Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison passed away yesterday at age 88, from what a spokesperson called complications with a bout of pneumonia. The world-renowned author, known for capturing the black experience in America, authored 11 novels in addition to numerous essays, children's books, and nonfiction works. Morrison was born in 1931 in Lorain, Ohio, and moved to Washington DC to attend Howard University, ultimately earning a master's degree from Cornell in 1955 (see her life in quotes). It wasn't until 13 years later that she released her first novel, The Bluest Eye. Her most notable works included Beloved, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1998, along with Song of Solomon (National Book Critics Circle Award), Sula, and more. In 1993 Morrison became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 (among many other awards).
Lawyers filing a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America say they have identified nearly 800 former scouts who were abused by troop leaders. The suit says the abuse ranged over eight decades across nearly every US state and pinpoints 350 alleged abusers who were not identified in previous lawsuits against the organization - evidence that lawyers say shows the Scouts have hidden the true extent of abuse across its ranks (read more). The 109-year-old BSA is the preeminent scouting body in the county with close to 2.3 million members but has been weighed down by a long string of sexual abuse claims, the most recent of which occurred in April when nearly 200 individuals came forward. The organization was considering filing bankruptcy last December due to high costs associated with the claims. Separately, BSA is preparing to lose a large chunk of members when the Mormon Church officially ends its partnership at the end of 2019, taking nearly 425,000 troops - or 18% of Scout membership - with it.
A new report released yesterday estimated that nearly 1.8 billion people are at risk of extreme water scarcity, representing nearly a quarter of the world's population. The report finds that the risk is the highest in some of the poorest nations on Earth, with 12 of the 17 highest-risk countries located in the Middle East and North Africa (see report). The data found that in areas with the highest water stress, nearly 80% of available water supplies are being used each year. The dwindling reserves mean that even small dry spells can put extreme stress on municipalities, agriculture, and industry. A number of major cities have already come (or are coming) perilously close to depleting reserves - São Paulo dipped to 3% of reserves during a 2014 drought, Cape Town narrowly missed hitting "Day Zero" in 2018, and Chennai, India is currently rationing water supplies.
> Smithsonian to add Beyoncé portrait from 2018 Vogue cover to National Portrait Gallery; portrait's photographer, Tyler Mitchell, was first African American to shoot cover of the magazine (More)
> Carmen's Crew beats Golden Eagles 66-60 to win 2019 The Basketball Tournament, a $2M winner-take-all tournament featuring former college and NBA players (More)
> Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal will be subject of latest season of FX's award-winning American Crime Story series; Lewinsky to be a producer on Impeachment (More)
Science & Technology.
> Amazon rolls out self-driving delivery robots to Irvine, California, will be accompanied by a person in first phase (More)
> Scientists create an eye-on-a-chip, an accurate replica of the human eye that allows drug testing for eye disease without human subjects (More)
> Reports say company behind Zolgensma, a genetic therapy for spinal muscular atrophy dubbed the world's most expensive drug, withheld clinical data from the FDA (More)
Business & Markets.
> US stock markets rebound slightly (S&P 500 +1.3%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +1.4%) as China stabilizes yuan (More)
> Luxury retailer Barneys files for bankruptcy, to close 15 stores (More) | Apple launches consumer credit card with Goldman Sachs - no fee and 2% cash back when purchasing with Apple Pay (More)
> Earnings Season: Disney whiffs on earnings expectations given higher investments, shares fall ~3% in after-hours (More) | Disney+ to launch in November for $12.99, including Disney, ESPN & Hulu content (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman resigns; former presidential candidate will explore bid for Utah governor (More)
> Former agent Peter Strzok sues FBI for terminating him over anti-Trump texts (More)
> Last week's shooting at California's Gilroy Garlic Festival that killed 3 and injured 13 now being investigated as domestic terrorism (More) | Ohio Governor Mike DeWine backs "red flag" laws, background checks in wake of Dayton shooting (More)
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Historybook: Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche born (1904); HBD actress Charlize Theron (1975); Operation Desert Shield preps US to enter Gulf War (1990); US embassies in Kenya & Tanzania are bombed, killing 224 and wounding 4,500 (1998); RIP journalist Peter Jennings (2005).
"Hearts are the strongest when they beat in response to noble ideals." - Ralph Bunche
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