Biden's Gaza Ultimatum

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Friday. Here is an amazing (and alarming) statistic: One-third of rideshare drivers have had an accident while on the job, according to a recent study. So no, it's not just you that always draws the short straw with Uber. Have a great weekend!

In Today’s Brief

  • Hurricanes: ‘Active’ forecast

  • Irish reunification: Hefty projected bill

  • No Labels: The party is over

  • Markets: Dow Jones takes a beating

  • Conan O’Brien: Tonight Show return

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Fed up

President Joe Biden said he drew a red line with Israel yesterday.

  • What happened: Biden called for an immediate ceasefire and indicated American support for the Gaza war against Hamas may be curtailed if the Israelis do not do more to protect civilians and aid workers. Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone days after an Israeli air strike killed seven workers for World Central Kitchen who were feeding starving Palestinians.

  • The response: Israel has apologized for the airstrike, which has sparked international outrage. It has also opened three new aid corridors in Gaza. The White House insisted the U.S. still supports Israel, but it is believed Biden intimated arms transfers and stances regarding the United Nations could wane without changes.

  • Big picture: It is another potential inflection point for Israel in a conflict that is approaching its six-month anniversary. And it comes at a tense time, as Iran has threatened to retaliate for an Israeli attack on its embassy in Syria, raising new concerns of a larger regional war breaking out.

2) War games

Russia is technically banned from this summer's Paris Olympics, but it is still casting a shadow over them.

  • The latest: French President Emmanuel Macron alleged the Kremlin is running a disinformation campaign about preparation and safety for the event. His comments come after Russia suggested France was somehow involved in the recent terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall (ISIS has claimed responsibility). 

  • Added context: Macron has taken an aggressive public stance amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, even suggesting the deployment NATO troops should be on the table. France also believes Russian intelligence tried to incite antisemitic violence inside the country last year. Macron said recently he would ask Russia to observe a ceasefire during the Olympics; President Vladimir Putin suggested he was open to it.

  • Participation waiver: The IOC will only allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as individual neutral athletes after a vetting process. Russia has since announced it will hold its own Friendship Games later this year after the Olympics conclude.

3) Tusk talk

Elephants have become the subject of international squabbling.

  • The headline: Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has threatened to "deport" 20K elephants to Germany. The posturing comes amid a dispute over German proposals to restrict the import of hunting trophies due to poaching concerns.

  • The issue: There are about 130K elephants in Botswana, which is about a quarter of the world's population and about double what experts say the country's resources can handle. Masisi said the animals are creating havoc -- eating crops, causing damage, trampling people -- and such laws hurt his country's economy and safety. Germany said it has not had formal dialogue with Botswana about its concerns.

  • In the U.S. The Biden Administration recently tightened rules on elephant hunting imports but did not go as far as the proposed German laws. That has drawn some criticism from conservationists. An American tourist was killed by an elephant on a safari in Zambia last weekend. 

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • The Atlantic hurricane season will be "extremely active," according to meteorologists at Colorado State University. They are forecasting 23 storms, 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes (More)

  • Oklahoma police believe two missing women are the victims of "foul play." The women disappeared while traveling to pick up their children; their car was found in a remote area near the state's border with Kansas (More)

  • There will be a summit on the Baltimore bridge collapse next week. Maryland's congressional delegation will meet with Gov. Wes Moore and federal officials to discuss emergency funding and other issues (More)

World News

  • A think tank projects Irish reunification would cost Ireland about $21.5B annually for two decades and force significant tax increases. Some costs would be offset once Northern Ireland is integrated back into the European Union (More)

  • China, Japan and South Korea are expected to have a trilateral summit next month in Seoul. It would be the first time the traditional talks have been held since before the pandemic (More)

  • A United Nations official said unrest in Haiti is becoming "apocalyptic." William O’Neill, a human rights lawyer and expert on the country, said the situation is similar to Somalia in the 1990s (More)

Campaign News

  • No Labels has thrown in the towel. The centrist group has abandoned its effort to mount a third-party presidential ticket after failing to find a candidate it felt could conceivably win (More)

  • Nebraska lawmakers rejected legislation to change the state's Electoral College vote distribution system. The Democratic presidential nominee has managed to win a single EV vote in the Republican-held state in two of the last four elections (More)

  • Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy's campaign apologized for language related to Jan. 6 in a fundraising email. The message called Capitol rioters "activists" who had their rights infringed upon (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed mixed yesterday. The Dow Jones continued its rough week with its worst day of trading in over a year (Dow -1.35%, Nasdaq -1.40%, S&P 500 -1.23%).

  • Google parent company Alphabet is exploring a $32B takeover offer for HubSpot, an online marketing company partner. Any deal could face regulatory hurdles (More)

  • Bath & Body Works, Express and Peloton are among the publicly-traded companies that have routinely missed vendor payments, according to a business intelligence firm. The tardy invoices can sometimes be an early indicator of financial distress and cash flow issues (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Conan O'Brien will make his first in-person appearance on The Tonight Show since his controversial ouster as host in 2010. He will promote Conan O'Brien Must Go on the April 9 edition of the late-night program (More)

  • The Oakland Athletics announced they will play the 2025-27 seasons in Sacramento before moving to Las Vegas. The MLB club can stay an extra year if its Sin City stadium is not ready in 2028 (More)

  • Michael J. Fox said he is open to acting again if the right opportunity was presented. He retired in 2021 due to declining health related to his Parkinson's disease (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: A group of teenagers in Texas are helping the less fortunate in a creative way. They are turning plastic bags into sleeping mats to keep the homeless off the ground.

  • Be Safe: Walmart has recalled over 50K mini electric food choppers. The devices' blades are a hazard; they may start without warning.

  • Go Deep: Home security cameras are becoming prevalent. They are also tearing communities apart.

  • New Idea: There are not enough donor livers to meet the needs of transplant patients. A biotech company believes it can hack a lymph node to replace the organ.

  • Chow Down: Need a dessert in a hurry? Here are over 50 quick recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.

  • 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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A man in West Germany recorded a catchy song he heard on the radio. It has become one of the internet's greatest mysteries in the 40 years since.

Looking Ahead …

WrestleMania 40 is tomorrow and Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will have his first formal match in over a decade. Yes, we know it isn't real.

Question of the Day — Friday Trivia Edition

Who did Conan O'Brien perform with at the end of his final Tonight Show as host?

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