Biden's Big Move on Guns

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Friday. The East Coast does not experience many earthquakes. But when it does, as we just learned, they cover a lot more ground. Have a great weekend!

In Today’s Brief

  • Drug shortages: Major issue in U.S.

  • Iran: Backing off Israel threats

  • Menendez: Trial next month

  • Bayer: No more middle management

  • Taylor Swift: Back on TikTok

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Closing the loopholes

President Joe Biden has signed off on the largest expansion of gun purchase background checks in decades.

  • What happened: Biden's executive order will require thousands of gun sellers to register with the federal government. The sellers will then have to run criminal and mental health background checks on prospective buyers.

  • The impact: Biden is aiming to close the "gun show" and "online sale" loopholes by forcing all sellers to register. There are about 20K unlicensed sellers nationwide; they do not need to conduct background checks.

  • Big picture: Biden has called on Congress to add to his action, but Republicans will likely try to roll it back. The order will likely face legal challenges from Second Amendment advocates and could be pared down by the courts. It will also be an election year topic.

2) O.J. Simpson: 1947-2024

O.J. Simpson, who won acclaim as a Hall of Fame football player and successful actor and pitchman before infamy as the defendant in a double-murder trial that captivated the nation, died Wednesday at 76 after a battle with prostate cancer.

  • The trial: Simpson was charged in the 1994 killings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. His 1995 trial -- "The Trial of the Century" -- was among the most significant public spectacles in U.S. history as an intersection of celebrity, violence, mass media and racialn tensions. Simpson was acquitted behind a legal dream team led by late attorney Johnnie Cochran.

  • After the verdict: Simpson maintained his innocence, but was found civilly liable for the murders in 1997. He spent nine years in prison after being convicted of armed robbery in 2007 after trying to take what he claimed was his own sports memorabilia. Simpson was paroled in 2017 and was active on social media once released.

  • His legacy: Simpson was an American icon thanks to his play for USC and the Buffalo Bills, his Hertz commercials and The Naked Gun films and broadcast work. But he will ultimately be remembered for the murder trial; past polls indicated most Americans believe he was guilty.

3) Bad beats

Shohei Ohtani's disgraced former interpreter is in deep.

  • The charges: Federal authorities say Ippei Mizuhara stole over $16M from the Los Angeles Dodgers star over two years to pay illegal gambling debts. The alleged theft is about four times what was initially reported. Mizuhara faces a fine of up to $1M and as many as 30 years in prison for bank fraud.

  • More details: U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said Ohtani is considered a victim; there is no evidence he knew of Mizuhara's activities. Mizuhara is accused of purposely hiding bank transactions from Ohtani and impersonating him on calls to banks. Mizuhara allegedly lost over $40M in total while placing close to $183M in bets with an illegal bookmaker

  • Big picture: Mizuhara is reportedly negotiating a plea deal. The findings appear to exonerate Ohtani of any involvement in the scheme. Betting on baseball is the sport's cardinal sin; if Ohtani was found to have culpability, he would face a lifetime ban.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • U.S. drug shortages have hit an all-time high in the 23 years since tracking began. Over 300 different medicines are currently in short supply nationwide; the generics market is largely blamed for the gaps (More)

  • Members of Maryland's Congressional delegation unveiled a bill to rebuild Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge. The Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act calls on the federal government to fund the entire reconstruction (More)

  • California's ocean salmon fishing season was canceled for a second straight year. A federal oversight group cited low water levels and high temperatures, as the conditions traditionally impact population (More)

World News

  • Iran has signaled it will limit any retaliation for an Israeli airstrike that killed senior military leaders in Syria. Iranian officials reportedly made the pledge to Germany after indirect U.S. warnings (More)

  • Vietnamese real estate developer Truong My Lan received the death penalty after being convicted of embezzling $12.5B and causing $27B in damages. It is the largest fraud in the country's history and represents 3% of Vietnam's GDP; Lan will appeal (More)

  • Mexico demanded Ecuador be kicked out of the United Nations after its Quito embassy was raided. The request was filed to the International Court of Justice as the feud between the countries continues (More)

Campaign News

  • New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez's federal bribery trial remains scheduled for May. Menendez has said he will seek re-election this fall as an independent if he is acquitted (More)

  • Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley will not seek re-election next year. Her successor will determine the balance of power for the swing state's highest court; it currently has a 4-3 liberal lean (More)

  • Speaker of the House Mike Johnson raised over $20M in Q1. The big fundraising haul could fortify his standing with Republicans amid recent House turmoil (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed mixed yesterday. Wholesale prices only increased 0.2% MoM in March, beating expectations and delivering some positive inflation data (Dow -0.01%, Nasdaq +1.68%, S&P 500 +0.74%).

  • Bayer is eliminating middle manager positions and scrapping 99% of its corporate handbook. The pharmaceutical company believes it can save over $2B with the cuts; close to 100K employees will be asked to self-manage (More)

  • U.S. airlines and aviation unions want the Biden Administration to pause plans to allow more Chinese airlines flights in the country. Domestic carriers argue the foreign companies have anti-competitive advantages, including access to Russian airspace (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Taylor Swift's music is once again available on TikTok. The pop star has likely struck a deal with the social media platform outside of its dispute with Universal Music Group, which distributes her records (More)

  • New York City FC received city approval for a new 25K soccer stadium. The MLS club will privately finance the venue; it will be built next to the New York Mets' Citi Field (More)

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are returning to Netflix. Their Archewell Productions is producing two new nonfiction series for the streaming service (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: Fiona spent 11 years in an Alabama animal shelter. But she has now found a forever home in Wisconsin.

  • New Idea: The future of wireless internet might be lights -- bending lights that deliver connectivity to hard-to-reach places and crowded spaces.

  • Go Deep: New York wants to build a skyscraper prison in the heart of Manhattan. Unsurprisingly, this is a controversial idea.

  • Sports Hack: Championship basketball teams make their free throws. A pat on the back can help.

  • Life Hack: Researchers estimate about 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. This simple tip can help you stop dawdling and get going in just five seconds.

  • 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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The Dark Ages were not as dark as we think.

Looking Ahead …

Former President Trump's historic hush money trial is expected to begin on Monday in New York. Here is an in-depth look at how jury selection will be conducted.

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