5.16.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, May 16, and we're covering an assassination attempt in Slovakia, a looming presidential debate, and much more. First time reading? Join over 3.5 million readers. Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Slovakia Assassination Attempt

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was hospitalized but is expected to survive after he was shot yesterday in the central town of Handlova. A suspect was arrested in what officials are calling a politically motivated assassination attempt.

 

Video shows Fico arriving to shake hands with supporters after a political event when a man in a button-down shirt appeared to shoot at him at least five times at close range (see video, warning: sensitive content). One bullet went through Fico's stomach while another hit his joint, according to one official. Fico was subsequently rushed off by helicopter to a hospital, where he underwent surgery.

 

Little has been publicly released about Fico's attacker, though elected officials blamed a divisive political atmosphere for the attempt. Fico is a longtime pro-Russian leader in Slovakia, serving for 10 years since 2006 before being reelected last year on promises to reduce the flow of military aid to Ukraine. While his political party leans left, he is an ally to Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

 

Presidential Debates Scheduled

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed yesterday to participate in two presidential debates. The announcement came hours after Biden said he would not participate in traditional debates organized by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, calling instead for an expedited debate schedule and stricter rules on interruptions, among other conditions.

 

CNN will host the first debate June 27 with an ABC rematch slated for Sept. 10—networks fitting the Biden camp's criteria for having broadcast primary debates for both parties in recent cycles. Biden's team had also called for no live audience at the events and no surprise moderators. Any candidate polling above 15% nationally who is on enough state ballots to win 270 electoral votes can participate—effectively excluding third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Kennedy is currently on four state ballots and polling at 10%. See the latest polls here.

 

The June debate will occur prior to the official nominating conventions for both candidates. Trump's New York hush-money trial is expected to conclude by then. 

 

Drug Overdoses Decline

More than 107,000 people in the US died of a drug-related overdose last year, according to data released yesterday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The preliminary tally represents the first drop in drug-related deaths since 2018 and a 3% drop from 2022. The CDC data did not reveal the cause of the overall decline.

 

The biggest reduction was in opioid-related deaths—those involving fentanyl, heroin, or painkillers. However, those drugs still drove the vast majority of overdoses, involved in three-quarters of the deaths. Meanwhile, deaths from methamphetamine and cocaine increased by 2% and 5%, respectively. While most states saw a reduction in deaths, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon—which this year recriminalized drug possession—saw an increase of at least 27%. 

 

Separately, Walgreens yesterday announced that it will sell a nasal spray version of overdose reversal medication naloxone for $34.99. Narcan, the patented form of naloxone, became available for over-the-counter use in September 2023.

In partnership with Beam

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Groove Life

> The 2024 NFL schedule to include five international games; see complete schedule release (More) | Netflix to stream two games on Christmas Day (More

> Magician David Copperfield accused of sexual misconduct by 16 women (More) | Sequel of 1996 film "Happy Gilmore" confirmed at Netflix; Adam Sandler to return (More)

> Sage, a miniature poodle, wins best in show at 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (More) | 2024 PGA Championship tees off today from Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky (More)

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Science & Technology

> OpenAI cofounder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever to leave company; Sutskever helped lead a November effort to oust CEO Sam Altman that ultimately failed (More) | Bipartisan Senate group releases AI policy roadmap proposal, seeks $32B in annual funding (More)

> Engineers demonstrate snake-like fiber optic system that can image the inside of arteries in real time; device may help preventive diagnosis of aneurysms and blood clots (More)

> Experimental antiobesity drug combines GLP-1 blocker found in new drugs like Ozempic with molecule that targets receptors in the brain involved in appetite control (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +0.9%, and Nasdaq +1.4%); all three indexes notch record highs, fueled by latest inflation data (More) | Core consumer price index—excluding volatile food and energy prices—rose 0.3% month-over-month and 3.6% year-over-year in April; 12-month reading is lowest since April 2021 (More)

> Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reveals $6.7B stake in property-casualty insurer Chubb; company filing yesterday showed Berkshire had been building the position since second half of 2023 (More

> Billionaire and former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announces he is putting together a "people's bid" to buy TikTok from its Chinese parent company ByteDance (More) | ByteDance faces a legal deadline from the US government to sell TikTok or withdraw from the US market; see previous write-up (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Supreme Court approves new Louisiana congressional map adding a second majority-Black district (More) | Maryland's former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) win respective Senate primaries (More

> Russian forces continue to advance in northern Kharkiv region as Ukrainian troops retreat, with heaviest fighting in town of Vovchansk, 37 miles northeast of Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv (More) | See updates on war (More)

> Fuel barge hits Pelican Island Bridge in Galveston, Texas, causing partial collapse and oil spill but leaves no one injured or killed after tugboat pushing it loses control (More) | Crew of ship that crashed into Baltimore bridge in March remains on board amid ongoing investigations and visa restrictions (More

 

In-Depth

> Familiar Faces

Search Engine | Staff. (Podcast) Search engines are beginning to allow people to reverse search people's faces, finding every photo of them ever posted. The result could help officers solve cold cases, and strip anonymity for others. (Listen)

 

> The Pheidippides of Mount Everest

Outside | Staff. When British climbers reached the top of Mount Everest in 1953, a Nepalese Sherpa raced to deliver the news. The story of his death—after running 200 miles to Kathmandu—rivals the Greek tale of Pheidippides. (Read)

In partnership with Beam

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Etcetera
 

DNA solves Nevada's wolf versus coyote mystery.

 

... and mystery of the "Mona Lisa" background may have been solved

 

Solid, liquid, or gas: What actually is fire?

 

Why babies in medieval paintings look like tiny adults.

 

Americans rank real estate as the best long-term investment.

 

... and how much Americans have saved for retirement, by age.

 

Ten of the best concert setlists of all time.

 

"Legally Blonde" prequel will feature a teenage Elle Woods.

 

Clickbait: A (very) close look at the 17-year cicada.

 

Historybook: First Academy Awards hosted (1929); Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends (1943); Janet Jackson born (1966); Comedian Andy Kaufman dies (1984); "Muppets" creator Jim Henson dies (1990); Sammy Davis Jr. dies (1990). 

"There's great value in being able to step back and laugh at yourself, at life, and at attitudes. Laughter helps you put everything into perspective."

- Jim Henson

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