5.7.2024

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, May 7, and we're covering Israel's move on Rafah, this year's Pulitzer winners, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Rafah Operation Begins

The Israeli military yesterday began its long-planned ground operation in Gaza's southern city of Rafah, where roughly half of the enclave's 2.3 million people have been sheltering (see photos). 

 

Israel began striking targets in eastern Rafah less than 24 hours after warning roughly 100,000 residents in the area to evacuate. Israel believes Rafah, a city that sits on the shared border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, is the last Hamas stronghold. The US and other allies oppose Israel's ground offensive, partly due to the humanitarian crisis in the region.

 

Earlier in the day, Hamas announced it had accepted the terms of a cease-fire and hostage-release plan proposed by Egypt and Qatar. Details of the plan have not been made public. Israel is sending a delegation to Cairo to resume indirect talks through mediators and says the two parties remain far apart. 

 

Separately, Columbia University canceled its main commencement ceremony following weekslong student protests on the Israel-Hamas war.

 

Pulitzer Prize Winners

The 2024 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced yesterday, with the recognition for public service awarded to ProPublica for its coverage of the US Supreme Court, resulting in the court’s first-ever adoption of a code of conduct.

 

Other winners include The New York Times and Reuters (international reporting and breaking news photography, respectively) for their coverage of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack and the subsequent war. Two special citations were also awarded, including one to journalists covering the war in Gaza. California local news outlet Lookout Santa Cruz (breaking news) was recognized for its coverage of devastating flooding and mudslides in the community. 

 

The Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded to “Night Watch” by Jayne Anne Phillips, while nonfiction went to “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy” by Nathan Thrall.

 

The Pulitzer Prize—determined by a board from Columbia University—is one of the highest distinctions in the US for journalism, literature, and music. Awardees take home $15K and a certificate, while the public service winner receives a gold medal. See the full list of winners here.

 

Eurovision Kicks Off

The 68th Eurovision Song Contest begins today from Sweden, with the country hosting for its seventh time (Peacock, 3 pm ET). The competition is the world’s most-watched annual music event with roughly 160 million viewers and features 37 acts, all of whom are European except Australia and Israel.

 

The format includes two semifinals followed by a grand finale. The 26 finalists, selected through a combination of a public vote and expert picks, include 10 winners from each semifinal, the previous year’s winner, and contestants from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. This year sees the comeback of Luxembourg after a 30-year hiatus, along with a record number of native language entries. The contest, which labels itself as a nonpolitical event, comes amid heightened security, with protests planned due to Israel's participation.

 

Eurovision, known for featuring extravagant costumes, has launched the careers of many icons, including ABBA and Céline Dion. See all 37 songs featured in this year's contest here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Quince

> Miss USA 2023 Noelia Voigt relinquishes crown, citing her mental health; Miss USA organization to name a successor soon (More)

> Statues of civil rights leader Daisy Bates and musician Johnny Cash to replace existing 100-year-old statues representing Arkansas at the US Capitol (More)

> San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama becomes NBA's sixth-ever unanimous Rookie of the Year (More) | NBA postseason continues; see latest playoff bracket (More)

From our partners: Washable silk, European linen, organic cotton — oh my! And all without the expensive price tag. Quince believes that luxury apparel and premium materials shouldn't break the bank. Every item they create is ethically and sustainably made in factories that are vetted with the highest standards (think: responsible production and safe working conditions). Find everything from apparel, home goods, accessories, and more. Enjoy free shipping and easy returns for 365 days here.

 

Science & Technology

> Groundbreaking Alzheimer's study links some cases of the disease with duplicate copies of the APOE4 gene; marks the most conclusive evidence of genetic causes for Alzheimer's, may represent 15% to 20% of cases (More) | Alzheimer's explained (More, w/video)

> New ultrasound imaging technique allows high-resolution of microscopic blood vessels in the heart, may lead to better diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (More)

> Boeing delays first crewed launch of Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station due to issue with an oxygen valve; a new launch date hasn't been announced as of this writing (More) | See previous write-up (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.0%, Dow +0.5%, Nasdaq +1.2%), with investors fueled by a greater chance of interest rate cuts this year (More)

> Free stock trading giant Robinhood announces it has received an enforcement action notice from the US Securities and Exchange Commission over alleged violations of securities laws related to its cryptocurrency unit (More)

> Boeing faces new probe from the Federal Aviation Administration over 787 Dreamliner model; investigation comes after the jet maker revealed its employees may have skipped some inspections and falsified records (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to run for fourth term; Sanders, 82, is second-oldest US senator behind 90-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley (R, IA) (More) | Former President Donald Trump fined additional $1K for violating gag order in hush money trial, was previously fined $9K; trial judge warns of jail time for future violations (More)

> Russia detains American soldier on charges of theft, US officials say; soldier, whose identity hasn't been revealed, traveled to Russia on his own while between deployments (More) | Russia announces nuclear weapons drills (More

> Great Plains, central US brace for supercell thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds (More) | Supercell thunderstorms 101 (More)

 

In-Depth

> Mysteries in the Case Against Bryan Kohberger

AirMail | Howard Blum. When four University of Idaho students were killed in 2022, attention turned to doctoral student Bryan Kohberger. Today, the trial is beset by delays, questions over the jury pool, and hints of a mysterious new witness. (Read)

 

> A Wild 1970s Hijacking You've Never Heard Of

Narratively | Seth Lorinczi. The late 1960s and early 1970s were sometimes cynically referred to as the "Golden Age of Hijacking," witnessing over 300 hijackings. In one such case, passengers on an Ethiopian Airlines flight experienced a shootout and grenade explosion—but lived to tell the tale. (Read)

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Consulting a fiduciary financial advisor can help when considering RMDs and the potential tax repercussions. SmartAsset developed a free quiz to help match you with up to 3 vetted financial advisors serving your area, who can help you work toward a comfortable retirement. Get your financial advisor matches today.

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Etcetera
 

Peep a live cam of peregrine falcons

 

How do our brains create thought

 

Australian airline agrees to payouts over "ghost flights." 

 

Watch the world's first major AI-generated music video

 

Explaining the escalating feud between two rappers.

 

Famous paintings recreated using emojis

 

Small snakes found in Miami airport passenger's pants.

 

Clickbait: Physics confirms your enemy's enemy really is your friend.

 

Historybook: Edwin H. Land, inventor of instant photography, born (1909); Ishirō Honda, Japanese film director and cowriter of 1954 film "Godzilla," born (1911); German submarine sinks RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 (1915); Eva "Evita" Perón born (1919); Sony Corporation founded (1946).

"An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail."

- Edwin H. Land

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