4.19.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, April 19, and we're covering a settlement in a high-profile defamation case, a probe into unidentified aerial phenomena, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Dominion Settlement

Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News agreed to a settlement yesterday in a high-profile defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion alleging the cable news network knowingly aired false statements that caused reputational damage following the 2020 presidential election. The decision came on the first day of the trial, just before opening statements. 

 

Dominion initially sued Fox for $1.6B in damages; according to reports, the network will pay Dominion more than $787M to address the claims. The company manufactures the machines and software used for electronic voting in 28 states, though usage varies from county to county. The company is the second-largest vendor of such machines in a niche where three companies make up almost 90% of the market. The lawsuit also made headlines for surfacing internal communications by Fox News anchors contradicting on-air statements following the election. 

 

Read Dominion's original filing against Fox News here.

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Congress Probes UFOs

The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee will hold a public hearing today on unidentified anomalous phenomena—known colloquially as UFOs—in the second such open hearing on the topic in the last 50 years. Sean Kirkpatrick, head of the All-domain Anomaly Reporting Office of the Defense Department, will give updates on the agency's operations since the office's establishment in July. The live feed begins here at 10:30 am ET. 

 

Interest in UAPs has surged in recent years amid an uptick in unresolved sightings of unidentifiable craft, posing risks to training pilots and revealing possible vulnerabilities in national security. Proponents of making information public argue reports have long failed to gain public attention due to an entrenched, decades-old stigma associated with UFOs. 

 

In 2017, several videos showing wingless vehicles performing complex maneuvers drew broader attention to the issue, culminating in a historic Congressional hearing in May and the creation of AARO. The office's mission is to synchronize efforts to resolve reports of UAPs across military and intelligence agencies.

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Groff v. DeJoy

The US Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit brought by former postal worker Gerald Groff, who claims the United States Postal Service violated his religious beliefs by requiring him to work Sundays.

 

Groff, an evangelical Christian, requested not to work Sundays due to religious obligation after the USPS signed a contract with Amazon in 2013. The USPS argues Groff's absences created an undue hardship on his coworkers. Groff’s lawyers are asking the court to make it easier for employees to bring religious claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

 

The justices questioned whether to overturn a 1977 Supreme Court ruling, Trans World Airlines v. Hardison, which says employers can deny religious accommodations to employees when the requests impose a minimal burden. Groff’s lawyers say employers should need to show “significant difficulty or expense” to reject religious accommodation. A ruling is expected by the end of June.

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Editor's note: Yesterday, we incorrectly said 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot and killed after reportedly ringing the wrong doorbell in a Kansas City neighborhood. Yarl was shot but is recovering at home. Thanks to our readers for flagging the error. 

In partnership with The Ascent

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Seed

> Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin fully cleared to play for first time since suffering cardiac arrest during a Jan. 2 Monday Night Football game (More)

> Real Madrid and AC Milan advance to UEFA Champions League semifinal; Manchester City takes on Bayern Munich, and Inter Milan is pitted against Benfica today in quarterfinal matches (More)

> The 2023 Tribeca Film Festival (June 7-18) lineup unveiled, includes 109 feature films from filmmakers across 36 countries (More)

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Science & Technology

> Microsoft is developing an in-house processor specific for AI applications, whose performance reportedly rivals market leader Nvidia (More) | What are GPUs, and how do they power AI? (More)

> US health officials say a single dose of updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is sufficient to protect against the coronavirus for those under 65 years old; previous versions of the vaccine are no longer authorized for use in the US (More)

> New study finds dozens of species have made homes in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, creating a marine ecosystem among the 620,000-square-mile-wide accumulation of plastic waste (More)

 

Business & Markets

> Apple opens its first retail store in India in Mumbai, second store opening later this week in New Delhi (More) | Netflix beats earnings expectations, but misses on revenues; will end mail-in DVD service after 25 years at the end of September (More

> Southwest Airlines temporarily grounds hundreds of flights due to technical error (More) | United Airlines posts first quarter loss, but projects second quarter gain as travel season heats up (More

> Canada’s annual inflation growth rate drops to 4.3% in March, lowest rate of growth since August 2021 (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Russian court rejects appeal by Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, jailed on charges of espionage (More) | See background (More) | Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly visits Ukraine's occupied Kherson region (More)

> Death toll rises to at least 185 people with over 1,800 injured as military and opposition groups fight for the fourth day for the control of Sudan's capital of Khartoum despite 24-hour cease-fire announcement (More)

> Kansas City man, 84, who shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl turns himself in to police a day after being charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, out on bond (More) | At least one person was killed and at least five more injured after second floor of parking garage in lower Manhattan collapses onto the first floor, an unknown number believed to be trapped (More)

In partnership with The Ascent

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Etcetera
 

Explaining the (temporary) strange spiral in the Alaskan night sky

 

Trinity the T. rex sells for more than $5M at auction.

 

A history of the coast-to-coast road trip.

 

Coachella gets fined for breaking curfew.

 

The argument for a worldwide "lights out" initiative.

 

Visualizing the scale of various flying creatures. (via YouTube)

 

Italian officials find $440M in cocaine floating in the ocean.

 

Air National Guardsman busted after applying to be a hitman.

 

Clickbait: Unruly toddler sneaks through White House fence.

 

Historybook: Battles of Lexington and Concord begin the American Revolutionary War (1775); Charles Darwin dies (1882); Boston Marathon held for first time (1897); Actress Ashley Judd born (1968); Oklahoma City bombing kills 168 (1995).

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