Depression not linked to a chemical imbalance of serotonin in the brain, new research suggests; meta-review of existing research challenges decades of theory behind the condition (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.0%, Dow +0.5%, Nasdaq 1.4%) as tech stocks continue gains (More) | European Central Bank increases interest rates for first time in 11 years by 0.50%; experts expected a 0.25% increase (More)

 

> Amazon to acquire primary care clinic operator One Medical for $3.9B, continuing its expansion into healthcare (More)

 

> Snap shares fall 25% after missing expectations and announcing operation expense growth and hiring slowdowns (More) | Former Coinbase employee among three charged with insider trading for allegedly trading 25 cryptocurrency assets netting $1.5M in gains (More)

Politics & World Affairs

In partnership with Noa

> President Joe Biden tests positive for COVID-19, reports mild symptoms; Biden, who has received two booster shots, said to also be taking antivirals (More) | New York reports the first US case of polio since 2013 (More)

 

> Rep. Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) attacked at a campaign event; attacker subdued without injuries to Zeldin (More) | House passes bill guaranteeing the right to contraception access along largely party-line vote; House Republicans say the bill was rushed and unnecessary (More)

 

> Two Texas men indicted in smuggling operation that led to the deaths of 53 migrants locked in a tractor-trailer near San Antonio last month (More)

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IN-DEPTH

 

Chance, Choice, and the Avocado

Marginalian | Maria Popova. How a mailman in the 1920s invented the world's most popular avocado. (Read)

Road to Stalemate

Reuters | Staff. Visualizing key moments during the five-month conflict in Ukraine that point toward a prolonged conflict. (Read)

Suspense Sounds

Twenty Thousand Hertz | Amelia Tait. (Podcast) Tracing the sonic history of the three-note dun-dun-DUN used to queue horror. (Listen)

CHANGE IS AN INSIDE JOB

 

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ETCETERA

 

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This year's list of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

 

Clickbait: Will the real Linda Skeens please stand up?

 

Historybook: "America the Beautiful" written (1893); Infamous gangster John Dillinger killed by federal agents (1934); "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek born (1940); HBD singer and actress Selena Gomez (1992); Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay are killed (2003).

 

"It's very important in life to know when to shut up."

- Alex Trebek

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