Your Daily Brief

December 20th, 2022

Good morning, and happy Tuesday! Did you know that the biggest drivers of sales in the toy industry right now are kidults, aka adults who are still kids at heart? Apparently, adults are buying toys for themselves now more than ever, snatching up items like Spider-Man action figures and Baby Yoda dolls left and right. We guess some of us really never do grow up…and we kind of love it!

In Today’s Brief

  • Argentina: National holiday for World Cup victory
  • Hawaiian Airlines: Turbulence injures passengers
  • Elon Musk: The people have spoken
  • Amber Heard: Settles Depp lawsuit

...and more

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January 6th charges

The House panel investigating events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 recommended the Department of Justice bring criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.

During its final hearing capping an 18-month investigation, the bipartisan committee alleged that former President Trump violated four criminal statutes in both the days leading up to the incident at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and during the event itself. The four charges the committee recommended to the Justice Department are conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to make a false statement, and aiding an insurrection.

The panel’s recommendation marks the first time that Congress has recommended a former U.S. president to be charged with a crime. Whether or not to pursue the charges is now up to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice.

Fortnite maker vs the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that Epic Games, maker of the free online game Fortnite, will pay a $520M settlement over charges related to children’s privacy and its in-game billing practices.

The total payment is divided into two settlements. Per a press release from the FTC, Epic was fined $275M for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) for collecting children’s data and personal information without parental consent. The company will also pay $245M to refund consumers for what it calls “dark patterns and billing practices” that led some of Fortnite’s 400M global users to unintentionally spend real-world money to download content.

Epic Games said it will pay both of the fines and has implemented new processes around privacy and payments. The COPPA fine is the largest-ever penalty for violating an FTC rule, and the secondary fine of $245M will be the FTC’s largest-ever refund amount in a gaming case.

Nazca lines discovery

Peruvian archeologists and Japanese researchers from Yamagata University have reported the discovery of 168 new designs at the site of Peru’s Nazca lines on the country’s southern coastal plain.

The research team discovered the additional designs around Peru’s Nazca plain and surrounding areas after conducting field surveys with aerial photos and drones. Unlike the other geoglyphs–some of which measure up to 1,200 feet long and can only be seen from the air–the new designs are smaller and can be seen from the ground. Speaking on the discovery, Yamagata University said the research will be used in artificial intelligence-based surveys to help inform the lines’ preservation.

Peru’s Nazca lines were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. The geoglyphs are over 2,000 years old and depict figures such as humans, cats, whales, birds, llamas, and other animals carved into the terrain. To this day, the origin of the lines is unknown.

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Around the Globe

  • The Argentinian government declared today a national holiday in order for the country to celebrate its World Cup win on Sunday (More)
  • Nations agreed at the COP15 UN biodiversity summit in Montreal to protect 30% of the world’s sea and landmass in a deal aimed at safeguarding biodiversity; there will also be targets for protecting ecosystems such as rainforests and wetlands, as well as the rights of indigenous peoples (More)
  • Ghana suspended payments on most of its external debt, with the country’s finance ministry saying it will not service debts including its Eurobonds, commercial loans, and most bilateral loans as part of an “interim emergency measure” (More)

On the Homefront

  • 36 people suffered injuries when a Hawaiian airlines commercial flight carrying roughly 300 passengers from Phoenix to Honolulu encountered “severe” turbulence before landing, according to reports from airline officials (More)
  • Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily halted the end of the Title 42 policy that allows U.S. border officials to turn away asylum seekers due to concerns about public health (More)
  • A Los Angeles jury found former movie producer Harvey Weinstein guilty on three of seven counts; Weinstein pleaded not guilty to all counts and is currently serving a 23-year sentence in New York (More)

Glitz & Games

  • Amber Heard announced that she has settled the defamation case that her ex-husband Johnny Depp filed against her in Virginia, per a statement posted to her Instagram (More)
  • Willie McGinest, a former NFL player and current NFL Network analyst, was arrested yesterday in connection with an assault at a West Hollywood nightclub, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (More)
  • Stephanie Bissonnette, known for originating the role of Dawn Sweitzer in Mean Girls the Musical on Broadway, has passed away at age 32 (More)

Business & Markets

  • Stocks closed lower for the fourth consecutive day, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading losses in the major indexes (Dow -0.49%, Nasdaq -1.49%, S&P 500 -0.90%)
  • Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the now-collapsed FTX, has reportedly agreed to be extradited to the United States, where he faces multiple charges from the Southern District of New York (More)
  • A poll that Elon Musk posted asking for votes on whether or not he should step down as the CEO of Twitter closed yesterday, with over 57% of the 17.M participants voting “Yes” (More)

Tip & Tricks

  • Sneak Peek: Check out the official trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which documents the life of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is credited with inventing the atomic bomb
  • Bump This: The late Whitney Houston’s soaring voice graces the dance remix “Don’t Cry for Me” off the soundtrack to the upcoming biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody - listen on Apple Music and Spotify
  • Chow Down: Celebrating Hannukah this year? You don’t want to miss out on this recipe for eggs benedict on potato pancakes that will make you never want to eat them on an English muffin again
  • Nerd Out: Check out this concept video from California-based company Space Campers that shows how their upcoming wedge-shaped camper can effectively transform a Tesla Cybertruck into a full-blown studio apartment with room for two
  • Say What: “We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all. Only one could survive,” James Cameron said regarding the years-long debate of whether there was room on the floating door for Jack at the end of the 1997 film Titanic (geez, talk about going above and beyond to prove a point)
  • Hot Goss: A woman was detained in New York for allegedly breaking into Robert De Niro’s home and attempting to steal presents from underneath the Christmas tree (sounds eerily similar to the plot of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, doesn’t it?)
  • Life Hack: Maintaining a healthy, successful relationship takes a lot of work, but it’s worth all of the reward - here are three little things you can do on a daily basis to help your relationship thrive

Looking Back…

On December 20th: South Carolina becomes the first U.S. state to secede from the Union after Abraham Lincoln is elected president (1860); the island of Macau becomes a special administrative region of China (1999); Wes Craven’s horror film Scream is released in American theaters (1996); American novelist John Steinbeck dies (1968).

Question of the day

Do you ever get nervous while flying?

Yes, I don’t do well with turbulence

No, a few bumps don’t bother me

Yesterday's results

Are you tired of Christmas music yet?

No, I love all the holiday spirit (65%)

Yes, please stop it immediately (35%)

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