7.25.2019

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Need To Know.
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Marathon Mueller Testimony.
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified for over eight hours yesterday, sitting in back-to-back sessions before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. The highly-anticipated appearance was meant to provide lawmakers an opportunity to question Mueller on underlying evidence and reasoning behind his team’s report into Russian election meddling, but little new information was revealed, with Mueller repeatedly referring back to the report or simply declining to answer. Lawmakers also mostly stuck to the script, with Democrats probing potential obstruction of justice by the President, who they allege tried to impede the probe, while Republicans grilled Mueller on why he continued the probe after concluding he wasn't able to pursue charges under Justice Department restrictions. Analysts say the House Judiciary Committee's probe into the underlying evidence behind the report faces a steeper climb after the hearings. 

Aside from substance, Mueller's halting style in responding to questions dominated much of the political chatter. 
Puerto Rico Governor to Resign.
Thousands of protesters celebrated in the streets of Puerto Rico overnight as the island's Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced he would resign. Rosselló, who will step down on August 2nd, had been embroiled in corruption allegations against two of his top aides as well as defending himself after a trove of lewd and misogynistic text messages between his inner circle was leaked to the public. The scandals led to the largest protests in the territory's modern history, with hundreds of thousands turning out on Monday to call for Rosselló's ouster - the Governor, in an attempt to quell the crowds, originally said he would not step down but would not run for reelection next year. Observers say the current scandals acted as a catalyst to spark anger and frustration with the island's administration that had simmered since the aftermath of 2017's devastating Hurricane Maria. 

See photos of the protests here
Record Fine for Facebook.
The Federal Trade Commission slapped Facebook with a $5B fine yesterday for misleading users about the degree to which they controlled their own data. It is the largest fine ever from the FTC over data privacy violations and one of the largest of any kind assessed by the US government. The penalty stems from Facebook’s now-abandoned policy of letting third-party apps access the personal data of the entire friend list of users who originally downloaded the app. The practice was blown open by the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal (refresher here), in which a small data company obtained tens of millions of users’ personal data, using it to micro-target political ads. Under the deal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will have to personally certify the company will implement privacy protections. Capping things off, the FTC also announced it will pursue an antitrust case against the company. 

Despite the news, Facebook shares rose about 1% in after-hours trading after beating revenue and earnings expectations and reporting that users grew 8% in Q2 to 2.41 billion. 
In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie among 13 authors longlisted for Booker Prize, the UK's most prestigious literary award (More)
> New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson signs shoe deal with Jordan Brand; reportedly richest rookie deal in NBA history at $10M+/year (More)
> Rutger Hauer, prolific actor best-known for his role in Blade Runner, dies at 75 (More) | American rapper A$AP Rocky charged with assault in Sweden, will remain in custody for now (More)
Science & Technology.
> FDA orders recall of Allergan Inc. breast implants after 12 women die from rare type of lymphoma; 481 cases linked to the implants (More)
> Security researchers link Monokle, one of the most advanced spyware applications known, to a Russian contractor who developed the app at the behest of Russian intelligence (More)
New embryo-inspired bandage that speeds wound-healing developed; material automatically contracts on contact with skin (More)
Business & Markets.
> Japan’s Softbank reportedly to invest $40B in sequel to its Vision Fund; Apple, Goldman Sachs and the Kazakhstan government also backing (More, WSJ paywall) | Softbank Vision Fund 101: the ~$100B fund transforming technology investing (More)
> Earnings Season: Tesla misses earnings expectations, remains unprofitable, CTO & co-founder to step down, shares down 10%+ in after-hours (More) | Boeing reports worst-ever quarterly loss of $2.9B as 737 MAX remains grounded, shares fall 3% (More)
> Caterpillar falls 4% after missing Wall Street expectations, citing tariffs and lower China demand (More) | Semiconductor giant Texas Instruments soars 7% to all-time high after beating expectations (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Federal judge upholds administration’s rule to generally prohibit asylum for migrants who passed through a third country before reaching the US-Mexico border (More) | Second judge makes opposite decision (More)
> Six dead after al-Shabab suicide attacker detonates bomb in the mayor’s office of the Somali capital of Mogadishu (More)
> Trump vetoes bill that would block nearly $8B in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (More)
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In Depth.
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The Most Gullible Man in Cambridge.
The Cut | Kera Bolonik. Harvard Law professor Bruce Hay teaches a class on judgment and decision-making - probably not the best target for a mark. But after falling victim to years of psychological manipulation and lies by con artists, Hay has accrued over $300,000 in legal fees, has been suspended from his job, and even lost his house. (Read)
They Said You Could Leave Electric Scooters Anywhere.
The Verge | Amy Martyn. After a repo man and bike-shop owner created ScootSwoop - a service which impounds e-scooters and ransoms them back to companies - Bird and Lime have both filed lawsuits. See how the two-person shop with nearly zero marketing budget could threaten the billion-dollar e-scooter industry. (Read)
Etcetera.
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US newspaper circulation hit a historic low in 2018

Why America is facing a federal firefighter shortage

Older drivers are more likely to be distracted while driving.  

Nike releases a SpongeBob SquarePants collaboration

Toddler’s special moment with soccer star goes viral

Watch devastating winds rip a roof off a Cape Cod building

Historic photos from Disneyland's opening day in 1955

9-year-old girl survives getting tossed by a Yellowstone bison (w/ video).

Clickbait: 1,000 gallons of spilled syrup shuts down a New Orleans block.
Historybook: DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin born (1920); Football great Walter Payton born (1954); 1st baby born by in vitro fertilization (1978); Rock Hudson is 1st major celeb to announce AIDS diagnosis (1985); Concorde Air France crash kills 113 (2000).
 
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- Walter Payton
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