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Stunning Prison Ambush In France

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Wednesday. There are a lot of thought-provoking maps in the world, but this hypothetical one is up there: What if Europe did away with all national borders and reorganized itself based on renewable energy strategies? Have a great day.

In Today’s Brief

  • Florida: Tragic bus crash

  • Putin: Headed to China

  • Maryland: Alsobrooks wins primary

  • Nasdaq: Hits record close

  • WNBA: Expansion team named

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Prison break

An audacious and violent inmate escape has rocked France.

  • What happened: Gunmen ambushed a prison convoy yesterday near Rouen as a prisoner was being taken from his cell to court for an appearance. A black SUV appeared to have purposely crashed into a prison van before being engulfed in flames. Two guards were killed and three wounded after a pair of shooters opened fire to free the prisoner. Two of the wounded were said to be in critical condition.

  • Who fled: The prisoner who was broken out is reportedly Mohamed Amra, who was recently convicted of burglary and faces charges in a kidnapping that resulted in death. He is known as "The Fly" and is believed to have gang ties. What authorities believe was the escape car was found abandoned close to the scene.

  • Big picture: French President Emmanuel Macron said everything is being done to find the perpetrators. Hundreds of law enforcement officers were involved in the hunt. It was the first time French prison employees have been killed on the job in over 30 years.

2) Alarming numbers

Drowning deaths are on the rise in the U.S. after decades of declines.

  • The report: Over 4.5K people died of drowning every year from 2020-22, according to government data. It was a double-digit increase from 2019, with over 500 more people dying each year, according to CDC researchers.

  • The demographics: Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4; drowning rates are the highest in this age group. Overall drowning rates are the worst among Black, American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Drowning rates among Black people were almost or more than double the national average in 2020 and '21; Hispanic drowning rates were about double the national spike in 2022.

  • Big picture: About 40M adults nationwide do not know how to swim. Over half of adults have never taken a swimming lesson. The pandemic also led to shortages in swim classes and lifeguard availability, as well as other social barrier factors.

3) Road block

Canadian politicians want to take heavy measures to curb car theft.

  • The news: Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government is proposing long-term driver's license suspensions for people convicted of stealing cars with aggravating factors like financial gain and violence. First offenders would lose driving privileges for 10 years; a second offense would be qa 15-year ban and a third strike would be lifetime revocation.

  • Growing problem: Auto theft has become an epidemic north of the border, with even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau involved in the situation. Over 105K cars were stolen in Canada in 2022, a nearly 25% increase. Auto theft claims in Ontario province, which includes Toronto, exceeded $1B last year. And the pace of theft has not slowed down this year.

  • American woes, too: Car theft is also on the rise in Montreal, and it may have a trickle down impact on American car owners. Thieves have used AirTags and other tracking devices to try to steal cars after travelers return home to Vermont. Many stolen cars are also sent overseas through Montreal.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Eight people died when a bus carrying over 50 farmworkers crashed and overturned about 80 miles north of Orlando. Several dozen more workers were injured, including eight in critical condition (More)

  • At least three people have taken plea deals related to federal bribery charges against Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar. The longtime Democratic House member has denied he took payoffs to work on behalf of Azerbaijan and a Mexican bank (More)

  • Arizona's Supreme Court delayed the enforcement of a controversial abortion ban. State lawmakers repealed the law, but it won't take effect untii 90 days after the end of the legislative session (More)

World News

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a state visit to China tomorrow and meet with President Xi Jinping. Putin is scheduled to visit NATO member Turkey in the coming weeks (More)

  • Military GPS jamming has widely impacted cellular service in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Over 40M people have had unreliable signals in the last six months due to the wars in Gaza and Ukraine (More)

  • Fires have become a weapon of war in Sudan. Over 70 settlements and villages were destroyed by blazes connected to the African country's civil war last month according to a human rights group (More)

Campaign News

  • Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks won the hotly-contested Democratic nomination for Senate in Maryland. She will face popular former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election (More)

  • Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy made another call for Secret Service protection. Kennedy said an intruder recently entered his home and he has been targeted several times (More)

  • Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis does not plan to run for public office. A recent poll found Gov. Ron DeSantis' wife would be favored to win the Republican nomination to succeed him (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed higher yesterday despite wholesale prices rising 0.5% MoM in April. The Nasdaq had a record close (Dow +0.32%, Nasdaq +0.75%, S&P 500 +0.48%). 

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated interest rate cuts are not imminent. He conceded inflation is not falling as fast as the central bank anticipated; Wall Street does not expect any cuts before the fall (More)

  • Rumble is suing Google again. The publicly-traded YouTube alternative that is popular among conservatives alleges Alphabet has hampered its competitive ability and owes it $1B in damages (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • The WNBA's newest club will be named the Golden State Valkyries. The San Francisco-based expansion team will begin play in 2025; the franchise shares ownership with the NBA's Golden State Warriors (More)

  • "Judge Judy" Sheindlin is suing The National Enquirer and InTouch WeeklyShe alleges the publications defamed her by falsely reporting she tried to secure a retrial for Erik and Lyle Menendez, who were convicted of killing their parents in 1996 (More)

  • Nicolas Cage will plan Spiderman in a new Amazon Prime SeriesNoir will be based on the Marvel comic Spider-Man Noir, which reframes the superhero as a 1930s private investigator (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Be Safe: Cream cheese products sold at Aldi and Hy-Vee supermrkets have been recalled for possible salmonella contamination. Here is a rundown of the impacted products.

  • Go Deep: Convertibles used to be among the ultimate status symbols. But Americans have largely stopped buying the open air cars.

  • Thrilling Tale: What happens when a man walks into Australia's government intelligence headquarters and confesses to being a Chinese spy? He eventually tells his incredible story -- and warns about the world he once operated in.

  • War Games: They have been depicted and dreamed about for years. But the era of military laser weapons has finally arrived.

  • Life Hack: Cardio workouts are very good for you, but they can also be miserable to endure. Here are some tips to make them fly by.

  • 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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