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‘Serial’ subject Adnan Syed is out of jail...
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Cytonics

Good morning. The mad scientists at Learning Brew continue to whip up new courses for professionals who want to become better at their jobs. The latest offering: Strategy for Creators, taught by Morning Brew co-founder Alex Lieberman. In just one week, Alex and a roster of all-star creator Yodas will give you sustainable strategies for developing a brand on social media—because one-sentence-per-line LinkedIn posts can only take you so far.

It’ll be super valuable for individual creators looking for direction or established leaders hoping to boost their personal brands. Learn more here.

Abby Rubenstein, Max Knoblauch, Matty Merritt, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

11,535.02

S&P

3,899.89

Dow

31,019.68

10-Year

3.492%

Bitcoin

$19,633.82

Moderna

$127.90

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 11:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks ticked higher yesterday as anticipation builds for the Fed’s interest rate decision tomorrow. One sector that didn’t contribute to the gains? Vaccine makers. After President Biden controversially said that “the pandemic is over” in a CBS interview Sunday night, the major Covid vaccine producers collectively lost more than $10 billion in market value.

LAW

Adnan Syed of ‘Serial’ is free

A picture of a young Adnan Syed with news articles about the murder case superimposed The Case Against Adnan Syed/HBO

Adnan Syed, whose conviction for allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, was the subject of the hit podcast Serial, is a free man—at least for now—after a Baltimore judge overturned that conviction yesterday and ordered his release from prison.

Judge Melissa M. Phinn’s decision comes after prosecutors asked for the conviction to be tossed in light of new evidence regarding two alternative suspects for the murder. Prosecutors, who had previously fought back against Syed’s efforts to get a new trial, noted they were not saying he was innocent but that Syed, who has been serving a life sentence for the past 23 years, deserved a new trial and should be allowed out of prison while the investigation continues.

So, what’s the new evidence?

Two suspects, who have not been named, were considered in the original investigation but not properly ruled out. Both had a history of violence against women, and one even threatened to kill Lee. Syed’s lawyers also want new forensic testing to see if DNA evidence is available.

Syed, who was arrested at 17 and is now 41, has always maintained that he was not involved in the 1999 crime, and his story came to national prominence when Serial debuted in 2014.

  • The podcast’s first season, which raised doubts about the evidence against Syed, including flimsy cellphone records, has been downloaded more than 300 million times and is considered the world’s most listened-to podcast.

Serial didn’t just change Syed’s life, it also changed podcasting

The This American Life spinoff was the first podcast ever to win a Peabody Award, and besides garnering prestige, it showed just how popular the medium could be. It also breathed new life into the true-crime genre and inspired a slew of imitators—and some of those have led to exonerations and new convictions.

What’s next? Syed isn’t totally out of the woods yet—the judge gave prosecutors 30 days to decide whether to drop the charges or retry the case. A new episode of Serial drops today.—AR

        

TOGETHER WITH CYTONICS

Invest in biotech’s breakthrough cure

Cytonics

Cytonics is leading the next generation of biotech with the first and only drug that treats osteoarthritis (OA) at the source.

OA is a crippling disease that will affect 25% of the world’s adult population by 2030. It’s a degenerative condition that causes joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation—and there was no way to stop it. Until Cytonics.

Cytonics’ flagship, FDA-approved therapy has already treated over 8,000 patients, and now they’re accepting new investors to advance their innovative therapy to phase 1 human clinical trials. They’re already backed by Johnson & Johnson and the National Institutes of Health, and now you can get in on the opportunity.

It’s not a painkiller. It’s a cure.

Invest in Cytonics before their investment round closes on Oct. 14.

        

WORLD

Tour de headlines

Grand Theft Auto game logo with a faucet coming out of it dripping water Will Varner

Rockstar confirms GTA VI leak. A massive leak over the weekend containing 90 videos of footage from Grand Theft Auto VI was confirmed to be legitimate yesterday by its publisher, Rockstar Games. “We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way,” the company, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, wrote on Twitter. The game, reportedly at least two years away from being finished, appears to feature a woman protagonist for the first time (confirming reports from earlier this year). The hacker behind the leak also claims to be behind the hack of Uber last week, and has threatened to leak more data soon.

Book bans are on the rise, and the censors are organized. More than 1,600 books were banned from US schools during the last school year, affecting 4 million students, with many of the targeted texts featuring LGBTQ+ and racial themes, according to PEN America. The bans weren’t just the work of concerned individual parents; the free speech group says 50 organized advocacy groups have sprung up (most of them since 2021) to challenge books—and they were involved in close to half of the removals. Texas had the most book bans, with a total of 801.

Hurricane Fiona leaves a trail of destruction. After dumping at least 27 inches of rain and knocking out power on Puerto Rico, Hurricane Fiona lashed the Dominican Republic yesterday before heading out into the Atlantic (it’s not expected to hit the US East Coast). The governor of Puerto Rico called the damage “catastrophic” and warned that it would take days for electricity to be fully restored. Heavy storms are also hitting Japan: 9 million people were told to evacuate their homes before the arrival of “super typhoon” Nanmadol—one of the biggest typhoons Japan has ever experienced.

