6.17.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, June 17, and in this weekend edition, we're covering the verdict in the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue attack, the death of the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

PS—We wish all dads a happy Father's Day tomorrow. Read about the history of Father's Day here.

 

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

One Big Headline
 

Tree of Life Verdict

A jury yesterday convicted the gunman charged with fatally shooting 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018—the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history. Robert Bowers was convicted of all 63 charges against him, including hate crimes and obstruction of free exercise of religion. The jury will now need to decide whether the attacker should be sentenced to life in prison without parole or face the death penalty. 

 

The assailant, now 50, drove to the Tree of Life synagogue on the morning of Oct. 27, 2018, armed with multiple firearms. He then entered the building and opened fire, attacking members of three separate congregations meeting for Shabbat services. Investigations later revealed the attacker frequently posted antisemitic content on social media.

 

To avoid the death penalty, the defense is expected to argue the gunman suffers from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and functional brain impairments. The penalty phase of the trial is expected to last up to six weeks.

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Quick Hits
 

DOJ finds Minneapolis police routinely discriminated, used excessive force.

The Justice Department released a report (see here) Friday after a two-year probe into the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, finding the police department in Minneapolis engaged in a pattern of violating constitutional rights. Behaviors included unlawfully discriminating against Black and Native American people as well as people with behavioral health disabilities. A federal judge will oversee an agreement to reform the police department. 

 

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, dies at 92.

Ellsberg was a US military analyst who, in 1971, leaked 7,000 pages of a top-secret study detailing the US involvement in the Vietnam War. He died of pancreatic cancer in his Kensington, California, home. Read about the Pentagon Papers here. See the since-declassified materials here.

 

US Senate confirms first female Muslim federal judge in US history.

Civil rights attorney Nusrat Choudhury was confirmed this week to the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York after the Senate voted 50-49 mostly along party lines. Choudhury also makes history as the first Bangladeshi American to serve as a federal judge.

 

Michael Jordan selling majority stake in Charlotte Hornets.

The six-time NBA champion has reportedly agreed to sell most of his majority stake to a group led by investors Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. Jordan bought a majority stake in the Hornets in 2010 for $275M. He will keep a minority stake once the sale is complete. The deal reportedly values the team at $3B; however, details of the transaction were not disclosed. 

 

NBA suspends Ja Morant for 25 games after second gun video.

The Memphis Grizzlies guard will be suspended without pay in the upcoming 2023-24 season after an NBA investigation found Morant waving a gun in a video on social media for the second time. The 23-year-old was previously suspended for eight games in March after the first video surfaced of him with a gun.

 

New dinosaur species with armored body discovered.

The fossils of the species, named Vectipelta barretti, were found on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England. The new species is part of a group of plant-eating dinosaurs known as ankylosaur. Previously, 29 different species of dinosaurs have been discovered on the island. 

In partnership with Pendulum

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Humankind
 

Meet Yuto Hara, a 12-year-old ambidextrous baseball star. (More)

 

Young entrepreneur creates schools in rural Madagascar using 3D printers. (More)

 

"Spider-Man" filmmakers hire 14-year-old after being wowed by his Lego remake of the film's trailer. (More

 

Artist transforms old homes by painting them with bright colors for free. (More)

 

Man lifts students' spirits with a daily “high-five for a beautiful school day.” (More

 

Deaf couple makes history in reaching the summit of Mount Everest. (More)

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Larry W. in Williamston, Michigan.

 

"I am an amateur photographer and was on vacation in Maui recently. I was walking the trail at Makena Lava Beach taking pictures with my SLR and GoPro. I left my iPhone in the car but wanted to take some pics that I could send back home easily and to my wife, who chose to stay at the condo. I hurried back to the car, got my phone and was running back to the spot. As I was on my way, a man stopped me and asked if I was the photographer that he saw earlier and was holding up my GoPro. It had all my Maui video on it. It fell out of my pocket and I didn’t even realize it. I was blown away ... he was an outstanding individual for recognizing me and returning it." 

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> The number of people displaced due to global conflict rose to 110 million in 2022, according to the UN.

 

Browse 

The best beach in every US state.

What is Googie architecture

> Scientists spot rare jellyfish with three tentacles

> Well-preserved 3,000-year-old sword found in Germany.

Kansas City Chiefs unveil Super Bowl LVII championship rings.

 

Listen 

> Dolly Parton releases two songs from upcoming "Rockstar" album.

> Is it harder to make friends as an adult


Watch 

> A battle between fish and birds.

> Orangutan signals zoo visitor to hand over some candy.

> Man discovers massive python in his bathroom

 

Long Read 

> The origins of Humpty Dumpty

How our genes and diet shape our taste buds.

The 1,000-year-old French citadel that rises out of the Atlantic Ocean.

> The incredible story of the lifeguard who won the world's biggest surf competition.

 

Best of the Week: What Earth would look like one year after human extinction

 

Historybook: Battle of Bunker Hill fought (1775); Statue of Liberty arrives in New York as gift from France (1885); Tennis star Venus Williams born (1980); Rapper Kendrick Lamar born (1987); OJ Simpson arrested for murder following police chase (1994). 

"You have to train your mind as much as your body."

- Venus Williams

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