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.
Billionaire Hit with Molestation Charges.
Wealthy hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein was formally charged with sex trafficking over allegations that he molested underage girls at his mansions in New York City and Palm Beach, FL between 2002 and 2005. The 66-year-old billionaire reportedly lured over 40 girls, some as young as 14, into his residences under the guise of massages before making sexual advances. In some instances, girls lived with Epstein, taking cash from him while recruiting other young girls into the network. Epstein was tried on similar charges in Florida in 2008, but the case ended after a once-secret and widely-criticized plea deal was struck. The deal, made by now US Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, required Epstein to serve 13 months with the option of work release. Analysts said prosecutors may face challenges if the charges relate to any activities that were covered by the 2008 deal, though sources indicated (paywall, WashPo) state officials did not have significant concerns on that front.
And read about the somewhat mysterious origins of Epstein's billions here (paywall, Bloomberg).
Economic Crisis in Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly fired the head of the country's central bank yesterday, sending the country's currency sharply downward and deepening an ongoing economic crisis. Erdogan had reportedly been frustrated at the bank's high interest rates, currently set at 24%. The high rates are meant to battle inflation - when the price of goods and services increases as a currency weakens (see 101) - but also make it difficult to borrow money, slowing economic growth. The lira's value has dropped by 40% against the dollar over the past two years, while the country's economy shrunk by about 3% in the fourth quarter of 2018, and again by 2% in this year's first quarter. The crisis also comes as Erdogan's once airtight grasp on the country's political system has shown signs of weakening, including the election of opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu as mayor of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.
Billionaire philanthropist and liberal donor Tom Steyer looks set to enter the 2020 presidential race according to multiple sources, vying for the Democratic nomination in a move that would send waves through a crowded field that already has almost two dozen candidates. Steyer, who has funded a number of Democratic political organizations and repeatedly toyed with running for Senate and Governor in California, hinted at running for president this year before saying he would not run in January. The news leaked as fellow Californian and Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15) became the first Democratic candidate to drop out of the race. In other 2020 news, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), coming off a strong showing in the first primary debate, reported over $19M in second quarter funding yesterday, tripling the first quarter despite not holding any fundraisers. Track all the candidates' fundraising numbers here.
> 2019 MLB All-Star Game tonight at 7:30 ET; see starting line-ups and preview (More) | Pete Alonso tops Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. to win Home Run Derby and $1M prize (More)
> Late singer Whitney Houston charts first new song on Billboard 100 in ten years (More) | Old Town Road #1 on charts for 14th consecutive week, now third-longest streak in history (More)
> 15-year-old American tennis phenom Coco Gauff's Wimbledon run comes to an end in 4th round loss to former world #1 Simona Halep (More) | See full Wimbledon bracket and schedule (More)
Science & Technology.
> Virgin Galactic set to become first human spaceflight company to be publicly traded (More)
> Reports say Facebook developed, deployed software to track and debunk fake news and hoaxes about itself on social media, beginning in 2016 (More)
> Machine learning algorithm aids robots in harvesting lettuce, a staple crop that has resisted automated harvesting; program uses image recognition to determine health, ripeness of each plant (More)
Business & Markets.
> Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates increasing federal minimum wage to $15/hour would boost pay for 17 million Americans, but lead to 1.3 million job losses (More) > SunTrust Bank will no longer finance operators of private prisons and immigration holding facilities (More)
> Co-working/shared office space giant WeWork seeking to raise up to $4B in debt ahead of planned IPO (More)
Invest in the world's most valuable paintings. Want to own part of a $2M Warhol or a $6.3M Monet? Masterworks.io lets you buy shares in high-end and usually inaccessible art that has outperformed the S&P 500 by over 180% since 2000 (More) #Ad
Politics & World Affairs.
> New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) passes law giving congressional tax-writing committees access to President Trump's state-level tax returns (More) | President Trump delivers environmental speech, focuses on clean air and water (More)
> State officials shut down all 21 of Mississippi's public beaches due to toxic algae blooms (More)
> Report says FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement using nationwide database of driver's license photos for facial recognition program, without knowledge or consent of individuals (More, WashPo paywall)
Better than sleeping under the stars.
After a beautiful summer day spent in the sun, nothing really beats crawling into your fresh, clean, cool bed to catch some Zzz’s. After all, sleep is essential for recharging your body (so you’re ready for another fun day in the sun!). And the key to getting good rest? The right mattress.
Meet Leesa. They make two (awesome) styles of mattresses, pillows, bases, and accessories so you can get your best rest. Enjoy their foam or foam-and-spring hybrid mattresses for the perfect cooling, contouring, support, and pressure relief on the Summer (not to mention Winter, Spring, and Fall!) nights that you need it most.
And because they know that ordering a mattress online can seem daunting, they offer a 100-night, risk-free trial with every mattress, so you can fall in love with Leesa in the comfort of your own home. Don’t love it? Send it back for a full refund. Plus, their mattresses are American-made and they donate one for every 10 they sell.
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The Really Big One.
The New Yorker | Kathryn Schulz. With extra relevance following California's 7.1-magnitude quake, read how the geological community is waiting for an earth-shattering seismic event to decimate the West Coast. (Read, paywall)
Editor's Note: This fascinating read is from 2015, but it's worth another look in light of last weekend's earthquakes in Southern California.
The Verge | Bijan Stephen. After circulating some of the internet’s most controversial content, the website Something Awful is by no means perfect. But as the forerunner of edgy content, CEO Rich Kyanka has tons of moderation experience - the exact problem YouTube and Facebook are currently grappling with. (Read)
Historybook: President Zachary Taylor dies of cholera while in office (1850); 14th Amendment ratified in US, granting full citizenship to African Americans (1868); First Wimbledon tournament begins (1877); HBD Tom Hanks (1956); HBD musician Courtney Love (1964).
"If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great." - Tom Hanks
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