7.9.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, July 9, and we're covering a fatal missile barrage in Ukraine, the end of an era for Paramount, and much more. First time reading? Join over 3.5 million intellectually curious readers. Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Missiles Strike Ukraine

At least 36 civilians were killed and more than 100 wounded across Ukraine after a Russian missile barrage hit multiple targets yesterday, including the country's largest children's hospital in the capital of Kyiv. The daytime attack is considered the heaviest single-day bombardment in the last four months of the Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its 29th month (see updates). 

 

Ukraine's air defenses shot down 30 of the 38 missiles, with officials saying the weapons consisted of aerial, ballistic, and cruise missiles (see the difference). At least 50 civilian buildings were damaged across central and eastern Ukraine by Russia's airstrikes. The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting today to address the strikes.

 

Russia's latest attack comes as Western leaders will meet in Washington, DC, today to kick off a three-day NATO summit. The agenda includes discussions over Ukraine's potential membership in the military alliance and a new support package. 

 

Skydance Takes a Bow

Paramount Global has formally agreed to merge with Skydance Media, ending months of negotiations and speculation over who would control the 112-year-old media company. The combined company is estimated to be worth $28B once the merger is complete.

 

The deal—similar to one Paramount rejected last month—involves Skydance CEO David Ellison purchasing the controlling stake in Paramount from media heiress Shari Redstone's National Amusements for $2.4B prior to the merger. Ellison, son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison, will replace a trio of CEOs who have run Paramount since April when failed talks with Skydance led to the ouster of Paramount's then-CEO Bob Bakish. The deal is set to be finalized next year, pending regulatory approval.

 

The deal comes after months of back-and-forth between Paramount and Skydance as well as other potential buyers, including Warner Bros. Discovery. While Paramount is one of Hollywood's oldest studios, its streaming service has struggled to find an audience, and the company has lost $17B in value over the past five years.

 

Alec Baldwin Faces Trial

Jury selection begins today in the criminal trial against Alec Baldwin, almost three years after the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the film set of “Rust.” Baldwin faces involuntary manslaughter charges for the October 2021 incident, when a prop gun he was handling discharged a live round, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin maintains he did not pull the trigger and has pleaded not guilty.

 

Prosecutors are expected to argue Baldwin, as the film’s lead actor and coproducer, was negligent by not adhering to industry safety standards, while the defense contends responsibility lay with the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was sentenced in April to 18 months in prison for her role in the incident. The defense recently failed to have the case dismissed, citing damage to the gun during forensic testing.

 

The trial in New Mexico is expected to last 10 days. If convicted, Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison. See a timeline of the case here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> 2024 UEFA European Championship semifinals kick off today with Spain taking on France (3 pm ET, Fox); see full preview (More) | Eighteen-player roster for Team USA men's soccer Olympic team announced (More)

> Shaboozey becomes the first Black male artist to simultaneously top Billboard's Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts with "A Bar Song (Tipsy)" (More

> Complete rosters for 94th MLB All-Star Game (July 16) announced, including 32 first time All-Stars (More) | Twelve-team field set for Paris Olympics men's basketball competition (More)

 

Science & Technology

> James Webb Space Telescope discovers a Jupiter-like exoplanet roughly 64 light-years away with an atmosphere predominantly made of hydrogen sulfide; compound is responsible for the "rotten egg" odor (More) | James Webb telescope 101 (More, w/video)

> Ex-Meta researchers debut EvolutionaryScale, an AI-powered large language model, to predict protein structures; model was trained on 2.7 billion protein sequences and structures (More

> Neuroscientists capture in real time the brain activity that underlies the subjective feeling of curiosity; patients underwent brain imaging while attempting to decode depictions of ambiguous situations (More

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Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq +0.3%) ahead of inflation data and batch of Q2 earnings reports; S&P 500, Nasdaq close at record highs (More

> Boeing to plead guilty to criminal fraud charge tied to two 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people; Boeing to pay $244M fine, invest at least $455M in safety and compliance programs (More) | Boeing in talks with US Defense Department over contracts that may be compromised due to guilty plea (More)

> Mike Bloomberg's charity donates $1B to Johns Hopkins University's medical school, resulting in free tuition for most medical students starting this fall (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Roughly 3 million people in Texas are without power as of this writing after Beryl made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane—the season's first hurricane to hit the US; at least three deaths reported in Texas (More) | Beryl weakens to tropical depression; track it here (More)

> Three Columbia University deans placed on indefinite leave over text messages that were allegedly antisemitic in nature; university to launch antisemitism and antidiscrimination faculty training program (More

> Kenyan cult leader and 94 codefendants begin trial over terrorism charges related to the deaths of more than 400 followers (More) | See our previous write-up (More)

 

In-Depth

> Beech Trees Are Masters of Coordination

Atlantic | Meghan Willcoxon. Each year, millions of beech trees release fruit almost simultaneously across 900 miles in Europe. Believed to be triggered by the summer solstice, it is the largest synchronized phenomenon of its kind. (Read)

 

> The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

ESPN | Ryan Hockensmith. In June 2013, 20-year-old Emma Carey skydived 14,000 feet into a cow pasture with a failed parachute. Eleven years later, she has survived to tell her story ... and to carve a path forward for her life. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Visit the world's most iconic bars.

 

America's most (and least) stressed cities.

 

The science behind why some clothes get smellier.

 

TSA sets new single-day record with over 3 million travelers

 

Statue of Greek god Hermes found in Roman-era sewer.

 

A visual guide to picking a good watermelon

 

Chipotle's gold-foil burritos return for the Olympics.

 

Watch a sweet husky repeat whatever his owner says

 

Clickbait: The man with the world's strongest eye sockets.

 

Historybook: 14th Amendment ratified in the US, granting citizenship to African Americans (1868); First Wimbledon tournament begins (1877); Actor Tom Hanks born (1956); Andy Warhol's iconic "Campbell's Soup Cans" make its debut (1962); Musician Courtney Love born (1964).

"We are still in the position of waking up and having a choice. Do I make the world better today somehow, or do I not bother?"

- Tom Hanks

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