3.16.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, March 16, and in this weekend edition, we're covering a potential change to realtor commissions, the retirement of an NFL defensive lineman, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

You share, we listen. As always, send us feedback at [email protected].

One Big Headline
 

Realtor Group Settles Suit

The National Association of Realtors, representing roughly 1.5 million real estate agents, has agreed to pay $418M over the next four years to settle a group of cases nationwide accusing the association of artificially inflating their agents' commissions.

 

The settlement terms, if approved by a federal court, could alter how Americans buy and sell homes by eliminating a centuries-old commission structure. The standard commission typically ranges between 5% and 6% of the sale price of a home, which a home seller pays to their agent for listing the home on a multiple listing service, known as the MLS. The commission is then split between both the seller's and buyer's agents. But under the settlement, brokerage commissions would be opened up for negotiation with sellers, potentially opening the door for lower fees. 

 

The legal agreement comes after the National Association of Realtors CEO Bob Goldberg resigned in November, following a jury decision finding the association and big residential brokers liable for $1.8B in damages for conspiring to keep home sales commissions artificially high.

Quick Hits
 

First humanitarian aid ship to use new sea route reaches Gaza Strip.

A private ship carrying 200 tons of food and supplies arrived at Gaza's coast Friday as part of the first test of a new maritime corridor for humanitarian aid. Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a military plan for a ground operation in Gaza's southern city of Rafah near Egypt's border (no further details were given), while an Israeli delegation heads to Qatar to discuss Hamas' latest cease-fire and hostage-release proposal. See war updates here.

 

At least 20 killed, 70 injured in Russian missile strikes on Odesa, Ukraine.

Officials said two missiles hit the same area in the southern Ukrainian port city, with the second missile killing some first responders who were trying to rescue people from the first attack. The attack is the third on Odesa in two weeks and came as Russians began voting in Russia's presidential election, which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win. 

 

Special prosecutor in Georgia election interference case resigns. 

Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor who was working with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on the 2020 election interference case involving former President Donald Trump, resigned Friday. Wade's resignation came shortly after a judge ruled he had to step down for Willis to remain on the case. Willis was accused of hiring Wade while the pair carried on a secret romantic relationship. The judge was tasked with deciding whether to disqualify Willis from the case.

 

US Supreme Court clarifies when officials can block social media critics. 

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Friday public officials who use personal social media accounts to make official statements cannot block users or delete comments and laid out a two-part test for determining when an official's online statements are attributable to the government. The ruling follows conflicting lower court decisions on the issue in two separate cases, one against school board members in California and one against a city manager in Michigan.

 

Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald announces retirement at age 32.

Donald, a defensive tackle, played all 10 seasons of his NFL career with the Rams and won the Super Bowl in 2022. He was picked by the Rams in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and won the 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He was selected as the AP Defensive Player of the Year three times, named an All-Pro eight times, and made the Pro Bowl every season. Donald will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in five years.

 

McDonald's system outage disrupts restaurants worldwide.

The system failure caused some McDonald's locations to temporarily suspend operations as customers were unable to place orders. The incident was not a result of a cybersecurity issue and has been fixed, the company said. McDonald's has roughly 40,000 restaurants globally.  

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Humankind
 

Young baseball player stops halfway to second base to hug friend. (More, w/video)

 

Parents of 11 kids open Arizona coffee shop to offer jobs to teens in the foster care system. (More)

 

Rhode Island college students raise thousands of dollars to help a security guard visit his family in Nigeria after 11 years. (More)

 

Arkansas community forms makeshift rideshare service for a man who used to walk 5 miles to work. (More)

 

... and a California community rallies to find a woman's cat who was taken during a car theft. (More)

 

Three-year-old girl gives her dad a comical nail salon experience. (More, w/video) 

From our partners:  Bite-sized math and CS lessons to sharpen your analytical thinking. Learning a little every day is one of the best habits you can develop. Brilliant’s interactive lessons make it easy to master concepts in everything from foundational math to AI, data science, and beyond. Join 10M+ people and start learning with a 30-day free trial today.

Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Alizah F. from Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

"Last week, I got the results back from one of my medical school exams and didn't pass the final by 0.08%. I was devastated because I spent weeks studying this material and had put in countless midnights in the library mastering the content. I felt shame and hopelessness associated with my failure and so it was hard for me to confide in my friend Daryl. When I finally told her what had happened, she immediately came to my aid and refused to entertain any doubts I had about my ability to become a doctor. She affirmed my identity, my knowledge, and my purpose in medicine. Sometimes, I think kindness is just believing in your friend even when they don't believe in themselves."

 

What act(s) of kindness did you experience this week? Tell us here.

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Americans are expected to spend a record $7.2B on St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

> ... and bet $2.7B on the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments.   

> Roughly 22% of US Gen Z adults and 7.6% of all US adults identify as LGBTQ+.

 

Browse 

Golf ball-sized blueberry breaks world record.

The history of St. Patrick's Day

> ... and how green became the day's official color

British warship found off Florida coast.

> The world's 30 coolest streets.

> Photo contest finalists capture the beauty of life.

> See a daily painting of the sky.

 

Listen 

> Scamfluencers: stories of deception in fashion, finance, social media, and more.  

 

Watch 

> The origins of ketchup, one of the world's oldest condiments. 

> Why seeking wonder may be better than chasing happiness.

> Inside a private bitcoin city built in Honduras.

 

Long Read 

> Why the Assyrian Empire installed a "king for a day," only to kill him.

> The sound that can reveal a tornado is on its way

 

Most Read This Week: The mysterious 2020 monoliths are back.

 

Historybook: US Founding Father James Madison born (1751); US Military Academy is established (1802); Comedian Jerry Lewis born (1926); Nobel Prize-winning author Selma Lagerlöf dies (1940); Dow Jones drops by 2,997, single-largest point drop in history, amid pandemic fears (2020). 

"Never repeat a rumor before you have verified it. And if it is true, hold your tongue all the more."

- Selma Lagerlöf 

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