Cover: Asbury Park, United States by Ryan Loughlin
Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Ranked: The 10 Best National Anthem Performances of All Time. Our favorite might be number nine.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
No Fly Zone: Three billion birds have been lost in North America since 1970
You might not notice it while hiking through the woods or strolling through a city park, but according to a new study, bird populations across North America are in a state of quiet freefall. In fact, compared with bird counts from 1970, scientists now estimate that the United States and Canada, which are home to 760 bird species, have lost around three billion birds. Why it matters: Common bird species are vital to ecosystems, controlling pests, pollinating flowers, spreading seeds and regenerating forests. When these birds disappear, their former habitats often are not the same. The Longer Read: Why birds matter from the National Geographic magazine. – National Graphic / NPR
Forming like roaches: 6 tropical storms whirling at once set a record
The six named storms whirling at once this week in the Atlantic and Pacific set a record, forecasters said Thursday. Quoted: “While Humberto and Kiko were spinning in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, four new tropical cyclones formed Tuesday: Imelda and Jerry in the Atlantic Basin, and Mario and Lorena in the Eastern Pacific Basin,” the Weather Channel reported. Big Picture: This combined number of active storms in both basins was believed to tie a modern record, set in September 1992, according to National Hurricane Center forecaster Eric Blake. He tweeted Tuesday that “they are forming like roaches out there.” Immediate impact: Hundreds have been rescued from ‘life-threatening’ floods as Imelda drenches Texas. The latest: Jerry became a hurricane as it passed Puerto Rico and Humberto knocked out power in Bermuda. – USA Today
Gone With The Wind: Wind Power Is About to Surpass Coal in Texas
Wind power in Texas is about to blow past coal for the first time. Details: Turbines in the Lone Star State are forecast to generate 87 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2020, according to a report Thursday from Rystad Energy. That will exceed the roughly 84 terawatt-hours next year from coal plants. Big picture: The trend reflects the shifting dynamics of the U.S. power sector. Utilities are increasingly shunning coal because it’s a key driver of climate change, while costs for wind continue to slide. Wind will make up 10% of the country’s energy mix this year, and coal will slump to 23%, down from 44% a decade ago. – Bloomberg
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Iran’s Foreign Minister Vows ‘All-Out War’ if U.S. or Saudis Strike
A military strike against Iran by the United States or Saudi Arabia would result in “an all-out war,” the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Thursday, repeating his government’s denial of responsibility for an attack last week that damaged Saudi oil facilities and hampered the global flow of oil. What’s next: keep an eye out for the United States and Saudi Arabia to bring up the Iranian aggression at the United Nations next week, when foreign leaders will gather for the annual General Assembly. There had been speculation about whether Mr. Trump would meet with Mr. Rouhani in New York, but don’t hold your breath. – NYT
In Israel, calls for unity reveal deep divisions after vote
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival, Benny Gantz, on Thursday each called for the formation of a unity government following Israel’s inconclusive national election. But with both men demanding to be prime minister, there were no signs they could break the deadlock. What’s next: The rival proposals, marked by deep differences, indicated the country could be headed for a long and contentious period of uncertainty, and politicians on both sides of the aisle warned of being forced into an unprecedented third election in less than a year. – AP
Austria blocks EU-Mercosur trade deal with South America
Austria’s parliament voted to veto the trade deal negotiated between the European Union and the “Mercosur” group – South America’s economic bloc. How come? MPs are concerned that Brazil, a signatory, is failing to control fires in the Amazon rainforest. Why it matters: France and Ireland have also expressed concern. The trade pact took 20 years to negotiate but must be ratified by all EU members.- BBC
Stripe Becomes Third-Most Valuable Startup in the U.S.
Stripe climbed closer to the top ranks of the highest-priced U.S. startups after a new fundraising round valued the financial-technology company at $35 billion. Details: Venture-capital firms Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz were among the investors behind the $250 million investment, the company said Thursday. The $35 billion valuation, up about 50% from an early 2019 funding round, puts Stripe above Silicon Valley darlings Airbnb and Palantir. Speaking of Airbnb, the company on Thursday announced it plans to go public in 2020. Elsewhere, Amazon vowed yesterday to be carbon neutral by 2040, saying it plans to buy 100,000 electric vans. Why it matters: the announcement comes as employees and consumers around the world plan protests to address climate change. – WSJ / Business Insider / VentureBeat
Nike drops Antonio Brown after sexual assault allegations
Antonio Brown is no longer a Nike athlete. Nike, which had a shoe deal with the New England Patriots wide receiver, has parted ways with the receiver. Background: The 31-year-old Brown was accused, in a civil lawsuit, of sexual assault Sept. 10. Brown’s former trainer accused Brown of three incidents of rape and sexual assault. Brown declined to answer questions Thursday about allegations of sexual assault and rape against him and says he’s keeping his focus on football. In other news, despite a shocking seventh-place finish at this month’s World Cup in China, USA Basketball remains No. 1 in the FIBA world men’s rankings. World Cup gold medalist Spain remained at No. 2, with Australia jumping eight spots to No. 3. – Reuters / Yahoo Sports
Apple makes ‘Made in America’ push
Apple is awarding an additional $250 million to Corning, the manufacturer that supplies the glass to Apple (and many others) to use in its iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. The money comes from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which already provided $200 million to Corning back in 2017. Why it matters: Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund represents the company’s commitment to invest billions in US companies to foster production and new jobs. Big picture: Apple said it spent $60 billion with 9,000 American suppliers in 2018, supporting 450,000 jobs across all 50 states and manufacturing locations in 36 states. – The Verge / CNET
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1973: Billie Jean King triumphs in “Battle of the Sexes”
On September 20, 1973, in a highly publicized “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, top women’s player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men’s player.
The match was a huge media event, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide.