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
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Mexican Drugs Are Bad, Canadian Drugs Are Good
The Trump administration plans to allow certain medications to be imported from Canada and other countries in a bid to lower the prices of those therapies. “For the first time in HHS’s history, we are open to importation,” Alex Azar, the head of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. Why it matters: Drug prices are often lower in other countries because those governments negotiate directly with pharmaceutical markets. In the U.S., where pricing is left to market competition, costs to consumers are higher. – NPR
Pro-Choice States Target Georgia’s $10 Billion Film Business
Georgia’s passage of one of the country’s strictest abortion laws has triggered a nationwide competition to lure TV and film production from the state in the event of a boycott. Context: Georgia’s tax incentives and spending credits made it such a darling of Hollywood that the state surpassed California as the favorite setting for TV and film production in the U.S. Why it matters: Production in Georgia was responsible for an estimated $9.5 billion in economic impact last year, according to the state, so there’s plenty at stake. Big picture: the biggest beneficiary will be New Mexico. The state recently doubled its financial-incentive cap, and Netflix and NBC Universal have promised to spend at least $1 billion and $500 million, respectively, in New Mexico over the next decade. – Bloomberg
Funds for Military Pensions, Afghan Security Forces Among Those Being Diverted for Border Wall
The $6.1 billion in Defense Department funds that will be diverted to expand the barrier at the Mexican border will be taken out of programs ranging from funding of Afghan security forces to a retirement program for the U.S. military, as well as construction projects for military bases around the world, Pentagon officials said this week. For Context: Shifting funds between programs is normal, especially at the Defense Department. However, the border wall transfers are unusual for their size and how they are being carried out. While budget “reprogramming” usually takes millions or even hundreds of millions from programs that are unable to spend their budgeted money, in this case, billions are being pulled together from a variety of programs and then put toward what appears to be a single new project. – WSJ (subscription)
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
US has intel that Osama bin Laden’s son and heir is dead
Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza, heir apparent to leadership of the militant group al-Qaida, is dead, according to multiple U.S. officials. He was killed some time in the past two years, during the Trump administration, but officials took some time to confirm his death. Why it matters: In February, the State Department said Hamza was emerging as the new leader of the group and offered a $1 million reward for information on him. He was thought to be about 30 years old and based somewhere near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Big Picture: Osama bin Laden was believed to have fathered at least 20 children with half a dozen wives and was himself the 17th of 52 children. The letters uncovered in the raid after his death suggest that Hamza was one of his favorites. – USA Today
A year and counting: Ebola in Congo
Today is exactly 12 months since Congo’s current Ebola outbreak began. Why it matters: It has grown into the second-worst ever, anywhere, with around 2,700 recorded cases and 1,700 deaths. Clinics and health workers fighting the disease have been attacked roughly 200 times this year. Many locals do not believe the virus is real, and so are reluctant to get vaccinated. Big picture: while there is hope, progress would be easier were Congo less turbulent. Hundreds of militia groups have driven perhaps 3m people from their homes. UN forces are trying to drive rebels out of Ebola zones. Neighboring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan are watching fearfully to see if the virus crosses the border. – The Economist
Iran slashes four zeroes from rial currency over inflation
The Iranian government has approved a plan to ax four zeroes from the rial in a bid to tackle high inflation in the country. The measure was announced by an Iranian government spokesperson, Ali Rabiei, following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Iran has been facing a severe currency crisis as a result of economic sanctions imposed by Washington, after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal. The Iranian rial has plunged from 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 deal to around 120,000 to $1 these days. Iran’s government on Wednesday also decided to rename the currency, which will now be called the toman, a former super unit of official currency that was in circulation until 1925. Today I Learned: Iranians have for decades continued to use the term toman for its simple conversion rate: 1 toman is equal to 10 rial. – DW
The Fed cut rates for the first time since 2008
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday lowered interest rates by a quarter-point for the first time since the Great Recession in 2008 to help stave off the possibility of an economic downturn. It was a highly anticipated decision seen by many as an “insurance cut” to hedge against hawkish U.S. trade policy and slowing global growth. The central bank is hoping a rate cut will be the necessary injection to keep the US economy healthy, especially because it has limited ammunition to respond to a downturn with historically low-interest rates. Immediate Impact: The Dow logged its biggest one-day decline since May 31 along with the S&P 500. The Nasdaq had it biggest one-day drop since late June. – CNN / CNBC
The highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history
New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas reportedly became the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history after agreeing to a contract extension with the team Wednesday. Thomas and the Saints agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract extension, according to multiple reports. ESPN reported the deal includes $61 million in guaranteed money – the most in history for a non-quarterback. So is Thomas worth it? It always depends on who you ask, but last season he ranked first in the NFL in catches with 125, sixth in yards receiving with 1,405 and tied for 10th with nine touchdowns. – AP
Facebook is getting closer to letting you type with just your thoughts
During its developer conference in 2017, Facebook announced its plans to develop a brain-computer interface (BCI) that would let you type just by thinking. Well, yesterday researchers working under this program posted a study noting their algorithm was able to detect spoken words from brain activity in real-time. Keep in mind that earlier this month, Elon Musk’s Neuralink also announced a project that will let you control your iPhone via a device attached to your brain. Why these matter: while systems like Facebook’s won’t be available anytime soon, ultimately it could make interaction with AR and VR hardware very easy. – The Next Web
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1961: Texans head for the thrills at Six Flags
On this day in 1961, amusement park lovers “head for the thrills” as Six Flags Over Texas, the first park in the Six Flags chain, opens.
Did You Know: Six Flags New Orleans never recovered from the damage of Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Today, it sits abandoned for its 13th year. See the pictures.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag was the Red, White and Blue set against the green…
On August 1st, 1936, Adolf Hitler made his only public statement of the Berlin Olympics at its opening ceremony. More than 5,000 athletes from 51 countries marched into a stadium packed with 100,000 onlookers.
Here are 10 Things You May Not Know About the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin