Ukraine, Uvalde Firing, and a Sinking Superyacht Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Thursday, Aug. 25, and we're covering Ukraine's Independence Day, a firing in Uvalde, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].


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Independence Day Attack

Fifteen people were killed and at least 50 injured in an attack on a train station in central Ukraine yesterday, as the country commemorated 31 years of independence from the Soviet Union. The day comes exactly six months after the start of the Russian invasion of the country, which has seen tens of thousands killed in action.


Despite cancellations of large events, destroyed Russian military tanks lined a main street in the capital city as a tribute to its defense earlier this year. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech vowing to retake Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine, including the Crimean peninsula. The date coincided with a visit to Kyiv by outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a recent US announcement of an additional $3B security assistance package


The holiday comes as the war continues in the south, with recent shelling stoking fears over the risk of nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, the largest in Europe.


See an interactive timeline of the war here

Uvalde School Police Chief Fired

The Uvalde, Texas, school board yesterday unanimously voted to fire district Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who is the first officer to lose his job over the delayed enforcement response to the mass school shooting at Robb Elementary School. The decision comes three months after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers—the worst attack on a US elementary school since 2012.


Arredondo, who had been on administrative leave since June, was criticized in an investigative report last month for failing to command the scene and waiting to confront the gunman in a classroom of students as he looked for a key to the likely unlocked door. The report also faulted 376 armed local, state, and federal law enforcement officers for waiting more than an hour to take action. See a timeline of events here


Lt. Mariano Pargas, Uvalde's acting police chief on the day of the shooting, has also been on administrative leave as the city conducts an investigation.  

Student Loan Forgiveness

President Joe Biden formally announced an executive action that will cancel up to $10K of federal student loan debt for millions of Americans making less than $125K per year (or $250K per household) and up to $20K for Pell Grant recipients. The pause on federal student loan payments will also be extended through the end of the year.


Nearly 43 million Americans owe roughly $1.6T in federal student debt. The average borrower owes over $37K (though the median is between $20K-$25K, see overview), and approximately 20 million owe less than $10K. According to estimates, the one-time cancellation will cost the federal government about $300B. The plan does not include those with privately held loans, or about 13% of borrowers. Critics of the plan say the debt cancellation will add to federal deficit and possibly spur already high inflation.


The administration said future income-driven payments would be capped at 5% of monthly income. See details here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Mizzen+Main

> Vanessa Bryant, wife of late NBA star Kobe Bryant, awarded $16M by jury over charges local officials took and shared photos of her late husband after a 2020 helicopter crash; codefendant awarded additional $15M (More


> Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, in partnership with PGA Tour, launch TGL, a tech-infused golf league for prime-time TV (More) | Len Dawson, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, dies at 87 (More)


> Defending WNBA champion Chicago Sky defeat New York Liberty, advance to semifinals (More) | See latest bracket (More

From our partners: For 10 years, Mizzen+Main has perfected what other brands can only copy. For 10 years, they've provided men with comfort they can feel and performance they can trust. Experience why professional accountants and professional athletes alike who try on Mizzen+Main say they couldn’t imagine going back to anything else. Ready to feel the world's first (and best) performance fabric dress shirt? Use code 1440 and take $35 off any order of $125+ today.

Science & Technology

> Psilocybin regimen found to reduce alcohol consumption by more than 80% in patients exhibiting alcohol use disorder in pilot study; marks the latest research to suggest the positive medical uses for the psychoactive compound (More)


> Researchers demonstrate flexible conducting material capable of mimicking an integrated circuit; engineered polymer can remember, respond to external stimuli (More)


> Astronomers observe rapidly growing sunspot facing Earth, warn phenomenon could cause solar flares that may potentially disrupt electronics in the coming days; researchers rate risk of some interference as low to moderate (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.3%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.4%) to end three-day losing streak (More)


> Apple to hold first fully live product event since onset of pandemic Sept. 7; company is expected to introduce new iPhone lineup (More)


> Peloton begins selling apparel and equipment on Amazon; shares of connected fitness giant close up 20% (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> The US carries out airstrikes in eastern Syria against Iran-backed groups; strikes follow recent attacks near US-based forces assisting in fighting against Islamic State remnants in the region (More)


> California set to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035; announcement, expected today, would require all new vehicles sold to be emission-free (More)


> Ethiopian government forces clash with fighters from separatist Tigray region, breaking five-month truce that allowed aid to be delivered (More) | See 101 on the civil war (More)



Searching for King Arthur

Smithsonian | Joshua Hammer. The mythical figure behind the story of King Arthur first emerged in Welsh poetry in the late sixth century—a story embellished and built upon over the next thousand years. (Read)

Why MoviePass Really Failed

Verge | Nick Statt. (From 2019) Following its high-profile implosion three years ago, the monthly cinematic subscription service announced its return this week. Take a look back at its previous attempt to disrupt Hollywood's business model. (Read)



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The best places to see fall foliage in the US.


Digging into America's obsession with pets.


Teenage pilot sets record for solo flight around the world.


Drought reveals 113-million-year-old dinosaur tracks in Texas.


Watch a massive superyacht sink off Italy's coast.


The case for squishing the invasive spotted lanternfly


China alters ending for "Minions: The Rise of Gru."


Your doppelgänger is out there—and you might share DNA


Clickbait: Tesla owner implants car key into his hand (w/video).


Historybook: Matthew Webb becomes first person to swim across English Channel (1875); Singer Aaliyah dies in plane crash (2001); Voyager 1 becomes first human-made object to enter interstellar space (2012); Astronaut Neil Armstrong dies (2012); Sen. John McCain dies (2018).


"In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

- John McCain

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