4.27.2023

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Good morning. It's Thursday, April 27, and we're covering a lawsuit in Florida, the next crop of NFL talent, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Disney Sues DeSantis

The Walt Disney Co. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) alleging the governor's actions toward the company over the last year infringe on the company's constitutional rights. The suit is the latest move in an escalating conflict between the state's chief executive and its top taxpayer. 

 

Disney and DeSantis have been at odds since the company criticized a Florida law passed last March prohibiting the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools (see overview). Shortly after, DeSantis urged the state legislature to remove Disney's special tax district status, which had effectively allowed the company to self-govern the 25,000-acre resort for decades. Read more about what special districts are in the state here.

 

DeSantis reconstituted the special district and its five-member board of governors in February and placed it under his authority, prompting a power struggle in the transition between Disney's board and DeSantis' appointees. See a timeline of events here.

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NFL Draft Begins

The 2023 NFL Draft kicks off tonight (8 pm ET, ABC/ESPN), live from Kansas City's Union Station. Round one will be held tonight, rounds two and three tomorrow, and rounds four through seven Saturday. 

 

Analysts expect the top of the draft to feature a number of quarterbacks. Alabama's Bryce Young is widely projected to be taken by the Carolina Panthers as the top pick, with signal callers CJ Stroud (Ohio State), Anthony Richardson (Florida), Hendon Hooker (Tennessee), and Will Levis (Kentucky) potentially going in the first round. Betting odds for Levis to go as the top pick rose from 40-1 to 4-1 this week, reportedly fueled by an anonymous internet post suggesting Levis had been contacted by the Panthers. The Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Seattle Seahawks round out the top five picks. 

 

Check out some of the top sleeper candidates here, and read about the time the Minnesota Vikings failed to make a first-round pick during their allotted time.

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UK Blocks Microsoft-Activision Bid 

British regulators yesterday blocked Microsoft's $69B bid to acquire video game maker Activision Blizzard, ruling the proposed takeover would stifle competition in the UK within the fast-growing cloud gaming market. Regulators claim Microsoft already accounts for 60% to 70% of the global cloud gaming market. Microsoft said it plans to appeal the decision. See the ruling here.

 

The UK watchdog's conclusion comes as Microsoft awaits the European Commission's decision from its own investigation into the attempted deal, expected to come May 22. In the US, Microsoft is waiting for a hearing in August involving the Federal Trade Commission's lawsuit to veto the transaction. 

 

If successful, the acquisition would be Microsoft's largest-ever and one of the 30 biggest deals in history (see list). The agreement between Microsoft and Activision—known for popular games such as "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft"—expires July 18, though it can be extended, and includes a $3B breakup fee. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Jafar Panahi, dissident Iranian film director, departs Iran for first time in 14 years; Panahi was dealt a travel ban in 2009 for supporting mass protests against the regime (More)

> Bipartisan US lawmakers introduce bill requiring ticket merchants to disclose hidden fees upfront (More) | Similar bill introduced intended to produce more competition in ticketing market (More)

> Manchester City tops Arsenal 4-1 to nearly clinch 2022-23 English Premier League title (More)

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Science & Technology

> Apple to roll out AI-powered health and fitness coaching services for its Apple Watch; features reportedly to included personalized eating, sleeping, and exercise plans (More)

> Astronomers capture first image of a jet of superheated matter being ejected from the edge of a black hole (More)

> Chemists develop additive which turns streams of mixed plastic waste into a new set of polymers, allowing it to be recycled into higher value products (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.4%, Dow -0.7%, Nasdaq +0.5%); S&P 500, Dow dragged down on concerns about banking system health while tech stocks rise on Big Tech earnings (More)

> Meta (Facebook) beats expectations for revenue, earnings, and user growth; Q1 year-over-year revenue growth comes after three consecutive quarters of declines (More)

> First Republic Bank shares continue to slide, falling 30% and hitting an all-time low Wednesday; the bank's stock has fallen more than 90% year to date (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> US House votes 217-215 to pass bill that would raise the borrowing limit and include $4.5T in cuts; the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate (More) | Montana House votes 68-32 to bar first openly transgender legislator Zooey Zephyr (D) from the chamber for the rest of the legislative session following comments regarding gender-affirming care bill; Zephyr allowed to vote remotely (More) | See background (More

> Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Chinese President Xi Jinping speak for the first time since Russia's invasion (More) | See war updates (More) | US to dock nuclear submarines in South Korea for the first time in over 40 years (More

> Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) formally launches presidential campaign after announcing intentions to run earlier this month (More) | See all 2024 presidential candidates thus far (More

 

In-Depth

> Secret Communications  

MIT Press Reader | Kristie Macrakis. A look at how elements of modern espionage and secret communications in spy work developed through ancient methods, from using invisible ink to concealing messages in animal carcasses. (Read)

 

Discovering the Double Helix

Nature | Matthew Cobb, Nathaniel Comfort. Lore says James Watson and Francis Crick, credited with discovering the DNA's double helix, stole data from Rosalind Franklin. But that's not the case. Turns out, she was an equal player. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Ranking America's best graduate schools.

 

Half of US households have no retirement savings.

 

A first edition Shakespeare text goes on display in London.

 

Footage captures humpback whales frolicking on the sea floor.

 

Explore 10 of the worst book-to-screen adaptations.

 

Danish girl discovers 1,000-year-old Viking coins.

 

Spilled rice delays Southwest flight.

 

The hazards of dog walking

 

Clickbait: Athletes compete at the European seagull screeching competition.

 

Historybook: Ferdinand Magellan dies (1521); Ralph Waldo Emerson dies (1882); Coretta Scott King born (1927); Nelson Mandela wins election to become first Black president of South Africa (1994); New York City’s Freedom Tower construction begins (2006).

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