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1. U.S. KILLS BIN LADEN SUCCESSOR
President Joe Biden announced the killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri who took over the terror organization after the death of its former leader Osama bin Laden. The CIA carried out this latest targeted attack. Biden said he hopes it brings “one more measure of closure” to families who had a loved one killed in the Sept. 11 attacks that were orchestrated by al-Qaida. AP
2. TAIWAN TRIP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was expected in Taiwan later today and the White House is trying to tamp down rhetoric coming from a very angry China. China considers Taiwan a part of the country, though it is self-run, and said there will be consequences if the high-ranking American visits with officials there. BLOOMBERG
3. PRIMARIES & KANSAS ABORTION VOTE
Today voters in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington will go to the polls to pick their midterm candidates. Perhaps more than any of the individual races, a Kansas state amendment is what many are watching most closely. Voters there will decide whether to change the state constitution to explicitly state that abortion is not a right. Ben Deeter breaks down the details.
4. FLOODED KENTUCKY
Kentucky is getting swamped by more rainstorms, and the death toll is rising as flash floods engulf the mountainous state again. Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that 37 people have died so far, and hundreds remain unaccounted for. Making matters worse is a looming heat wave, and the possibility of fallen trees and power outages as high winds tear across the state. “If things weren’t hard enough on the people of this region, they’re getting rain right now,” Beshear said. AP
Firefighters gather clothes for distribution in Knott County, Ky. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley]
PINTEREST: Pinterest may have missed estimates with its latest quarterly report, but the company's bet on e-commerce and shopping may be a smart strategy going forward. While Pinterest revenue only grew 9% year-over-year, its shopping ad revenue grew twice as fast. And investors rewarded the company by sending shares up double digits in after-hours trading. DETAILS
ACTIVISION: The video game industry is struggling as it comes down from its pandemic-era highs, and publishers like Activision Blizzard are feeling the pressure. The company behind such triple-A titles as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft beat revenue estimates but missed on earnings. The problem? The publisher has struggled to get out major titles such as Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV, and now it's going on a hiring and acquiring spree to boost production. As with many other industries, it's all about keeping up supply, and in this case that means releasing new, popular games in a timely fashion. DETAILS
CANNABIS LOOKAHEAD: As more cannabis companies get ready to report earnings this week, analysts anticipate macroeconomic challenges to wear on quarterly results. The early pandemic years proved a boon for the cannabis industry, which could make last year's sales hard to match. Plus, wallet-busting inflation means more consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending. DETAILS
If we're not buying video games and weed, what are we buying?
6. BOOK BATTLE
The usually quiet world of book-selling is under the spotlight this week as the Biden administration attempts to block a proposed $2 billion merger between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, which would reduce the "Big Five" U.S. book publishers to just four. The antitrust trial kicked off Monday and will continue today with testimony from horror maestro Stephen King, who previously said the merger would make it harder for indie publishers to survive. Attorneys for Penguin Random House have so far tried to make the case that the combo wouldn’t undercut competition or drive down the price of advances to authors of high-profile titles. AP
A fight over books becoming too popular is every English teacher's dream.
7. BRITTNEY GRINER IN COURT
WNBA star Brittney Griner was back in court today. This is her first appearance before a judge since the U.S. reportedly offered a prisoner swap that would allow her and Paul Whelan, an American held in Russia on espionage charges, to head back to the States. Griner faces 10 years in prison for having vape cannisters with cannabis oil in her luggage while in Moscow. REUTERS
8. DESHAUN WATSON SUSPENSION
Deshaun Watson, the NFL star quarterback accused of assaulting dozens of women, has been suspended for the first six games of the 2022 football season. Watson, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns, was facing a potential year-long suspension, but a disciplinary officer appointed jointly by the NFL and NFL Players Association disagreed. Watson is facing a slew of civil lawsuits but no criminal charges, and he maintains his innocence. ESPN
9. REPORTING CRYPTO PROBS
The volatility of unregulated cryptocurrency has companies doing all kinds of things that have investors concerned. Frozen accounts, bankruptcies, mass layoffs and more are becoming a problem. Now New York Attorney General Letitia James wants anyone in the state who was "deceived or affected" to report it. NEWS12
10. PEPSI GETS ENERGIZED
PepsiCo is getting amped with a $550 investment in energy drink maker Celsius. The investment is part of a larger deal to expand distribution of Celsius products, including the fourth most popular energy drink on the market. Notably, Celsius has tried to differentiate itself from competitors by touting its drinks as "healthy" because they do not include artificial preservatives or sugar. For the much-larger PepsiCo, the deal offers a way to expand further into energy drinks, which is one of the fastest growing beverage segments outside of alcohol. WSJ
In case the caffeine in Pepsi isn't enough for you.
11. IN ENTERTAINMENT
… Beyoncé's new album, “Renaissance,” is getting rave reviews, but the use of the word "spazzin" on the song "Heat" is getting criticism for being ableist. The pop star has since announced that she will remove the word, which is a derogatory term for spastic diplegia.
… Warner Bros.’ DC League of Super-Pets dominated the box office, raking in $23 million in ticket sales domestically and $41 million worldwide.
… Iron Man director Jon Favreau reportedly spoke out against the decision to kill Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man in 2019's Avengers: Endgame.
… Reese Witherspoon told USA Today that Top Gun: Maverick was an inspiration for her upcoming film Legally Blonde 3 — not because the comedy will feature military jets, but because it did a good job satisfying fan's nostalgia for the original. BETWEEN BELLS
STYLE TREND ALERT
Coastal Grandma is the summer style. Whether you think it's hot or not, it sure looks comfortable! For those trying to figure out how to stay comfortable and cool for the rest of this brutally hot summer, special correspondent Katie Sands has you covered. CHECK IT OUT