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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Aug. 23, and we're covering tonight's Republican primary debate, a mission to rescue a group from a dangling cable car, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Republican Primary Debate 

Eight Republican presidential candidates are set to join the first GOP primary debate tonight in Milwaukee (9 pm ET, Fox News) in the battleground state of Wisconsin, which will also host the Republican National Convention next year. 


The two-hour debate lineup comprises Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. To qualify, candidates needed to satisfy a set of requirements, including receiving donations from at least 40,000 unique donors and reaching minimum thresholds in polls. 


Former President Donald Trump—currently the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner—is skipping the debate, opting for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The prerecorded interview is expected to air on X (formerly Twitter) concurrently with the debate. See the latest primary poll results here.


The next GOP debate, hosted by the Republican National Committee, will be held Sept. 27 in Simi Valley, California. The Democratic National Committee, which backs President Joe Biden, doesn't plan to hold primary debates. See all 2024 presidential candidates here.


India's Moon Lander Descends

India's space agency confirmed yesterday its lunar lander Chandrayaan-3—Sanskrit for "moon vehicle"—is on track for the nation's first soft landing on the moon this morning, with a touchdown expected around 8:15 am ET (watch livestream). Russia's parallel landing attempt—its first in 47 years—failed Sunday. 


If successful, India will become the fourth nation to land a vehicle safely on the lunar surface and the first to do so at the moon's south pole. Interest in the region has grown since researchers discovered evidence of water (see overview) from which future missions could extract crucial hydrogen and oxygen. A small solar-powered robotic rover is expected to operate for two weeks—a lunar day—and conduct tests on the moon's surface chemistry, seismology, and thermal conductivity, before shutting down amid the lunar south pole's extreme cold night. Watch a visual tour of the moon here.


In related news, Japan is slated to launch its moon lander Friday, with a landing scheduled in the next six months. 


Pakistan Cable Car Rescue

Pakistan’s military rescued eight people yesterday who were trapped in a cable car hanging at least 900 feet in the air by a single cable for over 15 hours. The group, comprising six children and two adults, was traveling to school in a remote mountainous area in Battagram, about 125 miles north of Islamabad, when a cable snapped about halfway across a ravine around 7 am local time Tuesday.


The high-risk aerial operation, which was complicated by gusty winds and the risk of the helicopters’ rotor blades further destabilizing the lift, was suspended after sunset. The mission then shifted to a ground operation using a small chairlift to rescue the passengers one by one.


Approximately 150 students use the privately owned cable car to travel to school daily due to the lack of infrastructure and long distances between essential facilities; the cable car reduced a two-hour walk to a four-minute ride. The cable car was installed eight years ago and allegedly underwent monthly safety inspections. See an overview on Pakistan's homemade cable cars here

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with CARIUMA

> Tampa Bay Rays All-Star shortstop Wander Franco placed on administrative leave pending multiple investigations in the Dominican Republic over his alleged relationships with minors (More)

> Explosion at NFL cornerback Caleb Farley's house kills Farley's father, injures one more (More) | Tom Courtney, two-time Olympic US gold medalist, dies at 90 (More)

> "Frasier" reboot featuring some of the original cast confirmed for Oct. 12 premiere on Paramount+ (More) | "Sex and the City" sequel "And Just Like That" renewed for third season (More)

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Science & Technology

> Meta (Facebook) introduces web browser support for Threads; the X (Twitter) competitor reports a drop of 80% in daily active users from almost 50 million to about 10 million following its July rollout (More) | See previous write-up (More)

> Japanese officials announce wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor will begin being released into the Pacific Ocean Thursday; wastewater has been held in storage since a 2011 tsunami knocked the plant offline (More)

> Researchers report new treatment for fungal meningitis; the rare life-threatening disease affects fewer than 1,000 people in the US each year (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.3%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq +0.1%); Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods fall double-digits after missing earnings and providing cautious guidance (More)

> Microsoft to restructure proposed $69B acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, will transfer cloud gaming units to Ubisoft in bid for UK regulatory approval (More)

> US home sales fall 2.2% in July from June, down 16.6% over last July; median price of $406,700 is up 1.9% over last year (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> Roughly 170 million people were under heat advisories yesterday, with a heat dome stretching across much of the Midwest, South, and Southeastern US; Austin, Texas, notches 44th day of triple-digit temperatures this year (More)

> Death toll in Maui wildfires reaches at least 115; officials estimate around 850 people remain unaccounted for as of this writing (More) | At least 18 people killed in dayslong wildfire in northern Greece (More)

> Wagner Group's former chief Yevgeny Prigozhin makes first public video appearance since attempted mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin (More) | See war updates here (More)

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Clickbait: Skyborne fish causes power outage in New Jersey town.


Historybook: Actor River Phoenix born (1970); Salad Bowl strike begins; largest farmworker strike in US history (1970); Kobe Bryant born (1978); 12-time Olympic swimming medalist Natalie Coughlin born (1982); World Wide Web opens to the public (1991).

"Without goals, training has no direction."

- Natalie Coughlin

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