6.16.2023

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Good morning. It's Friday, June 16, and we're covering the next challenge in a shocking sports merger, a preliminary analysis of a deadly condo collapse, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Feds to Probe Golf Merger

Federal officials are set to investigate the recently announced merger between the PGA and the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf series. The probe alleges the deal provides the newly formed group monopolistic leverage in dictating when, where, and for how much the world's best golfers compete. 

 

The partnership stunned the industry last week, coming after a year of acrimonious legal battles and a high-profile public relations feud. The Saudi-backed league debuted a year ago, offering higher purses and a reduced schedule. The PGA responded by excommunicating any athlete that participated in LIV events while lofting accusations the league was an attempt to "sportswash" human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

 

Reports suggest the legal battles drained $50M of the PGA's $100M cash reserves over the course of 12 months, with some suggesting the agreement may still fall apart due to longer-term disagreements over operations. 

 

Separately, Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele were tied in Los Angeles after day one of the US Open. See the leaderboard here.

 

Condo Collapse Cause

Federal investigators released a preliminary report yesterday regarding the collapse of a condominium tower in Surfside, Florida, revealing a "severe strength deficiency” in the pool deck. The tower collapsed two years ago, resulting in the deaths of 98 people.

 

Although the exact cause of the collapse has yet to be determined, the team suggested the pool deck’s supporting columns lacked sufficient strength, and it likely collapsed seven minutes before the rest of the structure. Additionally, the condo failed to meet the original building codes from the 1980s—some column strength was only about half of that required at the time—and additions such as planters and heavy pavers were not accounted for. The report adds to previously reported signs of corrosion in the deck. See a visual breakdown here

 

The investigation is expected to cost around $22M and has been described as one of the most complex ever undertaken. The news comes after survivors and relatives of the victims reached a $1B settlement in the case last year. A final report is expected in May 2025.

 

Johnson Slammed for 'Partygate'

A UK parliamentary report released yesterday found former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliberately misled lawmakers about a series of social gatherings he hosted at Downing Street during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The report's publication comes a week after Johnson resigned as a member of Parliament after receiving advance notice of the findings. 

 

The report from the House of Commons privileges committee marks the end of a 14-month-long investigation into a scandal dubbed "partygate." It concluded Johnson was in contempt of Parliament for repeatedly lying to lawmakers about six gatherings spanning from 2020 to 2021, undermining the parliamentary process and attempting to intimidate the committee when he resigned, and more. The committee recommended denying Johnson a pass granting him access to parts of Parliament, which is traditionally given to former members. Lawmakers will vote Monday on the report's findings and recommendations. See the report here.

 

Johnson resigned as prime minister in September following a string of scandals, including partygate. See a timeline here

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Glenda Jackson, Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award winner who also was a longtime member of the UK Parliament, dies at 87 (More) | Ticketmaster and SeatGeek among ticketing platforms that will eliminate hidden fees (More)

> Bill Cosby accused in lawsuit of sexual assault by nine women; Cosby has now been accused of sexual misconduct by over 60 women (More)

> NCAA Men's College World Series begins today from Omaha, Nebraska; see full bracket and schedule for all eight teams (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Russia-linked hacker group begins public reveal of recent ransomware attack victims, including a number of US banks, universities, and more; US officials confirm federal agencies were also targeted (More)

> Viking disease, also known as Dupuytren's contracture, linked to genetic variants inherited from Neanderthals; the condition, which causes the ring and pinkie fingers to contract toward the palm, affects 30% of Northern European males over 60 years old (More)

> Physicists develop new method to create and study turbulence; despite being a common occurrence, recreating the phenomenon to study in a lab setting has eluded researchers (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +1.3%, Nasdaq +1.2%) on optimism Federal Reserve rate hikes will soon end (More)

> European Central Bank increases interest rates at eighth consecutive meeting to 3.5%, highest since 2001 (More)

> Cava shares up 99% in first-day trading after Mediterranean restaurant chain raises $318M in initial public offering (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Supreme Court upholds lower court ruling preserving federal law giving preference to Native American families during adoption proceedings; 1978 rule sought to keep Native American children with their tribes, where possible (More)

> Miami Mayor Francis Suarez enters GOP presidential primary, becoming the first Hispanic candidate to join the race (More) | See list from both parties here (More)

> Suspect in mass shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub expected to take plea deal ahead of June 26 hearing date; the November attack left five people dead and 17 injured (More)

 

In-Depth

> Hunting the Idaho Killer

NY Times | Mike Baker. Idaho police exhausted every piece of evidence—from Amazon shopping records to Tinder accounts—to find Bryan Kohberger, the now-detained suspect in November's gruesome murders of four college students. (Read)

 

> India's Train Crash

Reuters Graphics | Staff. Diagrams, schematics, drone footage, and maps explain how the poorest passengers were most impacted during the June 2 train disaster in India, which claimed 288 lives. (Read)

 

> Faking Cancer

Lionsgate | Charlie Webster. (Podcast) The wild story of blogger Amanda C. Reilly, the young mother who falsely claimed to be diagnosed with lymphoma to earn money. (Listen)

 

> Why Disney is in Florida

Vox | Staff. The warm, undeveloped Reedy Creek Swamp near Orlando, Florida, became the perfect blank slate for visionary developer Walt Disney's next project. (Watch)

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Etcetera
 

Analyzing America's top-ranked podcasts.

 

Mapping the rising cost of child care.

 

Seventeen steps to design a garden from scratch.

 

An 86-year-old man returns "1984" to library 65 years overdue

 

Watch a Rubik’s Cube be solved in a record-breaking 3.13 seconds.

 

Historic 16th-century prayer book found in plain sight.

 

Monet's "Artist's Garden" painting targeted by environmental protesters

 

Illinois man charged after shooting himself while dreaming

 

Clickbait: What bears get up to when no one is looking.

 

Historybook: Economist Adam Smith born (1723); President Abraham Lincoln gives "House Divided" speech (1858); Ford Motor Company is incorporated (1903); Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space (1963); Rapper Tupac Shakur born (1971).

"Hatred and anger are the greatest poison to the happiness of a good mind."

- Adam Smith

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