🌊 Lemonade Charged with Murder

Plus: Biden halts arms shipment to Israel

RIP, Panera Bread charged lemonades.

At first the lemonade was charged with caffeine; then it was charged for murder. Panera Bread’s super-caffeinated lemonade has seen its final days. It allegedly killed two people, which is making me feel much better about the casualties at my childhood lemonade stand.

Speaking of charges, Roca deserves a charge for gross editorial negligence in yesterday’s newsletter. One of the bullets for the Boy Scouts — *Scouting America — story was from a previous day’s Russia story. Thank you to all the eagle-eyed readers who pointed this out. The Roca team needs to drink more Panera Bread lemonade.

😲 No bullying Olympic athletes!

🤯 RFK Jr. had a brain worm

🏠 Homes out of reach

–Max, Max, and Alex

KEY STORY

Sip Carefully…

Panera Bread announced it would discontinue its controversial “Charged Sips”

  • In 2022, Panera rolled out Charged Sips – fruity beverages with 155-302 milligrams of caffeine. By comparison, an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine; a 16-ounce Monster, 160 mg

  • Since October 2023, two people have filed wrongful death suits against Panera, alleging its drinks caused cardiac arrest. A third person has alleged the drinks caused a heart condition

  • On Wednesday, Panera announced it would discontinue Sips and introduce less intense alternatives

Dig Deeper

  • Panera had responded to the lawsuits by adding the following language to its menu: “Consume in moderation. Not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women”

  • On Wednesday, it announced that it would stop selling Sips and would replace them with low-sugar and low-caffeine options

KEY STORY

Olympics: No Haters Allowed

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the roll-out of a system to block abusive posts before athletes see them

  • The 2024 Paris Olympics opens in July. Ahead of that, the IOC unveiled an “AI-powered system that will monitor all major social media platforms”

  • It “will screen thousands of accounts…and flag online abuse targeting athletes to the relevant platform for action,” the IOC said. When it tested the service in a recent esports competition, 49 of 199 flagged posts were removed

  • Athletes will be able to opt out of the service

Dig Deeper

  • The IOC's statement said the system will monitor thousands of social accounts in 35 languages across X, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok

  • Once it identifies “abusive” content, the relevant social platform will verify and remove it – ”in many cases before [athletes have] even seen the abuse”

KEY STORY

FTX Paying it All Back

  • When a company goes bankrupt, its creditors – customers, investors, lenders – stake claims to its assets. The bankrupt company typically lacks the funds to pay back all it owes, leaving its creditors with only a portion of what they’re owed

  • When FTX went bankrupt in 2022, the company owed ~$8B to customers and ~$11B total. It wasn’t clear how much of that creditors would retrieve

  • But on Wednesday, FTX announced that a crypto rally and good investments have left it with ~$16.3B – enough to pay back its creditors, with interest

Dig Deeper

  • Before going bankrupt, FTX had invested in a number of companies and cryptos. Those have paid off handsomely, filling FTX's coffers

  • While the outcome is unusual, some creditors are angry because their claims are fixed to the date that FTX filed for bankruptcy in 2022, meaning many missed out on the rally that has happened since

KEY STORY

US Withholds Arms From Israel

The US halted a shipment of arms to Israel

  • Most Hamas leaders and members are reportedly in Rafah, along with 1-1.5M civilians. On Monday, Israel began strikes on the city; on Tuesday, its tanks entered and seized a strategic border crossing

  • On Tuesday night, the Biden administration blocked a shipment of arms, including 1,800 2,000-pound bombs, to Israel. The bombs are highly destructive; Israel says they are needed to destroy Hamas’ tunnels

  • The administration has said it is hesitant to send the arms because Israel “[has] not fully addressed our concerns" about protecting civilians

Dig Deeper

  • The Biden administration had been demanding that Israel provide a plan to evacuate Rafah’s civilians. It says Israel's existing plans are insufficient

  • The White House blocked the shipment without notifying Congress, where many Republicans blasted the move: "This is an underhanded attempt to withhold aid without facing accountability,” said Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA)

  • The White House said, "Our commitment to Israel's security remains ironclad”

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

🪱 The New York Times obtained a recording of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from 2012 in which he said that a dark patch inside his skull “was caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died”

👶 French President Emmanuel Macron said “fertility check-ups” would be offered to all people around the age of 20. Those would “establish a complete assessment [of] semen analysis [or] ovarian reserve”

💰 The EU agreed to use profits from frozen Russian assets to buy weapons for Ukraine. $280B in frozen Russian assets have been continuously generating profits, raising the question of what to do with them

🇸🇪 Sweden’s central bank cut the country’s interest rates, joining several other European countries that are diverging from US policy

🌐 Microsoft announced it would invest $3.3B to build data centers and AI training programs in Wisconsin. The announcement came the same day that President Biden visited the state

🏛️ Donald Trump has been telling Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to stop attacking House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA). The fiercely pro-Trump Greene wants to topple Johnson for allowing the Ukraine aid bill to pass

COMMUNITY
Question of the Day

Honestly, this week’s debate didn’t strike a chord. So we’re changing it up with an OG question of the day…

Where was the most significant trip/vacation of your life?

