6.12.2023

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Good morning. It's Monday, June 12, and we're covering the death of a notorious domestic terrorist, a remarkable rescue in the Amazon rainforest, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Breaking news: Early this morning, news broke that Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's longest-serving post-World War II prime minister, died at age 86. This is a developing story, see updates here.

Slow Gains in Ukraine

A Ukrainian infantry group claims to have taken two villages in the country's Russian-occupied Donetsk region Sunday, marking the first gains in the spring counteroffensive that began last week. Early reports indicate Ukraine has launched a four-pronged attack along the current 600-mile-wide battle lines, from Zaporizhzhia in the south to Bilohorivka in Luhansk to the east.

 

In related news, seismic monitoring groups detected signs of an explosion the morning Ukraine's Kakhovka dam failed, the first independent evidence suggesting the damage was deliberate. The 68-year-old structure, located roughly 40 miles upriver from the city of Kherson, held back a reservoir roughly the size of Utah's Great Salt Lake; its failure has flooded thousands of homes and inundated tens of thousands of acres of farmland, mostly in territory occupied by Russia (see map). 

 

Separately, German investigators probing September's Nord Stream pipeline sabotage discovered evidence the ship likely used in the operation veered into Polish waters, with the country potentially used as a staging site. See more on the incident here.

 

Unabomber Dies in Prison

Ted Kaczynski, one of America's most notorious domestic terrorists, died in a North Carolina prison cell Saturday at the age of 81. Officials have not publicly identified a cause, though sources said he died by suicide. 

 

Also known as the Unabomber, Kaczynski carried out a long-running nationwide string of mail bombings between 1978 and 1995, killing three people and injuring 23 others. Regarded as highly intelligent, Kaczynski earned master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of Michigan and was a tenure-track professor at UC-Berkeley before abruptly resigning and relocating to a remote cabin in western Montana. 

 

Kaczynski had said the attacks were spurred by the encroachment of construction near his cabin and motivated by the belief modern technology was destructive to the planet. At its peak, the investigation involved more than 150 full-time agents. The case broke open when the FBI allowed the publishing of a 35,000-word essay sent by Kaczynski, which prompted his brother to alert authorities.

 

See the background and timeline of the yearslong hunt here.

 

Miracle Rescue in Colombia

Four children who survived a plane crash in the Amazon rainforest were found by rescue teams after 40 days of surviving on their own in the dense jungle. Three adults were killed when the small passenger plane went down, including the children's mother and two pilots. 

 

Investigators who reached the crash site in May found only the three deceased adults and signs the other four had survived the initial wreck, including shoes and a discarded diaper located near the plane. Officials said the children—aged 13, 9, and 4 years, and 11 months—were members of the Huitoto Indigenous group and survived in part by eating cassava root and fruit. Members of the children's community attributed their survival to knowledge and experience of the jungle. See footage from the rescue operation here.

 

A somewhat similar story unfolded in March after a 30-year-old Bolivian man reportedly subsisted on rainwater, worms, and insects for a month after being separated from friends in the southern Amazon.

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A Better Way to Wake Up

 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> "Kimberly Akimbo" wins Best Musical, “Leopoldstadt” wins Best Play at 76th Tony Awards (More) | See complete list of winners (More)

> Novak Djokovic wins French Open, breaks record for most men's Grand Slams with 23 (More) | Iga Świątek defeats Karolína Muchová to win her fourth Grand Slam (More)

> Manchester City tops Inter Milan 1-0 to win their first UEFA Champions League title (More) | Arcangelo wins Belmont Stakes; Jena Antonucci becomes first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Study links taurine, a naturally occurring amino acid and a common ingredient in supplements and energy drinks, to a roughly 10%-12% increase in life span in animal studies; how the compound affects the aging process remains unclear (More)

> Researchers claim to have developed machine-learning tool capable of detecting scientific text generated by ChatGPT with 99% accuracy (More) | What is ChatGPT? (More)

> The UK's National Health Service to limit the use of puberty blockers for minors seeking gender identity services to those involved in clinical studies, citing the need for further research (More) | See NHS statement (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher Friday (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq +0.2%); S&P 500 up for fourth consecutive week to highest level since August (More)

> Illumina CEO steps down after gene sequencing biotech giant received pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn (More)

> Port of Seattle operations cease over the weekend amid labor dispute (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> China has operated an espionage base on Cuba since at least 2019, US officials say (More) | Statement follows reports China and Cuba agreed to build an electronic surveillance facility on the island; see our previous write-up (More) | Honduras opens embassy in China Sunday after breaking ties with Taiwan (More)

> Former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon arrested, released amid financial corruption probe (More) | American musician, former paratrooper Travis Leake detained in Russia on drug distribution charges Saturday (More

> North Carolina GOP votes to censure Sen. Thom Tillis (R) Saturday for alleged departure from party platform (More) | First GOP presidential poll released since Friday's indictment has former President Donald Trump ahead by 38 points (More)

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Ditch Your Daily Grind

 

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Etcetera
 

Burning truck causes part of I-95 to collapse.

 

It's a hot job market for teens this summer.  

 

Ranking the world's most welcoming cities

 

America's best under-the-radar destinations

 

Trek through a treetop walkway in Norway.

 

The pineapple's forgotten role as elite status symbol

 

New rule: If you heckle the umpire, you must become the umpire.

 

Casper, an ultrarare white dolphin, spotted in California.

 

Clickbait: Trombonist faints—but the beat goes on.  

 

Historybook: Former President George HW Bush born (1924); Anne Frank born (1929); Nelson Mandela sentenced to life in prison in South Africa (1964); President Ronald Reagan delivers famous "tear down this wall" speech (1987); 49 killed in mass shooting at nightclub in Orlando (2016).

""I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

- Anne Frank

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