2.7.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Feb. 7, and we're covering the passing of a country star, findings into the Alaska Airlines blowout, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Michigan Shooting Verdict 

A jury yesterday found a Michigan mother guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with her son's 2021 mass shooting at Oxford High School that killed four students and injured seven other people. She faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for each count; her sentencing is scheduled for April 9. 

 

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, is believed to be the first parent to be held criminally responsible for a mass attack committed by their child. To carry out the Nov. 30, 2021, attack, her then-15-year-old son used a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun his father bought him for Christmas four days before (see timeline). Her son, now 17, pleaded guilty as an adult to all 24 charges in 2022, including murder and terrorism, and was sentenced last year to life in prison without parole. 

 

The shooter's father, 57-year-old James, will take the stand next month in a separate trial over involuntary manslaughter charges.

 

Toby Keith Dies

Country music star Toby Keith has died at the age of 62 after a two-year battle with stomach cancer. The artist—who also wrote most of his songs—sold over 40 million records and had 20 No. 1 singles and nine No. 1 albums throughout his 30-year career.  

 

Born Toby Keith Covel in Oklahoma in 1961, he worked in the oil fields and as a semi-professional football player before rising to fame in the 1990s with songs such as "Should've Been a Cowboy"—the most-played country track of the decade—and "How Do You Like Me Now." The singer was also known for his patriotic songs like "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue," inspired by his father's death (an Army veteran) and the Sept. 11 attacks.

 

Through his music success and business ventures—including part ownership of the label that signed Taylor Swift—Keith regularly appeared on the Forbes list of highest-paid country entertainers. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2021. Former President Donald Trump awarded him a National Medal of the Arts in 2021. See tributes here.

 

Boeing's Missing Bolts

Four bolts intended to fasten a door plug panel on a Boeing 737 Max 9 were missing before last month's midair Alaska Airlines blowout near Portland, according to a federal report released yesterday. It marks the first official account of the incident, which led to the temporary grounding of over 170 Max 9s and prompted renewed scrutiny of Boeing.

 

The investigation found unnamed Boeing employees at its factory in Washington state removed the door plug to allow repairs in September. An image taken of the reinstalled door (for unrelated reasons) reportedly shows the missing bolts. The plane was delivered to Alaska Airlines in October, and investigators saw no evidence the plug was removed again. 

 

The report came the same day the head of the Federal Aviation Administration faced congressional scrutiny over the agency's alleged lax oversight of Boeing amid a string of recent technical malfunctions at the manufacturer. The FAA committed to adding more inspectors to Boeing factories. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery teaming up on joint sports streaming platform, which will launch later this year and be available on Disney+, Hulu, and Max (More)

> Philadelphia Eagles tapped to play in NFL's first-ever game in Brazil (More) | Americans are estimated to wager $23.1B on this year's Super Bowl (More)

> Crew member dies following accident on set of Marvel's "Wonder Man" TV series (More) | Gina Carano sues Disney and Lucasfilm over "Mandalorian" firing; the wrongful termination lawsuit is partially funded by X (formerly Twitter) (More)

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Science & Technology

> Social media startup Bluesky opens to the public, one year after invite-only launch; backed by Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, the network says it has 3 million users (More)

> Engineers develop ultrasensitive technology capable of detecting lead in drinking water at concentrations 1 million times lower than existing tools (More)

> Directed ultrasound waves focused on the brain can reduce pain, new study shows; approach targets the insula, which is believed to be involved in the perception of self-awareness (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close up (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow +0.4%, Nasdaq +0.1%) as investors wade through latest earnings reports (More) | Palantir shares up 30% since Monday close following better-than-expected Q4 revenue (More) | Snap shares down 30% in after-hours trading after missing revenue estimates (More

> WeWork founder and former CEO Adam Neumann seeks to buy back the bankrupt coworking company via his new real-estate startup Flow Global (More)

> Honda recalls 750,000 vehicles in the US to fix defective passenger seat airbag sensor (More) | DocuSign to lay off 6% of workforce, or roughly 400 employees; restructuring expected to cost company between $28M and $32M (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> House votes 216-214 against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, with four Republicans joining all Democrats in voting "no" (More) | Federal appeals court rules former President Donald Trump can't claim presidential immunity in federal election interference case; delayed trial had been scheduled for March 4 (More)

> Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley outvoted by "none of these candidates" option in Nevada's GOP primary contest; Trump expected to win the state's Friday caucuses (More) | Why is Nevada holding both a primary and caucus? (More)

> Federal officials charge 70 current and former employees of the New York City Housing Authority, alleging wide-ranging scheme to take cash payments in exchange for city contracts (More

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Historybook: Charles Dickens born (1812); The US bans all Cuban imports and exports (1962); Garth Brooks born (1962); "Beatlemania" arrives in America (1964); Author and pilot Anne Morrow Lindbergh dies (2001).

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