Your Daily Brief

August 30th, 2022

Good morning, and welcome to your Tuesday! Did you know that studies show sarcasm to be a catalyst for creativity and a sign of a healthy brain? That’s good news for us, and we can’t wait to tell our middle school teachers…but before you go flexing your dry wit muscle for the day, here’s what we have for you:

In Today’s Brief

  • Brazil: Indigenous Man of the Hole passes away
  • Covid-19: White House to stop sending free testing kits due to lack of funding
  • Taylor Swift: Announces new album Midnights due October 21
  • Honda: Partnering with LG to build a $4.4B electric-vehicle battery plant
  • Daniel Radcliffe: Debuts look as Weird Al Yankovic in new Roku trailer
  • Top Tips: NASA’s Artemis 1 test flight postponed; Muqtada al-Sadr’s resignation announcement prompts protests in Baghdad; man who was paralyzed from the neck down following a foot chase in Atlanta awarded $100M by a federal jury

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NASA postpones launch of Artemis 1 test flight due to engine issues

NASA postponed the launch of its Artemis 1 test flight–a mission to send an unmanned Orion capsule on a 42-day journey beyond the moon and back–due to a cooling issue in one of the rocket’s engines.

According to NASA, one of the four SLS core-stage engines failed to reach the proper temperature for launch, prompting the launch director to abort the liftoff planned for yesterday morning. Regarding the postponement, NASA Administrator Bill Wilson said, "We don't launch until it's right. I think it's illustrative that this is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system, and all those things have to work. You don't want to light the candle until it's ready to go.”

NASA’s intent behind the Artemis project–which is expected to cost $93B–is to eventually return humans to the surface of the moon. The next launch opportunity for Artemis I is this Friday.

Protests ensue after Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says he is quitting politics

After Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced his resignation from Iraqi politics, hundreds of his followers descended on the government palace and clashed with security forces and other Shiite groups.

Per reports from eyewitnesses, supporters of Sadr–who has announced his retirement from politics on prior occasions–charged the government headquarters in Baghdad's Green Zone and skirmished with supporters of rival Shiite groups in the streets outside the area. At least 15 individuals lost their lives, according to medical officials, who also said that dozens more were injured by gunfire, tear gas, and physical altercations with riot police. In response, Iraq’s military imposed a nationwide curfew of 7 PM and Cabinet sessions were suspended.

Yesterday’s protests follow a months-long deadlock that has blocked the formation of a new cabinet since Sadr’s party won the largest share of seats in October parliamentary elections, but not enough to secure a majority government.

Federal jury awards $100M to man left paralyzed after being shocked by a stun gun

A man who fell and broke his neck after a police officer shocked him with a stun gun during a 2018 foot chase was awarded $100M in damages by a federal jury in Atlanta.

According to attorney Ven Johnson’s statement to jurors, Jerry Blasingame–who filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2019 after he was paralyzed from the neck down during his arrest–needs round-the-clock care that costs around $1M a year, and has accrued $14M in medical bills so far. Jurors found that Atlanta Police Officer Jon Grubbs used unreasonable force against the now 69-year-old Blasingame, who had been asking drivers for money on the date of the incident.

In its decision, the jury found both the City of Atlanta and Grubbs guilty of violating Blasingame’s civil rights. The City of Atlanta has been ordered to pay Blasingame $60M, in addition to another $40M from Grubbs.

Around the Globe

  • Brazilian officials reported that the last remaining member of an uncontacted indigenous group in Brazil–a man known as “Man of the Hole” due to his tendency to dig holes for both shelter and hunting in the jungle–has died
  • A Dutch special forces soldier shot over the weekend while off-duty outside of a hotel in Indianapolis has passed away from his injuries, according to the Dutch Defense Ministry
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) board approved the release of $1.17B in bailout funds to Pakistan, according to the country’s Minister of Finance Miftah Ismail

On the Homefront

  • The White House announced that it will suspend its program to send free Covid-19 test kits to Americans starting on Friday, September 2nd, due to a lack of funding
  • The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against data broker Kochava Inc. “for selling geolocation data from hundreds of millions of mobile devices that can be used to trace the movements of individuals to and from sensitive locations,” per a press release from the FTC
  • Lawyers for Elon Musk have filed a subpoena for Peiter Zatko, Twitter’s former cybersecurity chief who came forward and alleged that the company misled regulators about its efforts to reduce spam and protect its platform from security threats

Glitz & Games

  • Harry Styles’ “As It Was” makes history as the first song to reach the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on five separate occasions
  • The upcoming Apple TV+ series Lady in the Lake starring Natalie Portman halted production after crew members received extortion and shooting threats while filming in Baltimore, Maryland, according to a statement from studio Endeavor Content
  • Washington Commenders running back Brian Robinson, Jr. reported that he successfully underwent surgery and is recovering after being shot during an attempted robbery or carjacking in Washington, D.C.

Business & Markets

  • Stocks closed lower to continue Friday’s selloff ahead of new Federal Reserve announcements on further rate hikes (Dow -0.57%, Nasdaq -1.02%, S&P 500 -0.67%)
  • The price of Bitcoin dropped to as low as $19,526 before rebounding above $20,000; according to Coin Metrics data, the dip marks Bitcoin’s lowest level since July 13th
  • Honda Motor Co and LG Energy Solution Ltd announced that they plan to build a $4.4B electric-vehicle battery plant in the United States; the two companies said they plan to begin construction early next year and start mass production by 2025

Tip & Tricks

  • Sneak Peek: Watch Daniel Radcliffe get–well, weird–in the trailer for the upcoming Roku original biopic WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story about the titular musician notorious for altering song lyrics
  • Bump This: In honor of Taylor Swift’s upcoming tenth studio album Midnights, listen to these playlists of her essential tracks on Apple Music and Spotify (you’re welcome, Swifties)
  • Chow Down: If you’re a fan of Indian food, try out this recipe for easy butter chicken that you can whip up with some tomato sauce and a handful of different spices
  • Nerd Out: Check out this Martian house constructed by two British architecture and design firms that imagines what a household dwelling would look like on the red planet (if you’re in the UK, the house is located in Bristol and opens to the public next week)
  • Say What: “I should be really happy right now. I just had this new baby, but I cried nonstop for like three weeks,” Kylie Jenner said regarding her experience with postpartum depression in the new trailer for season two of The Kardashians on Hulu
  • Hot Goss: Singers Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans are divorcing after nearly five years of marriage, according to an Instagram story Ballerini posted yesterday
  • Life Hack: Washing a shower curtain with salt water after you first purchase it ensures that it will never go moldy

Looking Back…

On August 30th: The Second Battle of Bull Run in the American Civil War ends with a Confederate victory (1862); baseball player Ty Cobb makes his major league debut with the Detroit Tigers (1905); the last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan (2021); American investor Warren Buffett is born (1930).

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