6.29.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, June 29, and we're covering a holiday heat wave across parts of the US, a not guilty plea in New York City, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Southern US Sizzles 

More than 30 million people remain under heat advisories across much of the southern and central US as a slow-moving pocket of elevated temperatures began moving from Texas and northern Mexico into Mississippi and other nearby states. Officials have linked at least 13 deaths to the heat wave.

 

The near-record temperatures are being driven by a weather phenomenon known as a heat dome—when pockets of hot air become trapped in place for days or weeks by variations in the jet stream. Extreme examples of the effect have been linked to a number of recent heat waves, including a stretch of 110-degree-plus days in 2021 across the Pacific Northwest that caused more than 900 deaths in the US and Canada.

 

Temperatures are expected to reach around 20 degrees above average through the weekend across the Southeast. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Nashville, Tennessee, reached just under 100 degrees yesterday, while a number of cities in Texas surpassed 110 degrees.

 

See forecasts for the region here.

 

Penny Pleads Not Guilty

Former Marine Daniel Penny pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide after fatally subduing Jordan Neely on a New York City subway train last month. 

 

Neely, 30, had been reportedly acting erratically before video footage (see here, warning—sensitive content) showed Penny, 24, and two others restraining him for at least three minutes, leading to Neely's death May 1. The city's medical examiner's office said Neely died from compression of the neck. Penny has claimed his actions were out of self-defense. Neely suffered from substance abuse and mental health issues, according to his relatives. 

 

Penny, who served in the Marines for four years before being discharged in 2021, was initially charged with manslaughter and released on a $100K bond. Earlier this month, a New York grand jury voted to indict Penny on revised charges. Penny will return to court in October. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and four years for negligent homicide. 

 

Simone Biles Returns

Seven-time Olympic gymnastics medalist Simone Biles will participate in this year's US Classic, her first competition since stepping back from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 due to a persistent disorientation known as "the twisties." 

 

Biles, 26, shot to fame in 2013 after winning two gold medals at the world championships as a 16-year-old and has since earned 25 world medals, a record for all gymnasts (see bio). At the Rio Olympics in 2016, the 4-foot-8-inch Ohioan became the first female US gymnast to win four gold medals at a single Olympics; her athletic prowess led to the creation of four new moves named after her. She became the youngest person to receive the US Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. 

 

Her sudden decision mid-Olympics not to compete in three core events in 2021 drew international focus to the mental health of athletes. In the same year, Biles testified at a Senate panel investigating the FBI's alleged failure to hold gymnastics coach Larry Nassar accountable for sexual assault claims. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Madonna recovering from "serious bacterial infection" that required a multiday hospital stay in intensive care; the singer's upcoming world tour to be postponed (More

> New York Yankees' Domingo Germán becomes first MLB player since 2012 to throw a perfect game (More) | Chicago Blackhawks take 17-year-old Connor Bedard with the top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft (More) | Tennessee State to become first historically Black college or university to field an ice hockey team (More)

> Taylor Swift and "Elvis" star Austin Butler among 398 new members invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (More) | Kevin Spacey's trial on sexual assault charges begins in London (More)

From our partners: We aren't given many 21-month grace periods. Oil checks, doctor appointments, Tax Day ... time speeds by between them. But The Ascent found a credit card offering 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months—among the longest we've seen to avoid interest charges. Learn more about this card today.

 

Science & Technology

> Virgin Galactic to launch its first commercial space flight today; suborbital flight will carry a research crew of six and last around 90 minutes (More)

> Study pinpoints a genetic variation linked to accelerated progression of multiple sclerosis; the first-ever observation may help find new therapies for the neurodegenerative disease (More)

> Researchers discover a new CRISPR-like system that may allow editing of the genetic code with greater precision (More) | A simple explanation of CRISPR (More, w/video)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.04%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq +0.3%); Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signals more rate hikes are on the horizon (More)

> All 23 US banks pass Federal Reserve’s annual stress test; report states banks can weather a severe recession and continue lending (More)

> Department of Justice charges 78 individuals with healthcare fraud totaling $2.5B (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> At least 11 killed and 61 others injured at an eastern Ukrainian pizza parlor following Russian missile barrage (More) | Protests break out in western suburb of Paris, France, after a 17-year-old was shot by police during a traffic stop (More)

> Debris containing presumed human remains from Titanic-bound submersible brought ashore in Newfoundland (More, w/photos) | See our previous write-up on the sub search (More) | Delta Air Lines flight makes emergency landing in Charlotte, North Carolina, after front landing gear malfunctions (More)

> Former President Donald Trump files countersuit against journalist E. Jean Carroll after a federal jury found him liable for sexual abuse; Trump seeks damages for defamation (More

 

In-Depth

> The Madoff of Memorabilia 

Defector | David Davis. How a sports memorabilia dealer named John Rogers ran a Ponzi scheme with a massive collection of vintage photographs, lied to investors, and continued swindling victims even after pleading guilty to wire fraud. (Read)

 

> Conversations with a Murderer

Guardian | Mark O'Connell. A writer tracks down wealthy-socialite-turned-murderer  Malcolm Macarthur after his release from prison in 2012 to hear his account of a double homicide in 1982 that stunned Ireland and set off a political uproar. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Play the password game.

 

The best places to eat al fresco across the country.

 

Pepsi introduces Colachup, a cola-flavored condiment for hot dogs.

 

After 72 years, you can legally pump your own gas in Oregon.

 

Archaeologists find a predecessor to pizza.

 

A visual guide to this year's Tour de France.

 

Scientists turn astronaut sweat and urine into clean drinking water. 

 

A look at the nominees for Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

 

Clickbait: Happy Gilmore goes to college.

 

Historybook: Original Globe Theatre burns to the ground (1613); NBA star Kawhi Leonard born (1991); US Space Shuttle docks with Russian space station for first time (1995); Hollywood legend Katharine Hepburn dies (2003); Apple releases first iPhone (2007).

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- Katharine Hepburn

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