9.22.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Friday, Sept. 22, and we're covering a major media shakeup, no end in sight for the ongoing auto strike, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Murdoch Steps Down

Longtime media mogul Rupert Murdoch announced yesterday he will step down from his role as chairman of Fox News and News Corp. sometime in mid-November. The 92-year-old Murdoch will be replaced by his son Lachlan, who has long been viewed as the likely successor to the media empire. 

 

Murdoch's news industry career began in the 1950s in Australia following the unexpected death of his father, upon which he inherited a small paper covering the city of Adelaide. The following decades saw Murdoch expand his portfolio via acquisitions of local news in neighboring New Zealand and the US. By 2013, Murdoch's parent company, News Corp., had become the world's largest media organization in terms of total assets.

 

Among the many outlets controlled by Murdoch—which include the Wall Street Journal and New York Post—is Fox News. The channel is the most-watched cable channel in the US, reaching roughly 2 million viewers during the weekday primetime news slot. 

 

Murdoch's retirement and replacement has drawn parallels with hit HBO show "Succession." Read more here.

 

Auto Strike (Likely) to Expand

The United Auto Workers' strike against the three largest US carmakers could potentially get bigger today amid the union's self-imposed deadline for seeing progress in contract negotiations. Without a breakthrough on a deal by noon, autoworkers are threatening to expand their strikes to more facilities. 

 

Since last Friday, roughly 13,000 of nearly 150,000 autoworkers have been striking at three Midwest assembly plants—one from each of the Big Three: General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler). The rest of the members have been working under expired contracts, while about 2,370 people have been furloughed

due to a strike-related shortage of parts. The UAW seeks a 40% pay hike over the next four years, among other measures

While it remains to be seen which additional facilities will be hit next with strikes, observers say factories producing big pickup trucks, like GM's Chevy Silverado, Ford's F-150, and Stellantis' Ram, could be potential targets. Large pickup trucks account for the biggest profit margins, with carmakers earning an estimated $15K to $17K per vehicle.

 

Miami-to-Orlando Line

The first privately funded passenger rail line in the US in more than a century opens today, shuttling riders in Florida between Miami and Orlando. The $5B Brightline railcar is expected to make the 235-mile trip between the state's two economic hubs in about three-and-a-half hours, about 30 minutes quicker than by car. 

 

Prior to World War I, private rail companies dominated intercity travel, a market position that had evaporated by the 1950s with the rise of interstate highways, air travel, and American car culture. As private lines became increasingly untenable, Amtrak was established as a quasi-private company—a for-profit entity that receives about $340M of taxpayer funds per year and dominates intercity rail travel (but operates at a loss). 

 

Brightline officials argued the business case of connecting relatively close destination cities in otherwise congested traffic corridors. The Miami-Orlando line is expected to see up to 8 million riders annually. The company is also developing a similar line between Southern California and Las Vegas, opening in 2027 with trains reaching up to 190 mph. 

In partnership with Mode Mobile

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Chartr

> Actor Angus Cloud's cause of death ruled as accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine, and other drugs (More)

> Bronze medal-winning Olympic bobsledder Aja Evans files lawsuit alleging multiple incidents of sexual assault by a chiropractor on Team USA's medical staff (More)

> Second lawsuit against Lizzo by a former employee alleges the singer created and condoned a hostile work environment (More)

From our partners: Where 450,000+ visual learners get data-driven news: Our friends at Chartr write one of our favorite newsletters. It unpacks need-to-know business + tech insights with highly-visual, highly-effective charts in just 3-5 minutes. Start reading Chartr, the #1 visual newsletter today for FREE! 

 

Science & Technology

> Authors John Grisham, George RR Martin sue OpenAI, alleging its ChatGPT platform used their material without permissions while training on its large language model (More) | How LLMs work (More)

> Paleontologists find evidence for the earliest known vertebrate animal with a skull cavity; discovery was made from the fossil of a 455-million-year-old fish species (More)

> Genetically engineered silkworms, modified to include spider genes, produce silk with six times the strength of conventional Kevlar vests (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.6%, Dow -1.1%, Nasdaq -1.8%); S&P 500 sees worst daily drop since March (More) | Bank of England holds interest rates steady for the first time in 14 meetings; current 5.25% rate is highest in 15 years (More

> US home sales down 15% in August over last year, but median home sale price of $407,100 is up 4% over last year (More)

> Tech giant Cisco Systems to acquire analytics and security software firm Splunk for $28B (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meets with US Senate, appeals for continued support in the war against Russia (More) | See updates on the war (More)

> Biden administration grants temporary legal status to more than 470,000 Venezuelan migrants already in the US, expediting their ability to work (More) | House fails to pass defense spending bill for second time, ahead of end-of-month deadline to pass funding bills (More)

> US officials issue tropical storm warning for the East Coast, ranging from North Carolina to Delaware; system likely to reach coast late tonight (More)

 

In-Depth

> Are We Losing the War on Cancer?

Walrus | Renée Pellerin. Fifty years after President Richard Nixon sought to end cancer within a lifetime, the bulk of cancer research funding goes toward cutting-edge solutions while many patients continue to die from preventable cancers. (Read)

 

> Sumo in America

GQ | Jackson Wald. An intimate look inside the burgeoning Sumo wrestling movement in the US from one of the sport's rising stars. (Read)

> How to Handle a Bad Boss

Harvard Business Review | Elainy Mata. (Podcast) A leadership coach helps listeners identify signs they have a toxic boss, laying out strategies both for navigating the relationship and healing afterward. (Listen)

 

> The World's Largest Cardboard Producer

Business Insider | Staff. A look at how International Paper produces a third of the world's corrugated packaging used across the planet to ship the world's goods. (Watch)

In partnership with Mode Mobile

Beyond iPhone: Dawn of a New $martphone Era

 

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Etcetera
 

Science suggests crows use statistical logic.

 

Surveying Americans' (dismal) views on politics.

 

Visualizing how Morocco's houses made its recent earthquake more deadly.

 

A $10K bill from the Great Depression hauls in $480K at auction.

 

The apps Americans fall asleep to.

 

Where the world's millionaires are migrating.

 

Jada Pinkett Smith lip syncs with Tupac. (via Twitter.com)

 

You can get a lot done after the age of 40.

 

Clickbait: Flatulent pup creates 13-hour flight nightmare.

 

Historybook: President Abraham Lincoln issues preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (1862); Peace Corps formally authorized by Congress (1961); Iraq invades Iran, beginning the Iran-Iraq War (1980); “Friends” debuts on NBC (1994); Baseball great Yogi Berra dies (2015).

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

- Yogi Berra

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Disclosure: Please read the offering circular at invest.modemobile.com. This is a paid advertisement for Mode Mobile’s Regulation CF Offering.

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