Your Daily Brief

September 19th, 2023

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In Today’s Brief

  • China: Sends 103 warplanes to fly by Taiwan
  • Hunter Biden: Files lawsuit against the IRS
  • Katy Perry: Sells music rights to five albums
  • Instacart: Prepares to debut on the Nasdaq

...and more

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Top Tips

Iranian prisoners released

Five Americans imprisoned in Iran and two of their family members were released yesterday in a prisoner exchange the Biden administration negotiated with Tehran.

As part of the deal, $6B in frozen Iranian oil revenue was released by the Biden administration, and the five American-Iranian prisoners, who had been accused of being spies or working on behalf of the U.S. government, were freed. The revenue released to Iran represents money South Korea owed Iran for oil purchased before the U.S. imposed sanctions on such transactions in 2019. A plane carrying those released left Iran yesterday morning and stopped briefly in Qatar before departing for the U.S.

The exchange comes ahead of the convening of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly this week, where Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will speak. President Biden has also announced new sanctions targeting former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence for their involvement in the detentions.

Canada opens investigation into India

Canada expelled an Indian diplomat yesterday as it investigates allegations that India’s government may have had links to the killing of a Sikh-Canadian activist.

Prime Minister Trudeau said in Parliament that Canadian intelligence agencies have been looking into the allegations after Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was murdered on June 18th outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia. The Khalistan movement is banned in India, where officials see it as a national security threat. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly later said that the government had removed the head of India’s external intelligence agency in Canada over what Trudeau called "credible allegations.”

Indian Prime Minister Modi expressed “strong concerns” over Canada’s handling of the Punjabi independence movement among the overseas diaspora during a meeting with Trudeau at the G-20 summit, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs. Canada has a Sikh population of more than 770K people.

Missing F-35B fighter jet found

Debris from a Marine Corps F-35 stealth fighter jet that crashed in South Carolina after the pilot ejected and parachuted to safety was found yesterday, according to authorities.

Joint Base Charleston said personnel located the debris field in Williamsburg County, around two hours northeast of the base. Authorities had been searching for the jet since the pilot, whose name hasn’t been released, parachuted into a North Charleston neighborhood on Sunday. The Marine Corps previously asked for the public's help in locating the F-35B Lightning II jet, which is worth upwards of $80M. The mishap is currently under investigation and Marine Corps aviation operations have been suspended for two days following the fighter jet’s crash.

This is the third event documented as a “Class-A mishap” over the past six weeks, according to a Marine Corps announcement. Such incidents occur when damages reach $2.5M or more, a Department of Defense aircraft is destroyed, or someone dies or is permanently disabled.

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Quick Tips

Around the Globe

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his U.S. trip in California to talk with Elon Musk about technology and artificial intelligence; during the talk Netanyahu asked Musk, the owner of X, previously Twitter, to take steps to curb antisemitism on the platform (More)
  • Ukraine has filed lawsuits to the World Trade Organization against Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary over their bans on food imports from Kyiv; it said such restrictions were a violation of international obligations by Ukraine's EU neighbors (More)
  • China’s military sent 103 warplanes toward Taiwan in 24 hours in what the island’s defense ministry claims is a recent new high; China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has conducted increasingly large military drills in the air and waters around Taiwan in recent years (More)

On the Homefront

  • Hunter Biden sued the Internal Revenue Service yesterday, alleging the agency unlawfully disclosed his tax information; the two agents singled out in the lawsuit publicly came forward earlier this summer as whistleblowers in the DOJ's probe into Biden (More)
  • The Writers Guild of America will resume negotiations with Hollywood studios tomorrow as a shutdown of productions across the TV and movie industry continues; the announcement comes on the 139th day of the strike, which began on May 2nd (More)
  • Representative Jennifer Wexton of Virginia will not seek reelection after being diagnosed with Supra-nuclear Palsy, but will finish out her current term in Congress; Wexton was first elected to her northern Virginia congressional district in 2018 (More)

Glitz & Games

In partnership with Earth Conscious Life

  • Katy Perry has sold her music rights to Litmus Music for $225M, the Carlyle-backed company announced yesterday; the deal includes Perry’s stakes in master recordings and publishing rights for five of her albums released between 2008 and 2020 (More)
  • The Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes have restructured his agreement, giving him $210.6M between 2023 and 2026, the highest salary in NFL history over a four-season span (More)
  • Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore effort ‘Guts’ has become her second number-one album, starting with the equivalent of 302K albums sold in the United States and nearly 100M streams; this marks the fourth largest opening week for any album in 2023 (More)

From our partners: The Need to GROW – Our soil is losing quality, stripping our food of vital nutrients and leading to an increase in diseases and skyrocketing food prices. In these tough times, the world needs grounded hope more than ever…and The Need To GROW is a powerful film that offers just that. Click here to watch the film and discover how you can be part of the solution.

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market closed slightly higher, with the S&P 500 leading the gains (Dow +0.02%, Nasdaq +0.01%, S&P 500 +0.07%)
  • Instacart priced its IPO at $30 a share yesterday and will become the first notable venture-backed tech company to hit the U.S. public market since December 2021; the stock is set to debut on the Nasdaq today under ticker symbol “CART” (More)
  • Macy’s Inc. is to bring on over 38K seasonal employees as part of its holiday shopping season efforts; it marks a small decline from its plans for 2022’s holiday season, which aimed to have 41K seasonal workers (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: Researchers at UC Davis Health recently published a study whose findings show that volunteering later in life can protect your brain and help with cognitive function - if you’re interested in volunteering, here are seven ways you can get involved with your community
  • Sneak Peek: Check out the creepy official trailer for No One Will Save You, an upcoming horror movie about an alien home invasion that looks like it’s sure to be another Halloween-time classic
  • Bump This: R&B newcomer Muni Long’s new single “Made for Me” sounds like it came straight out of the 90s to deliver you all the nostalgia you never knew you needed - listen on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube
  • Chow Down: If you’re craving a sweet treat but don’t want to fire up the oven, try this recipe for vanilla mug cake that takes just a few widely available ingredients (many of which you probably already have) and requires only a mug, fork, and a microwave
  • Go Deep: Mezcal has seen a booming rise in popularity during recent years, but this increased demand may pose a threat to mezcal workers’ ability to rely on their longstanding traditions - watch this Vice short film about mezcal makers in Oaxaca and how they fight to keep their old ways alive in today’s world 
  • Hot Goss: Ariana Grande is following in her boyfriend Ethan Slater's footsteps, officially filing for divorce from her husband of two years, Dalton Gomez; Grande’s lawyer, Laura Wasser, cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason
  • Life Hack: Staying consistent with your fitness routine means riding out both the positive and negative moods, as well as unsavory weather and other reasons to not work out - here are 10 workouts for every mood as well as some tips on pairing your exercise with your mood to help you stay consistent


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Oceanographic’s 2023 breathtaking photos of the ocean.

The unexpected impact of constantly seeing our own faces.

From storms to diseases, learn why we name scary things.

…and why more doctors are turning to music for healing.

Looking Back…

On September 19th: George Washington publishes his Farewell Address, imploring the U.S. to maintain neutrality and avoid entangling alliances with Europe (1796); the medical drama ER debuts on NBC (1994); New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera registers his record-setting 602nd career save (2011); novelist William Golding is born (1911).

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Question of the Day

Does China’s ongoing military activity in Taiwan worry you?



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