Record Border Stops, Minnesota Fraud, and Counting Earth's Ants Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Sept. 21, and we're covering a record number of migrant arrivals at the US border, the largest pandemic aid fraud scheme, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].


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Record Border Encounters

More than 2 million people were stopped at the US-Mexico border during the past 11 months, with a record 2.3 million border encounters projected for the 2022 fiscal year, according to new figures from Customs and Border Protection. It marks the first time the figure has eclipsed the 2 million mark in a single fiscal year and represents an increase from the 1.7 million encounters for fiscal year 2021.


The total is driven by a surge in migration from Central and South America, with the number of immigrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela up 175% from last year. In August, roughly one in five migrants had already been apprehended within the previous 12 months. See data here


In related news, a group of migrants transported to Martha's Vineyard by Florida officials filed a class-action suit against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and the state's transportation secretary, claiming they boarded flights from Texas under false pretenses.

Fiona Moves North

Three people died and thousands were stranded as Hurricane Fiona strengthened into a Category 3 storm, making it the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season. After sweeping across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic Monday, the storm moved north toward the islands of Turks and Caicos, whose population is close to 40,000. It is not expected to hit the US mainland.


Fiona is the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since Maria in 2017 when over 3,000 people died, and the power grid was disrupted for close to a year. Power had been restored as of yesterday morning to hundreds of thousands in Puerto Rico, but close to a million residents remained without clean water due to issues at filtration plants. Experts believe Fiona will strengthen into a Category 4 by Friday before hitting Bermuda.


See photos of the damage here, and track the storm's path here.  

Minnesota Fraud Scheme

Nearly 50 people in Minnesota have been charged with laundering an estimated $250M in pandemic relief aid, which was intended to provide meals to children from lower-income families. The case is the largest fraud scheme to take advantage of federal pandemic programs, the US Justice Department said yesterday.


Prosecutors claim 47 individuals tied to Minnesota-based nonprofit Feeding Our Future falsely reported serving tens of thousands of meals to children across 250 sites and sought reimbursement for the cost of those meals from the Department of Agriculture's Federal Child Nutrition Program. The individuals then allegedly laundered the funds through shell companies to buy luxury cars, property, jewelry, and other personal items. They have been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery (see details).


To date, more than $8B in suspected pandemic fraud has been found, including in more than 1,500 criminal cases. 

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Chirp

> New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hits 60th home run of the season, one behind Roger Maris' American League single-season record of 61 (More) | Maury Wills, Los Angeles Dodgers great and 1962 National League MVP, dies at 89 (More)


> YouTube announces new revenue-sharing model for short-form content; Shorts creators will receive 45% of ad revenue (More)


> The Golden Globes returning to NBC in 2023 (Jan. 10) after 2022's broadcast was pulled following investigation into lack of diversity at Hollywood Foreign Press Association (More)

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Science & Technology

> Hardware-maker Nvidia announces processor unit with 77 billion transistors, meant to unify nearly all computer-controlled automation in self-driving vehicles (More)


> Uganda declares Ebola outbreak after health officials identify at least eight suspected cases and up to six potential deaths (More)


> Researchers develop method to distinguish audio deepfakes from authentic recordings; process compares speech to the range of sounds possible using human vocal cords (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.1%, Dow -1.0%, Nasdaq -1.0%) ahead of today’s Federal Reserve meeting, where analysts expect a third consecutive 0.75% interest rate increase (More)


> CVS ($82.5M) and Walmart ($65M) agree to pay to settle claims over roles in West Virginia’s opioid crisis (More) | Charter Communications to pay $1.1B to estate of 83-year-old woman murdered by a cable technician (More)


> Ford shares fall 12%, highest since 2011, after company warns investors of $1B in unexpected costs (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Four Ukrainian regions currently held by Russia or Kremlin-backed separatists plan Friday referendum on whether to become part of Russia; analysts say referendum, which is expected to pass, is a pretense of increasing Russian military operations (More) | See updates on the war here (More)


> House Jan. 6 Committee schedules next public hearing for Sept. 28; witnesses and specific topic to be announced (More) | Judge Raymond Dearie, independent reviewer of documents taken during FBI Mar-a-Lago search, calls for details on claims the material had been declassified (More)


> At least three people killed as Iranian authorities crack down on anti-hijab protests; demonstrations were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody for allegedly breaking hijab requirements (More)



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Earth has a lot of ants—20 quadrillion to be precise


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... and the US Space Force unveils its official song.


Meet the 100-year-old runner who holds four world records.


Have high blood pressure? Try daily breath training.


Turns out Queen Elizabeth II wrote to a pen pal for 70 years.


Razor-thin ATM skimmers plague New York.


Fisherman catches bizarre shark with bulging eyes.


Clickbait: Beyond Meat executive arrested for biting man's nose


Historybook: Science fiction author HG Wells born (1866); "The Hobbit" is published (1937); Bill Murray born (1950); Senate confirms Sandra Day O’Connor as first female Supreme Court justice (1981); Track and field legend Florence Griffith Joyner dies (1998).


"I believe in the impossible because no one else does."

- Florence Griffith Joyner

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