4.10.2023

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Good morning. It's Monday, April 10, and we're covering a pair of opposing judicial rulings on a common abortion pill, a leak revealing clandestine US operations in Ukraine, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Abortion Pill Ruling

A pair of opposing judicial decisions over the weekend left the status of a common abortion pill up in the air, with two federal judges issuing contradictory rulings on whether Mifepristone should remain on the market. The pill, one of two drugs used for medically induced abortions, appears likely to remain available in the short term. 

 

In the first ruling, Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk found the Food and Drug Administration ignored safety concerns during an accelerated decision-making process when considering the drug roughly two decades ago (read ruling). The judge also found mailing of abortion-inducing drugs violates the Comstock Act, passed in 1873. 

 

Minutes after issuing the decision, Washington state Judge Thomas Rice issued a separate ruling requiring Mifepristone to remain available—arguing, in part, it was unusual for the judicial wing to intervene in executive branch regulatory decisions (read ruling). Legal experts say the case is likely to be heard by the Supreme Court.

 

Mifepristone is authorized for use up to 10 weeks into gestation. Surveys suggest drug-induced abortions—as opposed to surgical procedures—account for more than half of all abortions in the US each year. 

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Ukraine Leak

The Justice Department is investigating a leak of classified US intelligence documents uploaded to a Discord server early last month. Images of some of those documents were shared widely on social media last week in a significant breach of American intelligence. 

 

The leaked materials consisted of several photographs of files—portions of which are believed to be doctored—containing sensitive information from across the US espionage community. Most of the reports—which reportedly confirm claims the US has deeply infiltrated Russian intelligence—are US assessments of the Ukraine war. They also reveal sensitive information regarding China, Iran, and others, including a failed attempt by Russia's Wagner group to negotiate an arms deal with NATO member Turkey, as well as previously undisclosed advanced US satellite systems.

 

Analysts expect the leak to have widespread repercussions for current intelligence sharing among the US and its allies; on Friday, the Pentagon restricted the flow of intelligence in an attempt to minimize the chance of further leaks.

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Jerusalem Tensions 

Israel carried out airstrikes in Syria yesterday, retaliating after six missiles were launched into Israel from Syria Friday. At least one rocket landed in Golan Heights, a strategic border region controlled by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967 but still claimed by Syria (see overview). 

 

The exchange came days after dozens of rockets were fired by the militant group Hamas from both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, reportedly responding to an effort by Israeli police earlier in the week to remove protestors from the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Also over the weekend, an Italian tourist was killed and seven other people injured in what is believed to be a car-ramming attack in the Israel capital of Tel Aviv. 

 

The increase in violence comes as followers of the region's major religions—Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—flock to Israel on pilgrimage to their respective holy sites. Explore the country's major religious sites here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> NBA regular season wrapped yesterday with Play-In Tournament beginning tomorrow; see playoff bracket (More) | Boston Bruins tie NHL's single-season wins record with 62 with three games remaining (More) | Quinnipiac tops Minnesota in overtime to win NCAA men’s hockey championship (More)

> "Super Mario Bros." hauls in $204M domestically, $377M globally over Easter weekend, the best opening global box office debut ever for an animated film (More)

Jon Rahm wins 2023 Masters Tournament, his first Masters and second major win (More) | Tiger Woods withdraws during third round after making cut for record-tying 23rd consecutive time (More)

From our partners: Worried about your online privacy? You’re not alone–over 50 million people have switched to Brave, the privacy-first web browser. Brave blocks ads and trackers on every website–including YouTube. With private search, a VPN, and offline video playlists, Brave keeps you safe. Bonus: it even stops those annoying cookie requests. Get Brave for your phone or computer in under 60 seconds.

 

Science & Technology

> Twitter users report the platform throttled links to newsletter platform Substack after the latter rolled out a new Twitter-like feature called Notes (More) | Twitter CEO Elon Musk accuses Substack of attempting to clone the platform (More)

> US environmental officials to propose new emissions regulations for passenger vehicles planned to be released in 2027 through 2032, effectively raising fuel efficiency standards; announcement expected Wednesday (More)

> New evidence suggests a mass extinction 260 million years ago during the Capitanian age was instead two distinct events, both driven by volcanic eruptions (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US corporate bankruptcies up in March to highest level since July 2020 (More)

> Q1 earnings season kicks off this week; analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to decline nearly 10% from Q1 2022 (More)

> March unemployment rate for Black workers of 5.0% is lowest level in 50 years (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> China runs military exercises in Taiwan strait, around island nation in protest of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's visit to the US (More) | The US deploys nuclear-powered submarine to Persian Gulf amid ongoing tensions with Iran (More)

> Ousted Tennessee lawmakers Justin Jones and Justin Pearson seek reinstatement to legislature, await local commissioner decisions (More) | Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), 77, undergoes surgery after breaking his leg at a parade Saturday (More)

> Four hikers killed and several others injured amid an avalanche in the French Alps Sunday (More)

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Etcetera
 

How much you should tip in each country.

 

Mapping where retirees are headed in the US

 

Side-by-side shots of once-dry California lakes now filled

 

Imagining a New York-to-Paris intercontinental train

 

Why the big, flat Turbot fish is showing up on dinner menus

 

Rundown birthplace of novelist Willa Cather goes up for sale

 

Our Bronze Age ancestors likely enjoyed hallucinogens

 

Video captures stream of rats jumping from truck

 

Clickbait: A legal history of a popular emoji

 

Historybook: “The Great Gatsby” published (1925); Labor rights activist Dolores Huerta born (1930); Football personality John Madden born (1936); Paul McCartney leaves The Beatles (1970); Good Friday Agreement is signed (1998).

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