4.15.2024

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Good morning. It's Monday, April 15—and it's also Tax Day in the US. Today, we're covering Iran's strike on Israel, the start of the first criminal trial against former President Donald Trump, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Iran Strikes Israel

Iran launched an estimated 300 missiles and armed drones at Israel in its first direct strike against Israel from Iranian territory. Israel, the UK, the US, and France intercepted 99% of the projectiles, with Jordan intercepting missiles over its airspace. Five projectiles landed within Israel’s borders, with one wounding a 7-year-old girl.

 

The attack was retaliation for an Israeli airstrike this month, which killed three Iranian generals and four officers at an Iranian consular building in Syria. The two have engaged in hostilities since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, typically through Iranian proxy groups. Iran has funded Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza, and militant groups in Iraq and Syria. Israel has targeted Iranian military leaders and nuclear scientists (but rarely comments on strikes).

 

Western nations condemned the attack, while President Joe Biden said the US will not participate in retaliatory military action against Iran. It comes as Israel and Hezbollah continue to exchange dozens of rockets across the Israel-Lebanon border and as Iran seized an Israeli-linked ship. Israel said it will respond to Iran's attack on its own timeframe.

 

Trump Trial Begins

A trial against former President Donald Trump begins today in Manhattan, with prosecutors accusing him of falsifying business records in the course of allegedly paying hush money to former adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, and one other woman. Trump has denied the allegations since they first surfaced in 2018. 

 

The case centers on a $130K payment made to Daniels by Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2016 in exchange for Daniels staying quiet about a supposed extramarital affair with Trump in 2006 (see timeline). Prosecutors allege Trump listed a reimbursement payment to Cohen as a legal expense in an effort to conceal its purpose. 

 

Trump's defense has cast Cohen—the state's key witness, who himself pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2018—as having a vendetta against Trump. Prosecutors have cast the payments as part of a broader "catch and kill" scheme by the former president's allies. 

 

Trump will reportedly be required to attend each day of the proceedings, which are expected to run for about six weeks. 

 

Masters Winner Scottie Scheffler

World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler defeated Collin Morikawa to win yesterday's 2024 Masters Tournament. The win at Augusta National marks Scheffler's second Masters title, earning him a $3.6M prize.

 

Last year's champion, Jon Rahm—currently No. 3 in the world rankings—finished nine over par and tied for 45th place. Tiger Woods, a five-time Masters winner, endured a challenging 72 holes, ending the four days with the worst score of any tournament in his professional career.

 

The weekend tournament came as the sport faces a crossroads in terms of organization and viewership. The PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf league have yet to reconcile the terms of last year’s merger, splitting the opportunities for a number of star players to appear at the same events. Meanwhile, notable tournaments have seen a drop in viewership, with recent invitationals seeing more than a 30% year-over-year drop in viewers.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> NBA regular season wraps with the play-in tournament set to begin tomorrow night; see playoff bracket (More) | WNBA Draft is tonight (7:30 pm ET, ESPN) with Iowa's Caitlin Clark widely projected to be the top pick (More)

> "Sunset Boulevard" is big winner with seven awards at the 2024 Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of the Tonys; "Operation Mincemeat" wins best new musical (More)

> Denver tops Boston College to win 10th NCAA men's hockey national championship (More) | NHL regular season wraps this week; see latest playoff picture (More)

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Science & Technology

> SpaceX reaches milestone for reusable rockets, successfully launching satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on its 20th liftoff (More)

> Scientists discover cell structure in algae that naturally converts atmospheric nitrogen into useful chemicals; may one day allow crops to produce their own fertilizer from the air (More)

> New study challenges view of bonobos as a largely peaceful primate species, finds they can be more aggressive than chimpanzees; conflicts play out mostly through individual fights between males (More)

 

Business & Markets

> IRS says it received more than 100 million tax returns ahead of today's deadline to file returns or extensions for 2023 (More) | See the top 10 fraud cases from last year (More)

> Stocks fall Friday on slow start to earnings season (Dow -1.2%, S&P 500 -1.5%, Nasdaq -1.6%); S&P 500 closes worst week since October (More) | JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup all report a drop on income from net interest in first quarter (More)

> US Steel shareholders approve $14.9B sale to Japan's Nippon Steel at $55 per share, a roughly 33% premium over the stock's Friday price at close; deal for the second-largest US steelmaker still faces political opposition (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> A 40-year-old man stabs and kills seven people Saturday at the Westfield Bondi shopping mall in Sydney, Australia, injuring at least a dozen more; police attribute the cause to mental illness (More)

> Somali pirates release a Bangladeshi ship captured last month and its 23-person crew in exchange for a $5M ransom from ship owner KSRM Group (More) | More piracy attacks occurred in early 2024 than any other time in the last six years (More)

> Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) vetoes bill that would have banned transgender medical treatments for minors, including surgery and hormone replacement therapy (More) | See list of states that have enacted bans (More

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Etcetera
 

The top 20 travel destinations this summer, per Google.

 

How life experience determines teenage trajectories.

 

World's oldest conjoined twins die at age 62.

 

Use AI to generate fusion dinner recipes.

 

What to know about predicting earthquakes.

 

A statistical breakdown of marriage age gaps.

 

Six librarians who changed history

 

The Titanic, 112 years after it set sail.

 

Clickbait: The return of 1980s color analysis.

 

Historybook: President Abraham Lincoln dies (1865); RMS Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 (1912); Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier, becomes first Black major league baseball player (1947); Actress Emma Watson born (1990); Two bombs explode at Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring 264 (2013).

"Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you're wasting your life."

- Jackie Robinson

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