5.18.2023

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Good morning. It's Thursday, May 18, and we're covering a political crisis in Ecuador, allegations of a paparazzi chase in New York City, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Political Crisis in Ecuador

Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the country's opposition-led legislature yesterday, days before lawmakers were set to vote for his impeachment, setting off a period of presidential rule by decree ahead of snap elections. Lasso, a conservative banker elected in 2021, is accused of enabling an embezzlement scheme benefiting private contractors at the state's expense (see details).

 

Lasso survived an impeachment attempt last year by twelve votes and has faced strong opposition for certain policies—including cutting fuel subsidies—as well as surging crime rates throughout his tenure. Although strengthening ties with the US, he remains unpopular in Ecuador, reaching a decades-low 13% approval rating earlier this year. 

 

Observers disagree on the legality of Lasso's use of the so-called "mutual death" mechanism written into the 2008 constitution—the first time it has been utilized. The rule allows the president to dissolve the legislature during periods of political gridlock, and elections for both a new president and lawmakers are expected to take place within 90 days. See background on the country here.

 

Paparazzi Pursuit 

Prince Harry, his wife Meghan, and her mother, Doria Ragland, were followed in their car by paparazzi late Tuesday after attending an awards ceremony in New York, where Meghan was an honoree, according to reports. They left in a private security vehicle, were trailed by paparazzi, and then assisted by police to a precinct on the Upper East Side; they left in a taxi when the coast was clear. The incident resulted in no injuries or collisions, authorities said yesterday. 

 

The reports raised allusions to the Aug. 31, 1997, car crash involving paparazzi that killed Princess Diana, her boyfriend Dodi al-Fayed, and the car’s driver Henri Paul, in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. A later investigation found the paparazzi and Paul—who had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit—equally at fault for the deaths.

 

Prince Harry and Meghan stepped back as senior members of the royal family in January 2020, mostly attributing their decision to how they were treated by British tabloids. They currently live in California. See a timeline of their exit from the royal family here.

 

Holmes Heads to Jail

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of failed blood-testing startup Theranos, must report to prison by May 30 while she appeals her conviction of defrauding investors, a federal judge ruled late Tuesday. In a separate decision, Holmes and her former deputy Ramesh Balwani were ordered to pay $452M in restitution to investors—short of the $800M requested by prosecutors. 

 

The fall of Theranos marked one of Silicon Valley's biggest scandals in recent memory. Once valued at $10B and receiving considerable press, the machines failed to generate accurate data in many tests. A 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation revealed Holmes and Balwani sought to conceal the failure, including secretly using other commercially available equipment.

 

Holmes was not convicted on charges linked to the impact of erroneous results on patient health but was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison in November for defrauding investors. Watch a deeper dive into the Theranos saga here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Manchester City defeats Real Madrid to advance to UEFA Champions League final (June 10) against Inter Milan (More) | College football players will be allowed to opt-in to have their likeness included in upcoming EA Sports video game (More)

> Copyright lawsuit against Ed Sheeran dismissed by same judge that ruled in his favor in prior suit that had alleged Sheeran stole chord progressions from Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" (More)

> NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs conference finals begin tonight; see preview and predictions (More) | 2023 PGA Championship begins today from Oak Hill Country Club in New York (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Genetic analysis finds comb jellies are the sister group to all other animals, having been the first lineage to branch off from the animal evolutionary tree roughly 600 million to 700 million years ago (More)

> Estrogen identified as a key molecular trigger in breast cancers whose development is unexplained by current models; may play a central role in as many as one-third of all cases (More)

> Climate scientists predict a 66% chance global average temperatures will temporarily rise 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above 19th century averages by 2027, a key marker in global warming models; increase expected to be driven by incoming El Niño weather pattern (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with Inner Circle

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +1.3%) on debt ceiling optimism; bank stocks move higher (More)

> Eurozone inflation grows 7.0% in April over last year, up from 6.9% growth in March (More)

> Target shares up 3% as company beats earnings expectations, despite flat year-over-year comparable sales (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Grand jury indicts man for fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students in November; suspect will appear for an arraignment Monday to enter a plea (More) | Islamic extremist convicted of killing eight people in an attack on a Manhattan bike path in 2017 receives 10 life sentences plus 260 years (More)

> At least nine people killed and thousands evacuated after heavy rains in drought-stricken areas of northern Italy trigger floods and landslides; officials cancel this weekend's Formula One Grand Prix (More)

> Supreme Court rejects application for emergency relief from a gun rights group and gun store owner to immediately block Illinois laws banning semi-automatic rifles (More) | Jacksonville, Florida, elects its first female mayor (More)

 

In-Depth

> The Last Gamble of Tokyo Joe

Chicago Magazine | Dan O'Sullivan. An explosive tale of Ken Eto, a former Chicago crime syndicate leader known as Tokyo Joe and targeted by hitmen, which takes readers from an Idaho detainment camp to the gritty streets of the Windy City. (Read)

 

> The Bat Lands

Reuters | Staff. A visually rich five-part series investigating the link between human destruction of natural habitats, pandemic risk, and global bat populations, featuring firsthand accounts from bat-rich regions around the world, beginning with the death of a West African farmer. (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5)

In partnership with Pendulum

Summer’s hottest buzzword? GLP-1

 

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Etcetera
 

Explaining the TikTok "tattoogate" controversy.

 

Surfing alligator enjoys a day at the beach

 

Why you should sleep on your back

 

Introducing a sauce dispenser with over 200 possible combinations.

 

US News releases the best places to live in 2023.

 

AI imagines alternative world histories.

 

... and a newspaper publishes a story by someone who doesn't exist.

 

A look back at computer art from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

 

Clickbait: We don’t taco-bout Tuesday.

 

Historybook: Pope John Paul II is born (1920); Jacqueline Cochran is first woman to break sound barrier (1953); Actress Tina Fey born (1970); Mount St. Helens erupts, killing 57 (1980); Facebook raises $16B; largest initial public offering for a tech company at the time (2012).

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