2.27.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Feb. 27, and we're covering a Palestinian Authority overhaul, a challenge to a supermarket merger, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Palestinian Authority Shake-Up

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and his government resigned yesterday amid calls for reform from the US and Middle East nations. The overhaul is part of the conditions the US and countries, including Saudi Arabia, are seeking before the Palestinian Authority, which administers the West Bank, can play a potential role in governing Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war. Israel has said it won't accept a Palestinian Authority rule over Gaza. 

 

The Palestinian Authority (see overview) was originally created as an interim body under a 1993 peace agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It was granted limited rule over parts of the West Bank and Gaza and considered a path for a potential two-state solution. However, since 2005, the governing body has been under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, 88, and his Fatah party. Nearly 90% of Palestinians have said they want Abbas to resign, viewing his regime as authoritarian and corrupt. 

 

Separately, Israel launched airstrikes targeting Iran-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, killing at least two fighters and one commander. See more updates on the war here.

 

FTC Sues Kroger

The US Federal Trade Commission and nine states sued to block supermarket chain Kroger's $25B acquisition of competitor Albertsons yesterday, arguing the move would raise prices, lower wages, and reduce competition in the industry. The proposed deal, first announced in 2022, would be the largest in supermarket chain history.

 

The grocers, who together would control 13% of the US grocery market, claim the merger would enable them to better compete with dominant retailers Walmart, Costco, and Amazon. The lawsuit comes six months after Kroger sought to mitigate scrutiny of the deal by divesting 400 of its stores, a move the FTC claims in its lawsuit will not increase competition. The suit is part of a broader crackdown on large mergers by the Biden administration, including last summer's failed bid to prevent Microsoft's $70B acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

 

The dispute comes amid a three-decade high in the percentage of income Americans spend on groceries, even as broader inflation cools. 

 

Record-Setting College Donation

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine announced it received a $1B donation from 93-year-old former professor Dr. Ruth Gottesman. The gift, which will provide free education in perpetuity for all 737 medical students at the school, is believed to be the largest to any medical school in US history.

 

Annual tuition at Einstein is over $59K per year, with almost half of students owing more than $200K upon graduation. The school is in the Bronx in New York City, one of the poorest boroughs in the city but also one of the most diverse (see demographics). Spring 2024 semester tuition for current fourth-year students will be reimbursed and free tuition will be provided for all students starting in August.

 

Gottesman and her late husband David—an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway and founder of investment firm First Manhattan—have made multiple charitable contributions, donating an estimated $330M. One condition of the Einstein donation is that the medical school retain its name; Albert Einstein agreed to his name being used in 1953.

In partnership with Beam

Good Sleep: What Dreams Are Made Of

 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Beyoncé’s country single "Texas Hold 'Em" becomes the singer's ninth solo No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; Beyoncé became the first Black woman to top Billboard's country songs chart last week (More)

> Dan Wilcox, Emmy-winning TV writer and producer known for his work on "M*A*S*H" and "Sesame Street," dies at 82 (More)

> French actor Gérard Depardieu faces another allegation of sexual assault; Depardieu has now been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Knightscope

> Mistral AI releases large language model Mistral Large and chatbot Le Chat; company aims to compete with AI leaders OpenAI and Anthropic by focusing on efficiency and lower costs (More)

> Escaped gut bacteria that make it into the retina may in part cause blindness and eye diseases previously thought to be inherited (More)

> Engineers demonstrate 3D-printed titanium structure with strength-to-weight ratio 50% greater than advanced metal alloys used in aerospace applications (More)

From our partners: Get a 10% return on your investment. Knightscope is seeking investors to help them meet the growing demand for their innovative, AI-powered security robots. To fuel its growth in this $119B market, Knightscope is offering bonds that pay you 10% cash interest on your investment every year for up to 5 years. Don’t miss February’s offering deadline. Learn how you can start earning 10% interest today.*

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.4%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq -0.1%); Amazon joins 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average, replacing Walgreens (More)

> Lord Jacob Rothschild, British banker, financier, and philanthropist, dies at 87; Rothschild was known for leaving his family's banking dynasty in 1980 to build his own financial empire in London (More

> Boeing safety procedures fell short due to lack of communication between management and employees, Federal Aviation Administration panel finds; review comes after 2018-19 crashes that killed 346 people (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Michigan holds presidential primaries today; former President Donald Trump leads GOP race by double digits in recent polling (More) | Trump appeals $454M judgment in New York business fraud case (More) | Manhattan district attorney requests gag order on Trump in hush money trial (More)

> US House expected to deliver impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate as soon as this week; Democrats expected to seek to dismiss case (More) | Republican National Committee Chair 

Ronna McDaniel to step down March 8 (More

> Hungary's parliament approves Sweden's bid to join NATO, clearing final hurdle for the country to become the 32nd member of the transatlantic military alliance (More) | Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was to be freed in prisoner swap between Moscow and the West before his death, according to reports (More)

 

In-Depth

> Managed by Mom and Stalked by Men

NYT | Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Michael H. Keller. Parents seeking social media fame for their underage daughters can expose them to a disturbing online reality, where sex offenders can pay to see more. (Read)

 

> An Oral History of a Masterpiece

Hollywood Reporter | Scott Feinberg. Revisiting the making of "Schindler’s List" 30 years after the film about the German businessman who saved 1,200 Jews from the Nazis during World War II won the Oscar for best picture. (Read)

In partnership with Beam

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Etcetera
 

China's Cat Island: the happiest place for stray cats.

 

Visualizing how well people rest over time.

 

Honeycrisp apple prices are falling.

 

See a shot of a meteor streaking into an active volcano.

 

Meet the guy keeping Unilever's ice cream factory cool.

 

Box of 1979 hockey cards fetches $3M at auction

 

UK Royal Mint unveils George Michael coin

 

Vending machines doing facial recognition.

 

Clickbait: The Florida Man Games return.

 

Historybook: Author John Steinbeck born (1902); Actress Elizabeth Taylor born (1932); Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Ivan Pavlov dies (1936); 22nd Amendment is ratified, limiting US presidents to only being elected to two terms (1951); Mister Rogers dies (2003).

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