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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Aug. 22, and we're covering a spate of tropical systems, the end of an era for the voice behind Nintendo's Mario, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Tropical Storms Churning

The National Hurricane Center announced it is tracking multiple tropical systems, with three of the storms—dubbed Franklin, Emily, and Gert—forming within a 24-hour period.


Tropical Storm Franklin is projected to make landfall today on Hispaniola, the island comprising the Dominican Republic and Haiti, with sustained winds of about 50 mph, as of this writing. Emily, originating in the central Atlantic Sunday, weakened yesterday to a tropical depression with 35 mph winds. Similarly, Gert faces a short life span and poses no threat to land, with its winds hovering at 30 mph. 


In the Gulf of Mexico, meteorologists are watching a disturbance with sustained winds of 35 mph that is expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Harold today—storms are named at 39 mph—and bring tropical storm conditions to South Texas, which would mark the eighth storm to reach tropical storm strength this year.


Experts have warned of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, which peaks in September and runs through Nov. 30. The news comes as Tropical Storm Hilary hit Southern California over the weekend, bringing flash floods, mudslides, and power outages. See the aftermath of the storm here.


Ecuador Rejects Oil Drilling

Ecuadorians voted to stop an oil drilling project in a portion of the Amazon, with 59% of voters yesterday approving a referendum to ban oil development in an oil-rich slice of Yasuní National Park. The result means Ecuador's state oil company, Petroecuador, must close all of its active oil wells in the respective area within the next year.  


Yasuní covers 2.5 million acres along the eastern portion of Ecuador's border with Peru and is home to Indigenous communities, including the Taromenane and Tagaeri. Yasuní was designated a UNESCO site in 1989 as it contains hundreds of different species of plants and animals. The area also holds one of Ecuador's largest crude oil reserves, comprising 12% of the 480,000 barrels of oil the South American country produces per day. Petroecuador previously said approving the referendum would cost Ecuador $13.8B in income over the next two decades. See an overview of the issue here.


Nearly 70% of voters also supported a ban on gold mining in the Chocó Andino forest northwest of Ecuador's capital of Quito. The forest was declared a protected biosphere by UNESCO in 2018 for its biodiversity. 


Mario Voice Actor Retires

Charles Martinet, the voice actor behind the iconic Nintendo video game character Mario, will step away from the role and become an ambassador for the brand. The move caps a 32-year stint as the diminutive plumber, during which Martinet achieved a Guinness World Record for the most video game voiceovers as the same character. 


Born in 1955 in San Jose, California, Martinet was first hired by Nintendo in 1991 to portray Mario live at trade shows. Although the first official recorded use of his voice was in 1994's Mario Teaches Typing, Martinet's high-pitched "Waa-hoo!" and "It's-a-me, Mario!" rose to broad awareness in 1996 via Super Mario 64, the bestselling Nintendo 64 game. He eventually voiced over a dozen other characters across roughly 150 games. 


The announcement comes two months ahead of Nintendo's next Mario release, Super Mario Bros. Wonder (see trailer), which will not feature Martinet's voice. 

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> American Sha'Carri Richardson wins gold at 100-meter final at world track and field championships; American Grant Holloway wins 110-meter hurdles (More) | See day four schedule (More)

> English soccer player Mason Greenwood departs Manchester United following investigation into his conduct; rape charges against Greenwood were dropped in February (More)

> "Rich Men North of Richmond" makes Oliver Anthony the first artist to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100 without charting any prior song (More)


Science & Technology

> US officials announce $667M in additional funding to expand rural broadband access, the fourth round of funding in the initiative; Alaska to receive the most funds, at just under $100M (More)

> Food and Drug Administration approves first vaccine for pregnant mothers to help prevent respiratory syncytial virus in their babies; the vaccine from Pfizer is now the second approved RSV treatment for infants (More) | What is RSV? (More)

> New study suggests a major extinction event roughly 34 million years ago was driven by a sea level drop of roughly 131 feet as the Antarctic ice caps formed (More


Business & Markets

In partnership with eToro

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.7%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq +1.6%); Nasdaq snaps four-day losing streak as tech stocks close higher (More) | Chip designer Arm, owned by Japanese investment giant SoftBank and last valued at $64B, files for a Nasdaq initial public offering listing (More

> Bloomberg appoints new leadership and board positions including CEO Vlad Kliatchko, per company memo (More)

> Cannabis giant Tilray Brands to acquire cannabis-infused drink brands from Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch (More)

From our partners: Join 30M global users. eToro makes investing in crypto just as fascinating as investing in the stock market. And if you don’t believe us, ask one of their more than 30 million users worldwide. With 24+ cryptos, eToro has more ways to invest. Join the world's largest social investment platform and get $10 of free crypto when you sign up.


Politics & World Affairs

> Former President Donald Trump's bail set at $200K in Fulton County, Georgia, 2020 election interference probe; Trump and 18 other defendants due to surrender by 12 pm ET Friday following last week's indictment (More

> British nurse Lucy Letby sentenced to life in prison without parole for the deaths of seven newborn babies and the attempted murder of six others (More) | See our previous write-up (More) | Police identify suspect accused of killing a California store owner last week after allegedly taking issue with a Pride flag on display (More)

> Police chief, who led raid on Marion, Kansas, newspaper, had accused a reporter of lying to gain access to records, court documents show; reporter claims to have used a public state website to access information (More



> The School for Authoritarianism

Axios | Bethany Allen-EbrahimianA report on the Chinese Communist Party's new leadership school in Tanzania that teaches Africa’s future leaders an authoritarian model of governance as an alternative to Western democracy. (Read)


> America's Biggest Bottleneck

Every | Anna-Sofia Lesiv. A look at the challenges facing America's power grid, a complex network of power generation and distribution systems that needs modernization to accommodate changes in power usage. (Read)

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Historybook: First Geneva Convention held (1864); American poet Dorothy Parker born (1893); Cadillac Motor Co. founded (1902); Althea Gibson is first African American to compete in a US national tennis tournament (1950); Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton is murdered (1989).

"There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words."

- Dorothy Parker

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