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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Aug. 8, and we're covering a foiled assassination plot against Ukraine's president, the death of an Oscar-winning director, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Assassination Plot Thwarted

Ukrainian authorities said yesterday they had arrested a woman in connection with a purported assassination plot against President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The plot was allegedly hatched by Russian officials to gather information on the president’s whereabouts.


The unidentified woman is a former saleswoman in a military shop and lives in the southern town of Ochakiv in the Mykolaiv region—a vital Ukrainian port on the Black Sea. According to the country's secret service agency, the suspect was caught gathering intelligence about Zelenskyy's planned trip to the Mykolaiv region to provide to Russia, including his full itinerary as well as the locations of electronic warfare systems and ammunition depots. Russia was allegedly planning a targeted attack while Zelenskyy was in the area.


Zelenskyy has said there were at least a dozen assassination attempts on him during the first two weeks after the war began. The woman may be facing up to 12 years in prison. See updates on the war here.


Sentencing in Floyd Killing

Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison yesterday for his role in the 2020 death of George Floyd. The state sentencing marks the end for the officers present when former officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd while attempting to arrest him, ultimately killing Floyd. 


Thao, who held back bystanders and referred to himself as a "human traffic cone," was convicted of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter by a state jury in May. He is already serving three and a half years in prison on federal charges. Thao will be transferred to a Minnesota state prison after finishing his federal sentence.


Chauvin is serving two concurrent prison terms: 22 and a half years for state charges and 21 years for federal civil rights charges. Former officer J. Alexander Kueng is serving a state sentence of three and a half years and a federal sentence of three years, while former officer Thomas Lane is serving a state sentence of three years and a federal sentence of two and a half years.


'Exorcist' Director Dies

William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist," died yesterday of heart failure and pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 87. 


Born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrants, Friedkin began his directing career at a local TV station in the 1950s, moving on to documentaries over the next decade (see bio). He rose to fame with 1971's gritty police drama "French Connection"—whose New York City car chase frequently ranks as the greatest of all time—which earned five Academy Awards, including best director and picture. Two years later, Friedkin directed the now-iconic supernatural horror film "The Exorcist" about a possessed young girl, a film which would become the ninth-highest-grossing US film of all time, adjusted for inflation. 


Friedkin went on to direct dozens of projects over four decades, culminating in a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. His last project, "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial," will debut Aug. 30.  

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Chicago White Sox's Tim Anderson suspended six games, Cleveland Guardians' Jose Ramirez suspended three games for role in bench-clearing brawl (More) | President Joe Biden hosts 2022 World Series champs Houston Astros at White House (More)

> Bryan Randall, photographer and longtime partner of Sandra Bullock, dies at 57 following three-year battle with ALS (More)

> Rapper Tory Lanez to be sentenced this morning in 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion (More) | Comedian Wayne Brady comes out as pansexual (More)

From our partners: Now may be a good time to transfer your balance. This leading balance transfer card offers 0% intro APR for 21 months. With no annual fee. Find us a card that offers longer than 21 months. We'll wait. Apply today.


Science & Technology

> Researchers develop deep learning AI model capable of "acoustic hacking," with the ability to recreate passwords from the sound of the keyboard as you type (More)

> Nanoscale "tattoos"—wire patterns that allow real-time sensing—provide key step toward monitoring the health of individual living cells (More)

> Physicists achieve fusion ignition for second time, recreating a breakthrough experiment first performed in December (More) | See previous write-up (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close up (S&P 500 +0.9%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +0.6%); S&P 500 and Nasdaq snap four-day losing streaks (More)

> Saudi Aramco reports $30B in profits, down 40% from last year (More) | Trucking giant Yellow Corp. declares bankruptcy (More)

> Paramount Global agrees to sell Simon & Schuster to private equity firm KKR for $1.6B (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> South Korea evacuates roughly 40,000 scouts from southwestern coastal site of World Scout Jamboree event as Tropical Storm Khanun nears; the storm is expected to make landfall Thursday morning local time (More

> Federal judge tosses former President Donald Trump's defamation counterclaim against writer E. Jean Carroll; a federal jury previously found Trump liable for sexual abuse (More

> Niger's military junta closes West African nation's airspace, defies deadline to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum; West African economic bloc to meet Thursday to discuss Niger coup (More) | See our previous write-up (More)



> The Daughter of a Newspaperman

The Atavist | Lucy Sexton, Joe Sexton. In 2021, a journalist was kidnapped by Libyan intelligence agents on a reporting trip in Tripoli, during which his daughter was producing a series about the Iran hostage crisis. (Read)


> The Shop Around the Corner

Wall Street Journal | Ben Cohen. A look at how Barnes & Noble is giving store managers more control over what they stock and how they price it, in an effort to replicate the charm of indie bookstores. (Read)

In partnership with CARIUMA

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The $24M SIM-swapping hack. (w/video) 


India's moon mission sends new photos of moon's surface.


Golf in the clouds tops World Sports Photography awards.


The best and worst US states to have a baby in 2023


Why petting other people's dogs is good for you.


Thirty-nine colors you might not have heard of


Meet the good-smelling, muppet-looking Kākāpō bird.


Fugitive burglar bear, Hank the Tank, apprehended.


Clickbait: Calling all monster hunters.


Historybook: Thomas Edison patents the mimeograph (1876); Writer Shirley Jackson dies (1965); President Richard Nixon announces his resignation (1974); Roger Federer born (1981); Olivia Newton-John dies (2022). 

"You have to believe in the long term plan you have but you need the short term goals to motivate and inspire you."

- Roger Federer

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