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Biden's Mental Fitness Challenged Again

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Thursday. An unusual crime spree has hit southern California. Thieves have hit several Bricks and Minifigs stores, stealing over $100K worth of Legos over the last two months. Store owners believe each break-in is connected. Have a great day.

In Today’s Brief

  • Cucumbers: Salmonella outbreak origin

  • Lebanon: U.S. Embassy shooting

  • Veepstakes: Formal vetting begins

  • Canada: Interest rate cut

  • NBA Finals: Game 1 is tonight

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Not going away

President Joe Biden's fitness for office is once again being called into question

  • The news: A Wall Street Journal report yesterday said Biden's health and cognitive ability appear to have slipped in closed-door settings. It cites over 45 interviews over several months and accounts and anecdotes from Democrats and Republicans, including the president relying on note cards of information, being hard to understand at times and unsure of his administration's policies. “He’s not the same person," former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said of Biden, 81, comparing him to his time as Vice President.

  • The response: The White House pushed back on the story, accusing Republicans of making false claims for political purposes. Another former Speaker, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, called it a "hit piece" and said she and other Democrats who spoke favorably did not have their voices in the story. Some GOP lawmakers, including Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, said they were not concerned about Biden's fitness.

  • Big picture: Biden is the oldest man to hold the Oval Office and would be 86 at the end of his second term if re-elected. His age remains a major issue in the presidential race, and one his campaign is still struggling to combat given Biden's proclivity for gaffes and now multiple media longforms on the subject. The WSJ also addressed questions about former President Donald Trump's fitness at age 77; one of the reporters also conceded McCarthy -- the lone lawmaker quoted under attribution -- has said different things about Biden's capacities previously.

2) Longhorn stockhouse

Texas is serious about becoming one of America's main business hubs.

  • The news: Plans for a Dallas-based stock exchange that rivals the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were revealedyesterday. The TXSE Group will apply for Security and Exchange Commission certification later this year and hopes to launch in 2026; Wall Street firms BlackRock and Citadel are among the backing investors.

  • The angle: America has over 4K fewer publicly traded companies now than it did 30 years ago; that has been blamed on compliance costs on the established exchanges and other rules, like Nasdaq guidelines on governing board diversity. TXSE officials say their exchange will eliminate those hurdles and tap into Texas' business-friendly laws; they also pledged the exchange will be apolitical.

  • Big picture: Texas is tied with New York for the second-most Fortune 500 companies in the nation, and its efforts to rival Delaware's chancery court system moved into the spotlight with Elon Musk's Tesla pay package dispute. That, and TXSE's $120M seed, could help it get off the ground after past attempts at a third major exchange have failed.

3) Remembering Normandy

Today is the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

  • Main ceremony: President Biden and other world leaders will commemorate the landings to liberate Europe and eventually defeat Nazi Germany during World War II today in France. About 150 Americans who participated in the Battle of Normandy are expected to attend ceremonies this week; French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Prince William will also be in attendance.

  • The backdrop: This will likely be the final major anniversary that includes D-Day veterans, as most are almost 100. It also comes as Russia and Ukraine are in the third year of Europe's largest armed conflict since World War II. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will attend the commemoration and meet with Biden; Russia was not invited.

  • Some reading: Here is Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's order to Allied forces the night before the landings began. Other quick links: The story of the only woman to report on the ground; an army that didn't exist laid the foundation for the landings; D-Day no longer feels so remote; inside the filming of Saving Private Ryan; how French citizens honor fallen Americans every year.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Cucumbers are likely responsible for a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Over 50 people have been hospitalized with over 150 reported illnesses; the Food and Drug Administration is investigating a company in Florida that delivered produce to 14 states (More)

  • Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is finally making its first crewed mission. The capsule is en route to the International Space Station with two NASA astronauts after two previous attempts were halted (More)

  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul delayed a congestion pricing plan for Manhattan commuters in a surprise move. She cited cost-of-living challenges; new tolls were to take effect at the end of the month (More)

World News

  • Lebanon's army thwarted an attempted attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Police shot and arrested the gunman, who they said was a Syrian national and appeared to be wearing an ISIS insignia; five others were arrested and no American personnel were harmed (More)

  • A Russian-Ukrainian man was arrested after accidentally setting off a bomb in his Paris hotel room. Police believe he was involved in a terrorist plot after finding explosive material at the scene; the man suffered serious burns (More)

  • The European Union elections begin today. They will run through the weekend in the 27 member nations; polls show far-right and hard-right parties stand to win substantial gains (More)

Campaign News

  • Former President Donald Trump's campaign has begun formally vetting vice presidential candidates. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance are among those asked to provide information (More)

  • Democratic groups plan to spend millions to flip or hold state legislative chambers this cycle. The battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are targets in the effort (More)

  • House Republicans sent criminal referrals for Hunter and James Biden to the Department of Justice. GOP leaders allege the president's son and brother lied to Congress in testimony regarding the family's foreign business dealings (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed higher yesterday. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 hit record intraday highs (Dow +0.25%, Nasdaq+1.96%, S&P 500 +1.18%).

  • The Bank of Canada made a quarter-point overnight interest rate cut, becoming the first Group of Seven national central bank to ease policy this cycle. The European Central Bank is expected to cut rates today (More)

  • The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly preparing to sue the largest U.S. alcohol distributor. Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits is expected to be accused of paying kickbacks to large retailers and violations of a 1936 antitrust law (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • The NBA Finals begin tonight. The Boston Celtics will host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1; the Celtics are seeking the first title since 2008 while Dallas last won a championship in 2011 (More)

  • A former NASCAR driver from Pennsylvania allegedly assaulted police during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Tighe Scott, 75, finished sixth at the 1979 Daytona 500; his son and two other men were also charged (More)

  • The cast for Season 3 of The Traitors has been revealedVanderpump Rules villain Tom Sandoval and Selling Sunset's Chrishell Strause are among the big-name reality stars involved (More)

Quick Hitters

  • New Idea: What could you do with a third thumb? Quite a lot, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge following trials with a controllable, prosthetic extra digit.

  • Chow Down: Tacos are the perfect summertime food for lunch or dinner. So dig into these fun recipes.

  • True Crime: A woman lost her luggage while flying on Spirit Airlines. When it did not arrive at her house the next day, she checked her Apple Watch ... and discovered an airport worker had stolen it (and many other bags).

  • Go Deep: There has been a lot of talk about space in recent days. So where exactly does it begin?

  • Life Hack: Buying food in bulk can seem daunting. But once you get the hang of the practice, it is truly more affordable -- and better for the environment.

  • 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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Looking Ahead …

The Olympic Torch Relay begins its maritime leg tomorrow, crossing the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans to visit French territories ahead of the Summer Games in Paris. The ambitious travel begs the question: How do they keep the thing lit?

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