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Biden Speaks On Campus Protests

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Friday. Did you know that nachos were invented by a guy whose last name was Nachos? It's true! Have a great weekend!

In Today’s Brief

  • Connecticut: I-95 closed

  • Indonesia: Wildlife breakthrough

  • Trump: VP scuttlebutt

  • Peloton: Layoffs as CEO exits

  • Tiger Woods: U.S. Open exemption

... and more

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Top Tips

1) 'Order must prevail'

President Joe Biden took his strongest stance yet on the pro-Palestinian protests that have rocked college campuses nationwide.

  • The comments: Biden said, "there’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos," during a White House address. The president said he does not want to deploy the National Guard to break up encampments and end unrest; he also made it clear his support for Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza will not change.

  • The reaction: Biden was and remains under heavy criticism from Republicans for not speaking out on the protests. Former President Donald Trump, his anticipated GOP opponent this fall, has blamed Biden for the protests. Participating students also criticized the president's comments. At least 2K people have been arrested at various campus protests in the country.

  • Big picture: The protests -- and the Gaza war -- are a political challenge for Biden. His support for free speech coupled with a call for law and order is an attempt to thread a needle between appeasing Democratic voters whose support is key to his re-election while avoiding the alienation of moderate and independent voters.

2) Too close for comfort

U.S. and Russian troops are almost face to face ... in West Africa.

  • The news: Russian military personnel have entered an air base in Niger that currently hosts American troops. The Russians are operating out of a separate facility and the forces are not interacting. Reports indicate the Pentagon feels the situation is manageable in the short-term, but cannot be sustained.

  • Why this is happening: Niger's military took control of the country in a coup last year. The leaders have since sought to break ties with the U.S. and gravitate toward the Kremlin. The ruling officers recently ended a cooperation pact with the U.S. and demanded about 1K troops be withdrawn, a strategic setback.

  • Big picture: The situation reflects several trends in the region. African nations are moving away from Western ties as governments change and are overthrown. Russia is seeking to expand its influence on the continent. And the U.S. and Russia are often butting heads there as well.

3) Maritime law

The captain at the helm for a fatal boat disaster was sentenced yesterday.

  • What happened: Jerry Boylan will serve four years in federal prison for negligence. He was the captain of the Conception scuba boat, where 34 people died due to flames and smoke during a Labor Day weekend fire in 2019.

  • Look back: Thirty-three passengers and one crew member were trapped in a windowless bunk room when the boat caught fire before dawn off Santa Cruz Island. Boylan, a veteran captain, was charged with failing to appoint an overnight watch and enforce proper fire safety drills.

  • The sentence: Boylan could have gotten up to 10 years for seaman's manslaughter, but U.S. District Judge George Wu cited the captain's age, health, remorse and unlikelihood to re-offend with the lenient ruling. Wu also rejected prosecution claims that Boylan abandoned the ship. Family members of the victims criticized the sentence.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, is closed in both directions after a fuel truck crashed and burst into flames. The interstate may not reopen for days following the accident, jamming nearby local roads; an overpass will need to be demolished (More)

  • South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the FBI is investigating an attempted hack of his cell phone. Graham said he was targeted by a phishing scheme impersonating Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (More)

  • The body of a fifth victim in the Baltimore bridge collapse was recovered. A salvage team located a construction vehicle that plunged off the Francis Scott Key Bridge (More)

World News

  • Researchers in Indonesia observed a wild orangutan use a medicinal plant to treat a wound. The animal made a paste out of a plant used for pain relief in humans; it is a scientific first (More)

  • The U.S. conceded a 2023 drone strike in Syria killed a civilian. The operation targeted an al-Qaeda leader; the Pentagon said the laws of armed conflict were followed despite the misidentification (More)

  • At least 48 people died after a highway collapsed in southeastern China. The incident happened at night in a mountainous area after heavy rains with cars catching fire; the death toll will likely rise (More)

Campaign News

  • Former President Trump's campaign pushed back on a report he is down to four potential running mates. The reported names: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance (More)

  • California's 16th Congressional District will only have two general election candidates after a recount. There was initially a literal tie for second place in the jungle primary to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (More)

  • The United Kingdom held its local elections yesterday. Sadiq Khan was favored to win a record third term as London's mayor while the ruling Conservative Party was expected to struggle (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed higher yesterday. The Dow Jones was up over 300 points; the S&P 500 ended a two-day skid (Dow +0.85%, Nasdaq +1.51%, S&P 500 +0.91%).

  • Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy is stepping down as the struggling company lays off 15% of its workforce. About 400 positions will be eliminated; the company said it was the only path to bring costs in line with revenue (More)

  • Apollo Global Management and Sony made a joint $26B bid to buy Paramount Global. The deal would take the company private; Skydance Media has made a merger offer that would keep it public (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Tiger Woods accepted a special exemption for this year's U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Woods' event exemption as a three-time winner has expired; he last won the national championship in 2008 (More)

  • Universal Music Group settled its royalties dispute with TikTok. Songs by popular artists like Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande will return to the social media platform; Taylor Swift had already reached a separate deal (More)

  • Drew Barrymore will host the latest Hollywood Squares revival. The reboot will air in January on CBS; it has been 20 years since the Tom Bergeron-hosted syndicated program ended its run (More)

Quick Hitters

  • New Idea: Plastic is a significant environmental problem. But scientists have created a biodegradable version using bacteria spores that naturally breaks down and may even boost plants.

  • Be Safe: Over 16K pounds of ground beef has been recalled for potential E. coli contamination. The product was shipped to Walmart locations in 11 states and Washington D.C.

  • True Crime: Workers in Manhattan found a woman's body buried in concrete in 2003. Over 20 years later, police have finally determined her identity after piecing together clues and DNA.

  • Kitchen Hack: The primary purpose of sourdough starter is to make bread. But what else can you do with the excess starter discards? Here are some ideas.

  • Go Deep: One downside of wind farms is their danger to birds. But the industry is evolving, utilizing innovations to prevent crashes.

  • 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 U.S. Army has released another provocative and jarring recruitment video for its psychological warfare task force. Like the first one, it has plenty of people talking.

Looking Ahead …

The National Park Service gave Washington D.C. the go-ahead to demolish RFK Stadium. It is the latest step toward the NFL's Washington Commanders returning to the district, although more hurdles remain.

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Yesterday’s trivia results:

Lawn gnomes were invented in which country?

The answer is Germany.