US officials have reportedly received intelligence that Osama bin Laden's son and potential heir Hamza bin Laden has been killed. The officials provided little details surrounding the death saying only that the US had played a role and it had occurred within the past two years (but it took time to confirm). According to reports Hamza, one of about two dozen children of the elder bin Laden (see family tree), had been groomed for a leadership role within al-Qaeda. His last known public communication came in January of 2018 when he called on Muslims living in the Arabian peninsula to revolt against Saudi Arabia - the US had a $1M reward for information leading to his whereabouts. The current leader of the jihadist terror group is Ayman al-Zawahiri, a 68-year-old Egyptian who acted as Osama bin Laden's personal physician.
Feds Cut Rates.
The US Federal Reserve said yesterday it would lower its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to 2.0-2.25%, the first cut since rates were dropped to zero following the 2008 recession. Interest rates often determine how expensive it is for consumers and businesses to finance things like buying a car or starting a new business (see 101), and the move is meant to preserve the momentum of the country's longest economic expansion against slow growth in overseas markets and uncertainty around trade tensions with China. The cut is a reversal of Fed policy during the current administration, under which it has made seven straight rate hikes (see timeline). The cut follows long-running criticism of the body by the President - the Fed is independent from the administration - who has said the rate hikes have slowed the economy. Markets actually slumped slightly as Chairman Jerome Powell said the move was an adjustment, and not the start of a trend.
Usually just nod your head when people talk about the Fed? Here's a solid primer on its history and how it works.
Dems Debate (Again).
The second round of the Democratic debates wrapped up yesterday, with the second group of ten candidates facing off in Detroit. The night offered a contrast to Tuesday's mostly congenial affair, with a number of candidates looking to capture a breakout moment. The target for most of the night was former Vice President Joe Biden - entering with a double-digit lead in most polls - who had to defend his policy positions on everything from healthcare to immigration, while dodging accusations about being opportunistic in using his legacy with former President Barack Obama. There are 25 Democratic candidates for president at the moment (see list), 20 of whom qualified for Detroit's debates, but the field is expected to narrow considerably as the requirements for the third debates in September tighten. Candidates must be polling at 2% in at least four major polls and have at least 130,000 unique donors (total dollar level is not taken into account). Only seven candidates have officially qualified at the moment.
> NFL preseason kicks off tonight (8 PM ET, NBC) with the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos (More)
> Harold Prince, Broadway legend and 21-time Tony Award Winner known for Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story dies at 91 (More)
> Woodstock 50, the would-be concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic 1969 Woodstock, has been canceled after series of setbacks (More)
Science & Technology.
> Facebook is funding projects to develop a wearable headset that can read thoughts via remotely monitoring brain activity (More) | ...and company officials say removing misinformation is "not their role" (More)
> Harvard creates advisory panel to oversee solar geoengineering project; study would release calcium carbonate into the atmosphere to cool local areas (More)
> Study says healthy placentas contain no bacteria, implying newborns develop critical gut bacteria from mothers post-birth (More)
Business & Markets.
>Earnings Season: Fitness tech giant FitBit beats expectations, but cuts guidance due to weak projected sales, shares down 10%+ in after-hours (More) | General Electric beats Wall Street expectations, shares up ~45% YTD (More) > British education firm Pearson notifies users of data breach affecting 13k accounts (More)
> Chinese aluminum billionaire charged with evading nearly $2B in tariffs by smuggling metal into US (More)
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Politics & World Affairs.
> Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who said he would step down last week amid widespread protests, names likely successor; Pedro Pierluisi formerly represented the US territory in Congress (More)
> Administration to set up plan allowing US patients to buy lower-cost drugs like insulin from Canada (More) | ... and comparing drug costs in the US to other places (More)
> 66 injured after explosion at ExxonMobil refinery outside of Houston (More)
21st Century Fox expense tracking.
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An Unflinching Look at Parenting Special-Needs Kids.
Atlantic | Dave Adams. Though both Krakowiak children cannot walk or speak, numerous brain scans have appeared to be completely normal, resulting in a frustrating lack of useful diagnoses. This intimate 30-minute documentary details the family’s daily routine of compassion, progression, and patience. (Watch)
Drink Up, Stoners.
Verge | Amanda Chicago Lewis. Despite marijuana-infused beverages only accounting for 2-3 percent of total cannabis sales, Big Alcohol is convinced the drinks will become the next big thing. Stats don't lie, and industry vets think this new trend is here to stay, and could ultimately account for up to 30% of sales. (Read)
Historybook:Moby-Dick author Herman Melville born (1819); RIP American frontierswoman Calamity Jane (1903); HBD rapper Coolio (1963); Sniper kills 14, wounds 31 at University of Texas (1966); MTV launches, Video Killed the Radio Star is first video (1981).
"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation." - Herman Melville
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