3.27.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, March 27, and we're covering the near-total collapse of a Baltimore bridge, Trump Media's stock market debut, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Baltimore Bridge Collapses

A major bridge spanning Baltimore's harbor collapsed early Tuesday after a large shipping container lost power and struck one of its support pillars. Two people were rescued from the water, while six are presumed dead. All eight people were part of a construction crew working on the bridge at the time of the incident.

 

Built in 1977, Interstate 695's nearly 2-mile-long steel Francis Scott Key Bridge was used by 35,000 drivers daily and was the only bridge to cross the harbor (see history). The Port of Baltimore—which was closed indefinitely yesterday—is the country's 14th-largest, specializing in roll-on vehicle shipments. Baltimore-bound cargo will be diverted to ports in Virginia and New York while bridge debris is dredged from the shipping channel, a monthslong process. Bridge replacement would take years. 

 

The Sri Lanka-bound container ship Dali was chartered by Maersk and operated by a Singapore-based group. Authorities were reportedly able to reduce bridge traffic after the ship issued a mayday alert. See video of the collapse here.

 

Trump Media Goes Public

Shares of Trump Media and Technology Group, the owner of former President Donald Trump's Truth Social platform, climbed as much as 59% after the opening bell yesterday in its first day on the Nasdaq Composite Index. Trump Media's stock—trading under the ticker DJT for Trump's initials—rose as high as $77 per share before settling and closing up 16% at around $58 per share, valuing the company at nearly $8B. 

 

Trump Media's debut comes after it completed a deal last week with special purpose acquisition company Digital World Acquisition, enabling it to go public. Observers say Trump Media's valuation is misaligned with its finances; it generated $3.4M in revenue while recording a $49M net loss during the first nine months of 2023. Trump's nearly 60% stake in the company is now valued at over $4B. The ticker DJT last debuted on Nasdaq in 1995, when Trump's hotel and casino company went public; it delisted in 2004 after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

 

In other news, the judge overseeing Trump's New York hush money trial issued a gag order, barring Trump from publicly commenting on witnesses and other stakeholders.

 

Paxton Avoids Fraud Trial

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) reached a deal yesterday with prosecutors to resolve criminal securities fraud charges, ending a yearslong saga weeks before his trial was set to begin. Paxton maintains his innocence.

 

In 2011, Paxton—then a state representative—was accused of recruiting two people to invest in Texas-based computer server company Servergy without disclosing to them his role as a paid adviser. Servergy's CEO was later found guilty of misleading investors, including through claims it had secured Amazon as a client (see story here). Now, Paxton has agreed to pay $271K to the two investors he recruited. The deal also requires Paxton to complete 100 hours of community service and take legal classes. Paxton had faced the possibility of 99 years in prison and loss of his legal license.

 

These charges are separate from an ongoing FBI investigation into whether Paxton traded political influence for favors with real estate developer Nate Paul. The Texas Senate acquitted Paxton in an impeachment trial over related charges last year.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with It's Skinny

> "The Bachelor" contestant Jenn Tran tapped to become first Asian American "Bachelorette" (More) | "Wonka" and "Dune" star Timothée Chalamet signs multiyear deal to both act in and produce upcoming Warner Bros. films (More

> NFL owners approve major overhaul to kickoff rules for 2024 season intended to increase number of returned kickoffs (More) | NFL sets two Christmas Day games in 2024, despite the holiday falling on a Wednesday (More)

> US music revenue hit $17.1B in 2023, an 8% rise from 2022 and the eighth consecutive year of revenue growth (More)

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Science & Technology

> OpenAI releases set of seven videos created by professional filmmakers using its new Sora text-to-video generator (More) | Tool made waves last month, producing lifelike clips made by AI; see overview (More)

> Researchers discover protein that stimulates regrowth of optical nerve fibers; may help lead to treatments for retinal damage, including glaucoma, which affects more than 3 million Americans yearly (More)

> First known symbolic gesture observed in birds; scientists recorded the Japanese tit using repetitive wing movements to signal "after you" to others (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.3%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq -0.4%); S&P 500 falls for third consecutive session (More

> Visa, MasterCard agree to cut and cap credit card processing fees charged to merchants (and often passed down to consumers) as part of settlement in long-running suit; US businesses expected to save at least $30B in five-year deal (More)

> Outerwear maker Canada Goose to lay off roughly 17% of its corporate staff as part of cost-cutting measures (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Robert Kennedy Jr. announces San Francisco attorney and Democratic donor Nicole Shanahan as his vice president pick in his third-party bid for the presidency (More) | See latest polls (More)

> US Supreme Court questions whether groups seeking to restrict access to abortion pill mifepristone have standing to sue the FDA; decision expected in June (More) | See previous write-up (More)

> UK court delays WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition; US has three weeks to provide guarantees about his First Amendment rights and protection from death penalty (More)

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Etcetera
 

Footage from 1948 surfaces of beavers parachuting

 

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are coming to McDonald's

 

Why not ... sell all sports teams to their fans?

 

South Carolina somehow has an extra $1.8B.

 

The infamous "Titanic" door prop sells for $718,750.

 

Onigiri (Japanese rice balls) and the San Francisco mayor's face.

 

A house in Pompeii was found under construction.

 

Will Smith, Martin Lawrence reunite in "Bad Boys: Ride or Die."

 

Clickbait: Is everything alive?

 

Historybook: Director Quentin Tarantino born (1963); Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, dies (1968); Mariah Carey born (1969); Tenerife Airport Disaster, worst accident in aviation history, kills 583 (1977). 

"When people ask me if I went to film school, I tell them, 'No, I went to films.'"

- Quentin Tarantino

Why 1440? The printing press was invented around the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. More facts: In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. We’re here to make each one count.

 

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