No Bull With Raging Robert.
Good morning. It’s Monday, May 10, and we’re covering doping allegations at the Kentucky Derby, the shutdown of a major US gas pipeline, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at email@example.com.
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NEED TO KNOW
Derby Doping Allegations
Medina Spirit, the winner of last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, reportedly tested positive for an excess amount of the steroid betamethasone during a postrace check. The synthetic drug is used to relieve joint pain in horses, but its use is prohibited within two weeks of a race. If the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit would be disqualified and runner-up Mandaloun would be declared the winner. It would be the first disqualification of a Derby winner due to performance-enhancing drugs since Dancer’s Image in 1968.
Churchill Downs, the track that hosts the race, immediately suspended Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who notched a record seventh Kentucky Derby victory with Medina Spirit’s win. Baffert, who denied the charges, is widely considered the sport’s best trainer, having accumulated more than $320M in winnings over his career.
Thirteen horses in history have won the Triple Crown — placing first in the Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes — with Baffert guiding two of them. Medina Spirit is currently scheduled to run in Saturday’s Preakness.
Colonial Pipeline, which supplies an estimated 45% of the East Coast’s gasoline, was shut down over the weekend after officials revealed the company had been the victim of a ransomware attack. The 5,500-mile network stretches from Texas to New Jersey, traveling through the Southeast and up the East Coast (see map).
In such attacks, hackers typically take control of an organization’s IT systems, preventing access until a ransom is paid. In this case, company officials indicated that while some of their systems were hijacked, the pipeline was shut down as a proactive measure — not shut down by the hackers themselves. The company declined to comment on whether the ransom had or would be paid; experts say gas prices would only be affected in the event of a prolonged shutdown.
Officials believe DarkSide, a cybercriminal group, is behind the attack.
Jobs Report Whiffs
The US economy added 266,000 new jobs in April, according to government estimates released Friday, far below analysts’ estimates of 1 million. Unemployment also ticked up slightly, from 6.0% to 6.1%. The country has roughly 8.2 million fewer jobs than it had before the pandemic.
The figures caught many off guard, with analysts banking on rising vaccine rates and the reopening of many state economies around the country to boost hiring. Some argue a stimulus-provided boost in unemployment benefits, roughly equal to a $15-per-hour wage, has kept workers from returning ($$, WSJ). Data showed the average hourly wage rose 21 cents in April to $30.17.
Others have argued many low-wage jobs are undesirable amid the pandemic, while highlighting separate issues making it difficult to return to work, such as lack of child care.
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IN THE KNOW
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
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> Canelo Alvarez bests previously undefeated Billy Joe Saunders via eighth-round technical knockout to unify the super-middleweight titles; crowd of more than 73,000 sets a US indoor attendance record for boxing (More)
> Vax Live concert featuring appearances by President Joe Biden, Jennifer Lopez, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, raises $302M and helps procure 26 million vaccine doses (More)
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Science & Technology
> Early studies show Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine protects against COVID-19 variants (More) | US cases fall steeply, with the rolling average near 40,000 new cases per day, down 20% over the past 10 days (More) | At least 58% of US adults have received at least one vaccine dose (More)
> New study suggests sharks use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate; findings may explain why certain sharks congregate at specific geographic spots every year (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +0.7%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq +0.9%) despite April unemployment whiff, as investors believe lax monetary policy will remain for extended time period (More)
> Tesla CEO Elon Musk hosts “Saturday Night Live,” reveals he has Asperger’s syndrome for the first time publicly (More)
> Goldman Sachs unveils new cryptocurrency trading team, situated within the bank’s global currencies and emerging markets division (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> At least 50 killed and more than 100 wounded in bombing at girls’ school in Afghanistan capital of Kabul; Taliban deny responsibility for the attack (More) | At least 180 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque (More)
> Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, along with three other officers present on the scene, indicted on federal civil rights violations for the killing of George Floyd (More)
> New DNA evidence suggests an alternate suspect in the 1993 Arkansas killing of Debra Reese; Ledell Lee, who maintained his innocence, was executed for the murder in 2017 (More) | Seven killed, including shooter, after gunman opens fire at Colorado birthday party (More)
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