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🌎 Sticking up for Taiwan

President Joe Biden said that the US would defend Taiwan against "an unprecedented attack"

The USS Antietam conducts operations in the Taiwan Strait in August 2022.
Via Reuters
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Here’s what you need to know

Joe Biden committed to defending Taiwan from “an unprecedented attack.” In a “60 Minutes” interview, the US president also promised to control inflation and declared the covid-19 pandemic over.

US Customs may have your data. Officials copy data from seized phones and laptops into a giant Customs and Border Protection database, which officers can access without a warrant, according to the Washington Post.

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is today. A state ceremony of its scale hasn’t been seen since Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965, and will be paid for with taxpayer money.

Heating bills will rise across the US. As natural gas gets more expensive, the residential price of electricity will be 7.5% higher this winter compared to last year.

The EU recommended freezing funds for Hungary. The bloc’s executive branch may withhold 7.5 billion euros from the country because of democratic concerns and potential mismanagement.

Hurricane Fiona knocked out power in Puerto Rico. The storm, which has now hit the Dominican Republic, is expected to grow in strength to a Category 3 hurricane by Wednesday.


What to watch for

The UN General Assembly calendar goes from manageable to absolutely chaotic starting Monday (Sept. 19), when three big events—Climate Week, Concordia, and the Clinton Global Initiative—kick off multi-day gatherings featuring a range of speakers from business, philanthropy, and the public sector.

The week only gets more packed the following day, as world leaders gather for high-level debate. This year, the event will serve as a meter of global attitudes towards Russia’s war in Ukraine. The UN General Assembly already passed a resolution in March condemning Russia’s invasion. The high-level debate offers a chance to renew calls to end the conflict.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who addressed the conference under very different circumstances last year, is expected to make a speech, either in person or remotely. Russian leader Vladimir Putin won’t be making an appearance, but foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to lead the Russian delegation instead.

Follow along with our Need to Know: UNGA 2022 email, and get updates every few days for the next two weeks.


Patagonia’s sole shareholder is Earth

Patagonia’s billionaire founder, Yvon Chouinard, is giving away his company to fight climate change. The Holdfast Collective, a combo trust and non-profit organization, will now be at the helm of the $3 billion outdoor apparel retailer and ensure that all profits not reinvested in the company go towards environmental causes.

That’s a sweet deal for planet Earth, but also for the Chouinard family. 98% of company shares are going to a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, meaning they will pay $0 in gift tax. The remaining shares going to the trust will have a tax of about $17 million—a negligible amount given the donation size.

The family will still have effective control over the company, with all voting stock vested in the trust. It’s not an uncommon move for philanthropists, and a canny one for Chouinard: billions of dollars can go to climate advocacy, and he can avoid hefty levies in the process.

A graph showing how many Patagonia shares are going to the Holdfast Collective (98%) and how many are going to the Patagonia Purpose Trust (2%).

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Fire ants and Cheerios have something in common. They both clump together in a way researchers love to study.


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