Your Daily Brief

June 29th, 2022

Good morning, and happy Wednesday! Today is National Camera Day, and as we focus our lens on all that went down yesterday, here’s what we have for you:

Today’s Highlights

  • Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison
  • Companies place purchase limits on emergency contraception pills like Plan B as demand surges
  • Turkey backs Finland and Sweden to join NATO
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Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison

A federal judge in New York sentenced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking underage girls.

In December, a jury found Maxwell guilty of luring and grooming girls for sexual abuse at the hands of her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, and for sometimes partaking in the abuse herself. During the trial, several of the girls–now adults–testified against Maxwell and recounted their experiences with her and Epstein, providing details of the abuse they underwent.

While the U.S. Probation Department recommended a 20-year sentence for Maxwell, federal prosecutors asked for a sentence between 30-55 years, citing Maxwell's refusal to take responsibility by claiming that Epstein had been the one orchestrating the scheme and that meeting him was her “​​greatest regret ever.”

While delivering the sentence, US Circuit Judge Alison Nathan said that the damage Maxwell caused “to these young girls was incalculable.” Judge Nathan also sentenced Maxwell to five years of supervised release after her 20-year prison term and ordered her to pay a fine of $750,000.

Companies place purchase limits on emergency contraception pills like Plan B as demand surges

Demand for emergency contraception pills like Plan B spiked following the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, and retailers began limiting purchases to ensure supply.

CVS, Walmart, and Rite Aid were among the retailers limiting purchases of the pills. At CVS and Rite Aid, customers were limited to a purchase of three pills, while Walmart began limiting orders to 10 per customer. Walgreens, on the other hand, has not put a purchase limit on emergency contraception pills.

Amazon also placed limits on Plan B pills to three purchases per week, though yesterday, the website showed an option to purchase MyChoice–another emergency birth control brand–in bundles of up to 30 units at a time.

While CVS put the purchase limit in place over the weekend, yesterday evening the company said that “​​sales have since returned to normal” and that it is “in the process of removing the purchase limits,” which will be reflected in-person and online by end-of-day today.

Turkey backs Finland and Sweden to join NATO

The North American Treaty Organization (NATO) is on a path to admitting Finland and Sweden after the two countries reached an agreement with Turkey.

When both Nordic countries applied to join NATO a month ago, all members of the 30-country group endorsed their membership except for Turkey. Since NATO makes all of its decisions by consensus–meaning no country can join without unanimous approval–Turkey’s position created an impasse for Finland and Sweden to be admitted into the alliance.

After an hours-long meeting, Turkish, Finnish, and Swedish leaders signed a memorandum in which both Sweden and Finland pledged to work with Turkey to resolve issues, including providing a written commitment to not support groups like Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists. Following the commitment, Turkey assented to the two countries’ applications.

In a press conference after the signing, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that “Allied leaders will make a decision to invite Finland and Sweden to join NATO” on Wednesday, and that “following this Summit, Finland and Sweden will become invitees.”

Around the Globe

  • A 101-year-old man received a sentence of 5 years in prison for aiding and abetting the murder of thousands of prisoners while serving at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Nazi Germany during World War II
  • Israel loosened abortion regulations in the country in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to the country’s health minister Nitzan Horowitz
  • Airbnb codifies the company’s temporary ban on house parties in its global listings to become permanent

On the Homefront

  • Death toll rises to 51 migrants that were found abandoned in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio on Monday; it is the deadliest human smuggling case in modern US history, according to federal law enforcement officials
  • An independent panel of FDA advisers voted to recommend new Covid-19 shots that target the Omicron variant ahead of a potential surge in infections this fall
  • A former aide to President Trump testified that the former President wanted to be driven to the Capitol following his speech on January 6th, 2021, and tried to grab the steering wheel from a Secret Service agent

Glitz and Games

  • Harmony Tan beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon; Tan is the 115th-ranked player in the world, and Williams has won Wimbledon a total of seven times
  • Disney extends CEO Bob Chapek’s contract for another three years, per a company announcement
  • Director Woody Allen told Alec Baldwin that he would likely “make one more movie,” but that “a lot of the thrill is gone” due to the shortened amount of time that films stay in theaters before hitting streaming services

Money Moves

  • Major indexes in the stock market fell further to extend yesterday’s losses (Dow -1.56%, Nasdaq -2.98%, S&P 500 -2.01%)
  • Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann is stepping down as CEO but will remain on the board as executive chairman; he will be replaced by Bill Ready, current head of Commerce, Payments & Next Billion Users at Google
  • Tesla shuttered a California facility and laid off hundreds of workers yesterday on its Autopilot team

Tip & Tricks

  • Binge Watch: The Sanderson sisters are back in the new teaser trailer for Hocus Pocus 2, courtesy of Disney+
  • Chow Down: Check out five different ways to eat berries this summer, such as Blueberry Blondies and Strawberry Lemonade Cake
  • Stress Out: Per a Gallup poll, more people reported experiencing stress and worry last year than ever before
  • Go Deep: Two women were arrested at an airport in Bangkok after officials found 109 live animals in their luggage, including two white porcupines, two armadillos, 35 turtles, 50 lizards, and 20 snakes
  • Say What: “I just want to go sit at the beach and do nothing,” Jupiter CEO Andrew Formica said as he announced his resignation from the $68 billion investment firm (same, Andrew…same)
  • Hot Goss: Travis Barker was taken to the hospital yesterday on a stretcher for unknown reasons
  • Life Hack: Doritos work well for kindling a fire if you can’t find any wood–although we’re not sure if that will make you want to eat Doritos ever again

Question of the day

Which is better to watch, football or basketball? Tell us what you think here:

Looking Back…

On June 29th, 2009, American hedge-fund investment manager Bernie Madoff received a sentence of up to 150 years in prison for operating the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

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