Your Daily Brief

September 20th, 2023

Good morning, and happy Wednesday! It is never a bad time to start planning for your next trip. When you do, keep in mind the recently added World Heritage Sites for 2023, which were just announced by the UN’s culture body. The sites include ancient Roman temples in France, an island off the coast of Tunisia, and an archaeological site in Cambodia. Take a look at the list and let us know which location you would most like to visit!

In Today’s Brief

  • Libya: Protests break out in Derna
  • Hunter Biden: To plead not guilty
  • Blink-182: Announces new album
  • IRS: Updates its audit practices

...and more

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Azerbaijan launches military action

Azerbaijan launched military action in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region yesterday, warning that its operation would not stop until Armenian forces surrendered.

In an announcement, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said it launched an “anti-terrorist operation” in the disputed region hours after four soldiers and two civilians were killed by landmines that it claimed were planted by Armenian saboteurs. At least five people lost their lives and 80 people were injured amid artillery, missile, and drone strikes by the Azerbaijan military, according to Armenian state news. Karabakh authorities said they have asked for immediate talks with Azerbaijan, while Armenia’s foreign ministry has rejected claims that the Armenian army was in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Karabakh is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, but part of it is run by breakaway ethnic Armenian authorities who say the area is their ancestral homeland. It has been at the center of two wars, the latest in 2020, since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

UN General Assembly kicks off

The first day of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting started yesterday, bringing in speakers from around the world to discuss the world’s most pressing challenges.

The General Debate, which kicks off the UNGA, brought together more than 140 leaders and state representatives to address the 78th session in a series of public speeches. 37 speeches were made, including opening speeches from the secretary-general and General Assembly president. The war in Ukraine figured prominently during the day, with several world leaders pledging continued support for Kyiv, including President Biden. The UNGA also approved a resolution calling for Russia to "immediately, completely and unconditionally" withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

This year’s General Debate is being held under the theme, “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity.” The UNGA approves the UN’s annual budget and one of its six main committees directly oversees the funding of peacekeeping missions around the world.

FTX sues SBF’s parents

FTX is suing the parents of Sam Bankman-Fried, alleging they “fraudulently transferred and misappropriated” funds from the crypto company their son founded.

Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, whom the lawsuit says held senior advisory roles in the company, are alleged to have taken funds out of the FTX Group for their own personal benefit from donations and other gifts. FTX’s lawsuit, which was filed on Monday in Delaware, alleges that Bankman and Fried accepted a $10M gift and a $16.4M property in the Bahamas from the crypto company. The couple, who are both Stanford law professors, deny the allegations.

FTX entered bankruptcy in November when the global exchange ran out of money after the equivalent of a bank run. Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy, campaign finance law violations, and money laundering. The former FTX CEO is currently in jail after having his bail revoked last month.

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Around the Globe

  • Protests have erupted in the eastern Libyan city of Derna with marchers demanding the removal of those in power, one week after torrential rain caused two dams to collapse, leaving almost 4K people dead (More)
  • A Moscow court declined to consider an appeal by U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich against his pre-trial detention, nearly six months after his arrest on charges of espionage which he denies (More)
  • A senior Canadian diplomat has been ordered to leave India within five days, according to the Indian foreign ministry; on Monday, Ottawa expelled an Indian diplomat in an escalating rift over the killing of a Sikh separatist earlier this year (More)

On the Homefront

  • Hunter Biden will plead not guilty to three firearm charges laid out in his indictment last week, according to a court filing from his lawyers; Biden's attorney also requested in the filing that the first court hearing of the case be held remotely (More)
  • The national debt of the U.S. has surpassed $33T for the first time, less than two weeks before the federal government faces a potential shutdown over a lack of funding authorization (More)
  • Pennsylvania is rolling out automatic voter registration, according to an announcement from Governor Josh Shapiro, becoming the 24th state to make voter registration an automatic part of getting a driver's license or identification (More)

Glitz & Games

In partnership with Annmarie

  • Blink-182 will release its new album ‘One More Time…’ on October 20th via Columbia Records; this is the first album with the band’s original lineup in 12 years, featuring bassist-singer Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker, and guitarist-singer Tom DeLonge (More)
  • Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani had elbow surgery yesterday with his doctor saying he expects the two-way athlete will be available as a hitter on opening day next season and will return to the mound as a pitcher in 2025 (More)
  • Max is launching a premium sports tier on October 5th, two days before the Major League Baseball playoffs; the new tier will be called the Bleacher Report Sports Add-On and will cost $10 per month on top of the subscription for Max (More)

From our partners: Refresh your skincare routine – Annmarie's Clean Skincare bundle includes four of their best-selling products that work together to cleanse, nourish, and protect your skin, giving you a radiant and glowing complexion. Get the Annmarie Gianni Clean Bundle for under $20 and enjoy a bonus of their popular Antioxidant Lip Balm!

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market closed slightly lower, with the Dow leading the losses (Dow -0.31%, Nasdaq - 0.23%, S&P 500 -0.22%)
  • The IRS is shifting how it examines tax returns of lower earners as part of its broader effort to address inequity in enforcement; starting in fiscal year 2024, the agency will reduce the number of correspondence audits, which happen by mail, for certain tax credits (More)
  • Pro football leagues XFL & USFL are in advanced talks to merge, according to multiple sources; the leagues reportedly hope to combine before the 2024 seasons, which would require regulatory approval (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: In the late 1990s, two ecologists approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an idea to have them dump 12k tons of orange peels into a national park - see the incredible photos of what the park looks like now and learn how the move contributed to an unprecedented rise in biodiversity
  • Sneak Peek: Watch the late Lance Reddick make an appearance as Zeus in the epic teaser trailer for Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the upcoming series on Disney+ based on the bestselling book series by Rick Riordan 
  • Bump This: Alt-rock all-female quartet The Beaches serve up hauntingly beautiful melodies over garage-rock production in their song “Shower Beer” - listen on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube 
  • Chow Down: You may not think to combine turmeric and eggs for a healthy breakfast, but this delicious recipe for 15-minute turmeric fried eggs not only contains high amounts of protein but also vitamins B12 and B2 for brain support, increased metabolism, and energy production
  • Go Deep: Dive into some teachers’ accounts of how the classroom has changed over the last 20 years due to technology like smartphones…and how social media has become one of the leading causes of burnout among U.S. teachers in recent years
  • Hot Goss: Kevin Costner and his estranged wife Christine have reportedly reached a settlement agreement four and a half months after the latter filed for divorce from the actor; the couple were married for 18 years and share three children together
  • Life Hack: A new study found that people who maintain a broad range of healthy habits including getting ample sleep to keeping strong social connections are significantly less likely to experience episodes of depression - here are seven daily habits that may halve your chances of developing clinical depression


See this map showing America’s best cities for gamers.

…and this year’s list of the 20 best franchises to open.

By their endowments, see the world’s richest universities.

YouTubers take a bike ride and bump into King Charles.

A Krispy Kreme donut van gets raided by hungry bears.

Meet Naba Banerjee, Airbnb’s official party pooper.

Tips on how to engage with conversational narcissists.

Watch pro wrestlers grapple on a Japanese bullet train.

Looking Back…

On September 20th: Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match (1973); Cal Ripken, Jr., ends his streak of 2,632 consecutive games played in the MLB (1998); Hurricane Maria strikes Puerto Rico, causing more than $90B in damages and nearly 3K deaths (2017); writer George R.R. Martin is born (1948).

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Question of the Day

Which World Heritage Site would you prefer to visit?

Machu Picchu

Taj Mahal

Yesterday's Results

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

Yes (85%)

No (15%)

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