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Good morning. It's Thursday, Aug. 10, and we're covering deadly fires in the South Pacific, a mushroom mystery down under, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Hawaii Fires

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the increased death toll after the time of publishing. 


At least 36 people were killed and dozens more injured yesterday as fast-moving flames spread across western Maui and the Big Island in Hawaii. Winds from nearby Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm, accelerated the spread of the fire. Thousands more were forced to evacuate amid widespread power outages and school closures, while the historic coastal town of Lahaina was reportedly destroyed by the flames. 


Low humidity, high winds, and dry conditions primed the region for the blazes, which tend to be smaller in scope than those common in the western contiguous US. The threat to Lahaina arrived so abruptly that some residents reportedly fled into the ocean; firefighters counted 12 rescued from the water. Many of the town's iconic businesses along Front Street are believed to be burned down.


Emergency proclamations released federal funds to deal with the natural disaster, described by some as Hawaii's worst in three decades. Analysts expected the winds to die down by today.  


Death Cap Mystery

Australian homicide detectives are investigating a suspected mushroom poisoning after three relatives died and a fourth was critically ill following a home-cooked family meal at a woman's home. The woman, who didn't become ill herself and was separated from her husband (the son of one of the couples attending the dinner), is a suspect but was released after questioning. 


According to officials, the symptoms of the family members who were affected are consistent with the death cap—the world's deadliest mushroom, which is responsible for roughly 90% of worldwide mushroom poisonings. The death cap (see overview) is native to Europe but can be found in other places around the world as an invasive species. It was first confirmed in Australia in the 1960s, growing near introduced trees, like oaks. The death cap's fatal toxin alpha-amanitin attacks the liver and kidney, causing vomiting and diarrhea, and can lead to death. Scientists have been working to find an antidote


It's unclear what food the affected people were each served or the origins of the mushroom; the woman declined to answer such questions. See other fatal mushrooms here.


Writers Strike Slogs On

The Hollywood writers strike reached its 101st day today, surpassing the 2007-08 walkout and becoming the third-longest strike in the history of the Writers Guild of America. The labor stoppage coincides with a strike by the actors guild, currently nearing the end of its fourth week. Combined, the two groups account for about 171,000 workers. 


The writers guild argues structures fail to reflect the rapid pace of change in the entertainment industry. Among other issues, the group claims streaming services—where half of writers now work—ultimately result in lower residual payments over the long term. Proposals from the WGA and its counterparty, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, are reportedly more than $340M apart in total increased benefits for writers.  


Late-night talk shows were the first affected, but the dual strikes have led to the delay or postponement of a number of shows and movies. See the impact here

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> NFL preseason kicks off in earnest tonight; see full schedule (More) | ESPN and Penn Entertainment announce $2B deal to launch ESPN-branded sports betting locations in 16 states (More)

> Robbie Robertson, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame frontman for The Band, dies at 80 (More) | Rodriguez, singer-songwriter and subject of Oscar-winning "Searching for Sugar Man" film, dies at 81 (More) | Robert Swan, longtime actor known for "Hoosiers" and "Rudy," dies at 78 (More)

> Academy Awards to no longer be broadcast by UK's Sky after the network gives up rights to broadcast the ceremony for first time in 20 years (More)

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Science & Technology

> Supreme Court allows Apple to keep App Store fee structure in place while legal challenges proceed; rules bar developers from directing customers to make payments outside of Apple's fee collection system (More)

> New fossil discovery reveals 250-million-year-old reptile species with filter-feeding structures similar to baleen whales; the latter didn't evolve until roughly 25 million years ago (More)

> James Webb Space Telescope images the most distant star ever detected in the known universe, dubbed Earendel, located roughly 28 billion light-years away (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.7%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq -1.2%) ahead of today’s July consumer price index report (More)

> Biden administration announces new rules aimed to limit US investment in Chinese companies developing certain quantum computing and semiconductor technologies (More)

> Online gaming giant Roblox misses revenue and earnings expectations; shares down 22% (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> Forty-one migrants feared to have died in a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa; group of four survivors tells rescuers the boat had set sail from Tunisia (More) | See data on sea-borne migrations to Europe this year (More)

> Federal appeals court upholds lower court's $350K contempt sanction on Twitter following its failure to comply with Special Counsel Jack Smith's January warrant to search former President Donald Trump's Twitter account (More) | Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recovering at home after hospital visit following fall (More

> US aid worker and her daughter freed after being kidnapped in Haiti last month while on ministry duty near Port-au-Prince (More)



> The Coldest of Cold Cases 

Rolling Stone | Eric J. Greenberg. In July 1973, Mitchel Weiser and Bonnie Bickwit, set out to attend the Summer Jam rock concert. Then they vanished. The couple remains the oldest missing-teen case in the US. (Read)


> 'Runaway Train Never Goin' Back'

Slate | Nick Keppler. An interview with some of the children, now adults, featured in the 1993 MTV music video "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum, which featured missing children and claimed to assist in finding 21 of them. (Read)

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Ranking the top movie jerks.


Meet the teams in this year’s Little League Softball World Series.


The most-played songs at weddings according to Spotify.


How to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower this weekend.


A single ticket wins the $1.58B Mega Millions jackpot.


Miami police discover more than 30 vehicles submerged in lake.


Watch as a house collapses into a river in Alaska.


Revealing which airlines are most likely to bump you.


Clickbait: Texas woman attacked by snake and hawk, at the same time.


Historybook: The Louvre opens in Paris (1793); Smithsonian Institution established (1846); Former President Herbert Hoover born (1874); Kylie Jenner born (1997); Jeffrey Epstein found dead in jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges (2019).

"Keep good company—that is, go to the Louvre."

- Artist Paul Cézanne

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