1.14.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, Jan. 14, and in this weekend edition, we're covering a criminal verdict for the Trump Organization, a black hole devouring a star, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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

One Big Headline
 

Trump Org. Verdict

The Trump Organization has been ordered to pay a maximum fine of $1.6M after a jury found the firm guilty of multiple counts of tax fraud spanning 15 years. The real estate company was found guilty of paying personal expenses for top executives, including former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, and issuing bonus checks without deducting taxes. The Trump Organization plans to file an appeal.

 

The court's decision comes three days after Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in prison in Rikers Island following a guilty plea in August to tax fraud charges. Weisselberg testified the Trump Organization paid for his utilities, rent, Mercedes-Benz car leases for him and his wife, as well as other expenses rather than giving him a raise, which would have been considered taxable income.

 

Former President Donald Trump was not charged in this case; however, he and his three eldest children face a separate civil lawsuit for allegedly misrepresenting property values for tax and loan purposes. See details of the lawsuit here.

Quick Hits
 

Russia claims it took Soledar, Ukraine denies its capture.

If Russia captures the salt-mining town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, it would mark Russia's first significant advancement in the war since August and pave the way for its forces to seize nearby Bakhmut and possibly other parts of the Donetsk region.

 

South Korean police seek criminal charges over deadly Seoul stampede.

Police are seeking involuntary manslaughter and negligence charges against 23 officials, including law enforcement, for lack of safety measures put in place when nearly 160 people died in a stampede during Halloween celebrations. 

 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the US likely to hit debt limit Jan. 19. 

The Treasury Department will begin taking special measures to avoid surpassing the $31.4T borrowing limit. The limit, which is the total debt Treasury can issue to the public and other government agencies, was raised $2.5T by Congress in December 2021. The government is approximately $78B away from reaching the limit. 

 

Stuntman Robbie Knievel, son of daredevil Evel Knievel, dies.

Robbie Knievel died at 60 after a battle with cancer. He was a second-generation motorcyclist who starred in TV specials, jumping over hotel fountains, the Grand Canyon, and military airplanes. See Robbie jump the Grand Canyon in 1999 here.

 

NASA finds black hole twisting captured star into doughnut shape.

Astronomers, using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, have recorded the final moments of a star in detail as it gets devoured by the gravitational grasp of a black hole. 

 

Tesla reduces prices for its car models sold in the US and Europe.

Among the price reductions include $43,990 for a Tesla Model 3, down from $46,990, and $52,990 for a Tesla Model Y, down from $65,990. In the US, both vehicles also now qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, bringing down costs further. 

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Humankind
 

Uber ride leads driver to donate kidney to a passenger in need. (More)

 

College basketball player saves endorsement money to pay off his sister's student loans. (More

 

Sisters launch organization to help cancer patients obtain wigs mimicking their natural hair. (More)

 

Las Vegas pizzeria sells out after review from famous TikTok influencer. (More

 

Student asks teacher to give his bonus test points to classmate with lowest score. (More)

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Valerie S. in The Villages, Florida.

 

"I was returning from visiting my daughter at the Orlando airport with three heavy bags. I rented a cart to take me to ground transportation. It was a long way and involved an elevator ride. At 81 years old, I was having trouble navigating the extremely heavy cart. A couple with a baby in a stroller and a large roll-on suitcase approached me. The young mother said, 'Here. You push the stroller and I will push the cart.' What a lifesaver for me! They had flown from Manchester, England, and went out of their way by 4 floors to see that I arrived at my shuttle."

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> The price of eggs has soared 60% this year compared to 2022—and here's why
> Most of Madagascar's animals are on the brink of extinction. If they all disappear, it will take 23 million years to get them back.

 

Browse 

> Mapping happiness and meaning in our daily lives.

> Drones capture the beauty of high-rise architecture

> The underside of icebergs

> What gives chocolate a melt-in-the-mouth sensation

> Say goodbye to Sierra Mist, and hello to Starry.

 

Listen 

> Six ways to be a great friend and build meaningful relationships


Watch 

> Chicago in the 1920s, remastered and in color. 

> Why flying on an airplane stopped being glamorous

> ... and now an adorable red panda eating grapes.

 

Long Read 

> The eerie emptiness of Britain's version of Area 51.

> How the American shopping cart changed the way we shop.

 

Best of the Week: Ranking the most expensive appliances on your electricity bill.

 

Historybook: Astronomer Edmond Halley dies (1742); “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” author Lewis Carroll dies (1898); Actress Faye Dunaway born (1941); Franklin D. Roosevelt is first president to travel on official business by airplane while in office (1943); NBC’s “Today” debuts (1952).

"All that is really worth the doing is what we do for others."

- Lewis Carroll

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