Your Daily Brief

November 3, 2022

Good morning, and happy Thursday! Did you know that recent research from an art historian shows that Piet Mondrian’s modernist painting, New York City I, has been hanging upside down for over 75 years? Apparently, a photo of the work in Mondrian's studio shows the painting with the reverse orientation, but since he died in 1944, it may be impossible to know the painting’s correct orientation. Just a friendly reminder to always look at things from a different perspective! Anyway, here’s what we have for you:

In Today’s Brief

  • North Korea: Most one-day missile launches
  • Parkland Shooter: Sentenced to life in prison
  • Julie & Julia: Author dies at 49
  • Opendoor: Cutting 18% of workforce
  • Adele: Confirms name pronunciation
  • Top Tips: CVS and Walgreens to settle opioid lawsuits, Fed issues another rate hike, civil war to end in Ethiopia

CVS & Walgreens agree to pay over $10B to settle opioid lawsuits

CVS and Walgreens have agreed to pay over $10B to settle lawsuits brought upon by U.S. state, local, and tribal governments that accuse the drugstore chains of mishandling opioid painkillers.

Under the tentative agreements, CVS said in a statement that it would pay $4.9B to states and municipalities and $130M to tribes over the next 10 years starting in 2023. Walgreens disclosed in an SEC filing that it expects to pay about $4.79B to states over 15 years and $154.5M to tribes. Neither company is admitting wrongdoing, and each state, local government, and tribe still must decide whether to participate in the settlement in order for the deals to be finalized.

The proposed settlements from Walgreens and CVS–the two largest drugstore chains in the U.S., by market share–follow other opioid settlements this year, including a deal worth a combined roughly $25B that a group of states reached with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.

Federal Reserve hikes interest rates by 75 basis points

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points (or 0.75%) for the fourth consecutive time at its latest monetary policymaking meeting.

Yesterday’s rate hike–the Fed’s sixth this year–brings the federal funds rate to a target range of 3.75% to 4.00%, its highest level in 15 years. In a press release, the Fed wrote that it “seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. In support of these goals, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3-3/4 to 4 percent.” The Fed added that it “anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.”

Per the statement, all Committee members voted in favor of the 75-basis point increase. While it pointed to “robust” job gains in recent months with an unemployment rate that “has remained low,” the Committee also said that it remains “strongly committed” to returning inflation to its target rate of 2%.

Ethiopia and Tigray forces agree to end civil war

Ethiopia’s government and forces in the northern Tigray region that have been engaged in a civil war for two years formally agreed to end the conflict yesterday.

In a news briefing, former Nigerian President and African Union envoy Olusegun Obasanjo said that representatives of the government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front signed the truce deal. On top of a formal agreement to an “orderly, smooth, and coordinated disarmament,” Obasanjo also noted other points in the deal between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray rebels, such as the “restoration of law and order” as well as the “restoration of services” and “unhindered access to humanitarian supplies.”

A previous agreement led to a five-month truce earlier this year between the two forces, though fighting resumed in August. While the death toll is unknown, some estimates put the number of casualties since the conflict began in 2020 as high as the hundreds of thousands.

Around the Globe

  • North Korea fired at least 23 missiles into the sea yesterday–including one that landed less than 40 miles off South Korea’s coast–marking the first time a missile had landed near the South’s waters since the peninsula was divided in 1945 and the most missiles fired by the North in a single day; South Korea launched missiles in response
  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party is projected to be the country’s next prime minister after approximately 90% of the votes counted, according to data from Israel’s Central Election Committee; as of last night, Netanyahu has not yet declared victory and acting Prime Minister Yair Lapid has not yet conceded
  • Russia agreed with Turkey yesterday to restart its participation in the U.N.-brokered agreement which ended a five-month blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports that trapped millions of tons of grain and caused global food prices to rise

