4.23.2024

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 23, and we're covering an Israeli spy chief's resignation, the bankruptcy of a staple mall retailer, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Senior Israeli Leader Resigns

Israel’s military intelligence chief announced his resignation yesterday over failing to prevent Hamas' Oct. 7 cross-border raid that left 1,200 people in Israel dead and more than 250 others taken hostage. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva is the first senior Israeli leader to resign over the attack.

 

The news came as Israel maintains it will advance a full-scale invasion of Gaza's southern border city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering. Meanwhile, a report yesterday found facilities for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees have at times been used for "political or military gains" but that Israel has not provided evidence supporting its claim that 12% of the agency's 13,000 staffers are members of Hamas or other militant groups. 

 

Separately, Columbia University held classes virtually amid sit-in protests calling for divestment from Israel-linked companies. The unauthorized protests led to dozens of suspensions and arrests, as well as accusations of harassment against Jewish students. Dozens of protesters were also arrested at Yale University.

 

Express Files for Bankruptcy

US apparel retailer Express Inc., whose portfolio includes menswear brand Bonobos and lifestyle brand UpWest, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday. Express also announced it plans to shutter more than 100 of its roughly 530 stores nationwide. Closing sales are expected to begin today.

 

An investor group led by management firm WHP Global, which owns Toys R Us, is potentially looking to purchase a majority of Express stores and operations, having sent a nonbinding letter of intent (see 101) to buy its assets. Express has also received $35M in financing from existing lenders, subject to court approval, as well as $49M from the IRS as part of a pandemic-era assistance program. A new chief financial officer has been named. 

 

Express, founded in 1980, has been seeing declining sales in recent quarters. The retailer's bankruptcy comes a month after it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange for failing to maintain an average global market capitalization above $15M over 30 trading days.

 

Las Vegas-Los Angeles Line

Construction of a new passenger rail system linking the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas began yesterday. The Brightline West system, spanning 218 miles mostly along Interstate 15, is expected to be the nation's first true high-speed intercity rail network. The route (see map) is expected to take around 30,000 travelers per day between Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Las Vegas.

 

The all-electric trains can reach speeds up to 200 mph, with the typically four-hour travel time between the two cities expected to take just over two hours. Sister company Brightline opened its Miami-Orlando line last year; its trains reach speeds up to 125 mph. The International Union of Railways defines “high-speed rail” as new rail lines capable of going at least 155 mph.

 

The Rancho Cucamonga station will offer a connection to Southern California's commuter rail service. The $12B project aims to alleviate traffic strain; over 44,000 vehicles per day crossed the California-Nevada border on I-15 in 2023. The project is expected to be completed in four years to coincide with the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Cher, Jimmy Buffett, and Mary J. Blige headline 2024 class of 16 inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (More)

> First round of NBA playoffs continue; see latest bracket (More) | … and NHL Stanley Cup playoffs also underway (More)

> Film Academy announces several changes to the 2025 Oscars, including changes to rules affecting best picture, animated feature, and original score categories  (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Global Air Cylinder Wheels

> Meta to release its mixed reality operating system to third-party developers for use by other companies; Microsoft, Lenovo, and others expected to produce competing headsets using Meta's Horizon OS (More)

> Memory study in worms reveals short-term information can be retained longer if the creatures are cooled below room temperature or given lithium; findings shed light on the neuroscience of forming and discarding memories (More)

> CRISPR gene editing demonstrated in kissing bugs, a step toward combating the spread of Chagas disease; the potentially fatal illness affects roughly 8 million people, largely in rural Latin America (More)

From our partners: One of Time’s “Best Inventions.” Global Air Cylinder Wheels (GACW) has “reinvented the wheel” to stop rubber pollution with a 100% recyclable wheel that doesn’t puncture or shed rubber like tires do. As one of TIME’s best sustainability inventions of 2023, it has the potential to transform $504B in markets including mining, construction, and automotive. Invest in GACW before the opportunity closes—only 6 days remaining.*

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.9%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq +1.1%) as shares rebound and investors look ahead to major corporate earnings results this week (More)

> Supermarket chains Kroger and Albertsons to sell 166 more locations as they seek regulatory approval of their $25B merger; the Federal Trade Commission sued to block Kroger's acquisition of Albertsons earlier this year (More) | The FTC sues to block Tapestry Inc.'s $8.5B purchase of Capri Holdings, owner of brands such as Versace and Michael Kors (More)

> Goldman Sachs to sell automated investing business Marcus Invest, will transfer Marcus Invest clients and their assets to independent investment-advisory firm Betterment (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Opening arguments begin in former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in Manhattan over allegedly falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to a former adult film star; first witness is called to the stand (More) | See key takeaways (More

> US Supreme Court agrees to hear case over whether the Biden administration can regulate "ghost guns," privately made firearms without serial numbers; regulations are in effect as litigation plays out, with high court to take up case in the fall (More)

> Record-breaking flooding in China's most populous province, Guangdong, prompts evacuations of more than 110,000 residents; at least four people have died and 10 are missing (More) | See photos (More

 

In-Depth

> Five Takeaways from a Happiness Expert

The Curiosity Chronicle | Sahil Bloom. Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, shares five tips to improve happiness—including setting up a social fitness regime and avoiding ambivalent relationships. (Read)

 

> The History—and Limitations—of 'Forever Homes'

Time | Alana Semuels. The idea of a "forever home" emerged as a popular term with real estate agents following the 2007-09 Great Recession. Today, they may prove elusive. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

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See photos of Dubai's flooding from space.

 

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US News unveils the year's best electric and hybrid vehicles.

 

New Orleans menus to introduce cicada salads.  

 

Browse 100 medieval dog names.

 

German trains will soon feature "smooch cabins." 

 

Clickbait: Dairy from a galaxy far, far away

 

Historybook: English playwright William Shakespeare dies (1616); Hollywood legend and diplomat Shirley Temple born (1928); American punk rock band Ramones release first album (1976); Workers’ rights leader Cesar Chavez dies (1993); The first video is uploaded on YouTube (2005).

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