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USADA Leader: China Could Cause Olympics 'Train Wreck'

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Tuesday. Here is more proof you can find anything on the internet: An Instagram page dedicated to reviewing sticks found in nature has over 325K followers. Have a great day!

In Today’s Brief

  • Ohio: Bathroom money mystery

  • Gaza: Rafah offensive begins

  • Bernie Sanders: Will seek re-election

  • U.S. Steel: EU clears proposed deal

  • Eurovision: Song contest begins

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Olympic flaming

The top U.S. anti-doping official said China's cheating could derail the Paris Games later this summer.

  • The news: U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart alleges the World Anti-Doping Agency turned a blind eye to performance-enhancing drug violations by Chinese athletes before the Tokyo Games in 2021. Tygart said the Chinese "cover-up" and lack of WADA action has set the stage for a potential "train wreck" later this year. 

  • Catching up: Over 20 Chinese swimmers failed drug tests before the last Summer Olympics. But they were still allowed to compete after WADA accepted an explanation from Beijing that claimed a contaminated hotel kitchen caused the positive tests. Some of the swimmers went on to win medals, including gold in a relay race where the U.S. took silver.

  • Big picture: Recent games have been marred by Russian doping scandals before the Kremlin was booted from this year's event for its invasion of Ukraine. Tygart's comments seemed purposefully timed, as Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently on a state visit to France. The U.S. beat China, 112-89, in medal count at the Tokyo Games.

2) Two strikes

Judge Juan Merchan warned former President Donald Trump he will put him behind bars if necessary.

  • What happened: Merchan fined Trump $1K and held him in contempt for violating the gag order in his hush money trial. It was Trump's 10th gag order violation; he has been fined $10K in total -- the maximum under state law.

  • The warning: Merchan told Trump that "the last thing I want to do is to put you in jail." But he also made it clear he would incarcerate Trump if he continued to violate the gag order. Trump told reporters he was willing to go to jail, arguing the order against disparaging witnesses and the jury violates his First Amendment rights.

  • Big picture: Legal analysts say it remains unlikely Trump is incarcerated for contempt. The prosecution is not seeking jail at this point and he has not been accused of violating the gag order in recent days -- Monday's ruling was from a previous incident. Such a ruling by Merchan would also create an unprecedented logistical challenge for the Secret Service.

3) International incident

An American soldier has been taken into custody in Russia.

  • What happened: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gordon Black was arrested in Vladivostok last Thursday and charged with theft. He is accused of stealing from a woman; Black's mother told CBS he was visiting his girlfriend in the country.

  • Missing details: It is unclear how Black got into Russia, but the Army said it was of his own volition and his travel was not approved. The Pentagon said he was stationed in South Korea and was changing duty stations to Fort Cavazos in Texas. Vladivostok is close to the Russia-North Korea border.

  • Big picture: Black becomes the latest high-profile American in Russian custody; Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan are also being held. Efforts to arrange a prisoner swap for the latter two men have failed so far.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Over $30K in cash was discovered in a pair of public bathrooms in an Ohio town with no immediate explanation. Maryville Police said workers at a theater and fast food restaurant found the money, which appeared to be purposefully hidden (More)

  • Columbia University canceled its main commencement ceremony after weeks of pro-Palestinian protests on campus. The Ivy League school will still hold smaller graduation events (More)

  • The first manned flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft was scrubbed. There was an oxygen valve issue on the rocket; the mission was supposed to bring two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (More)

World News

  • Israeli forces entered the Gaza city of Rafah amid efforts to salvage a ceasefire and hostage release deal with Hamas. Many international leaders have expressed concern the operation will lead to mass civilian casualties and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis (More)

  • John Swinney is Scotland's new First Minister. The ruling, pro-independence Scottish National Party appointed him without a leadership vote; Humza Yousaf announced his resignation last week (More

  • Almost 20% of global food product was wasted in 2022, according to a United Nations report. About a third of the world's population faces hunger; 60% of the food waste was in households (More)

Campaign News

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will seek re-election this fall. The two-time Democratic presidential candidate is the second-oldest member of the chamber at 82 (More

  • Noncitizen turnout is low in cities that permit all residents to vote in local elections, according to an NPR review. Advocates say political debates over federal election fraud likely depress participation rates (More)

  • A pro-Robert F. Kennedy Jr. super PAC is suing Meta. American Values 2024 claims a video about the independent presidential candidate was purposely blocked on Facebook and Instagram; the social media company blames a spam filter for the temporary blackout (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed higher yesterday. The Dow Jones had its fourth straight winning day (Dow +0.46%, Nasdaq +1.19%, S&P 500 +1.03%).

  • The European Union cleared Nippon Steel's $15B plan to buy U.S. Steel. The Japanese takeover of the iconic company continues to struggle against political and regulatory challenges in the U.S. (More)

  • Heineken plans to reopen over 60 closed pubs in the United Kingdom. The brewing giant will invest about $49M in the project and create about 1K new jobs (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • The Eurovision Song Contest begins today in Malmo, Sweden. All 37 participating nations in the European Broadcasting Union will perform an original song in the competition; the event runs four days (More)

  • Snoop Dogg now has his own college football bowl game. The Arizona Bowl will carry the rapper's name and be sponsored by an alcohol brand he owns with Dr. Dre (More)

  • Cannes Film Festival workers threatened to strike a week before the annual event begins. About 100 people would participate in the work stoppage; it would not halt the festival but could cause operational disruptions (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: A man slept outside a new Popeye's in England to ensure he was first in line when it opened to win free sandwiches for a year. He plans to donate most of them to people who need them.

  • Be Safe: Schnucks has recalled three types of spread for potential salmonella contamination. The chain's Whip Cream Spread, Strawberry Spread and Cream Cheese Spread are impacted.

  • Go Deep: Vintage motels are being reimagined all across the U.S. The revamps incorporate timeless convenience and modern amenities.

  • Take Note: It's "Smokey Bear," not "Smokey the Bear." But you likely thought it was the former thanks to the phenomenon of collective false memory.

  • Life Hack: Give yourself one thing to look forward to on a daily basis. It doesn't have to be big, but it can still have a sizable impact on you.

  • 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 …

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez's federal corruption trial is on track to begin next Monday with jury selection. Menendez has said he will seek re-election as an independent if acquitted -- a curveball that could make one of the safest Democrat seats in the chamber a competitive race.

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