1.25.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Jan. 25, and we're covering corruption in Ukraine, this year's Oscar nominations, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Ukraine Corruption

At least a dozen senior Ukrainian officials were dismissed Tuesday over allegations of corruption, the embattled country's largest shake-up since the war began in February. Several cabinet ministers, as well as leaders of battleground provinces Kherson and Zaporizhzhia (see list), were accused of taking bribes or facilitating inflated purchasing contracts. 

 

Ukraine ranks 122 out of 180 countries on the annual Corruption Perceptions Index, the lowest of any European country, other than Russia. Analysts claim its persistent corruption stems partly from an oligarchical system inherited from the Soviet Union after attaining independence in 1991 (see background). Current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy won the election in 2019 on an anticorruption campaign, and the country must demonstrate anticorruption reforms as part of its candidacy for the European Union.

 

Separately, Germany signaled approval of the transfer of its highly sophisticated

Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, which analysts claim are a significant improvement over those currently in use. 

 

Google Lawsuit

The US Justice Department is suing Google, claiming the company has monopolized the digital advertising market, and is seeking to force Google to divest parts of its business. The complaint (read here), joined by eight states, alleges Google carried out a series of projects to manipulate its advertisers’ spending to reduce competition from rival ad exchanges, among other actions.

 

Google, for years, has led the US digital advertising market, capturing 34.7% of the market at its peak in 2017, though the company appears to be losing its hold on the space thanks to competition from TikTok and Amazon. Still, Google earned $209B from advertising in 2021 and is expected to see similar results for 2022 in next week's full-year earnings report. Google makes about 80% of its revenue from digital advertising (see overview).

 

The lawsuit is the second federal antitrust (see 101) challenge against Google. The Justice Department filed a suit in 2020 over Google allegedly stifling competition for internet searches; the case is headed to trial in September. 

 

Oscar Nominations 

Nominations for the 95th annual Academy Awards were announced yesterday, led by "Everything Everywhere All at Once," with 11 nominations. The multiverse science fiction film's Michelle Yeoh becomes the first Asian woman nominated for best actress. "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "The Banshees of Inisherin" follow with nine nominations each.

 

Major blockbusters hit big this year—the 10 best picture nominees have grossed a combined nearly $1.6B in domestic ticket sales, with "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" accounting for a combined $1.3B. The nominations come at a time when the Academy is trying to attract more viewers. Last year's ceremony marked the second least-watched and lowest-rated telecast in Oscars history.

 

See the biggest snubs and surprises here. Winners in all 23 categories will be announced live during the ceremony, which takes place March 12 (8 pm ET, ABC), with Jimmy Kimmel returning as host. 

 

See the Muppet version of each best picture nominee here.

In partnership with RadarUSA

AI Meets Neighborhood Watch

 

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How? RadarUSA created a collaborative security platform that connects neighborhoods, police, and public spaces to reduce crime. Using object recognition software (think: license plates, weapons), data is analyzed in real time to alert police to bad actors. And the results are pretty impressive—in trial runs, this tech was credited with helping the Benito Juarez neighborhood of Mexico City reduce high-impact crime by 45%. But considering the founding team’s extensive resume of international security, law enforcement, and tech, that's no surprise.

 

Learn more about RadarUSA's investment opportunity today and help them capture a slice of the $68 billion security industry.


Please read the Offering Circular found here before making an investment decision.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Seven-time MLB All-Star Scott Rolen voted into National Baseball Hall of Fame; Rolen joins Fred McGriff in the 2023 class that will be inducted July 23 (More) | See complete Hall of Fame voting results (More

> Ticketmaster execs testify at US Senate hearing over industrywide ticket issues, including cancellation of Taylor Swift concert sales (More) | Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" debuts at top of Billboard Hot 100 chart days after breaking Spotify's one-week streaming record (More)

> American skier Mikaela Shiffrin wins record 83rd women's World Cup race, breaking tie with fellow American Lindsey Vonn (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Meta-analysis of health records suggests a link between some common viral infections and elevated risk of neurodegenerative diseases later in life; cause remains unclear, associations vary strongly by virus type (More)

> CT scans reveal various layers inside "golden boy" sarcophagus, including almost 50 amulets; study sheds light on burial practices of wealthy families in ancient Egypt roughly 2,300 years ago (More)

> Antarctic aerial survey reveals a chasm along the Brunt Ice Shelf has completely split, spawning an iceberg roughly 600 square miles in size, larger than the city of Los Angeles (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> New York Stock Exchange experiences a technical glitch, with certain shares yesterday opening off prior day closing prices (More)

> Microsoft posts slowest quarter of revenue growth in six years, misses quarterly revenue expectations, but tops earnings expectations (More) | Walmart increases minimum wage for store employees from $12 per hour to $14 per hour (More

> Amazon launches RxPass, Amazon Prime add-on for generic drugs for $5 per month (More)

From our partners: If cash back is king, this card is royalty. Even The Ascent's credit card experts couldn't resist. They applied for it, and it's an absolute slam-dunk if you're looking for a one-card wallet. Big sign-up bonus, up to 5% cash back, no annual fee, and the list goes on.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Half Moon Bay mass shooting that killed seven people in California Monday was likely a case of workplace violence, officials say (More) | Monterey Park mass shooting motive remains unclear; 11 people were killed and nine injured in the Saturday attack outside Los Angeles (More

> Classified documents found at former Vice President Mike Pence's house; revelation comes amid probes into improperly stored sensitive documents by President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump (More) | Classification 101 (More)

> Committee to Protect Journalists reports at least 67 journalists and media workers were killed in 2022 globally, the highest since 2018 (More)

In partnership with RadarUSA

An Investment For Your Radar

 

The home security systems market is projected to reach a whopping $82.3 billion by 2027. Who’s gearing up to grab the reins? RadarUSA.

 

Founded by a team with over 30 years of experience in law enforcement and military, RadarUSA pairs communities with police to reduce crime. How does it work? RadarUSA deploys object recognition software and real-time data analysis of audio/video to catch crooks in the act. You can join as an investor today—check out this exciting opportunity in the security space.

 

Please read the Offering Circular found here before making an investment decision.

Please support our sponsors!

Etcetera
 

A TED Talk on how to deal with rejection

 

Remote work saves commuters 72 minutes a day.

 

Scroll through a Lunar New Year feast.

 

Rare spinning ice disk found in the Scottish Highlands

 

How to defog your car windows the right way.

 

This year's Razzie nominees, celebrating the worst of cinema.

 

The best places to write your novel, according to authors.

 

Introducing bourbon aged in space.

 

Clickbait: Troublemaking pet fish commit credit card fraud

 

Historybook: First Winter Olympics take place in Chamonix, France (1924); Battle of the Bulge comes to an end (1945); Al Capone dies (1947); Alicia Keys born (1981); Mary Tyler Moore dies (2017).

"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow."

- Mary Tyler Moore

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