Your Daily Brief

November 18th, 2022

Good morning, and happy Friday! There are superyachts, megayachts, and gigayachts…but have you ever heard of a terayacht? That’s what’s being used to describe Pangeos, a gigantic floating city Saudi Arabia is building that will apparently be shaped like a sea turtle and be able to accommodate up to 60,000 people. Who’s going there with us?

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In Today’s Brief

  • Kari Lake: Declined to concede governor race
  • Aaron Judge: American League MVP
  • Ticketmaster: Cancels sales for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour

    ...and more

Nancy Pelosi to step down as House Democratic leader

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that she will step down from her role next year and won’t seek a leadership position in the new Congress following the results of the midterm elections.

Speaking to the House chamber, Pelosi said that she will remain in Congress as the representative from San Francisco, a position she has held for 35 years. Her announcement comes after the Republican Party secured a majority in the House of Representatives following midterm elections, and two days after Congressman Kevin McCarthy won the Republican nomination for House Speaker with a final vote tally of 188-31.

Pelosi is the first woman to lead a major party in either chamber of U.S. Congress. She first became House Minority Leader in 2003, and when Democrats took control of the House in 2006, she became the first woman to serve as Majority Leader. She became minority leader again four years later, and in 2018, returned to the speaker’s chair.

Turkish televangelist and associates sentenced to 8,658 years in prison

Adnan Oktar, a Turkish televangelist known for hosting a TV show featuring women whom he referred to as “kittens,” has been handed down a sentence of 8,658 years in prison, according to local media reports.

The 66-year-old Oktar–who hosted a show on his own channel and has published books under the pen name Harun Yahya–was jailed last year after a police investigation concluded he was running a criminal ring disguised as a heterodox Islamic cult, and after a number of women in his company said they were subjected to “sexual slavery.” Oktar received a sentence of 1,075 years, but an upper court overturned the ruling and ordered a retrial.

During this week’s retrial in Istanbul’s High Criminal Court, Oktar and 13 of his associates were convicted on charges including sexual assault, fraud, and attempted espionage. The sentence length doesn’t exceed the court’s previous record of 9,803 years and six months, but still represents one of the longest sentences handed down in the country and the world.

Petito family awarded $3M in wrongful death lawsuit

A Florida judge awarded Gabby Petito’s family $3M in a wrongful death lawsuit they filed against the parents of Brian Laundrie after authorities concluded he strangled her during a cross-country trip in August 2021.

While the judge set the award for the Petito family, they will not receive that amount. Following the judgment, the Petito family’s lawyer Pat Reilly said, “Brian did not have [that]; it's an arbitrary number.” Petito’s parents, Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, said they plan to donate whatever they get from Laundrie's estate to the Gabby Petito Foundation, which they started to address domestic violence.

The 22-year-old Petito’s body was discovered in September 2021 in Wyoming, while Laundrie’s remains were found in a Florida swamp less than one month later. Per the FBI, investigators concluded that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and left a note confessing to killing Petito.

Around the Globe

  • Russian-detained WNBA player Brittney Griner has reportedly been taken to a female penal colony called IK-2 in the Russian region of Mordovia, where another American, Paul Whelan, is serving a 16-year sentence in a different facility
  • Vanuatu’s government has been knocked offline for over 11 days after hacks on the country’s servers disabled the websites of the island’s parliament, police, and prime minister’s office
  • Ukraine was hit by another wave of missiles from Russian forces yesterday, with strikes reported at power infrastructure locations in Kyiv, the southern port of Odesa, the central city of Dnipro, and the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia

On the Homefront

  • The Uvalde school board unanimously approved plans to replace Robb Elementary School in Texas; construction on a new school will begin next summer and the opening is scheduled for the fall of 2024
  • Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake declined to concede the state’s governor race to Katie Hobbs and indicated she is assembling a legal team tasked with “collecting evidence and data” pertaining to the electoral process
  • The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave final approval to decommission four dams on the California-Oregon border; the order marks the largest dam removal undertaking in U.S. history

Glitz & Games

  • Amazon is moving forward with multiple live-action shows based on Marvel characters controlled by Sony, starting with the series Silk: Spider Society developed by Angela Kang, Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller
  • New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge was named Most Valuable Player in the American League following his 62-home run season that set the league’s record for most homers in a single season
  • Content creator and entrepreneur Emma Chamberlain has signed an exclusive deal with Spotify for her podcast Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain starting in early 2023; per the deal terms, Spotify will have exclusive rights to all back-catalog episodes and future installments of the podcast

Business & Markets

  • Stocks closed slightly lower after beginning the day with losses in the major indexes (Dow -0.02%, Nasdaq -0.35%, S&P 500 -0.31%)
  • Taylor Swift’s presale event for her upcoming Eras Tour–her first in five years–yielded over 2M ticket sales on Tuesday, breaking the record for most tickets sold in a single day by an artist, according to Ticketmaster; the company proceeded to cancel today’s general public ticket sale for Swift’s tour due to “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand” - see Ticketmaster’s announcement
  • Rent growth in the U.S. slowed to its lowest level in 18 months, rising 4.7% in October 2022 compared with October 2021, according to a report - see the report

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Tip & Tricks

  • Sneak Peek: Watch the teaser trailer for the upcoming Disney & Pixar animated film Elemental, in which the fiery female lead character Ember meets the water-like Wade on a subway
  • Bump This: Get in the zone with the deep house track “Other Side” from Chicago-based female DJ Azzecca - listen on Apple Music and Spotify 
  • Nerd Out: Check out this first-of-its-kind 3D footage that Duke researchers captured of a virus overtaking a cell in real-time (complete with an epic, Hans Zimmer-like score)
  • Look Up: Feast your eyes on this image of NASA’s recently-launched Orion spacecraft with its solar arrays deployed in the middle of space…and the tiny blue ball we call Earth in the distance
  • Say What: “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate occurred here,” FTX’s new CEO John Ray said in a Delaware court filing on his first day leading the company (that’s saying something, considering that this guy presided over Enron)
  • Hot Goss: Brad Pitt has reportedly been dating Ines de Ramon “for a few months” following her split from ex-husband, the Vampire Diaries actor Paul Wesley
  • Life Hack: Our bodies’ circadian rhythms impact not only our sleep quality, but also our metabolism, immune system, skin health, and more - here are four tricks to train your circadian rhythm for better metabolism and longevity

Looking Back…

On November 18th: Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is consecrated (1626); Walt Disney's first Mickey Mouse sound cartoon is released (1928); the biblical epic film Ben-Hur starring Charlton Heston has its world premiere (1959); Canadian author Margaret Atwood is born (1939).

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