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DOJ Touts 'Historic' Crime Stats

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Tuesday. River surfing has emerged as the next big outdoor recreation trend in the Midwest, with whitewater parks popping up throughout the heartland. Have a great day!

In Today’s Brief

  • Flooding: Economic threat

  • Gaza: Ceasefire gets UN nod

  • Trump: New campaign pledge

  • Federal Reserve: Congressional push

  • Dan Hurley: Turns down Lakers

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Downward trend

The U.S. has experienced a "historic" decline in violent crime to start 2024, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

  • The news: FBI data released yesterday said violent crime was down 15% YoY in Q1 (January through March). Murders and rapes were down 26% YoY; robberies were down 18%, property crimes 15% and aggravated assaults fell 13%. 

  • The reactions: "This continued historic decline in homicides does not represent abstract statistics. It represents people whose lives were saved," Garland said in a release. The White House credited President Joe Biden's efforts to back community policing, mental and social services and other measures.

  • Big picture: Crime is always a critical election issue, and Biden can attempt to run on these figures as he vies for re-election against former President Donald Trump, who has made law and order a central theme of his campaign despite his recent felony conviction. Polls have found voters' perception of crime does not mesh with government figures, though.

2) Northern exposure

The fallout over a bombshell report on foreign meddling in Canada is only growing.

  • Catch up: The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians released a heavily redacted report last week alleging some Canadian lawmakers were "witting or semi-witting" participants in foreign election interference. The report concluded some lawmakers worked with foreign actors to mobilize voters, took cash payments and shared privileged information. China and India were identified as the top-2 interference threats in that order.

  • State of play: Canada's federal government has pledged to support calls for a public inquiry that digs deeper into the report's claims; there is also a separate, ongoing probe into foreign meddling in Canada's 2019 and 2021 general elections. But Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc expressed doubt names of the lawmakers in question would ever be made public. There is also skepticism about whether criminal charges would be possible under Canadian law.

  • Big picture: The words "treason" has been thrown around Ottawa as lawmakers call the unnamed colleagues "traitors."Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre has demanded the names be made public as the scandal becomes a significant political liability for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party. Canada must hold a general election by next fall.

3) Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.: 1928-2024

A leading civil rights activist has died at 95.

  • The news: Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. died Sunday at his Los Angeles home, according to his family. He was the longtime former pastor at the city's Holman United Methodist Church and best known for teaching nonviolent resistance and training leaders in the civil rights movement. The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called him "the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world."

  • His story: Lawson grew up in Ohio and served two years in prison for refusing to serve in the U.S. Military after being drafted. He studied nonviolent resistance while working as a missionary in India before returning home. He was introduced to King in the late 1950s and then moved to Nashville, where he mentored civil rights leaders including late Georgia Rep. John Lewis and played a role in many seminal moments in the struggle for equal rights.

  • Later in life: Lawson moved to California in the 1970s and led his congregation; he was also active in the labor movement, fought for LGBTQ and reproductive rights, worked as a university professor and hosted a radio show. Lawson was portrayed in the film The Butler.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Extreme flooding could cost the U.S. economy over 1% of 2023 GDP, according to a new congressional report. The Senate Joint Economic Committee estimates damages could be as high as $500B in 2023 dollars due to climate change-caused issues and insurance companies exiting high-risk states (More)

  • The Biden Administration is considering an immigration plan for the undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens. The proposal would protect the immigrants from deportation and give them access to work permits (More)

  • Four instructors from Iowa’s Cornell College were stabbed in China while visiting a partner university. The staffers were attacked at a public park in Jilin City; their conditions were not immediately known (More

World News

  • President Biden's Gaza ceasefire proposal received United Nations Security Council approval. Hamas has not yet responded to the plan while Israel has signaled it will accept it despite concerns (More)

  • Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala accused Russia of an attempted arson attack on Prague's public transportation system. A man from Latin America tried to set buses on fire last week; Fiala said the plot was likely financed and organized by the Kremlin (More)

  • A plane carrying Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima went missing, sparking a search. Officials said the flight "went off radar" amid bad weather; former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri and eight others were on board (More)

Campaign News

  • Former President Trump said he will end taxation on service workers' tips if re-elected. The claim was madeat a campaign rally in Nevada; the IRS currently taxes tips at the same rate as regular income (More)

  • Hunter Biden's federal gun possession trial is in the jury's hands. Jurors will resume deliberations this morning in Delaware; President Biden's son is accused of illegally buying a firearm while addicted to drugs (More)

  • Biden's approval rating has hit a new low. FiveThirtyEight's composite tracker has him at just under 38% approval against just under 57% disapproval; Trump was just under 41% at this point in 2020 (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed up yesterday. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed at new records (Dow +0.18%, Nasdaq +0.35%, S&P 500 +0.26%).

  • Three Democratic Senators are urging the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this week. The central bank will meet starting today; Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper, Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to Chairman Jerome Powell (More

  • Elliott Management is attempting to upend Southwest Airlines' leadership. The activist hedge fund is seeking to oust CEO Bob Jordan and Chairman Gary Kelly after amassing a $2B stake in the struggling company (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • UConn men's basketball coach Dan Hurley is staying put. He turned down a six-year, $70M deal to be the new coach for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers; Hurley has led the Huskies to back-to-back national championships (More)

  • Mel Brooks was honored with the Peabody Awards' Career Achievement Award. The famed entertainer is the fourth person to win Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Academy and Tony Awards in their career (More)

  • Three people in Spain received eight-month prison sentences after insulting a professional soccer player with racist language. The incident occurred at a Real Madrid-Valencia match last year; the fans must cover all court costs and cannot enter soccer stadiums for two years (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: After a man's truck went over an embankment in Oregon, the driver's four dogs sprinted four miles back to his camp to get help. That heads-up allowed for the driver and his other dogs to be rescued.

  • Go Deep: Plastics have become an ingrained part of our everyday life. The result? The world produces 230x more plastic today than in 1950, leading to many issues.

  • Take Note: Phishing scammers seemingly lurk in every corner of the internet. They tend to impersonate these brands and companies the most as they try to lure users in.

  • Chow Down: Make your freezer work for you. These recipes allow you to have great meals ready and on ice when you do not have time to cook.

  • Life Hack: The secret to making good decisions may be to have as little information as possible. A recent study found that decision-making skills diminish when more facts enter the equation.

  • 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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Keeping the screwworm at bay in South America requires heavy measures.

Looking Ahead …

Vox predicted 10 things that could happen in the next 10 years. Many of them are positive developments. And then there is the 20% chance a nuclear bomb gets detonated.

Question of the Day

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What is your favorite Dick Van Dyke film/TV role?

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