Your Daily Brief

November 9th, 2023

Good morning, and happy Thursday! Taylor Swift will return to the stage tonight for the first time in nearly three months when her Eras Tour resumes in Argentina. Swift is starting a nine-show, three-week South America run; she will head to Brazil to perform in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo later this month. Many diehard fans are convinced Swift will also announce release plans for the re-recorded Reputation album in the next few days. We will find out!

In Today’s Brief

  • Pandas: Return home to China
  • GOP Debate: Candidates spar
  • Hollywood: Actors strike ends
  • Walmart: Sensory-friendly hours
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Top Tips

Ukraine gets EU endorsement

Ukraine’s bid to enter the European Union received a significant lift yesterday when the European Commission recommended the start of accession talks in its annual enlargement report.

The EU said Ukraine still must complete reforms before it becomes a member. Accession talks typically do not start before a candidate fulfills all requirements, but Ukraine’s process has been expedited amid its war with Russia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it has already met 90% of the bloc’s benchmarks. Ukraine-EU talks could open at December’s European Council summit in Brussels if all 27 EU members unanimously agree.

EU leaders also recommended Moldova begin accession talks; Bosnia and Herzegovina was told it must complete more reforms before accession consideration and Georgia was granted EU candidate status, which is the step before accession talks. Von der Leyen said no fixed date for membership could be given, but officials believe Moldova and Ukraine could be fully qualified by next March.

House subpoenas Hunter Biden

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and brother James were subpoenaed by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee yesterday as House Republicans proceed with an impeachment inquiry into Biden family members’ foreign business deals.

Both men and former business associate Rob Walker must be deposed by next month. Lawmakers also requested James Biden’s wife, Sara, and Hallie Biden – the widow of President Biden’s late son Beau – sit for voluntary interviews. Hunter Biden and Hallie Biden were romantically involved after Beau Biden’s death. Business associate Tony Bobulinski was also asked to testify voluntarily.

The impeachment probe has accelerated since Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson was elected Speaker of the House; Johnson has suggested a decision on whether to draft articles of impeachment could happen soon. The White House, Democrats and Biden family attorneys have said the investigation is politically motivated. But Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, said his client is eager to testify in a public forum.

Election Day wrap-up

Virginia Democrats regained the majority in the state’s house of representatives and held control of the state senate Tuesday. The commonwealth’s races were considered a potential bellwether for 2024’s presidential and Congressional contests; Gov. Glenn Youngkin is a Republican and both parties spent significant money financing campaigns.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves was elected to a second term after defeating challenger Brandon Presley, the second cousin of Elvis Presley. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was also reelected to a second term. Jeff Landry was elected Louisiana’s new governor in October, replacing term-limited incumbent John Bel Edwards.

Voters continued a national trend supporting reproductive rights. Ohio passed a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights in the state while a Pennsylvania Supreme Court judge was elected after pledging to uphold those rights. The Virginia legislature results will prevent Youngkin from signing proposed legislation for a 15-week abortion ban into law.

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Quick Tips

Around the Globe

  • Three pandas left the National Zoo in Washington to return to China; the end of the 23-year loan leaves only four pandas in the country, all at Zoo Atlanta (More)
  • Australia’s second-largest network provider suffered a complete outage yesterday; Rail services were delayed and millions lost cell phone and internet access for over 12 hours (More)
  • Negotiations to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza have seen little progress despite mediation by the U.S. and Qatar; Israel will not agree to any ceasefire unless a substantial group of captives is released (More)

On the Homefront

  • Foreign policy issues dominated the third Republican presidential debate; candidates butted heads on Ukraine aid and China (More)
  • A 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit a remote part of West Texas early yesterday morning; it was the fourth-largest in state history but no damage or injuries were reported (More)
  • Ten alleged members of the Gambino crime family were indicted on federal racketeering charges; Italian police also made arrests in connection to case, which involved New York’s demolition industry (More)

Glitz & Games

  • SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative deal with Hollywood studios, ending the actors strike after nearly four months; pact will be approved Friday (More)
  • The Met Gala announced its 2024 theme will be Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion; the event famous for celebrities in grandiose outfits is May 6 in New York (More)
  • NCAA and independent reviews determined there were significant officiating errors in the 2023 women’s basketball national title game; LSU’s victory over Iowa featured several controversial calls (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes saw mixed results yesterday as the Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed higher to continue recent momentum, but the Dow closed lower (Dow -0.12%, Nasdaq +0.08%, S&P 500 +0.10%)
  • Walmart will dim in-store lights and take other measures in morning hours to make shopping easier for sensory-disabled customers; the approach builds on the time blocks set aside for the high-risk community during the pandemic (More)
  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers are pushing the Biden Administration to increase tariffs on vehicles made in China; the legislators also seek measures to prevent Chinese companies from importing to the U.S. through Mexico (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: Malcolm Stern wanted to make a model of his father’s old car, so he went online to find dimensions and photos – only to discover his dad’s yellow Talbot-Darracq was up for auction; Stern, now 94, bought it and recently took it for a spin after three years of repairs
  • Sneak Peek: Sony dropped the first trailer for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire yesterday; Paul Rudd returns to star in the second installment of the franchise’s reboot alongside original stars Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray
  • Top Dollar: A rare blue diamond sold for a whopping $43.8M at a Christie’s auction in Switzerland; the stone, which is 17.61 carats, sold for 25% more than its estimated value
  • Go Deep: Many schools are utilizing apps in an effort to combat cyberbullying, offer mental health support and prevent shootings, but experts have concerns about the efficacy and wisdom of the tools
  • Hot Goss: Patrick Dempsey was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2023; the 57-year-old Grey’s Anatomy star said he hopes to use the honor to raise awareness for his Dempsey Center, which supports cancer patients and their families
  • Food Hack: If you arrive at McDonald’s and discover they have stopped serving breakfast, that does not mean you have to go without a McGriddle – just hop in the car and drive to the nearest Trader Joe’s
  • Life Hack: Very few people enjoy raking fall leaves, so the fact there are benefits to leaving them alone is welcomed news; just read up to make sure your inattention does more good than harm


Pizza Hut is selling pies topped with snake meat in Hong Kong.

… and no one should dismiss this cake safety warning as a joke.

Cats may have more unique facial expressions than humans do.

This troubled European city has evolved into a vibrant success.

… while a replica Wild West town is on the market in Colorado.

Israel’s men’s soccer team will play Euro qualifiers in Hungary.

Perdue is selling a human version of what it feeds its chickens.

A Pennsylvania school has 17 sets of twins in its kindergarten.

Looking Back…

On November 9th: Germans overrun checkpoints and begin dismantling the Berlin Wall (1989); the United Kingdom ends capital punishment (1998); internet web browser Firefox is launched (2004); astronomer Carl Sagan is born (1934).

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Question of the Day

Did you ever visit the National Zoo pandas?



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