HOUSING

Opendoor is flipping out after big losses

Upside-down house Francis Scialabba

Opendoor, the home-flipping site, is probably regretting its bulk order of subway tiles and DIY laminate flooring. The company lost money on 42% of resales in August, according to Bloomberg.

The company that rode the first wave of real estate iBuying, a way to automate real estate purchases, was hailed as the “Amazon of homes” when it went public in 2020. Its strategy: make fast offers for homes using an algorithm, do some light reno, and resell them, sometimes in less than a few months.

But red-hot house prices during the height of Covid were looking more like smoldering coals by June, and the Fed pumping interest rates through the summer had potential buyers closing Zillow tabs. So the company had all this inventory that it paid a lot of money for that no one wanted to buy.

You might remember when Zillow shut down its home-flipping business last fall for similar reasons. And proving that you shouldn’t throw stones if you have overpriced houses, Opendoor even trolled Zillow after the announcement, saying Opendoor was “open for business.”

Big picture: Some analysts say the worst is over for Opendoor, but other indicators—like homebuilder sentiment dropping for its ninth straight month in September—hint that the housing market party has finally hit the morning after.—MM

        

CRYPTO

Nobody knows where Do Kwon is

John Cena GIF WWE via Giphy

South Korean prosecutors have requested that Interpol issue a red notice against Terra and Luna founder Do Kwon, alleging the disgraced crypto mogul isn’t cooperating with investigators. (An Interpol red notice is essentially an appeal to law enforcement officials worldwide to arrest a given individual.) Accused of fraud and under investigation by the SEC, Kwon was believed to be in Singapore, though police there say he is not in the city-state.

The founder defended himself against charges that he’s on the run from investigators, writing on Twitter last weekend that “I am not ‘on the run’ or anything similar.” In response, prosecutors issued a statement that Kwon was “obviously on the run.” Kwon’s whereabouts remain unknown.

This is just the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of a massive crypto collapse that spooked the entire industry. Even if you’ve gone to great lengths to avoid reading anything that includes the word “stablecoin,” you might want to pay attention to this story—the May collapse of Kwon’s crypto company wiped out $40 billion of investors’ cash and sparked a broader crypto market crash, resulting in losses of about $500 billion.

That collapse sparked investigations into Kwon and Terraform Labs (his company), ultimately leading South Korea to issue an arrest warrant last week for him and five others connected to the company.—MK

        

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

A crowd walking in front of an office building Bim/Getty Images

Stat: Fall is just about here, and workers across the US are putting on pants and heading back to the office. In 10 major metro areas, average office use between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14 was back up to 47.5% of what it was in early 2020, according to Kastle Systems, a company that tracks keycard swipes. That’s the highest it’s been since Covid shutdowns got rolling. Still, most folks seem to prefer working in their jammies close to the weekend—midweek days had the most office entries, per Kastle.

Quote: “We’ve shown that we know how to win on the battlefield. Another important task for us is to achieve victories in the economy as well, and to be an attractive country for investors.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky videoconferenced with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to discuss steering investments to Ukraine, which needs serious cash to rebuild ($350 billion by one estimate), even as it continues to fight back against Russia’s invasion. The two discussed how the asset management giant could give the nation pro bono advice on setting up a reconstruction fund.

View: Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in pictures. (BBC)

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Mark Frerichs, an American contractor held hostage in Afghanistan for over two years, was released through a prisoner swap with a Taliban member doing time for heroin trafficking in the US.
  • Volkswagen is gearing up for a blockbuster European IPO for Porsche on Sept. 29, pricing shares at a level that values the luxury carmaker at up to $78 billion.
  • Apple’s iPhone 14 should be way easier to fix than other models thanks to a redesign: Just remove two screws and you can take off the screen and the back glass.
  • Beyond Meat COO Doug Ramsey was arrested for allegedly biting a man’s nose in a Fayetteville, AR, parking garage following the Razorbacks college football game Saturday.

BREW'S BETS

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GAMES

The puzzle section

Brew Mini: We’re thinking you can set a PR on today’s Mini. Try it here and let us know if you do.

Nutritional Facts

In this game, we give you the ingredient list for a popular food product, and you have to name it.

Enriched flour, palm oil, salt, dried carrot flake, contains less than 2% of autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, concentrated green cabbage juice, dextrose, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, disodium succinate, dried corn, dried parsley, egg white, garlic powder, hydrolyzed corn protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, lactose, maltodextrin, natural and artificial flavor, onion powder, potassium carbonate, potassium chloride, powdered chicken, rendered chicken fat, silicon dioxide, sodium alginate, sodium carbonate, sodium tripolyphosphate, soybean, spice and color, sugar, tBHQ (preservative), wheat.

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AROUND THE BREW

How to invest during a recession

How to invest during a recession

Wondering how to invest during a recession? Check out these best practices from a Wall Street pro to keep your portfolio stable—even when the market is down. Watch here..

The latest episode of Business Casual explores how you’ll use augmented reality in the future. Listen now.

Work in corporate retail? Live in NYC? Attend the Retail Brew Summit to network and discuss the future of commerce. Register here.

ANSWER

Cup Noodles instant ramen (chicken flavor)

         

Written by Abigail Rubenstein, Max Knoblauch, Matty Merritt, and Neal Freyman

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