8.19.2022

Allen Weisselberg, 'House of the Dragon,' and the Best State for Dogs Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, Aug. 19, and we're covering a guilty plea in New York, a new chapter in one of the decade's most popular shows, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

 

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Trump Org. CFO Pleads Guilty

The former chief financial officer for the Trump Organization pleaded guilty yesterday to multiple charges of tax fraud stemming from his time with the company. Prosecutors allege Allen Weisselberg, who led finances for the company for at least two decades, conspired to avoid tax payments via off-the-books compensation. The fringe benefits reportedly included $1.7M in apartments, cars, and private school tuition for his children.

 

As part of the deal, Weisselberg agreed to testify if called as a witness in a similar case against the Trump Organization scheduled to begin in New York in October. Former President Donald Trump is not personally charged in the case. Pending his cooperation in the upcoming trial, the presiding judge agreed to sentence Weisselberg to five months in jail and five years probation. 

 

The company and former president have framed the cases as politically motivated and argued the payments constituted a standard business practice. 

A Second Impact

The asteroid that led to the extinction of the vast majority of dinosaurs may have been followed by a second smaller impact roughly 5,000 miles away. The scenario has been proposed following the discovery of an impact crater off the coast of West Africa dating to the same time period.

 

Current theories suggest a 6-mile-wide asteroid struck Earth just off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula roughly 66 million years ago. The impact sent a tidal wave crashing as far north as present-day North Dakota, altered the climate, and led to the mass extinction of about three-quarters of the species alive at the time. The new discovery, dubbed the Nadir crater, was accidentally found by geologists studying tectonic plates. It is unclear whether the object broke apart from the primary asteroid as it entered the atmosphere, or was a wholly separate body. 

 

Separately, read about a fossil that scientists believe may have been preserved on the day of the first asteroid impact.

'House of the Dragon'

The first episode of the prequel to HBO's highly successful drama "Game of Thrones" will debut Sunday at 9 pm ET on both HBO and HBO Max. The 10-episode series airs three years after the original show came to an end. 

 

Based on the still-unfinished fantasy novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin, "Game of Thrones" twice garnered the most Emmy awards for a single season at 12, with an average of 10 million viewers during the eighth and final season. The show was known for its brutal depictions of life, loosely based on the European Middle Ages. The final season received backlash as fans criticized the direction showrunners took the storyline, with over 1 million viewers signing a Change.org petition to have the final season remade.

 

The prequel, based on a companion novel "Fire & Blood," follows another drama of succession in Westeros, about two centuries before the events of the original series. See an overview of the show here.

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ALL IN A DAY'S WORK

 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Big Ten athletic conference signs seven-year media rights agreement with Fox, CBS, and NBC worth $7B (More) | Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's suspension increased to 11 games along with $5M fine amid allegations of sexual misconduct (More)

 

> Hanae Mori, pioneering Japanese fashion designer known for her butterfly motifs, dies at 96 (More) | See photos of some of Mori's iconic designs (More)

 

> Streaming services, accounting for 35% of all US television usage, top cable and networks to become most-watched TV medium for first time (More)

Science & Technology

> Scientists develop a simple way to break down one type of PFAS materials, also known as forever chemicals, using relatively nontoxic compounds (More) | What are forever chemicals? (More)

 

> Analysis of dust recovered from the asteroid Ryugu found to be older than our solar system; studies of samples retrieved by Japan's Hayabusa-2 mission hope to shed light on the formation of the early universe (More)

 

> Ancient megalodon shark was around 50 feet long and could swallow prey the size of a killer whale in five bites, according to a 3D reconstruction based on fossil evidence (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with SmartAsset

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq +0.2%) as S&P 500 seeks fifth consecutive weekly gain (More)

 

> US existing home sales fell 6% in July; median sale price of $403,800 falls from June’s record, but is up 10% over last July (More)

 

> Bed Bath & Beyond shares fall 20% during trading hours and another 30% in after-hours trading, after billionaire investor Ryan Cohen discloses he will sell his entire stake in the company; Cohen took a 10% stake in March (More)

From our partners: Boost your retirement outlook. Research suggests people who work with a financial advisor feel more at ease about their finances and could end up with about 15% more money to spend in retirement. SmartAsset's free quiz helps simplify the entire process, matching you with up to three fiduciary financial advisors, each legally bound to work in your best interest and rigorously screened. But don't stop there—there are seven common blunders people make when planning for retirement, learn what they are to help you find peace of mind.

Politics & World Affairs

> Federal judge weighs releasing some of the sealed materials underpinning the search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence; orders redactions from Justice Department (More)

 

> Federal government to make 1.8 million monkeypox vaccine doses available to states (More) | Cases top 14,100 nationwide, no deaths reported; see state-by-state breakdown (More)

 

> Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with UN officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; calls on the UN to protect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

Tracked, Ranked, and Recorded

New York Times | Jodi Kantor, Arya Sundaram. As worker surveillance becomes more sophisticated, some workers are blowing the whistle on the intrusive tactic. (Read, paywall)

Path to the Pad

NASA | Staff. (Video) See how the world's most powerful rocket was assembled at Kennedy Space Center ahead of this month's Artemis 1 launch. (Watch)

Stories from Buffalo

This American Life | Ira Glass. (Podcast) Writers flesh out the unique lives of the 10 people murdered in May in Buffalo, New York. (Listen)

Searching in the Dark

Aeon | Briley Lewis. Scientists, at a loss, reach for a new theory to explain the origins of dark matter: primordial black holes. (Read)

PLANT 10 TREES

 

In partnership with Wren

 

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This project promotes biodiversity and provides economic opportunity. Interested in backing "Community Tree Planting" or any of Wren's other exciting initiatives? Just sign up through our links today and they'll plant an additional 10 trees in your name.

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ETCETERA

 

The five states where owners spoil their dogs the most.

 

A 14-foot-long giant squid washes ashore in South Africa.

 

Papa John's new pizza ditches the crust.

 

James Bond villains, from the best to the worst.

 

A look at the teams competing in the Little League World Series. 

 

Japan wants its youth to get boozy

 

... while youth competitors vie for America's best mullet.

 

Unveiling the Girl Scouts' newest cookie.

 

Clickbait: Rick Astley will never let you down.

 

Historybook: Fashion designer Coco Chanel born (1883); Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500, hosts first race (1909); Former President Bill Clinton born (1946); Comedian Groucho Marx dies (1977); Final US combat brigade leaves Iraq (2010).

 

"Years ago, I tried to top everybody, but I don't anymore. I realized it was killing conversation. When you're always trying for a topper you aren't really listening."

- Groucho Marx

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