6.15.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, June 15, and we're covering a new phase in the inflation fight, a tantalizing space discovery, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Rates Stay Steady 

The Federal Reserve yesterday held off on raising interest rates for the first time since its historic campaign to curb inflation began 15 months ago, giving it more time to assess the impact of previous hikes on the economy. The Fed's decision leaves the benchmark federal funds rate at its current range of 5% to 5.25%, ending a streak of 10 consecutive increases.

 

The temporary rate hike pause comes after the government's latest data showed inflation in May rose 4% year-over-year, a decrease from April's 4.9% and the 11th consecutive month of slowing inflation. The 4% rate is the smallest annual inflation growth since March 2021. Still, Federal Reserve officials suggested rate increases could resume later this year, with two more quarter percentage point moves, as inflation remains above the central bank's 2% target

 

Policymakers also released updated economic projections (see here), forecasting the economy to grow 1% this year, up from March's estimate of 0.4%. Inflation is expected to cool to 3.2% at the end of 2023 and to 2.5% at the end of 2024. 

 

Life's Building Blocks

One of Saturn's 146 moons harbors the fundamental elements required for the development of organic life, according to new data from NASA published yesterday. The discovery was made on Enceladus, an Arizona-sized lunar body with a salty subsurface ocean. 

 

Six elements—hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus—are generally considered critical to the structure of organic life, with the latter two playing roles in nucleic and amino acids. Scientists confirmed the presence of the first five during previous missions; NASA's Cassini spacecraft has now confirmed the presence of phosphorous in ice particles ejected by high-powered geysers on the moon's surface.

 

Researchers say there is no evidence to date of actual life on Enceladus—a question that may be the focus of future missions—but the findings suggest other moons in the solar system may be ripe for similar investigations. Learn more about the icy moon here.

 

Migrant Boat Capsizes 

At least 78 migrants en route to Italy from Libya drowned Wednesday after their boat capsized off the southwestern coast of Greece, marking the deadliest such event in Greek waters this year. Over 100 migrants were rescued, although authorities expect the death toll to rise.

 

The Central Mediterranean migrant route—from North Africa to Italy and Greece—has seen a surge in crossings this year, recording its deadliest first quarter since 2017. The United Nations describes the route, where nearly 27,000 migrants have gone missing since 2014, as the most dangerous in the world. Overall, 70,000 migrants have arrived via sea in Europe in 2023, with roughly 80% reaching Italy, distantly followed by Spain and Greece (see numbers).

 

The tragedy comes less than a week after European Union ministers agreed to a rare migration reform deal. The so-called mandatory solidarity plan is designed to streamline relocation efforts while offering EU countries discretion to receive refugees or pay into a fund. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Golf's US Open begins today from Los Angeles Country Club; see full preview and schedule (More) | US senators ask attorney general to open inquiry into PGA Tour's proposed deal with Saudi-backed LIV Golf (More)

> John Romita Sr., iconic Marvel comic book artist, dies at 93 (More) | Olympic ski jumper Patrick Gasienica dies in a motorcycle crash at age 24 (More) | Robert Gottlieb, legendary book editor, dies at 92 (More)

> Twitter sued for $250M by music publishers over alleged copyright infringement; Twitter is only major social media platform without a music licensing deal (More)

From our partners: A credit card that checks all the right boxes. Like a $200 welcome bonus after spending $500 within three months (check), a $0 annual fee (check), unlimited cash back on basically every purchase (check), and 0% intro APR into 2024 (check). Learn more about this top-rated card and apply today.

 

Science & Technology

> IBM quantum computer reaches key milestone, beats supercomputer in simulating the behavior of a magnetic material; marks the first demonstration of outperforming classical computers for a practical application (More)

> Psychedelics study suggests the broad class of drugs act to reopen the brain circuitry responsible for social reward learning developed during youth (More) | Read scientific paper here (More)

> 3D muscle reconstruction suggests Lucy, one of the oldest discovered ancient human relative specimens, primarily walked upright (More) | Learn more about the 3.2-million-year-old fossil (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow -0.7%, Nasdaq +0.4%) on Federal Reserve rate hike pause (More)

> European Union charges Google with abusing its dominance of the ad tech industry; EU may seek a breakup of its business lines (More)

> Sonos to lay off 7% of staff, or approximately 130 employees of the wireless speaker company (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Tens of thousands of people evacuated as Cyclone Biparjoy is projected to strike India and Pakistan later today (More) | See footage of the cyclone from the International Space Station (More) | Tornadoes reported in southeastern US as part of rare June severe weather outbreak (More)

> Southern Baptist Convention rejects appeal to reinstate two churches with female pastors: the Saddleback Church in Southern California, the denomination’s second-largest, and the Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky (More

> Russian court convicts associate of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on extremism charges, sentencing her to over seven years in prison (More) | More than 20 Ukrainian soldiers captured after the battle for Mariupol last year begin trial in Russia (More

 

In-Depth

> Duped: The Black Market for License Plates

Vice | Jesse Coburn. The story of a Harlem 20-something who unknowingly becomes involved in the illegal trade of ghost plates through a Craigslist ad, shedding light on the Shahinian family and their illegal business venture. (Read)

 

> Inside the PGA Tour-LIV Golf Deal

ESPN | Mark Schlabach. A glimpse into the formation of an unlikely partnership between the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, starting with a WhatsApp message from a Wall Street dealmaker. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

A look at the 2023 wine vintage chart by country.

 

Woman declared dead in Ecuador wakes up during wake.

 

Those ketchup packets in your junk drawer could be worth something.

 

Airlines are dealing with spikes in bad behavior from passengers.

 

Wannabe Spider-Man arrested—again—for trying to climb skyscraper.

 

Rare sighting of killer whales spotted south of Nantucket.

 

People born before 1990 reminisce about life skills of yore.

 

Ireland will pay you nearly $87K to move to a remote offshore community.

 

Clickbait: Cannibalistic crickets terrorize Nevada town. (w/video)

 

Historybook: Magna Carta is sealed by King John (1215); Arlington National Cemetery is established (1864); Henry Ossian Flipper becomes first Black graduate from West Point (1877); Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald dies (1996).

"Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."

- Ella Fitzgerald

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