On the Homefront

  • The Biden administration announced that it will allocate $13.5B to help low-income households lower their heating costs this winter, according to a statement from the White House - see the statement here
  • 24-year-old Nikolas Cruz–who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018–was officially sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each of 17 charges of first-degree murder against him
  • Marvel Comics executive and comic book writer Stan Lee’s former business manager Keya Morgan was cleared of grand theft charges by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli; three felony counts against Morgan were dismissed after a jury voted 11-1 in favor of acquittal

Glitz & Games

  • Food writer Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen which was adapted into a feature film starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, passed away at age 49 from cardiac arrest
  • The Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series with a final score of 5-0, and delivered the second no-hitter in World Series history; series is tied 2-2
  • Country singer Andy Stone dropped his lawsuit against Mariah Carey over the song “All I Want for Christmas is You” in which he accused her of copyright infringement; Stone sued Carey in June, claiming he co-wrote a song with the same name five years before Carey’s song was released

Business & Markets

  • Stocks fell during the latter part of yesterday’s trading session after the Fed announced its rate hike (Dow -1.55%, Nasdaq -3.36%, S&P 500 -2.50%)
  • Real estate technology company Opendoor is laying off about 550 employees–or 18% of its total workforce–across all functions, according to a blog post that co-founder and CEO Eric Wu published yesterday - see Wu’s post here
  • Shares of TV streaming platform Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU) fell by as much as 22% in extended trading hours after the company said during its Q3 earnings call that it expects fourth-quarter revenues to be lower than analysts’ estimates and that EBITDA losses will be larger than anticipated

Powerful ideas in 15 minutes

The Blinkist app transforms the key ideas from bestselling nonfiction books into 15-minute text and audio packs.

When it comes to learning, audio makes it easy to absorb information at times when text isn’t an option. (Ever try reading a book while sweeping the floor or taking the dog for a walk?) And depending on the subject matter and your familiarity with it, audio can absolutely help you understand what a writer is aiming to communicate. 

Blinkist strongly believes in the power of audio to make learning more accessible and more enjoyable. Right now, Blinkist is offering Tip News readers 25% off new memberships!

Tip & Tricks

  • Sneak Peek: Watch the new trailer 20th Century Fox dropped yesterday for Avatar: The Way of Water that features stunning new footage of the planet Pandora (we’re calling it…this movie is going to crack $1B at the box office)
  • Bump This: It took us a while to catch on, but Meghan Trainor is back with her signature 1950s-inspired sound in her new song “Made You Look” - listen on Apple Music and Spotify
  • Nerd Out: Check out this concept phone from Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi that features an interchangeable Leica M lens and allows users to take crystal-clear, DSLR-quality photos on the fly - see the video of the phone and adjoining Leica lens here
  • Jaw Drop: 14 years, over 50M album sales, and 15 Grammy Awards later, British singer Adele recently revealed that we’ve been pronouncing her name wrong this entire time (and the correct way to say it is probably not going to make sense to you) 
  • Say What: “The thing that is a misconception about Al is that it's all just like silliness and fun. It also walks a line and he's incredibly precise, like his comedy, the way he performs as a musician. How many different styles can you really have to become a master of?” actor Daniel Radcliffe said in regard to what he learned about the musician ahead of the upcoming satirical biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
  • Hot Goss: Former CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves and Paramount agreed to pay $9.75M to resolve the probe by the New York Attorney General into allegations of sexual misconduct involving Moonves while he led the company (yikes)
  • Life Hack: Strength training boosts your metabolism, regulates blood sugar, supports bone health, and brings a slew of other benefits, too - check out this extensive list of strength training exercises that you can do either with or without weights

Looking Back…

On November 3rd: The dog Laika becomes the first living creature to be shot into space and orbit Earth when the Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2 (1957); One World Trade Center opens in New York City (2014); the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians to capture the franchise’s first World Series title in 108 years (2016); British journalist and editor Anna Wintour is born (1949).

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