3.10.2023

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Good morning. It's Friday, March 10, and we're covering the White House's budget proposal, a deadly shooting in Germany, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Breaking newsPolice in Hamburg, Germany, have been providing updates on a shooting that occurred late yesterday at a Jehovah's Witness meeting hall that left at least seven people dead. This is a developing story—see updates here.

Biden Budget Proposal

The Biden administration released its fiscal year 2024 budget proposal yesterday, a plan totaling almost $6.9T in spending. The figure surpasses the $6.4T projected for 2023, and is roughly 35% higher than 2019, the last full fiscal year before the pandemic. Experts say it is unlikely to gain support in a divided Congress.

 

The plan includes $886B in discretionary defense spending (up 3.3% from the current year) and $688B in nondefense discretionary programs (up 7.3%). The plan also aims to reduce the federal deficit, which was almost $1.4T last year, by $3T over a decade, through a variety of tax increases and provisions. See details on specific programs here.

 

Medicare funding would be shored up for an additional 25 years. Annual spending on the program—which is mandatory, or required by law—makes up 12% of federal outlays but is expected to double by 2033. Funding would largely be raised via a 5% surtax on those making $400K and above. 

 

Presidential budgets are largely symbolic, laying out White House priorities, with Congress developing and passing appropriations bills. See a breakdown of the process and federal spending here

 

Separately, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) reportedly suffered a concussion after a fall Wednesday night. 

 

Russia Goes Hypersonic

At least nine civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands were left without heat or electricity after waves of Russian missiles and a number of explosive drones landed in cities across eastern Ukraine. 

 

Reports suggest the bombardment included at least a handful of Russia's high-tech hypersonic Kinzhal missiles. Capable of traveling more than a mile per second, they are too quick for traditional air defenses. It is unclear why the advanced weapons were used in this attack, though it likely contributed to higher hit rates. Ukrainian officials said 47 of 81 missiles (only an estimated six were hypersonic) reached their targets. 

 

The attacks also threatened the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—Europe's largest nuclear facility—which lost power for more than 11 hours. The plant's reactors require constant power to maintain its cooling systems; continued shelling in the area has raised concerns of a meltdown

 

See updates on the broader war here.

 

Indonesia's Sinking City

Indonesia has begun construction of its new capital city of Nusantara, replacing Jakarta, in East Borneo—a jungle rich in natural resources and known for its orangutan population. Environmentalists and Indigenous groups have criticized the nearly $33B project, saying the project has many economic and ecological ramifications while exposing residents to endemic diseases like malaria.

 

Officials say the new capital plans include a futuristic green city that uses renewable energy resources, "smart" waste management, and environmentally friendly buildings and aims to be carbon-neutral by 2045. However, critics say the project may lead to substantial rainforest deforestation, threaten endangered species' habitats, put Indigenous peoples' homes at risk, and more.

 

The project was sparked by Jakarta's overpopulation, infrastructure problems, and chronic flooding. Home to 10 million people, Jakarta is quickly sinking into the Java Sea, and parts of the city could be entirely submerged by 2050. See history here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> The 95th annual Academy Awards set for Sunday (8 pm ET, ABC); see preview and predictions for every category (More) | "Fiddler on the Roof" star Chaim Topol dies at 87 (More

> The 2023 South by Southwest kicks off today from Austin, Texas; see SXSW preview of speakers, films, music, and events (More) | Prince Harry and Meghan's two children officially receive royal titles of Prince and Princess of Sussex (More

> NCAA basketball tournament selections released Sunday; see predictions for men's bracket (More) | ... and women's bracket (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Climate scientists say Pacific weather pattern known as La Niña, associated with stronger hurricanes and drought in the West, has ended (More) | What are La Niña and El Niño? (More)

> Scientists discover a cluster of nerve cells responsible for signaling to the brain when viruses like the flu are present; signal triggers the cascade of what ultimately becomes flu-like symptoms (More)

> Engineers use knots tied with material thinner than human hair to make materials with enhanced toughness and deformability; may find applications in dynamic environments seen in biomedical and aerospace applications (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with Monogram

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.9%, Dow -1.7%, Nasdaq -2.1%) led by drop in bank stocks (More)

> Silicon Valley Bank shares fall 60% after announcing plans for over $2B capital raise to offset bond losses (More)

> General Motors to offer voluntary buyouts to a majority of white-collar employees in move to cut costs (More)

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Disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for Monogram Orthopedics’ Regulation A+ offering. Learn more at invest.monogramorthopedics.com/disclaimers 

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Mexican cartel apologizes, reportedly turns over five people responsible for the deaths of two American tourists; the group of four was kidnapped after passing into cartel territory en route to receive cosmetic surgery in the country (More)

> Norfolk Southern testifies before Congress on train derailment that spilled toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, last month (More) | Journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger testify on details surrounding release of the "Twitter Files" (More)

> California prepares for the latest atmospheric river weather pattern, projected to bring heavy rains and snow to Southern and Central California through the weekend (More) | See our previous write-up (More)

 

In-Depth

> Stealing America's Secrets

NYT | Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. How a single informant led to a treasure trove of information detailing how China systematically poaches intellectual property from other countries. (Read)

 

> Flying for the Miles

Hustle | Mark Dent. Airline loyalty programs offer special perks to their most frequent flyers, leading some to embark on long, cheap flights to reach elite status. (Read)

 

> The World's Greatest Dogsledder*

GQ | John Rosengren. Five-time Iditarod winner Dallas Seavey's accomplishments are marked with an asterisk after a 2017 doping allegation. Can he overcome the past and contribute to the sport's evolution? (Read)

 

> Origins of the Body Mass Index

STAT | Staff. It's the most common tool used to diagnose obesity-related issues—and many argue it's a flawed method with a strange history. (Watch)

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Etcetera
 

Maybe money can buy happiness.

 

Ranking America's top cities by economic output.

 

Mind-bending geometric art combined into photorealistic portraits. (via YouTube)

 

Visualizing the range of electric cars over the past decade.

 

Flamingos of a feather flock together.

 

Further explaining TikTok's controversial Bold Glamour filter.

 

... and social media's latest terrible fad—parasite cleanses

 

Watch Owen Wilson go full Bob Ross.

 

Clickbait: Federal agents raid a creepy doll shop.

 

Historybook: Courrières mining accident kills 1,099 in France (1906); Harriet Tubman dies (1913); Sharon Stone born (1958); Dot-com bubble peaks as the Nasdaq hits 5,048 (2000); Ethiopian Airlines flight crashes, killing 157 (2019).

"There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other."

- Harriet Tubman

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