6.9.2023

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Good morning. It's Friday, June 9, and we're covering a federal indictment in Florida, reports of a not-so-secret military base south of Florida, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Breaking: Former President Donald Trump has been indicted on charges linked to the mishandling of classified documents after leaving office, according to statements from Trump and sources involved in the probe. Officials have not formally detailed the indictment—more details are expected today. See updates here.

Voting Rights Ruling

The US Supreme Court upheld a decision overturning Alabama's congressional map yesterday, finding the recently redrawn boundaries violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by intentionally curtailing the electoral influence of minority voters. 

 

State lawmakers redrew Alabama's seven districts following the 2020 Census. Opponents of the map argued that while Black residents account for more than a quarter of the state population, they had been largely consolidated into a single district (see district boundaries). In 2022, Republicans won six of the seven districts, with all races being won by double-digit margins. 

 

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court's three left-leaning members—Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ketanji Brown Jackson—in the 5-4 decision. The court also rejected claims that ostensibly race-neutral computer-generated maps alone would satisfy the Voting Rights Act.

 

The ruling likely means the state will have to redraw its map with a second majority-minority district ahead of the 2024 elections. 

 

China Eyes Cuba

China and Cuba are reportedly nearing a deal that would allow Beijing to establish an electronic surveillance base on Cuba in exchange for billions of dollars, according to reports yesterday. Such a base would potentially allow China to eavesdrop on communications across the southeastern US, home to a number of military installations, including US Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

 

The potential move comes as the US and China have taken steps to lower tensions after their relationship was blown off course by an errant Chinese spy balloon that wandered into US airspace earlier this year. That incident came on top of US concerns over China's increasingly aggressive stance toward Taiwan and questions about its support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It is unclear how the new reports will impact a scheduled trip to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony Blinken later this month.

 

Cuba denied the claims, while US officials described them as "not accurate" without elaborating. 

 

Pat Robertson Dies

Pat Robertson, a religious broadcaster and founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has died at 93, his network announced yesterday. The cause of death is unknown.

 

Robertson gained fame as the host of the long-running program "The 700 Club," which reached millions of homes across the US for over 50 years. He joined the GOP presidential primary in 1988, marshaling his millions of followers and finishing near the top in early contests. He ultimately withdrew from the race, but his campaign laid the groundwork for forming the grassroots alliance, the Christian Coalition.

 

The coalition, which became a powerful political voice for conservative Christians, boasted 1.9 million members in 2,000 chapters by 1996. Robertson retired in 2001 from the coalition. He also courted controversy, including attributing natural disasters and terrorist attacks to God's retribution

 

Separately, Robertson founded Regent University, humanitarian organization Operation Blessing, and the American Center for Law and Justice, which defends First Amendment rights within religious contexts.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Curiosity Stream

> Florida Panthers edge Vegas Golden Knights in overtime to win Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final (More) | Oklahoma tops Florida State to win the Women's College World Series and their third NCAA college softball national championship in a row (More)

> The 155th Belmont Stakes (Saturday, 7 pm ET, Fox) could be canceled if air quality issues persist, according to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) (More) | See preview of the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown (More)

> The 76th Tony Awards take place Sunday (8 pm ET, CBS); see predictions for each category (More)

From our partners: The deepest collection of the best documentaries from around the world. If it feels like you've watched everything on Netflix, consider Curiosity Stream. Curiosity Stream is home to 1,000s of documentaries on science, history, technology, nature, travel, and more. Featuring exclusive, award-winning films and series, Curiosity Stream adds new content every week; plus, it's available on Smart TVs, Roku, and more. Sign up here or use code 1440WS and get 25% off an annual subscription.

 

Science & Technology

> Study of astronauts' brains reveals cerebral ventricles—channels that allow nutrient delivery and waste removal—expand during long periods of weightlessness, potentially impacting surrounding brain tissue (More)

> Fat-like compounds discovered hundreds of feet below the Australian outback suggest a previously unknown family of eukaryotes—organisms whose cells contain a nucleus—were widespread as early as 1.6 billion years ago (More)

> Neuroscientists discover a pair of competing brain regions that prompt female mice to either kill or care for their young; study may shed light on neurological factors in infanticide in humans (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.5%, Nasdaq +1.0%); S&P 500 enters bull market territory, up 20% from a recent low (More)

> Eurozone is officially in a recession at the end of the first quarter, after reporting gross domestic product growth of -0.1% for Q1 2023 and Q4 2022 (More)

> General Motors to adopt Tesla charging standard; GM electric vehicle owners can access Tesla charging network in 2024 (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> House Oversight Committee drops threat of contempt charge against FBI Director Christopher Wray after deal to view document alleging bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden (More) | Document reportedly describes an unverified tip Biden received $5M from Ukrainian energy firm Burisma while vice president (More)

> Ukraine fully launches long-awaited counteroffensive, attempts to break through Russian lines in the Russia-occupied southern Zaporizhzhia region (More) | See updates on war (More)

> Joran van der Sloot, the suspect in the high-profile 2005 disappearance of spring breaker Natalee Holloway in Aruba, transferred to FBI custody for extradition to the US (More) | See previous write-up (More)

 

In-Depth

> Life, Online

Pew Research | Staff. A survey of 22 highly engaged social media users reveals the divergent, highly tailored ways they leverage different platforms for connection, self-expression, and fun. (Read)

 

> AI Isn’t HallucinatingWe Are

Untangled | Charley Johnson. Following the release of ChatGPT last fall, users found the platform appeared to often fabricate facts from thin air. Is the chatbot lying to us or simply doing what we've taught it? (Read)

> 'Seeking a Good Death'

CBC | Jason Warick. Roughly 10,000 Canadians utilize the country's 2016 medical assistance in death law each year, including 87-year-old Jeanette Lodoen, who gave CBS unrestricted access to her final days. (Read)

 

> The Spycatcher

Foreign Policy | Eric O'Neill. (Podcast) An FBI agent spills first-person details on the operation that took down the United States' most damaging spy: Robert Hanssen, who died in prison this week. (Listen)

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Etcetera
 

Check out a livestream of Hawaii's erupting volcano.

 

The East Coast under a blanket of wildfire haze, in photos.

 

Watch divers rescue a trapped humpback whale.

 

... and peek inside the mouth of a hammerhead shark.

 

Research suggests morality is not on the decline.

 

How Vegas became America's quickie wedding capital. (via YouTube)

 

Many identify as middle class—how far off are you?

 

Beekeeper wears bee helmet to promote honey awareness.

 

Clickbait: Costa Rican crocodile gives a virgin birth.

 

Historybook: Roman emperor Nero dies by suicide (68); Author Charles Dickens dies (1870); Michael J. Fox born (1961); Secretariat wins horse racing’s Triple Crown (1973); Natalie Portman born (1981).

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business."

- Michael J. Fox

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