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Good morning. It's Thursday, Aug. 31, and we're covering the impact from Hurricane Idalia, a decision in a high-profile sex abuse case, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Idalia Lashes Florida

Hurricane Idalia plowed into Florida's northern Gulf Coast yesterday, making landfall as a Category 3 storm along the state's sparsely populated Big Bend region while driving significant storm surge into cities further south. No direct deaths due to the storm had been reported as of this writing—two people died in separate car crashes ahead of the storm's arrival. 


Storm surge occurs when a hurricane's rotational winds push water up onto shorelines (see 101)—an effect that can be felt far away from the storm's center. Tampa, roughly 150 miles south of landfall, saw water rise by eight feet in some areas. 


The storm remained a Category 1 system as far inland as southern Georgia, eventually passing over Savannah and Charleston, South Carolina, before heading into the Atlantic Ocean (see storm path). Charleston Harbor saw a storm surge of nine feet, marking the fifth-highest water level on record. 


Idalia moved faster than initially expected, lessening flood risks from rainfall across its trajectory. See photos of the impact here.


Ex-Cardinal's Charges Dismissed

A Massachusetts judge yesterday dismissed a criminal sexual assault case against former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick after finding him unfit to stand trial. The 93-year-old was the highest-ranking Catholic cleric to face charges in the church's sexual abuse scandal. 


McCarrick had faced three counts of indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage boy during a wedding reception in 1974, to which he plead not guilty in 2021. In June, a state forensic psychologist assessed McCarrick at his home in Missouri and testified yesterday that McCarrick exhibited cognitive issues, including with his memory and ability to retain information. McCarrick also faces charges in Wisconsin for an alleged sexual assault incident in 1977.


McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after an internal investigation concluded ample evidence of abuse existed. The Vatican published the full report, which found multiple senior officials overlooked or ignored claims of sexual abuse and misconduct, allowing McCarrick to rise through church ranks. 


Searching for Chile's 'Disappeared'

Chile's government announced broad plans yesterday to track down hundreds of missing prisoners jailed during the 17-year dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in the '70s and '80s. The plan marks the first time the government has assumed responsibility for the search and comes two weeks before the 50th anniversary of the coup, which brought Pinochet to power.


The government of Salvador Allende—the first freely elected Marxist in the West—was ousted Sept. 11, 1973, ushering in a period of military rule under Pinochet, which came to an end in 1990 (see history). Over 40,000 people are registered as victims under Pinochet, ranging from false imprisonment to execution; 1,092 of those are listed as forcibly disappeared, with the remains of only 307 identified.


For decades, families of the victims have lobbied for government help in the search even as members of the former regime—including Pinochet—remained in power years after the country returned to democracy. 


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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> CNN taps former BBC and New York Times executive Mark Thompson as its new chairman and CEO (More)

> College football season kicks off in earnest tonight; see previews for key Week 1 matchups (More) | Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund purchases $100M stake in Professional Fighters League (More)

> Team USA among 16 teams to advance to second round of men's Basketball World Cup (More) | Spanish soccer chief Luis Rubiales' mother now hospitalized following hunger strike protesting his suspension (More)


Science & Technology

In partnership with Brilliant

> Researchers make first experimental observation of oxygen-28, an oxygen atom with 12 additional neutrons; discovery challenges current understanding of the nuclear strong force (More) | What is the strong force? (More)

> Ocean study finds fish populations were more resilient to marine heatwaves between 1993 and 2019 than previously believed; any effects could not be distinguished from natural ocean variability (More)

> Researchers show implantable bioreactor can keep kidney cells alive for at least one week, a breakthrough in the effort to find alternatives to dialysis for patients with kidney failure (More)

From our partners: Sharpen your math, data, and CS skills. Whether you’re a professional looking for an edge or a lifelong learner sharpening your skills, Brilliant is the best way to learn. With thousands of interactive lessons, you'll level up in everything from foundational math to data science, AI, and beyond. Join 10M+ people and start learning with a 30-day free trial today.


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.4%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq +0.5%), S&P 500 on four-day winning streak (More)

> Sources say federal prosecutors are investigating Tesla’s use of company funds on project some employees say could be a glass house for CEO Elon Musk (More)

> Cloud software giant Salesforce beats quarterly expectations, shares up in after-hours trading (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appears to freeze at podium for the second time (More) | Federal judge enters default judgment against Rudy Giuliani in defamation case brought by two Georgia election workers (More)

> Military officers seize power in the oil-rich Central African nation of Gabon, detain President Ali Bongo Ondimba hours after he won the presidential election for a third term; Ondimba's family had held power in Gabon for 55 years (More)

> Fourth detainee at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta dies in one month; the Justice Department is currently investigating the jail for filthy conditions, violence, and the death of a man last year whose body was found covered in bed bugs (More)



> How They Tried to Kill Me

N+1 Magazine | Elena Kostyuchenko. A Russian journalist shares a harrowing account of being poisoned while reporting on Ukraine, offering a cautionary message to fellow journalists and activists challenging Russia. (Read)


> The Dental Capital of the World

Bloomberg Businessweek | Kriston Capps​​​​​​​. How the Mexican border town of Los Algodones—home to 5,000 residents—built a budget dental empire of 350 dental practices, providing relief from the high costs of care in the US and Canada. (Read)

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Clickbait: Summon your inner Da Vinci


Historybook: Richard Gere born (1949); Boxing legend Rocky Marciano dies (1969); Princess Diana dies in car crash in Paris (1997); 953 die in bridge stampede in Iraq (2005); Baseball great Tom Seaver dies (2020). 

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward."

- Princess Diana

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