Wednesday: Fed publishes its twice-quarterly Beige Book report
Thursday: Tenet opens in U.S. theaters
Friday: Mulan debuts on Disney+
Intelligence Director Halts Congressional Briefings
On Friday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Congress that his office would stop providing in-person briefings on election security and foreign interference, moving instead to written updates.
A deeper dive… In a letter to House and Senate leadership, Ratcliffe said he believes the new approach will help ensure the information is not “misunderstood nor politicized” and protect it from “unauthorized disclosures or misuse.”
In an interview with FOX News, Ratcliffe accused members of Congress of leaking classified information for political purposes immediately after receiving intelligence briefings.
Acting Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement in support of the changes, saying he had spoken to Ratcliffe who “stated unequivocally” that his office would continue to uphold their legal reporting requirements.
Democrats Push Back House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a joint statement criticizing the move.
In an interview with CNN, Schiff said the move could allow the Trump administration to reduce congressional oversight and make it possible for information to be concealed.
What’s Next? Democrats signaled their intent to challenge the decision on Sunday, and have not ruled out issuing subpoenas to intelligence officials demanding they appear before intelligence committees.
So… what are people saying?
Inside Trump’s Battles With U.S. Intelligence Agencies
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March on Washington 2020
Thousands of Americans marched in Washington, D.C., on Friday to protest racial injustice. The protest occurred on the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech (watch it), and featured appearances by VP candidate Kamala Harris, Rev. Al Sharpton, and others. (Video)
The Pentagon announced plans to reduce the number of troops in Iraq to 3,200 from about 5,200, the smallest troop presence in the country since 2015. U.S. officials cited the Iraqi military’s progress as a reason for the troop withdrawal.
The President of the UAE issued a decree Saturday formally revoking a law that forbade trade with Israel. The move further cements an Aug. 13 agreement – brokered with U.S. assistance – which would reopen trade between the two countries should Israel halt its plan to annex the West Bank.
More: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said other Arab and Muslim nations have also been in unpublicized talks to normalize relations with Israel (but did not specify which countries).
Worth Noting: A man was shot dead amid unrest in Portland, OR on Saturday. Go deeper.
🙅🏿♂️Wakanda Forever… actor Chadwick Boseman – who portrayed King T’Challa in Black Panther, Jackie Robinson in 42, Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, & more – died after a four year battle with colon cancer on Friday.
🛥️ You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat… a boat carrying Libyan refugees seeking asylum (and financed by the artist Banksy) was rescued by the Italian government on Saturday.
Neuralink co-founder Elon Musk demoed the company’s brain-interface technology in live pigs on Friday. The presentation featured real-time neural signals from a pig, who purportedly has had the implant for about two months. Musk described the coin-sized device – which Neuralink says can help fight blindness, memory loss, insomnia, & more – as “like a Fitbit for your skull.”
China announced new restrictions on Friday forbidding the country’s tech companies from exporting certain AI technologies without a license. As a result, talks between Chinese firm ByteDance and potential U.S. TikTok buyers slowed over the weekend as the social media app faces an upcoming White House-imposed ban.
Change Of Heart
United Airlines announced a permanent end to its $200 fee to change domestic flights. The new policy does not apply to basic economy tickets, which do not permit changes, though the company previously extended its change-fee waiver on all tickets through the end of the year. According to the Department of Transportation, U.S. airlines overall generated $2.8B in revenue from change and cancellation fees last year (roughly half the amount generated from baggage fees).
🏀 We’re Playing Basketball… the NBA playoffs resumed on Saturday after a three-day hiatus due to a player boycott against racial injustice.
🏈 Football Night In America… college football kicked off (heh) the season in Alabama on Saturday with a matchup between Austin Peay and Central Arkansas. Attendance was ~2,000.
🚗 Sky’s The Limit… Japanese startup SkyDrive completed a successful test of its flying car with one person aboard, hovering several feet off the ground for four minutes.
By The Book
Although Matthew Tannenbaum purchased his small Massachusetts bookstore on April Fool’s Day in 1976, his business is no laughing matter to him. For more than four decades, Matthew’s shop, candidly named The Bookstore, has proudly stood in the town of Lenox. Thus, when the COVID-19 shutdown caused the business to slump and bills to pile up, the now 74-year-old Matthew was desperate to save his beloved bookstore.
Two weeks ago, Matthew launched a GoFundMe campaign to save The Bookstore from possible closure, asking patrons and community members to raise $60,000 to cover the business’ debts from the spring and summer. The campaign quickly surpassed its goal, receiving over $100,000 in donations – more than enough to keep the store operating throughout the remainder of the pandemic.
I’m Coming Home
On March 2, Amanda Simpson-Rojas of Orlando, FL, hugged her two-year-old daughter Kaiya goodbye as they left on a month-long trip to Panama to visit family. Amanda, who stayed home to take care of her younger daughter, eagerly counted down the days to Kaiya’s return in April. However, when Panama closed its borders due to the pandemic on March 16, Kaiya’s return flight to Orlando was canceled, stranding the young girl abroad indefinitely.
After more than five months of negotiations with U.S. and Panamanian authorities, Amanda boarded a humanitarian flight to Panama on August 12, and was reunited with Kaiya. The ecstatic toddler returned home with her mother two days later and was greeted by signs, balloons, and a car parade from friends.
Ray Drake of Des Moines, IA, has been paralyzed since 1989 and relies on his two older sisters for around-the-clock care. Thus, when 100mph winds from a powerful derecho storm caused four colossal trees to fall on Ray’s property last week, his devoted sisters sprang into action to help, asking friends if they could borrow a chainsaw.
However, it quickly became clear that the sisters would need more than just a chainsaw to clear the battered yard. Recognizing the magnitude of the debris, neighbor Doug Applegate called in 30 players from the local Roosevelt High School football team. In less than three hours, the altruistic athletes removed all of the tree limbs from Ray’s yard – and even repaired a damaged fence.
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💩 The Scoop On Poop… the University of Arizona last week said it stopped an outbreak of COVID-19 before it started using a combination of methods that included analyzing sewage for traces of the virus.
✈️ Faster Than A Speeding Bullet… CA-based Otto Aviation finally unveiled its six-passenger bullet-shaped plane – first spotted in 2017 – that promises to fly passengers at jet speeds with eight times lower fuel consumption.
❤️ Old Faithful… Ecuadorian spouses Julio Mora, 110, and Waldramina Quinteros, 104, secured the title of world’s oldest married couple, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
In the abbreviation IQ, the “I” stands for “Intelligence.” What does the “Q” stand for?
A) Quantity B) Quotient C) Quality D) Quorum
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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