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Airman's Family Alleges Fatal Police Error

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Friday! Mother's Day is on Sunday, which means lots and lots of flowers are about to be purchased in the next few days. Here is how you can make them last long after the special occasion. Have a great weekend!

In Today’s Brief

  • Tornadoes: Major uptick in U.S.

  • Nicaragua: Canal plan scrapped

  • Murdoch: Pushing VP contender

  • Unemployment: Spike in claims

  • TNT: Still in NBA rights mix

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Tragic mistake?

A active duty U.S. Air Force member's family believes he was killed after a law enforcement mishap.

  • What happened: Senior Airman Roger Fortson, 23, died in a hospital after a cop shot him in his home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Police initially said an Okaloosa County Deputy Sheriff was acting in self-defense because Fortson had a gun. But a lawyer for Fortson's family says the cops may have entered the wrong home, leading to a catastrophic mixup.

  • Witness statement: Ben Crump, the family's lawyer, said Fortson was on a video call with his girlfriend at the time of the incident. The woman said Fortson heard a knock at the door, but received no response. He retrieved a weapon after a second "very aggressive" knock because he did not see anyone at the door. Police then broke into the house, saw Fortson was armed and opened fire. Crump said Fortson's gun was legally owned.

  • Next steps: Police have not commented on Crump's allegations, but have released body camera footage. Florida's Attorney General and Department of Law Enforcement have launched investigations; the officer involved in the shooting is on administrative leave. Fortson was Black; police did not identify the officers or their races.

2) Still looming

Nikki Haley remains a factor in the ongoing presidential race, even though she dropped out months ago.

  • Next week: The former South Carolina governor and United Nations Ambassador will meet with her top donors early next week in Charleston. She will not endorse former President Donald Trump, nor is she expected to ask they support other candidate. The gathering is to thank those who supported her run for the Republican nomination.

  • Still counting: Haley continues to draw significant GOP primary votes despite Trump's grasp on the nomination. She received over 20% of the vote in last week's Indiana primary despite having never campaigned in the state. She also had surprisingly strong showings in Arizona and Pennsylvania, both battleground states, after exiting the race in March.

  • Big picture: About 20% of GOP primary voters nationwide have cast ballots for Haley -- a group that could have a major impact on who wins November's anticipated general election between President Joe Biden and Trump. Trump has done little to appeal to Haley voters, but they are already in his party. Biden's campaign is trying to reach across party lines to them, but it remains to be seen how receptive they are.

3) Pitching a fit

Professional soccer players around the world are threatening to take the sport's governing body to court.

  • The plan: FIFA has scheduled an expanded 32-team Club World Cup next year in the U.S. The tournament will run from June 15 to July 13, featuring the world's best pro clubs. FIFA wants to position the event's timing to be attractive to media partners and to serve as an every-four-years, one-year-out lead-in to the World Cup, which will next be contested in 2026 in America, Canada and Mexico.

  • The issue: Fifpro, the world players union, and the World Leagues Association are demanding FIFA postpone the event. They are arguing the world calendar has become too crowded, endangering player welfare and disrupting domestic league operations. If FIFA does not relent, the groups say they will sue.

  • Big picture: The groups are making other demands beyond moving the Club World Cup. It is unlikely FIFA will relent, as the event has the potential to be a massive cash cow. But concessions could include further reworking the international schedule.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • The U.S. is experiencing far more tornadoes than usual this year amid several days of severe storms. There have been close to 700 preliminary reports so far, over 100 more than at this time in 2023 (More)

  • A federal appeals court rejected Hunter Biden's bid to dismiss gun charges against him. The three-judge panel left the door open for the president's son to appeal again if convicted at trial (More)

  • The city of San Francisco will require some welfare recipients to undergo drug screenings and attend rehab if necessary. Single adults with no dependents who receive cash benefits will be impacted (More)

World News

  • Nicaragua canceled plans for a $50B canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Panama Canal competitor project, bankrolled by a Chinese billionaire, was approved in 2014 but stalled due to protests (More)

  • The United Kingdom will not withhold arms sales to Israel. Foreign Minister David Cameron said the UK joins the U.S. in opposition to a Rafah offensive, but its weapons trade with the Israelis is not comparable (More)

  • Seven barbers were killed in an attack on a home in Pakistan's Baluchistan province. The workers were from Punjab province; they may have been targeted by separatists in the region (More)

Campaign News

  • News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is advocating for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to be former President Trump's running mate. Business leaders are said to be concerned about the candidacies of Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (More)

  • Former Deputy Attorney General Maggie Goodlander is running for Congress in New Hampshire as a Democrat. She is seeking office in the state's 2nd Congressional District; her husband is National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (More)

  • Trump reportedly asked a group of oil and gas executives to donate $1B to his campaign. The former president is said to have vowed to undo President Biden's green energy policies if re-elected (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed higher yesterday. The Dow Jones was up over 300 points for its seventh straight day of gains (Dow +0.85%, Nasdaq +0.27%, S&P 500 +0.51%).

  • There were 231K new unemployment claims in the U.S. last week, a 22K WoW jump and the most in eight months. It is a sign the labor market is cooling as inflation continues to linger (More)

  • BP is angling to acquire Tesla's Supercharger locations in the U.S. The electric vehicle manufacturer recently laid off its EV charging employees; CEO Elon Musk said expansion plans remain in place, but the pace will be slower (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Warner Bros. Discovery can match third-party offers for its NBA broadcast rights. CEO David Zaslav said the company hopes to renew its contract with the league amid pushes by Amazon and NBC (More)

  • Taylor Swift resumed her Eras Tour, kicking off the European leg in Paris. The pop star altered her set list and performed music from her new The Tortured Poets Department album live for the first time (More)

  • Harvey Weinstein will remain jailed in New York as he awaits a retrial for his overturned 2020 rape conviction. The disgraced film producer is fighting an extradition attempt by California, where he was convicted separately (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Fun Stuff: Have you ever watched a camel eat a lemon? This guy has! And he had a blast doing so.

  • History Lesson: If humanity is going to create a habitat on Mars, we will need to grow vegetables there. The ancient Mayans may help us get the job done.

  • Take Note: There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there these days. Before you believe them, go through the vetting steps outlined by a social psychologist.

  • Go Deep: The animal cloning industry is booming. You can easily replicate your beloved pet -- as long as you have $50K on hand.

  • Life Hack: The "Sunday Scaries" are real, and they are no fun. Here is how you can beat them this weekend. 

  • OPTIMIZE ME: Researchers “found convincing evidence that higher intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48% to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes”

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Banned books have been great source material for Hollywood over the years.

Looking Ahead …

A new The Lord of the Rings film has been greenlit. The Hunt for Gollum will be released in 2026; Andy Serkis will star and direct and original LOTR director Peter Jackson is producing.

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