8.16.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Aug. 16, and we're covering racketeering charges in an election probe, an emergency rate hike in Russia, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Georgia Indictment

Former President Donald Trump and 18 other defendants have been named in a grand jury indictment for their roles in allegedly interfering with the 2020 election results in Georgia and have until Aug. 25 to turn themselves in. Others named in the indictment include Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Trump legal adviser John Eastman.

 

The indictment (read here), unsealed late Monday, charges the 19 defendants with 41 total counts, including violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Georgia's RICO is an expanded version of the federal statute, which has been used to take down organized crime (see 101). Prosecutors allege the Trump campaign was a criminal enterprise that schemed to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and other states, including by lying to the Georgia state legislature and unlawfully accessing voting equipment. See key takeaways here

 

The criminal indictment is Trump's fourth in five months (see overview), and the second related to alleged election fraud. He denies any wrongdoing. 

 

Separately, attorney Christopher Clark, who represented Hunter Biden in plea negotiations with the Justice Department over tax issues and a separate gun-related issue, is withdrawing from Hunter Biden's defense, citing his potential role as a witness in future proceedings. Hunter Biden has been under investigation for his foreign business dealings.

 

Russia's Ruble Trouble

Russia's central bank raised interest rates from 8.5% to 12% at an emergency meeting yesterday, the highest level since April 2022. The move comes one day after the ruble dropped past 100 against the US dollar—valuing it less than a US penny—for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine. Before the announcement, the ruble had briefly strengthened but its value remains down more than one-third since the start of the year.

 

The Kremlin's chief economic adviser blamed a loose monetary policy that devalued the currency. The central bank's decision to raise rates is likely due to escalating inflationary pressure driven by increased war-related spending, a surge in domestic demand surpassing the economy's production capacity, a deteriorating oil-and-gas trade position, reliance on imports, and Western sanctions on Russia. Annual inflation currently stands at 4.4%, above the targeted 4%, and experts predict it could hit up to 6.5% by year-end.

 

See the effect of sanctions on Russia's economy here and on the global economy here.  

 

Lan Strikes Japan

Typhoon Lan made landfall in central Japan's Wakayama prefecture—one of the country's 47 provinces—early Tuesday, injuring at least 23 people and disrupting travel for tens of thousands amid the Obon holiday. Authorities announced evacuation warnings to over 200,000 residents as the storm crawled northeast at a 9 mph pace.

 

Known to the Japanese as Typhoon No. 7, the storm blew wind gusts up to 100 mph, unleashing more rain in several hours than the region receives on average per month. Many railroads were closed amid warnings of floods and mudslides, nearly 1,000 flights were canceled, and roughly 26,000 people in Tottori prefecture were forced to evacuate after rising waters breached a heavy dam. Analysts estimate damage from the storm will run into the billions. Track the storm here.

 

The storm is the second in a week to hit Japan after Typhoon Khanun made landfall on the southern island of Kyushu last Wednesday.

In partnership with LiquidPiston

A Quantum Leap in Engine Technology

 

Battery power may be the rage, but the combustion engine is experiencing a remarkable renaissance. Giants like Toyota and BMW are selling cars with hydrogen-powered engines as a clean energy alternative—which is great for LiquidPiston, whose engine is both HEV and Hydrogen compatible.

 

And it’s safe to say LiquidPiston’s once-in-a-century innovation has been a massive success so far. They’ve earned over $30M in government and military contracts for their engine—and more than doubled revenue in 2022. Freshly profitable, they’re ready to scale into the $400B combustion engine market.


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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Maui Nui Venison

> Spain tops Sweden 2-1 to reach their first ever Women's World Cup Final; Spain faces the winner of this morning's semifinal (6 am ET, Fox) between England and Australia (More)

> Cable and broadcast television's share of all TV usage drops below 50% in the US for first time as streaming's share of 38.7% hits all-time high (More)

> Morgan Wallen's "Last Night" tops Billboard Hot 100 chart for 16th straight week, the second longest streak atop the charts ever (More) | Madonna's rescheduled tour to kick off Oct. 14 after it was postponed in July over health concerns (More)

From our partners: Supporting Maui. Maui Nui Venison has donated 10,000 lbs of venison in the past week after the Maui fires. Not only are they helping restore balance to ecosystems by managing an invasive axis deer population, they’re providing the healthiest red meat on the planet to food-insecure areas of Hawai'i and direct to your door. Orders of fresh venison, bone broth, and jerky help find balance and resilience for Maui; use code 1440 for 15% off your first order.

 

Science & Technology

> OpenAI says its GPT-4 generative AI model can be used for content moderation on websites and social media platforms, indicates a number of customers are already paying for the service (More)

> Neuroscientists link certain types of brain injuries to cognitive motor dissociation, where seemingly comatose patients can hear and understand commands but can't physically respond (More)

> Average global surface temperature during July was more than 2 degrees above the historical baseline; month was the hottest in 174 years, according to government data (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.2%, Dow -1.0%, Nasdaq -1.1%) led by falling bank stocks after credit rating agency Fitch warns it may downgrade the ratings of numerous banks (More)

> July US retail sales increase more than expected to 0.7% growth over June (More)

> Bazooka Candy Brands—maker of brands such as Ring Pop, Push Pop, and the namesake Bazooka gum—to be acquired by private equity firm for $700M (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Former FBI agent pleads guilty to conspiracy charges and violating sanctions by working for a Russian oligarch; Charles McGonigal previously led counterintelligence for the New York field office (More)

> Death toll from Maui wildfires reaches at least 101, officials begin identifying victims (More) | Multiple lawsuits filed against Hawaiian Electric, alleging negligence contributing to the blaze; initial cause yet to be identified (More)

> China reportedly holds back monthly youth unemployment report as numbers rise; figures from July were expected to increase from June's record 21.3% rate for the 16- to 24-year-old age bracket (More)

In partnership with LiquidPiston

This Engine Company Just 2X Their Revenue

 

LiquidPiston is reinventing the combustion engine with a patented design that delivers up to 10X the power-to-weight of traditional engines—marking the first major disruption to the space in over 100 years.

 

After earning over $30M in US government contracts, they've already raised their share price this year in keeping with their growing valuation. Join them as a shareholder while you still can.

 

Disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for LiquidPiston’s Regulation A+ Offering. Please read the offering circular at invest.liquidpiston.com

Please support our sponsors!

Etcetera
 

A guide to the great hot dogs of America

 

What is the best position to sleep in

 

Four ways to have a happier, calmer life.

 

Release stress by screaming into the digital void.

 

Chick-fil-A to debut a new chicken sandwich

 

Retired couple turn a semitrailer into a home—see inside.

 

Inebriated Americans spend night sleeping atop Eiffel Tower.

 

Get your hands on a pair of Croc-Tarts

 

Clickbait: Even snakes need retail therapy

 

Historybook: Gold is discovered in Canada’s Yukon Territory, sparks Klondike gold rush (1896); Babe Ruth dies (1948); Sports Illustrated is first published (1954); Madonna is born (1958); Elvis Presley dies (1977); Aretha Franklin dies (2018).

"No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself."

- Madonna Ciccone

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