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Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 28, and we're covering the latest target of Canada's wildfire smoke, a new host for the world's longest-running syndicated game show, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Moore v. Harper Ruling

The US Supreme Court rejected a case yesterday in a 6-3 decision that would have significantly expanded state legislatures' authority to redraw congressional maps and regulate federal elections and processes, ruling state judges have the power to override state legislatures.


At the center of Moore v. Harper was the independent state legislature theory, which rests on two provisions of the Constitution: Article I's elections clause and Article II's electors clause. The case was brought by Republican lawmakers in North Carolina who sought to assert control over election regulations after their previously drawn congressional maps were invalidated by the state’s Supreme Court. The ruling emphasized that state courts retain the ability to review legislative actions. However, they still must adhere to the “ordinary bounds” of judicial review within the limits of the Constitution's elections clause.


The court did not rule on whether the lines in North Carolina had to be redrawn—a new round of redistricting is expected to move forward in the state before the 2024 elections.


Smoky Air in the Midwest

Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis had the worst air quality in the world yesterday as wildfire smoke from Canada covered parts of the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and eastern Pennsylvania.


Chicago, at one point, reached a "very unhealthy" level of 228 on the air quality index, which measures the concentration of microscopic particles able to bypass the body's natural filters. Minnesota issued its 23rd air quality alert of the year, surpassing its previous record of 21 alerts in 2021. See the latest index ranking here.


Canada's wildfire season—the worst on record—began near the end of May, causing thick haze to blanket the eastern US earlier this month and turn the New York City skyline orange. Roughly 8 million hectares of land have been scorched in Canada from nearly 3,000 fires since the start of the year. Canada also broke its record for wildfire carbon emissions, which reached about 160 megatons this year. About 500 active wildfires are burning in Canada. 


Meanwhile, an extreme heat wave sweeping through the southeastern US this week is straining the Texas power grid


Seacrest to Spin the Wheel

Sony Pictures announced yesterday that Ryan Seacrest, the longtime face of the singing contest "American Idol," will replace the outgoing Pat Sajak as host of the iconic game show "Wheel of Fortune." The news comes two weeks after Sajak announced his retirement. Seacrest will begin hosting duties in 2024.


"Wheel of Fortune," a separate brain-child of "Jeopardy!"-creator Merv Griffin, is the world's longest-running syndicated—that is, licensed to various networks—game show. At one time, it held the top-rated syndicated television spot for 26 years straight. Originally a Los Angeles weather forecaster (watch history), the 76-year-old Sajak began hosting the show in 1981 alongside famous puzzle-revealer Vanna White, going on to win three Emmy awards and 19 nominations. Sajak is expected to continue as a consultant for the show.


Seacrest, 48, ended his six-year run on ABC's "Live with Kelly and Ryan" in April (see bio) but will continue as the host of Idol and cohost of the "New Year's Rockin' Eve" special, among others. Read about "Wheel of Fortune's" greatest snafus here.

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt sells for $108M, breaking the record for artwork sold at auction in Europe (More) | Princess Leia's "Star Wars" dress expected to fetch up to $2M at auction (More)

> NHL Draft set for tonight (7 pm ET, ESPN); see preview and predictions (More) | Women's Tennis Association to secure equal prize money at events featuring both men and women by 2027 (More)

> Actor Julian Sands confirmed dead at age 65 after human remains found earlier this week were determined to belong to him (More


Science & Technology

> Researchers discover new coronavirus strains—some related to SARS-CoV-2—in bats found in the United Kingdom; viruses do not currently pose a threat to humans, findings inform monitoring for future pandemic risks (More)

> Scientists use stem cells to recreate human embryonic development in the first few weeks post-fertilization, allowing the study of why some early pregnancies fail and how certain congenital disorders develop (More)

> US officials identify malaria infections in Texas and Florida, the first locally transmitted cases in the US in two decades (More)


Business & Markets

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> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +0.6%, Nasdaq +1.7%), led by rebound in tech stocks (More)

> Lordstown Motors files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, sues contract manufacturing Foxconn alleging breach of deal to provide additional funding; electric vehicle maker also puts itself up for sale (More)

> Unity shares up 16% after gaming software maker announces AI software marketplace (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Russian President Vladimir Putin says government spent $1B on Wagner Group efforts over the past year; the private mercenary force led a short-lived revolt over the weekend (More) | See war updates here (More)

> Former President Donald Trump appears to acknowledge retaining classified military documents in newly released audio recording from 2021; Trump accuses Justice Department of leaking tape (More, w/audio)

> Justice Department watchdog concludes sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein's death was enabled by negligence and misconduct by prison staff, finds no evidence contradicting FBI determination of death by suicide (More) | Read full report (More, scroll down to see report)

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New Zealand declares war on rats.


The first permanent US art gallery for blind artists and audiences.


The world's largest cruise ship is almost ready to set sail.


Princess Diana's iconic "Black Sheep" sweater heads to auction.


Watch tourists growl to fend off a charging brown bear.


... and a shark pulls a man off his boat in Florida.


You can now rent Barbie's Malibu Dream House.


Orangutans can make sounds similar to beatboxing


Clickbait: A race to crown the fastest grandparent (w/video). 


Historybook: Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated, sparking World War I (1914); Treaty of Versailles is signed, formally ending World War I (1919); Stonewall uprising begins (1969); Elon Musk born (1971); Basketball coach Pat Summitt dies (2016).

"Value those people who tell you the truth, not just those people who tell you what you want to hear."

- Pat Summitt

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