12.6.2022

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Dec. 6, and we're covering Georgia's Senate runoff today, the largest trial in Belgium's history, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Free Speech Challenge

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in a case from a Colorado website designer who claims a Colorado anti-discrimination law violates the First Amendment rights of some artists by forcing them to provide services for messages they oppose.

 

Lorie Smith says the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act violates her right to free speech because it requires her to create wedding websites for same-sex couples, a message inconsistent with her religious beliefs. The law bans public businesses from denying goods or services based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other characteristics.

 

In 2018, the court ruled on a similar case dealing with the same Colorado law in favor of a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. Still, the court avoided the broader question of whether businesses could discriminate and be protected by the First Amendment.

 

Questions from the 6-3 conservative majority court suggested they may be willing to carve out a narrow exemption and are expected to announce a decision next year.

 

Georgia Senate Runoff

Georgia voters will decide today between Republican Herschel Walker and incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock in the state's US Senate runoff amid record-breaking early voting. Warnock finished ahead of Walker in the first round of voting, 49.4% to 48.5%, but failed to pass the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.  

 

Support for Warnock, a pastor who won a similar runoff in January 2021, is focused in Atlanta precincts as well as several smaller cities around the state. Walker, a former football star, won more counties than Warnock, although each candidate carried the same number of precincts across the state at roughly 1,300. Key election factors include the roughly 81,000 voters who supported Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver during the first round of voting, as well as undecided suburban independents.

 

Democrats have secured a Senate majority when factoring in Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tiebreaker. Surveys suggest Warnock enters with a few percentage point lead that remains within the margin of error. Polls close at 7 pm ET.

 

Brussels Bombing Trial

A trial began yesterday for 10 Islamic State extremists accused of the 2016 bombings at an airport and a subway station in Brussels, Belgium, that killed 32 people and injured hundreds. The bombings are the deadliest peacetime attack in Belgium, and the trial is considered the largest in the nation's history.   

 

The Brussels trial follows a similar trial in Paris, which concluded in June and focused on a group of Islamic State extremists who carried out a series of attacks 

one night in 2015, which left 130 people dead. The attack was the deadliest in France since World War II. Six of the defendants in the Brussels case were convicted in the Paris case, including Salah Abdeslam, who is the lone survivor of the Paris attacks and serving life without parole.

 

Unlike the French trial, the Belgian trial will be decided by a jury. It is expected to feature testimony from over 300 witnesses and last six to nine months. 

In partnership with CARIUMA

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Kirstie Alley, two-time Emmy-winning actress known for "Cheers" and "Look Who's Talking," dies of cancer at 71 (More) | Bob McGrath, "Sesame Street" actor for nearly 50 years, dies at 90 (More)

> Elon Musk, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy among shortlist of candidates for Time magazine's 2022 Person of the Year (More) | ABC places "GMA3" coanchors Amy Robach and TJ Holmes on hiatus after public disclosure of their romantic relationship (More

> UCLA edges UNC 3-2 in double overtime to win 2022 NCAA women's soccer national championship (More) | New York Mets ink three-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to two-year, $86M deal (More

 

Science & Technology

> Study suggests severe cases of COVID-19 may give rise to biomarkers in the brain similar to those observed in advanced aging (More) | See current US COVID-19 stats (More)

> Physicists propose the use of space-based atomic clocks as a tool to study dark matter (More) | What do we know about dark matter? (More)

> Researchers find thicker fluid environments help facilitate cancer metastasis, or when cancer cells spread from the original site throughout the body; 90% of cancer deaths arise from metastasized cancer cells (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with SmartAsset

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.8%, Dow -1.4%, Nasdaq -1.9%) on fears of additional Federal Reserve rate hikes (More) | Shares of Salesforce fall after Slack CEO announces he will step down in January; Salesforce acquired Slack for $27B in 2021 (More

> Sources say PepsiCo to lay off hundreds of North American corporate jobs following rival Coca-Cola's November restructuring announcement (More)

> Hertz will pay $168M to settle more than 360 false arrest claims from former customers (More)

From our partners: SmartAsset's free wealth management solution is helping thousands of Americans control their plans for retirement. Whether you're in your golden years, or just looking to get ahead, their no-cost tool will match you with up to three financial advisors serving your area. Try it for free today.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Russia reports explosions at two air bases, launches another barrage of airstrikes against Ukrainian cities (More) | See updates on the war (More

Federal deadline to obtain Real ID extended by two years to May 2025; federal law passed in 2005 established minimum security standards for state-issued identification forms (More) | Secret Service says Chinese hackers stole at least $20M in COVID-19 relief benefits (More) | Attorney Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison in California for tax fraud and stealing millions of dollars from clients (More)

> Rescuers resume evacuation efforts and search for possible victims after  Indonesia's 12,060-foot Mount Semeru erupts in the Lumajang district in East Java province; no casualties have been reported as of this writing (More)

 

In-Depth

> Lucky's Last Run

Runner's World | Steve Friedman. A dog, a salesperson, and a chef set out to run 3,000 miles across America over the course of 101 days. The strangers shared stories of ambition and, ultimately, their grief. (Read)

 

> Dying for Care

USA Today | Staff. How nursing homes across the US are defying federal staffing rules—such as having a registered nurse onsite for at least eight hours every day—and how low pay and poor working conditions harm both residents and workers. (Read)

Bestselling, Best Fit

 

In partnership with CARIUMA

 

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Please support our sponsors!

Etcetera
 

This year's 100 best songs.

 

"Goblin mode" named Oxford Dictionary's word of the year.

 

The economic cost of poor employee mental health.

 

The self-portrait AI app taking over the internet

 

America is running out of bomb-sniffing dogs.

 

Jonathan the tortoise celebrates 190th birthday.

 

Aerial photos of India's annual flamingo migration

 

Tattoo removal studio lasers off Kanye West tattoos for free.

 

Clickbait: NFL's Philadelphia Eagles players to drop a Christmas album.

 

Historybook: 13th Amendment of US Constitution is ratified, abolishing slavery (1865); Washington Monument completed (1884); Hollywood actress Agnes Moorehead born (1900); NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo born (1994); NASA photographs suggest presence of liquid on Mars (2006).

"Fear of life closes off more opportunities for us than fear of death ever does."

- Agnes Moorehead

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