Your Daily Brief

November 15th, 2022

Good morning, and welcome to your Tuesday! While the rest of us have been busy living our lives and working our jobs, Disney has apparently filed a patent for a roller coaster that jumps the track. Weren’t roller coasters anxiety-inducing enough as is?

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In Today’s Brief

  • UVA Shooting: Ex-football player in custody
  • Jay Leno: Burned in car fire
  • Amazon: Planning largest layoffs in company history

President Biden meets Chinese President Xi Jinping on sidelines of G-20 Summit

U.S. President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met yesterday on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Indonesia for the first time in person since Biden took office in 2021.

The meeting lasted roughly three hours and took place one day before summit proceedings kicked off today. A readout of the meeting published by the White House states that while President Biden expressed to Xi that the U.S. stance on the One China policy hasn’t changed, he raised objections to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan,” claiming it “jeopardizes” global prosperity. The readout adds that Biden “explained that the United States will continue to compete vigorously with [China], including by investing in sources of strength at home and aligning efforts with allies and partners around the world.”

After the meeting concluded, the two leaders agreed that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit China at a later date to follow up on their discussions.

Jeff Bezos announces plans to give away most of his money to charity

In an interview with CNN that aired yesterday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced plans to donate most of his wealth to charitable causes during his lifetime.

While Bezos hasn’t signed the Giving Pledge–which describes itself as “a promise by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes”–Bezos said during the interview that he and his partner Lauren Sanchez are in the process “building the capacity to be able to give away this money.” When asked directly whether he intends to donate the majority of his wealth within his lifetime, Bezos said, “Yeah. I do. And the hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way.”

Bezos has committed $10B over 10 years–or about 8% of his current net worth–to the Bezos Earth Fund, which Sanchez co-chairs. The Amazon founder is worth an estimated $124B, according to Bloomberg, making him the fourth-richest person in the world.

Iran hands down first known death sentence linked to recent protests

An Iranian court has sentenced an unidentified protester to death for the first time since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody in September after being detained by the country’s morality police, according to state-owned media.

Iran is entering its eighth week of unrest since Amini’s death set off the longest-running demonstrations against the Islamic Republic in over a decade. According to Mizan News Agency–the news site of the country’s judiciary–the accused individual set a government building on fire, and was “sentenced to death on charges of disturbing public order and peace, community and conspiracy to commit a crime against national security.”

Per Mizan, a separate branch of Iran’s court sentenced five other unnamed defendants to up to 10 years in prison on charges of violating national security and disrupting public order. According to estimates from the Humans Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), over 15,000 Iranians have been arrested and several hundred have died in the protests.

Around the Globe

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson yesterday to celebrate its recapture from Russian forces; when talking to reporters, he thanked NATO and other allies for their support and said the delivery of high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) from the U.S. had aided Ukraine’s war effort
  • Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada has ordered Afghan judges to impose punishments “in line” with the group’s interpretation of Islamic Sharia law that may include public amputations and stoning for crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, and sedition
  • CIA Director William Burns met with the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, yesterday in the Turkish capital of Ankara; according to a White House official, the discussions between Burns and Naryshkin were centered on the consequences of using nuclear weapons

On the Homefront

  • A former University of Virginia football player suspected of a shooting that left three football players dead and two other students wounded on campus Sunday night has been taken into custody, according to law enforcement officials in Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and wife of California governor Gavin Newsom, took the stand to testify in the trial against incarcerated movie producer Harvey Weinstein yesterday in Los Angeles
  • Barbara Jones, a retired U.S. federal judge who served as a special master in a case involving Rudy Giuliani, was appointed by a New York judge to serve as an independent monitor of former President Donald Trump’s company; Jones will oversee the company’s financial statements while NY state Attorney General Letitia James pursues a $250M civil fraud lawsuit accusing Trump and the Trump Organization of overvaluing assets and the former president’s net worth

Glitz & Games

  • Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno has suffered “serious burns” from a gasoline fire that broke out when working on a vehicle in his Los Angeles garage but is in stable condition, he said in a statement
  • The Miami Marlins promoted Caroline O'Connor to President of Business Operations, making them the first U.S. professional sports franchise to have women serving simultaneously as president and general manager; the Marlins made history by hiring Kim Ng as Major League Baseball’s first general manager in November 2020
  • Greek-born, Emmy-nominated actor John Aniston, who played the character Victor Kiriakis in nearly 3,000 episodes of the daytime television show Days of Our Lives, passed away at age 89 last Friday, his daughter Jennifer Aniston confirmed

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market rose closed lower in the final hour of trading after rising steadily throughout yesterday’s trading session (Dow -0.63%, Nasdaq -1.12%, S&P 500 -0.89%) 
  • Amazon Inc is reportedly planning to lay off 10,000 workers in corporate and technology roles this week in what would be the largest job cuts in the company’s history; the reported layoffs would represent less than 1% of the company’s global workforce and 3% of its corporate employees
  • Google agreed to a $391.5M settlement with 40 states over its location tracking practices that represents the largest attorney general-led consumer privacy settlement ever, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Justice - see the press release here

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Tip & Tricks

  • Bump This: The synth-heavy track “Was It A Dream?” from indie pop artist MARIS will make you feel like you are, in fact, still dreaming - listen on Apple Music and Spotify
  • Chow Down: The phrase “you are what you eat” has never felt more true - check out the four best foods for your brain health and the four types of food you should avoid
  • Jaw Drop: Read up on a 50-year-old man known as “Uncle Chen” who ran a marathon in three hours and 28 minutes while chainsmoking a pack of cigarettes at the Xin’anjiang Marathon in Jiande, China (we can’t even finish a marathon without smoking…but that reminds us of this hilarious scene from the feel-good football movie The Replacements)
  • Go Deep: Learn about the self-described “most corrupt agent” in the DEA, who admitted to conspiring with Colombian cartels to fund a lavish lifestyle of expensive cars, jewelry, and paramours around the world…and who now accuses dozens of colleagues of doing the exact same thing
  • Say What: “I’m working the absolute most that I can work–morning to night, seven days a week. I have too much on my plate, that is for sure,” Elon Musk said by video link to a business conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia
  • Hot Goss: Comedian and actor Pete Davidson is reportedly dating model and author Emily Ratajkowski following his split from Kim Kardashian (this guy honestly can’t miss)
  • Life Hack: Get ready to turn your gym routine upside-down - a team of researchers from Australia’s Edith Cowan University found that lowering weights can boost muscle strength even more so than lifting them

Looking Back…

On November 15th: An estimated 2M people take part in the Vietnam War Moratorium Demonstration across the U.S. (1969); Yasser Arafat issues a declaration of independence for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (1988); Microsoft releases the Xbox video game console (2001); American painter Georgia O'Keeffe is born (1887).

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