8.15.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Aug. 15, and we're covering a grand jury indictment in Fulton County, a landmark state court decision, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Breaking news:  Grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, 2020 election interference probe indicts former President Donald Trump and 18 other named defendants late Monday after hearing from witnesses earlier in the day. Trump has been charged with 13 counts, including racketeering. See updates here. Read the indictment here.

Montana Climate Ruling

A Montana state court yesterday ruled in favor of a group of young people who claimed the state's policies violated their constitutional right to a clean environment by prohibiting agencies from considering the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. The case is the first of its kind in the US to have gone to trial. 

 

At issue in Held v. Montana are a pair of state laws, including an amendment to the Montana Environmental Policy Act, which prevent the state from evaluating climate impacts when approving energy and mining projects. Sixteen youths sued the state, citing Montana's constitution guarantees the right to a "clean and healthful environment." Only two other state constitutions have such language: Pennsylvania and New York.

 

The judge invalidated Montana's policies, ruling the limitations didn't protect the state's natural resources from depletion and that its degradation would continue without a remedy. The judge also noted the state didn't adequately explain its reasoning for setting the limitations. See the ruling here

 

Montana is home to the largest recoverable coal reserves in the US, accounting for nearly 30% of the nation's total. See an overview of greenhouse gases here.

 

Mudslides in India

At least 48 people have died in northern India's Himalayan region amid mudslides and flash floods induced by severe rains since the weekend. Rescue operations continued yesterday at the site of a collapsed Hindu temple in Shimla, 200 miles north of New Delhi, where nine people were killed and dozens more feared trapped.

 

The southern Himalayan region, which cuts across northern India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, typically sees dangerous mudslides (watch overview) during its June to September monsoon season, when the bulk of the region's precipitation falls. Sudden bursts of substantial rainfall—known as cloudbursts—can dump 4 inches of rain per hour. The Himalayas are also vulnerable to flash flooding from the region's 2,000 glacial lakes, 200 of which are at risk of bursting as rising temperatures cause glaciers to melt more rapidly. 

 

The deluge comes just a month after similar floods in the region killed over 100 people. See photos of the damage here

 

Remembering Clarence Avant 

Clarence Avant, known as the "Black Godfather" of the music and entertainment industry, died Sunday in his Los Angeles home at the age of 92. Avant is credited with helping to launch the careers of some of the biggest Black artists, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Bill Withers, and Babyface.

 

The executive started his career as a manager in the 1950s before moving to LA and forming two record labels in the 1960s—producing hits like Bill Withers' "Lean on Me"—and an LA radio station focused on music by Black artists. Avant served on the board of Motown Records in the 1990s and became the first Black board member at PolyGram Records.

 

Avant, the subject of a 2019 Netflix documentary, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was awarded two honorary Grammys, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His career also touched sports and politics; he was an adviser to former President George HW Bush and a fundraiser for former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. 

 

His death comes almost two years after the fatal shooting of his wife, Jacqueline.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Ex-NFL lineman Michael Oher alleges "The Blind Side" family never adopted him and made millions off him as conservators (More) | Two-time defending champ Georgia tops AP college football preseason poll; Michigan and Ohio State round out the top three (More)

> Screen Actors Guild will no longer approve interim agreements for writers guild-written projects with independent studios (More) | Magoo, rapper known for collaborations with Timbaland, dies at 50 (More)

> CBS News announces Wendy McMahon as its new CEO and president (More) | CNN overhauls programming schedule, including new prime-time slots for Abby Phillip and Laura Coates (More)

 

Science & Technology

> The New York Times updates its terms and conditions barring third parties from scraping the paper's archives and content to train generative AI models without consent (More) | Netflix begins first public test of streaming video game service (More)

> Neuroscientists link brain waves seen in patients with consciousness disorders, such as comas, to energy consumption in specific brain regions (More)

> Archaeologists find oldest-known water pipe systems in ancient China were built communally, without centralized authority; networks date to transition period before the start of the Chinese dynastic era (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq +1.1%) ahead of today's retail sales data release (More)

> Swiss banking giant UBS agrees to pay $1.4B in civil penalties over residential mortgage-backed securities misconduct (More)

> Kraft Heinz, PayPal announce new CEOs; Kraft Heinz North America Zone President Carlos Abrams-Rivera will take over as CEO in January, while Intuit executive Alex Chriss will become PayPal's CEO in late September (More)

From our partners: With interest rates rising, it's a great time to transfer your credit card balance. This five-star balance transfer card offers 0% intro APR for 18 months. With no annual fee. Learn more now.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Today marks two years since the US withdrew from Afghanistan; Afghan girls and women have faced a slew of restrictions during the Taliban's second year in power (More) | See timeline of events (More)

> Six former Mississippi law enforcement officers, who are white, plead guilty to state charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to hinder prosecution in the beating and torturing of two Black men during a warrantless home search (More)

> US Navy joins Army and Marine Corps in operating without Senate-confirmed military leaders, marking the first time in history that three military services are without a Senate-confirmed leader (More)

 

In-Depth

> The Jacuzzi Family

New York Times | Saskia Solomon. The story behind the hot tub, which was built for Candido Jacuzzi's son to help ease his suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis after a severe case of strep throat. (Read)

 

> The Mom Who Stopped a Killer

Vanity Fair | Julie Miller. For the first time, Margy Palm tells the story of the day a convicted serial killer abducted her outside a Kmart, but instead of becoming his victim, she became his friend. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

The 20 best small US towns for retirement.

 

Breaking down Americans' relationship with alcohol.

 

Homelessness in the US is up 11% so far this year.

 

USPS unveils stamps featuring microscopic life.

 

The chemistry behind carbonated beverages.

 

Debunking the world's first room-temperature superconductor.

 

See footage of a tail sailing whale

 

Introducing professor Peyton Manning.

 

Clickbait: Another day, another scary sea creature.

 

Historybook: Napoleon Bonaparte is born (1769); Iconic chef and TV host Julia Child is born (1912); Panama Canal opens (1914); Woodstock music festival begins (1969); Civil rights activist Julian Bond dies (2015).

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