6.7.2023

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 7, and we're covering Iran's missile program, an end to a monthslong golf feud, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Iran's Hypersonic Missile

Iranian local media claimed yesterday the country had built its first hypersonic ballistic missile, capable of flying at least 15 times faster than the speed of sound. Iran's latest military technology debut comes as the country reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia, following an April deal to restore diplomatic ties between the two nations, while talks over Iran's nuclear program have stalled with the US and its Western allies. 

 

A model of the hypersonic missile, dubbed Fattah or "Conqueror" in Farsi, was unveiled during a state-televised event yesterday. The head of the paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ aerospace program claimed the missile has a range of 870 miles. A test launch of the missile does not appear to have been conducted.

 

Hypersonic missiles travel at excess of roughly five times the speed of sound and may evade radars more effectively, making them difficult to intercept. The US, China, Russia, and North Korea are among nations pursuing the technology. See how hypersonic missiles work here. Read an overview of the US program here.

 

SEC Targets Coinbase

Regulators at the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday charged Coinbase, the country's largest cryptocurrency exchange, with operating as an unregistered broker. It is the second lawsuit brought against the industry after Monday's action against Binance (see previous write-up).

 

The moves are the culmination of the SEC's multiyear effort to bring the nascent, unregulated industry—whose total market value has bloomed to over $1T—into compliance with regulations. The SEC's complaint alleges Coinbase failed to register itself as a dealer in securities, depriving its customers of legal protections and exposing its investors to risk; unlike Binance, Coinbase was not accused of fraud.

 

Most crypto firms deny their traded assets constitute a security, understood as a public, profit-seeking, monetary investment contract (see definition). The US House Agriculture Committee is currently debating whether crypto assets should be understood as commodities rather than securities (see more), a designation currently held by only a few currencies like Bitcoin and ether.

 

PGA and LIV Merge

The PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf announced a proposed merger yesterday, ending their rivalry on the global golfing stage.

 

Under the agreement, the golf-related commercial businesses and rights of LIV Golf's main financial supporter, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, will combine with those of the PGA Tour and the European-based DP World Tour, establishing a collectively owned, for-profit entity. The tours will continue to run independently but will have board oversight, primarily controlled by the PGA. The PIF, which will occupy a chairman position with the new entity, will provide the initial funding and have the right to invest—and refuse outside investment—in the entity.

 

The news comes nearly a year after LIV Golf debuted as a professional golf series, facing criticism for attempting to "sportswash" the country's image in light of its human rights record. The merger will resolve any ongoing legal disputes and establish a process for LIV players, including stars Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, to reapply for membership in the PGA Tour and DP World Tour after the 2023 season.

 

The merger awaits approval from the PGA Tour policy board and is expected to be finalized this year. See player reactions here.

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Demystifying Retirement

 

Retirement should be filled with relaxation, family, and fun—not finances.

 

Enter: Working with a financial advisor. Research suggests people who work with a financial advisor feel more at ease about their finances and could end up with 15% more money to spend in retirement.¹ The past few years have shown us just how quickly decades of planning, investing, and saving can be upended. Work toward a more comfortable retirement with these 7 secrets about hiring a financial advisor.

 

With thousands of options available, SmartAsset developed a free tool to match you with up to 3 vetted financial advisors serving your area, each legally bound to work in your best interest. Get your financial advisor matches today.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Prince Harry takes the stand in phone hacking trial against British tabloids; is first senior royal to testify in court in more than 130 years (More) | Cuba Gooding Jr. avoids trial by settling New York City civil rape case (More)

> Nearly 98% of Screen Actors Guild members vote to approve a strike ahead of negotiations today with film studios and producers; writers strike is now in its sixth week (More)

> Jim Hines, two-time Olympic gold medalist who was first person to run 100-meter race in under 10 seconds, dies at 76 (More) | Astrud Gilberto, Brazilian singer known for "The Girl from Ipanema," dies at 83 (More)

 

Science & Technology

> NASA Psyche, which will probe the metal-rich asteroid of the same name, on track for an October launch, independent review board concludes (More)

> Study finds insects were responsible for pollinating the first flowers roughly 140 million years ago; results shed light on the evolution of flowering plants, which now account for 90% of plants worldwide (More)

> Experimental gene therapy shot allows cats to be spayed without surgery; treatment provides a gene that produces an antiovulation hormone (More) | The impact of feral cats on ecosystems (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow +0.03%, Nasdaq +0.4%); S&P 500 closes at highest level in 2023 (More)

> Walmart, Amazon, and Exxon Mobil top Fortune 500 annual list of largest US companies by revenue (More)

> Storied venture capital firm Sequoia to split into three geographic businesses: the US/Europe, China, and India/Southeast Asia (More)

From our partners: A credit card with all the right perks. Like a $200 welcome bonus after spending $500 within three months. This card's got a $0 annual fee, and gives you unlimited cash back on basically every purchase. Check it out.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Report says US intelligence knew of Ukrainian plans to destroy Russia's underwater Nord Stream gas pipeline months ahead of attack; Ukraine has denied responsibility (More) | Massive flooding from destroyed Kakhovka dam forces evacuations, swamps battlefront in southern Ukraine (More) | See war updates (More)

> Jackson, Mississippi, receives $115M from the Environmental Protection Agency to support water infrastructure (More) | See overview of the city's long-running water crisis (More)

> Pharmaceutical giant Merck sues federal government over provisions included in last year's Inflation Reduction Act allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices (More)

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True Cost of a Financial Advisor, Revealed

 

In a society where people turn to social media for help deciding between paint colors, it’s unthinkable that so many of us continue to entrust our financial futures to ... ourselves.

 

According to a Fidelity Study, financial advice can add between 1.5% and 4% to account growth over extended periods.² So, why do some Americans continue to walk the financial road alone?

 

For some, the excuse is the false assumption that they can’t afford it. In actuality, the fees financial advisors charge are often less than most people think. Learn the true cost here.

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Etcetera
 

Angler catches an over nine-foot-long catfish (w/photos). 

 

Chicago's Field Museum welcomes a new dinosaur

 

Scientists develop repellant that deters 99% of mosquitoes.

 

A visual exploration of rhythm and grooves (turn sound on). 

 

Ranking homes with unexpected interiors.

 

Predicting this year's summer cocktails.

 

Sports reporter goes viral for stiff-arming a fan

 

The world's largest Spider-Man gathering.

 

Clickbait: Farewell to "ducking hell." 

 

Historybook: Actress Jean Harlow dies (1937); Mathematician Alan Turing dies (1954); Musician Prince born (1958); US Supreme Court legalizes contraception use by married couples (1965); Writer Dorothy Parker dies (1967). 

"Always cry for love, never cry for pain."

- Prince Rogers Nelson, from "Sometimes It Snows in April"

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1. Journal of Retirement Study Winter (2020). The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of your future results. Please follow the link to see the methodologies employed in the Journal of Retirement study. 2. “Why Work With A Financial Advisor?”, Fidelity (11/1/2021). Please follow the link to see the methodologies employed in the Fidelity study.

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