4.24.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, April 24, and we're covering the final passage of a foreign aid package, settlement in an FBI probe over Larry Nassar, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Foreign Aid Approved 

The Senate last night voted 79 to 18 to pass a long-awaited package that combines $95B of foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan with other national security measures, including a possible TikTok ban. The Senate's approval of the package comes after the House passed it as four separate bills Saturday. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the package into legislation. 

 

The foreign assistance consists of $61B for Ukraine, $26B for Israel (including humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza), and $8B for Taiwan. Other national security measures include requiring China-based ByteDance to sell TikTok's US operations within nine months or else face a national ban on the video-sharing app (see overview). TikTok, which has roughly 170 million monthly active users in the US, has reportedly been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over its data and security practices that allegedly violate federal law.

 

See what else is included in the package here.

 

DOJ Settles Nassar Case

The US Justice Department announced yesterday it will pay nearly $139M to settle claims by 139 women over the FBI's mishandling of sexual abuse allegations against former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.  

 

The settlement comes more than two years after a group of women, including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney, filed lawsuits against the FBI. Their lawsuits followed a 2021 Justice Department report that found the FBI's offices in Indianapolis and Los Angeles failed to adequately respond to allegations against Nassar in 2015 and 2016. Nassar, now 60, was arrested in 2016 after a separate investigation by Michigan State University, where he was employed. Nassar has been serving a de facto life sentence for multiple convictions for sexually abusing athletes under his care. 

 

Nearly $1B has been paid out in total by various institutions to settle claims against Nassar, including $500M from Michigan State University and $380M from the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee. See a timeline of events here.

 

Trump Trial's First Witness

Former President Donald Trump's New York criminal trial over alleged falsified business records continued yesterday, featuring testimony from a former longtime head of the National Enquirer. Publisher David Pecker detailed a 2015 agreement he made with then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to purchase and not publish negative stories about Trump amid the 2016 presidential campaign. The trial pauses on Wednesdays and will resume tomorrow. 

 

Earlier in the day, Judge Juan Merchan considered whether Trump should be fined for allegedly violating an updated April 1 gag order barring him from making public statements about court staff or witnesses. Trump could be jailed for up to 30 days for repeatedly violating the order. A decision on the issue is expected at a later time.

 

Separately, the Supreme Court will weigh arguments tomorrow on whether Trump can claim presidential immunity for his actions in the aftermath of the 2020 election leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol. A favorable decision toward Trump could see charges in three of his four criminal trials dropped.

In partnership with EnergyX

The Lithium Boom

 

Is a modern-day gold rush happening right in front of our eyes? Lithium is the essential raw material for batteries in smartphones, computers, and now EVs. It takes 10,000 iPhones to make 1 EV, which means demand for lithium is projected to soar 20x by 2040.

 

Creating a massive opportunity for investors, Elon Musk didn’t hold back saying, “Do you like minting money? Well, the lithium business is for you.” EnergyX’s patented LiTAS™ technology extracts up to 300% more lithium than traditional methods. They’ve inked deals with top lithium producers, including POSCO who is building a 100k ton/year plant, secured a strategic investment from GM, and won a $5M DOE grant. Most recently, they acquired a 90,000-acre mining asset that has ~5.5M tons of lithium.

 

Now EnergyX is accepting shareholders for a limited time. This is a unique opportunity to invest on the ground floor as the company is set to unlock a massive lithium supply. Learn more about becoming an EnergyX shareholder here.*

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Taylor Swift's "Tortured Poets Department" sells 700,000 vinyl records, breaking the record for most vinyl sales in a week after just three days (More)

> WNBA No. 1 draft pick Caitlin Clark to sign eight-year, $28M contract with Nike, which includes a signature shoe and is the highest-ever sponsorship deal for a women's basketball player (More)

> Grammy-winning artist Megan Thee Stallion accused in lawsuit of sexual harassment by her former cameraman (More) | Multiple crewmembers injured during accident on set of Amazon MGM Studio's upcoming film "The Pickup" (More)

From our partners: A cash back dream. Thousands of Americans are seeking this leading cash back credit card, and here's why. It offers a significant first-year bonus, up to 5% cashback on everyday purchases, and no annual fee. Learn more and apply today.

 

Science & Technology

> Microsoft releases Phi-3, framed as a "small" language model with almost 4 billion parameters; says it performs as well as OpenAI's GPT-3.5 in answering complex questions (More) | Meta adds multimodal AI to its Ray-Ban smart glasses, allowing users to query AI based on items in the field of vision (More)

> Scientists create artificial cells that change shape and respond to their surroundings like living cells; breakthrough has applications in regenerative medicine, drug delivery, and more (More)

> Underground Antarctic experiment reportedly detects seven potential neutrino events; the particles are the most abundant in the universe but weigh nothing and rarely interact with matter (More) | More on the "ghost" particle (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq +1.6%) as investors sift through strong batch of earnings reports (More) | Tesla reports 9% drop in Q1 revenue, the biggest year-over-year decline since 2012; announces new models ahead of timeline, with shares rising over 13% in after-hours trading (More)

> The Federal Trade Commission votes 3-2 in approving final rule banning most employers from using noncompete clauses nationwide, effective in 120 days; FTC estimates about 30 million workers are currently prevented from joining competitors (More

> Modern-day convenience store Foxtrot abruptly closes all 33 stores across Chicago, Austin, Dallas, and Washington, DC; comes five months after its merger with Chicago boutique grocer Dom's Kitchen and Market (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Campus pro-Palestinian protests continue at a number of universities across the country; some call for the resignation of Columbia University President Minouche Shafik following student arrests (More) | See updates on the war (More)

> UK lawmakers pass bill allowing officials to send certain migrants seeking asylum to Rwanda; officials say the policy is meant to deter the smugglers trafficking migrants to the country (More)

> Argentina President Javier Milei announces country's first quarterly budget surplus in 16 years; the Libertarian Milei was elected in November on a platform of cutting spending and slowing runaway inflation, which had reached 100% year-over-year (More)

In partnership with EnergyX

How GM Is Securing Its Lithium Supply

 

The world will need to produce 3.8 million tons of lithium per year by 2035 to meet

the demand for electric vehicles. General Motors is turning to one startup to unlock US-based lithium supply: EnergyX. EnergyX’s patented LiTAS™ technology can extract up to 300% more lithium than traditional methods.

 

GM led a $50 million funding round in EnergyX last year, and EnergyX is now

opening up the opportunity to join them to all investors. Don’t miss out: Become an EnergyX shareholder today.*

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Etcetera
 

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Every New York City spot mentioned in Taylor Swift's songs.

 

Centuries-old cherries found at George Washington's home.

 

Belgian whose body brews alcohol clears drunk-driving charge.

 

Clickbait: Nine-year-old crowned gull-screeching champ.

 

Historybook: US Library of Congress founded (1800); Easter Rising begins (1916); Barbra Streisand born (1942); Hubble Space Telescope is launched (1990); Estée Lauder dies (2004).

"To have ego means to believe in your own strength."

- Barbra Streisand

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