5.23.2024

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Good morning. It's Thursday, May 23, and we're covering an election gambit in Britain, a ruling over Graceland, and much more. First time reading? Join over 3.5 million readers. Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

UK Election Day Set

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday set the date for UK general elections for July 4. The announcement comes as Sunak’s center-right Conservative Party trails 20 points behind the opposition Labour Party in polls, with respondents largely citing inflation and the influx of migrants for their discontent.

 

In the UK, general elections are held no more than five years apart, with the prime minister setting the date. The most recent election was in 2019 when former Prime Minister Boris Johnson replaced then-Prime Minister Theresa May, both Conservatives. Sunak had until January 2025 to hold new elections; his announcement of early elections came as official figures showed inflation slowing to 2.3% last month, down from 11% in 2022. 

 

Sunak trails behind Keir Starmer, who has pulled his left-wing Labour Party toward the political center and oversaw a string of local election wins this month. If Labour wins the upcoming election, it would end 14 years of Conservative rule.

 

Graceland Stays with Family

A Tennessee judge yesterday ruled to prevent the foreclosure and sale of Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate. The Memphis estate—which had been scheduled to go to auction today—can stay with Presley’s family, with the judge accusing the company trying to sell it of possible fraud.

 

Last year, Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC said it loaned Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie $3.8M in 2018 using Graceland as collateral. The company said failure to repay the loan allows it to foreclose on the property, submitting a notarized note as evidence of the loan.

 

Elvis’s granddaughter, Danielle Riley Keough—who owns Graceland—sued to block the sale, calling the documents counterfeit and the company fake. The notary public named denies ever overseeing a document signed by Lisa Marie. The company—represented in written statements by a man named Gregory Naussany—lacks a physical address. Following the judge’s ruling, the company has withdrawn its claims.

 

Graceland boasts over 600,000 visitors each year. A 2020 estimate places the value of the 14-acre property—purchased in 1957 for $102,500—upward of $400M.

 

More Student Debt Relief

The Biden administration approved the cancellation of $7.7B in student debt yesterday for an estimated 160,500 eligible borrowers. The move is part of the White House's incremental approach to canceling federal student loans via program adjustments as it builds out a broader debt plan. Yesterday's approval brings the administration's total debt relief to $167B for nearly 5 million borrowers. 

 

The latest round of relief applies to people enrolled in specific federal loan programs that reduce or cancel debt in exchange for public services like teaching or by consideration of an individual's income, known as income-driven repayment plans. Borrowers will receive an email if they qualify. Learn more about IDR plans here

 

Last summer, the Supreme Court rejected the administration's broad $400B attempt to cancel student debt, a major Biden campaign promise. Last month, officials announced a more targeted approach relying on the 1965 Higher Education Act, which could see debt canceled for 30 million borrowers as soon as the fall. Legal challenges are expected.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> NHL Western Conference Finals kick off tonight (8:30 pm ET, TNT) with the Dallas Stars taking on the Edmonton Oilers (More) | US investment fund takes ownership of Inter Milan soccer club after Chinese owner misses loan payment (More)

> "Kairos," a novel by German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, wins prestigious 2024 International Booker Prize for best work of fiction translated into English (More

> Director Mohammad Rasoulof will attend Cannes Film Festival screening of his film "The Seed of the Sacred Fig" after fleeing Iran following being sentenced to eight years in prison by the Islamic Revolutionary Court (More

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Miso Robotics

> AI startup Anthropic provides deepest study to date exploring why large language models, including the company's Claude 3 chatbot, generate content in response to different prompts (More) | See research deep dive (More)

> Researchers develop a compound with the elusive radioactive element promethium for the first time, allowing it to be studied more easily; with no stable isotopes, only about one total pound of promethium exists in the Earth's crust at any given time (More

> Bilingual brain implant decodes words in both English and Spanish from analysis of brain waves; AI-powered device demonstrated in stroke patient who lost the ability to speak (More

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Business & Markets

> Markets close down (Dow -0.5%, S&P 500 -0.3%, Nasdaq -0.2%) on signals Federal Reserve may hold off on lowering interest rates (More) | AI chipmaker Nvidia shares rise 3% in extended trading after reporting more than 260% increase in quarterly revenue year-over-year, will carry out a 10-for-1 stock split (More)

> Mining giant Anglo American rejects takeover bid but will enter talks with rival BHP Group on a $50B acquisition offer; bid would be the largest deal in the history of the mining industry (More)

> Techstars CEO Maëlle Gavet steps down citing health reasons, will leave company at end of month; organization is one of the top groups offering preseed investment support for entrepreneurs (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Spain, Norway, and Ireland announce plan to recognize Palestinian statehood on May 28; the Palestinian Authority and Hamas praise the move while Israel recalls ambassadors in protest (More) | Which countries recognize a Palestinian state? (More)

> City of Uvalde, Texas, reaches $2M settlement with families of 19 victims of the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting; city also pledges to overhaul the local police force and create a memorial for the victims (More

> Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley says she will vote for former President Donald Trump in November, consolidating further Republican support behind the presumptive nominee (More)

 

In-Depth

> Unfollow Your Friends!

Untangled | Charley Johnson. (Podcast) An interview with Louis Barclay, the creator of a tool at the center of a lawsuit involving Meta that could change everything about the way we use social media. (Listen)

> Egypt's Mega-Museum

Nature | Miryam Naddaf, Rehab Eldalil. For more than a century, ancient Egypt's history was told through exhibitions in the US, Britain, and elsewhere. This summer, the country will open the world's largest museum dedicated to a single civilization—its own. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Lauryn Hill's 1998 album tops Apple Music's top 100 albums list.

 

Bark Air, a dog-focused airline, to take first flight today.

 

Study asks why mosquitoes like some humans more than others

 

... and the 50 worst US cities for mosquitoes

 

Nvidia tops list of best 100 companies based on reputation.

 

Nine female athletes to get their own Barbie dolls.

 

New Princess of Wales portrait spurs mixed reactions.

 

Should you park under an overpass during a tornado?

 

Clickbait: Stonehenge’s possible moon connection.

 

Historybook: Infamous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are killed by police (1934); John D. Rockefeller dies (1937); German Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann revealed to have been captured in Argentina (1960); Musician Jewel born (1974); James Bond actor Roger Moore dies (2017).

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