Asylum Restrictions, MLB Scandal, and a Thieving Otter

Facts, without motives. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Facts, without motives.
 

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Need To Know
 

US Asylum Restrictions

President Joe Biden issued an executive order yesterday imposing new limits on the number of migrants allowed to enter the US at the southern border once a daily threshold is exceeded. The order allows border officials to turn away those crossing illegally without processing their asylum claims, using a law previously attempted by former President Donald Trump in 2018.

 

Under the policy, which takes effect immediately, asylum requests will be halted once the seven-day average of illegal crossings reaches 2,500 per day—April averaged 4,296 per day. Restrictions will be lifted when crossings decrease to under 1,500 per day for seven consecutive days. Limited exceptions will apply to migrants with prior authorization, unaccompanied minors, trafficking victims, individuals facing medical emergencies, and those with extreme threats to their safety. Those who cross illegally would be subject to a five-year ban from entering the US.

 

Republicans have criticized Biden's plan as a political maneuver ahead of the election, and legal challenges are expected.

 

MDMA Proposal Rejected

A federal advisory panel yesterday voted not to recommend the psychedelic drug MDMA for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, flagging the drug's risks of abuse, potential for heart problems, and inadequate data. The vote comes amid a resurgence of medical interest in the hallucinogens long associated with high-risk recreational use. 

 

MDMA is a synthetic stimulant developed by a Merck pharmaceuticals scientist in 1912, popularly known as ecstasy (in tablet form) and molly (as a powder). Users of the drug experience heightened sensations, distorted perceptions, and increased self-awareness as a result of the compound's increase in neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. MDMA is the first of a group of psychedelics—including LSD and psilocybin—expected to come up for federal approval.

 

Panelists noted flaws in the ostensibly blind clinical studies, specifically how recipients could recognize they had received MDMA and not the placebo due to the drug's powerful effects. The panel's recommendation now heads to the Food and Drug Administration for a final ruling by Aug. 11 (see relationship overview). 

 

MLB Gambling Scandal

Major League Baseball yesterday banned San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for life for violating its gambling policy by betting on the sport. Marcano is the first active MLB player to face a lifetime ban under the policy since New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O’Connell in 1924. (All-time MLB hits leader Pete Rose was banned in 1989, three years after retiring.) 

 

Marcano, who hadn't played this season due to an injury, had placed 387 baseball bets totaling over $150K from October 2022 through November 2023. Twenty-five bets were on Marcano's former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, while he was on the team's injury list. MLB also suspended four players for one year, each of whom waged under $1K. League members who bet on baseball games in which they don't appear on the roster are suspended for a year, while those who bet on games in which they do appear on the roster are banned permanently.

 

Separately, Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter formally pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $17M from Ohtani to pay off sports betting debts.  

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Sean "Diddy" Combs sells stake in Revolt, the media company he founded, amid sexual assault allegations (More) | Eight-time Grammy-winning songwriter The-Dream accused in lawsuit of rape and trafficking (More)

> Janis Paige, prolific Broadway and film actress, dies at 101 (More) | Brother Marquis, longtime member of rap group 2 Live Crew, dies at 58 (More)

> Three-time reigning champion Oklahoma to face off against Texas in 2024 NCAA Women's College World Series finals beginning tonight (8 pm ET, ESPN) (More

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Science & Technology

> AI models trained on human speech can be repurposed to analyze dog vocalizations; approach may help provide insight into animal communications (More

> Researchers discover the twin of an atmospheric effect nicknamed "Steve"; the phenomenon is similar to the aurora borealis but appears as purple ribbons in the sky at dusk and dawn (More) | All about Steve (More)

> New model predicts the mechanics of knitted materials, a complex mathematical problem despite its age-old use in textiles; results may help develop new wearable electronics and improve manufacturing processes (More

 

Business & Markets

> US stocks close higher (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow +0.4%, Nasdaq +0.2%) amid interest rate uncertainty (More) | US job openings in April fall to 8.1 million, the lowest level in three years, while layoffs also fall (More)

> Microsoft and Google collectively lay off hundreds of employees in their cloud businesses as companies prioritize investment in AI (More)

> Appeals court rules VC firm Fearless Fund cannot issue grants solely to Black women, an approach the court says likely violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which barred the use of race in contracts; Fearless Fund to consider going to trial (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Hunter Biden's gun case to continue today after opening statements and first witness called (More) | See previous write-up (More) | Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) brings felony forgery charges against three associates of former President Donald Trump for 2020 fake elector scheme (More)

> India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on track for rare third term in narrower-than-expected victory as his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party loses outright majority (More) | Two people arrested in the UK after former Brexit leader Nigel Farage assaulted with milkshake while announcing his candidacy for upcoming elections (More)

> Rep. Andy Kim (D, NJ-3), Republican entrepreneur Curtis Bashaw win New Jersey Senate primaries; Kim and Bashaw will face off in November against indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who filed to run for reelection as an independent (More)

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New frescoes discovered in Pompeii.

 

Milky Way photos top best science images in May

 

Breeder fined a record $35M for neglecting 4,000 beagles.

 

Three-year-old girl had raisin in her nose.

 

Invasive fish with snake head found in Missouri.

 

... and Joro spiders are coming to New York.

 

Three boys find a T. rex fossil in North Dakota.

 

Treehouse-themed places you can visit. (w/photos)

 

Clickbait: Return of the surfboard-stealing otter.

 

Historybook: The US moves off gold standard (1933); Bobby Kennedy is shot at campaign rally, dies next day (1968); President Ronald Reagan dies (2004); Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury dies (2012); Fashion designer Kate Spade dies (2018).

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