11.18.2022

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Good morning. It's Friday, Nov. 18, and we're covering a change in political leadership, a judgement in the downing of flight MH17, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Pelosi Steps Down

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) announced yesterday she would step down as House Democratic leader but remain as a rank-and-file member of Congress, yielding one of the most powerful positions on Capitol Hill after two decades. The decision comes after Republicans retook majority of the chamber during the midterm elections and weeks after an intruder severely injured her husband in what police say was a politically motivated attack at their San Francisco residence.  

 

Pelosi, first elected to Congress in 1987, was elected House minority leader in 2002 and became the first woman to assume the speaker's gavel in 2007. Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY-8) is viewed as her likely replacement; see other potential candidates here.

 

Current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-23) is expected to become House speaker when the new Congress convenes Jan. 3. With seven races yet to be called, Republicans have won the 218 seats needed for a majority, with projections suggesting they may capture an additional three to four seats. 

 

MH17 Verdicts

Two Russians and a Ukrainian separatist were sentenced in absentia in a Dutch court yesterday to life in prison and were ordered to pay $16.5M to victims' families after being found guilty of shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing nearly 300 people. One Russian was acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

 

The incident happened amid a separatist struggle in eastern Ukraine, facilitated by Russia seeking control of the Crimean Peninsula. Investigators concluded that a Russian-made missile was used to down the commercial flight en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, though the separatists believed the plane to be a Ukrainian fighter jet.

 

The judge determined Russia had overall control of separatist forces at the time of the incident. However, it is unlikely the trio will serve any prison time soon as Russia’s constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens.

 

FTX Blasts SBF

John Ray, the newly installed CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency firm FTX, accused former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried of unprecedented corporate negligence and mismanagement, according to legal filings yesterday. Lawyers for the company also accused Bankman-Fried of attempting to steer the jurisdiction of bankruptcy proceedings to the Bahamas, where the company is located. 

 

The cryptocurrency exchange platform, once valued at $32B, collapsed over the span of a week following a report it had lent—and lost—billions in customer deposits to its sister investor trading firm. Subsequent reporting revealed a disorganized balance sheet stored in an Excel file, listing $9B in liabilities and $900M in liquid, or readily accessible, assets. Ray previously oversaw the liquidation of energy-trading company Enron, which imploded in 2001 under the weight of illicit corporate accounting practices. 

 

Separately, 30-year-old Bankman-Fried initiated a lengthy private Twitter discussion with a financial reporter this week. Read the exchange here (warning—language). 

In partnership with Miso Robotics

Robotic Revenues

 

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That solution is Miso Robotics, whose breakthrough robot-as-a-service (RaaS) solutions can offset 1.5 human workers and increase efficiency while boosting restaurant profit margins by up to 3x. Miso’s partnerships with US brands like Jack in the Box and White Castle have been so successful that Miso’s garnered the partnership of a new major international brand. This expansion will help Miso establish a foothold in places like Europe where their tech is in greater demand due to up to 50% higher labor costs. 

 

Miso’s Series E round closes today, meaning investors who want to get in early on planned global expansion have to act now. Check out your Miso investment opportunity before it closes.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Ticketmaster cancels sale of general public tickets to Taylor Swift's Eras Tour due to high demand (More) | Senate Antitrust Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) expresses concerns over Ticketmaster sales practices (More)

> WNBA star Brittney Griner moved to penal colony 300 miles southeast of Moscow to serve nine-year prison sentence for having hashish oil in her luggage (More)

> New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wins MLB American League MVP (More) | St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt wins NL MVP (More)

From our partners: Give yourself 5% back. Can you ask for more than a credit card with up to 5% cash back? OK, how about a $200 sign-up bonus? And no annual fee. And 0% intro APR for 15 months. This card has it all, apply in minutes today.

 

Science & Technology

> Scientists discover innate hydration-sensing mechanism that allows tree roots to pause, accelerate, or change shape as they search for water (More)

> World health officials to trial three vaccine candidates to combat Ebola outbreak in Uganda; existing vaccines have been ineffective against current strain, known as Ebola Sudan (More)

> Analysis of meteorite recovered in the UK last year reveals water, carbon-based molecules similar to those found on Earth; bolsters theory that certain meteor types played a role in the origin of life on the planet (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.3%, Dow -0.02%, Nasdaq -0.4%) for second consecutive session (More) | Gap turns a profit, beats expectations; shares up over 5% in after-hours trading (More

> Meta (Facebook) disciplined or fired employees and contractors for hijacking user accounts (More)

> Amazon CEO Andy Jassy tells employees layoffs will continue into next year; numerous tech giants including Meta (Facebook), Salesforce, Twitter, and Stripe also recently announced workforce reductions (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Russia renews missile attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure as first snow falls in the capital of Kyiv; strikes have forced rolling blackouts across Ukraine (More) | See updates on the war here (More)

> More than a dozen people killed, including two children, as Iranian security forces attempt to stamp out a surge in protests; at least 15,000 demonstrators have been detained, with more than 350 killed (More) | Iranian protests explained (More

> UK finance minister announces almost $36B in spending cuts, $30B in tax hikes in fiscal plan meant to address budget deficits and stabilize the country's economic trajectory (More)

 

In-Depth

> Stories From World Cup Migrant Workers

New York Times | Tariq Panja, Bhadra Sharma. Billions of people are predicted to watch soccer's World Cup in Qatar, where Nepali migrants risked their lives to build its stadiums. (Read)

 

> At the Center of the (Facebook) Storm

Untangled | Charley Johnson. (Podcast) The data-tracking platform CrowdTangle helps pick out the most viral content on social media. But when Facebook brought it in-house, executives couldn't handle the truth. (Listen)

> The Tanks at Flamenco Beach

Atlas Obscura | Staff. (Podcast) The island of Culebra off Puerto Rico claims beautiful beaches marked by two US tanks, remnants of its history as a military testing ground. (Listen)

 

> Defending the Arctic

Reuters Graphics | Staff. Russia's military is superior in the Arctic Circle, so NATO allies are boosting investment to keep balance in the frozen region. (Read)

Final Day for Further, Faster Food

 

In partnership with Miso Robotics

 

Miso Robotics food-frying, drink-filling robots have made waves in the $675B global fast food industry. Word of their success with brands like Jack in the Box has spread overseas, and now these robots are going global, expanding Miso’s addressable market to over 20 million restaurants—a 17x increase.

 

Aiming to support the entire global fast food industry, Miso presents a high-potential investment opportunity. But today is the final day to invest. Click here for your opportunity to invest with Miso before the round closes at midnight.

Please support our sponsors!

Etcetera
 

The winners of this year's National Book Awards.

 

... and America's 50 most-banned books.

 

The best new restaurants of 2022

 

A century of US demographic change in one animated chart.

 

Feds crack down on sassy freeway signs

 

Intel unveils a real-time deepfake detector

 

Explaining Mastodon, the Twitter alternative.

 

Researchers test a vaccine against fentanyl

 

Clickbait: Circling sheep perplex onlookers for days. (via Twitter)

 

Historybook: Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth born (1797); Poet and novelist Margaret Atwood born (1939); 918 people die in a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana (1978); Massachusetts court ruling makes the state the first to recognize same-sex marriage (2003).

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- Sojourner Truth

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