4.14.2023

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Good morning. It's Friday, April 14, and we're covering an arrest in the biggest US intelligence leak in years, a deluge in Southern Florida, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Intelligence Leak Arrest

A 21-year-old Massachusetts air national guardsman was arrested yesterday in relation to a leak of US classified military documents, the country's most extensive intelligence breach in a decade. The arrest came as details surfaced about the origins of the leak and as US officials conducted damage control with allies over revelations stemming from the leaks.

 

Since late last year, the administrator of a Discord server comprising about two dozen members had been uploading classified information to the group weekly. Interviews with several members suggest the leaker, identified as Jack Teixeira by officials, was not intending to publicize the materials; instead, they claim he was keeping his friends apprised of world events. One of the members reportedly shared a small number of photos on a separate server in early March, leading to a broader leak.

 

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Teixeira would be charged with the unauthorized removal and transmission of documents under the Espionage Act.

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Commanders Find Buyer

Dan Snyder, owner of the NFL's Washington Commanders, is reportedly nearing a deal to sell the franchise, ending a yearslong saga over whether Snyder would relinquish control in the face of public pressure. Businessman Josh Harris is said to be leading an investor group offering $6B, a record price that would surpass last year's $4.65B sale of the Denver Broncos. The group includes former NBA star Magic Johnson, among others.

 

The Commanders are one of the league's most storied franchises. Founded in 1932, the team has won three Super Bowls and played in two others—but has only made the playoffs twice in the past decade, going 164-220-2 under Snyder. Snyder's tenure has been marked by controversy, most recently with accusations of a long-running toxic workplace environment, including sexual harassment of cheerleaders. He also famously sued fans during the Great Recession for breach of contract over ticket sales.

 

A 2023 survey of players revealed Washington as the worst team to play for. Any deal must still be approved by NFL owners. 

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Storms Pound Florida

South Florida was hit by heavy rainfall Wednesday evening, causing widespread flooding and shutting down schools and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Fort Lauderdale recorded a once-in-1,000-year rainfall, recording 20 inches within six hours Wednesday. The city’s 24-hour total of 25.9 inches set a record for the rainiest 24 hours in the state's recorded history.

 

The floods come as extreme rainfall events are becoming more common around the world. Experts say for every 1.8-degree increase in global temperature, the amount of moisture in the atmosphere increases by 6%-7%, resulting in more intense and frequent precipitation (see more on the Clausius-Clapeyron equation).

 

Florida is supposed to still be in its eight-month dry season, where average rainfall is around 3 inches per month. There are no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. See photos of the flooding here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> The 2023 Cannes Film Festival (May 16-27) lineup announced, headlined by films from Wes Anderson, Steve McQueen, and Martin Scorsese; see full festival lineup (More)

> Dame Mary Quant, British fashion designer who popularized the miniskirt, dies at 93 (More) | Former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell found safe after being reported missing in Florida (More)

> NHL regular season wraps up tonight; see playoff standings and projected matchups (More) | NBA play-in tournament concludes tonight; first round of playoffs begins tomorrow (More)

From our partners: Now may be a good time to transfer your balance. This leading balance transfer card offers 0% intro APR for 21 months. With no annual fee. Find us a card that offers longer than 21 months. We'll wait. Apply today.

 

Science & Technology

> Michael J. Fox Foundation announces breakthrough in ability to diagnose Parkinson's disease; new technique detects the presence of a protein linked to the disease in those with Parkinson's and those at risk of developing symptoms at 93% accuracy (More)

> Oldest known bat fossils reveal new species, shed light on the evolution of the only flying mammal; the 52-million-year-old specimens were discovered in Wyoming's famed Green River Formation (More)

> Ancient Africa was largely wooded grasslands, contradicting long-held belief dense forests covered the continent 20 million years ago; new study suggests evolutionary theory of ape and ancient human ancestors should be revisited (More

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.3%, Dow +1.1%, Nasdaq +2.0%); March’s producer price index measure drops (More)

> Arrrest made in last week’s stabbing death of Bob Lee, the founder of the mobile payment platform Cash App; alleged killer purportedly knew Lee and works in technology industry (More)

> US office vacancy rates up to 16.9% in Q1 from 12.4% in Q1 2021, as work from home trend continues (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Justice Department asks Supreme Court to intervene in case over abortion pill mifepristone while legal challenges proceed, after appeals court leaves partial restrictions in place (More) | See previous write-up (More) | Florida legislature approves six-week abortion ban (More)

> Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) requests replacement for seat on Judiciary Committee; the 89-year-old Feinstein has been absent from the chamber since March while recovering from shingles, preventing consideration of judicial nominees (More)

> Virginia mother of six-year-old who shot his elementary teacher turns herself into police; officials allege child neglect and negligence in securing household firearms (More)

 

In-Depth

> Why Chicago is So Huge

Uncharted Territories | Tomas Pueyo. The third-largest city in the US has benefited from some basic geographic advantages, making its growth close to inevitable. (Read)

 

> Dam Tensions in East Africa

Baffler | Ann Neumann. Ethiopia's grand plans to build a milewide dam upriver on the Nile pose environmental, economic, and diplomatic issues for its northern Nile neighbor, Egypt. (Read)

> Paywalling History

Aeon | Richard Misek. A reflection on the way commercial film archives like Getty Images throttle public access to historical footage even after it has entered the public domain. (Watch)

 

> All Roads Lead to Delaware

Freakonomics | Stephen Dubner. (Podcast) An investigation into why nearly two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware, while only one is physically located there. (Listen)

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Etcetera
 

The rise of online "algospeak."

 

Major US cities with the lowest (and highest) unemployment rates.

 

Household pay parity is becoming more common.

 

Engineer develops a bike with square wheels (w/video).

 

Scientists use AI to touch up the first-ever image of a black hole.

 

How to tell if your unfinished wine has gone bad.

 

The tantalizing prospect of a cancer vaccine.

 

What your dog is trying to tell you when it wags its tail.

 

Correctionbait: The Terminator terminates service trenches.

 

Historybook: "Webster’s Dictionary" is first published (1828); President Abraham Lincoln is mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth, dies the next day (1865); Marine biologist and environmentalist Rachel Carson dies (1964); Human Genome Project is completed (2003).

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