Reply by responding to this email!

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

⚰️ Least problematic politician: Jennifer Pace, a Republican candidate who died after the deadline to remove names from the ballot, was declared the winner of Indiana’s 7th District primary

🌿 You’re ganja have to leave: A California woman was turned away from a police station while trying to hand in marijuana that school kids found. The officers told her they were too busy and escorted her out

🚀 Gloria Estefan-sponsored nuke: The US Navy announced it would name a new nuclear-powered attack submarine the “USS Miami” and that superstar singer Gloria Estefan would serve as its sponsor

🐊 Venti reptile: A five-foot alligator was spotted waiting in a Florida Starbucks drive-thru line. Firefighters proceeded to take it away

🏃 The ultimate marathoner: British runner Steve Edwards, 61, set a new world record as the fastest person to run 1,000 marathons. He recorded an average finish time of 3:21:47 (~7:35 pace per mile)

Roca Wrap
Two Views on Gaza: Part 3

Dr. David Hasan was adamant about one thing: No matter your politics, the civilians in Gaza are people.

“First of all, what I’m emphasizing to both of you, is that the people in Gaza are human beings,” he said. “And like you and I, they have stories, they have names, they have aspirations, and they want to live exactly the same thing as you and I want. They want to live in dignity, respect, have a house open for themselves and their kids, provide for their kids, and send their kids to school. That's their dream.”

“Unfortunately, the war between Hamas and the Israeli troops and government put these innocent people in the middle.”

He continued: “A lot of them, if you will, and I can't record the percentage, but a lot of them, the ones that I talked to, they didn't want to do anything with this war at all. And because of them, they felt very trapped. Because of them, there is collateral damage.”

“Almost every single one of them either lost a home or lost people…and so, of course, they're going to be resentful for the whole war and the players of that war.”

“Your kids are starving and haven't eaten for days. You can see them dying, if not from the infection, because there's no way to take care of anything but the trauma. So, if you get heart attacks, you're done. If you have cancer, you have no access to anything. If you're on dialysis, you can't.”

“So, when you experience that, you are definitely resentful for the people who are the cause or are inflicting it on you.”

Hasan said he was “definitely” aware of the possibility that Hamas tunnels existed underneath his hospital, but said he never saw evidence of that. He also stressed that he never saw Hamas members in the hospital.

The destruction of Hamas has left Gaza lawless, Hasan said, explaining that a “total vacuum” now exists there, including for who will distribute aid. He saw people swarming aid trucks whenever they entered the territory: ”Some of them haven't had food for days…or have gone months without even a shower or cleaning themselves because there's no access to water. So people just jump on the trucks.”

“It’s the fastest versus the weakest.”

Hasan said he heard that the Israelis often warned Gazans to evacuate before bombing.

“They drop fliers and then [they send] SMS,” he said, although he pointed out that “there’s a complete lack of electricity…to charge your phone or to receive messages.”

“Imagine a whole 2.2M people living in 26 miles by 8 miles…any bombing, whatever it is…is going to have much more ramification and destruction than you want.”

“There was definitely collateral damage. And as you remember, it's not an open field where the Hamas fighters are standing there…Hamas are among buildings.”

David Hasan and John Spencer both visited twice, in December and in March. Both say the situation changed dramatically in that period.

From Spencer’s perspective, the pace of bombing had slowed considerably while the Israeli evacuation efforts had become substantially more effective: By March, a fraction as many people were being killed and international pressure was leading the Israelis to launch innovative tactics, including the use of facial recognition to target militants.

From Hasan’s perspective, the aid situation has improved, although it remains dire. More aid enters each day and it now reaches northern Gaza, where before it couldn’t.

He also says a small degree of normalcy has returned, as people learn to live amid war.

Yet, Hasan says, the situation will be transformed when Israel invades Rafah, allegedly Hamas’ last stronghold. As many as 1.5M people are living within the city – original population 172,000 – and many only have access to Hasan’s hospital.

There’s no telling what will happen next, but Hasan and Spencer are both preparing for their next trips into the Strip.

Have thoughts, questions, or concerns? Reply with them to this email and we’ll share them tomorrow. 

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

That’s all the news for today!

We hope you share your thoughts on the question of the day (Where was the most significant trip/vacation of your life?) and have a wonderful Thursday.

Also, the Maxes are coming to England later this month. If any of you are there, let us know! We’ll be in northern England, Birmingham, and London.

–Max, Max, and Alex