9.14.2023

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Good morning. It's Thursday, Sept. 14, and we're covering a potential walkout at some US automakers, the end of a two-week search in Pennsylvania, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Auto Strike Looms

The four-year contract between 150,000 autoworkers and three US carmakers is set to expire at midnight tonight, potentially prompting a series of targeted strikes across the industry if no agreement is reached. Observers estimate a weeklong general strike—the first involving workers at all three companies—would cost the industry more than $5B over the next ten days. 

 

Representatives from United Auto Workers have been negotiating for months with the Big Three: General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler). The union seeks a slew of measures, including double-digit wage increases, the restoration of pension plans, and more. The threat of a UAW strike—led by newly elected Shawn Fain, the first president elected directly by members—comes as elevated inflation reduces purchasing power. 

 

While traditional carmakers have seen profitable recent quarters, they face headwinds as both the market and government subsidies pivot to electric vehicle manufacturing, a shift led by nonunionized Tesla. Ford officials claim their latest offer is its most lucrative in 80 years.

 

Putin Hosts Kim

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held an hourslong summit yesterday, a conversation reportedly largely focused on military support from North Korea for Russia's war in Ukraine. For the 39-year-old Kim, it was his first known trip outside the country since before the pandemic.  

 

Analysts have speculated for months to what degree Russia—now in its 19th month of war—had depleted existing stockpiles of ammunition and weaponry. Earlier this year, officials estimated Russia may have used more than 10 million total rounds last year, at least five times more than its annual production capacity.

 

Conversely, North Korea is believed to hold millions of old rounds and Soviet-era missiles. The country would also benefit greatly from any financial support from Russia—the North Korea economy has contracted by almost 5% since 2020, with a GDP per capita around $1,000. 

 

Western officials condemned the talks but did not specify any potential response to the meeting.

 

Escaped Killer Captured

Convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante was caught yesterday by Pennsylvania police after evading officials for two weeks, during which he broke into homes and altered his appearance. The 34-year-old Brazilian inmate had escaped from Chester County Prison 30 miles west of Philadelphia after scaling two close walls in a corner of an outside exercise area and reaching the roof (see video).

 

Cavalcante, armed with a stolen .22 caliber gun, was found lying in a wooded area near a John Deere tractor dealership on the outer perimeter of a nearly 10-square-mile search zone. Police discovered him using a thermal imaging camera on a Drug Enforcement Administration aircraft. Cavalcante tried to escape from tactical units at the scene by crawling through underbrush but was subdued by a K-9 police dog, who bit his head. See a visual dive detailing his escape and capture here.

 

Cavalcante was sentenced to life in prison last month for murdering his ex-girlfriend in front of her two children in 2021; he is also wanted for homicide in Brazil.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Taylor Swift wins top honor of Video of the Year for "Anti-Hero" as part of a night's best nine awards at MTV Video Music Awards (More) | VMA television viewership up 37% from 2022 (More)

> US Senate subcommittee subpoenas Saudi public investment fund, seeking documents related to LIV Golf partnership with the PGA Tour (More)

> NFT project "Stoner Cats," backed by celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission, required to pay back NFT buyers (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Scientists develop AI model capable of detecting multiple health conditions, including Parkinson's disease, from retinal scans (More) | Stability AI releases

Stable Audio, a generative AI platform capable of creating original audio from text descriptions (More) | How generative AI works (More)

> Vaccine-maker Moderna says its mRNA-based flu shot successfully generated an immune response against common influenza strains in clinical trials; vaccine may be available next year (More)

> Stem cells responsible for vertebrae development also secrete a protein facilitating tumor metastasis, suggesting the reason many cancers tend to spread near the spine (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq +0.3%); August inflation up 3.7% over last year compared to 3.2% in July, with gasoline prices driving over half of the increase (More) | Chip designer Arm prices initial public offering at $52 per share, valuing the company at approximately $56B; shares to start trading on the Nasdaq exchange today (More

> Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other tech CEOs meet with 60 US Senators to discuss artificial intelligence and potential regulations (More)

> Founder and former CEO Howard Schultz steps down from Starbucks board of directors role (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

In partnership with The Ascent

> Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) says he will not seek reelection next year, partly citing his age; the 76-year-old, who was a former presidential candidate and a governor, ends his term in January 2025 (More)

> Hurricane Lee heads toward the coasts of New England and eastern Canada as it moves northwest over the Atlantic Ocean as a Category 2 storm; Lee is expected to bring flooding and rain to the areas by Friday (More) | See trajectory (More)

> Hunter Biden's attorneys sue former Trump White House aide over alleged role in distributing private emails and photos purportedly from his laptop (More) | Former President Donald Trump waives right to speedy trial in Fulton County, Georgia, election interference case (More)

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In-Depth

> The Honda Point Disaster of 1923

Atavist | Robert Kolker. How a wrong turn and poor visibility one night in September 1923 led to the largest peacetime loss of US Navy ships in American history, wrecking seven ships and taking the lives of 23 men. (Read)

 

> The 'Noah's Ark' of Chocolate

Smithsonian | Heide Brandes. Scientists in Ecuador's rainforests are on a quest to save the world's most coveted chocolate, derived from nearly extinct ancient cacao trees, while also restoring the country's coastal forests. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

A marble-cubed arts center completes World Trade Center redevelopment.

 

Two 1,000-year-old (alleged) alien corpses revealed to Mexican Congress.

 

Utah tops the list of the happiest states in the US.

 

The day Saturday morning cartoons died.

 

Ben Affleck and Ice Spice reveal Dunkin's latest drink.

 

Singer Kelsea Ballerini and QB Jalen Hurts among Time’s 100Next list.

 

A look at Maryland's urgent care for mental health.

 

Sony creates program to help robot dogs find a new home.

 

Clickbait: Soccer's newest GOAT demonstrates impressive ball skills

 

Historybook: President William McKinley dies of gunshot wounds (1901); Soviet probe Luna 2 becomes the first human-made object to reach the moon (1959); OPEC, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is founded (1960); Actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly dies (1982); Singer Amy Winehouse born (1983).

"Everything has to be earned, through work, persistence, and honesty."

- Princess Grace Kelly

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