If You Plan To Watch ‘Jeopardy!’ Tonight, Stop Reading Now

The popular TV game show Jeopardy! has a new champion not named James Holzhauer.

The 34-year-old Las Vegas sports bettor James Holzhauer, who rocketed to fame by demolishing past winning records, saw his luck run out Monday when challenger Emma Boettcher, a Chicago librarian, beat him.

Holzhauer, the 32-time champ, set one record by winning $131,127 in a single game, nearly doubling the previous single-day in regulation play of $77,000. He also holds the 16 highest one-day scores in the history of Jeopardy!

In April, Holzhauer told NPR’s Merrit Kennedy how he kept winning:

“‘All good professional gamblers are selectively aggressive. You need to pick your spots and bet big when you identify them,” Holzhauer tells NPR over email. “That’s basically my Jeopardy strategy in a nutshell.

“‘Holzhauer starts by choosing the highest-value clues on the six-by-five board. Contestants have typically started with the lowest value of a category and worked down the board to the more valuable spots.

“‘You need a decent-sized bankroll to bet for profit, which is why I start at the bottom of the board,'” he says. That bankroll pays off when he hits a “Daily Double,” a question where he can bet more if he has more money in his pocket already. And he routinely bets everything he has.'”

In the end, Holzhauer walked away from the game show with more than $2.46 million in 32 games. The highest regular-season winner was Ken Jennings with $2.52 million over 74 games in 2004.

“I really felt like I had been playing with house money, so I wasn’t too upset to see my run end,” Holzhauer said in an email to the Associated Press. He said he ran into “a terrific opponent playing flawlessly.”

Holzhauer congratulated Boettcher, the new champion of Jeopardy!, with a high-five in the episode that will air Monday.

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House Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Bill Despite Earlier GOP Efforts To Stall It

Lawmakers have approved disaster aid funds to communities like Reno, Okla., which was struck by tornadoes last week.

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Sue Ogrocki/AP

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

The House has approved a $19.1 billion disaster aid package despite earlier objections from Republicans.

The legislation was approved 354-58. All those who opposed it were Republicans. The Senate already passed the bill overwhelmingly and it heads to the president’s desk for his signature.

President Trump has said he backed the measure, even though it did not include border money he urged Congress to add. He said he would continue pressing for that as part of separate legislation.

With Trump’s signature, the legislation would help speed relief funds to communities hit by tornadoes, wildfires, volcanoes, drought, flooding and other disasters. It also includes money for Puerto Rico, which is still rebuilding after 2017 hurricanes devastated significant portions of the island.

Bipartisan leaders planned to have swift House action on the bill during the weeklong Memorial Day break because lawmakers had already gone home. But three times, House Republicans stalled it. In three separate attempts to pass the bill by unanimous consent, Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas; Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; and John Rose, R-Tenn., objected to approving a funding package of that size without having the full House present to vote.

Other House Republicans reject the spending bill because it does not include additional money for agencies tasked with managing migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico. That funding was intentionally left out of the bill by Senate negotiators in order to make the legislation less controversial among Democrats.

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Mexican Government Privately Warns Trump Administration Of Counter-Tariffs

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard attends a press conference with the Mexican delegation negotiating tariffs with U.S. officials on Monday in Washington, D.C.

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Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

The Mexican government has employed a tone of friendship that’s averse to conflict, but Mexican officials behind the scenes are warning the Trump administration that they’re prepared to announce targeted counter-tariffs if the United States carries out threats of new tariffs on Mexican imports.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard met with State Department officials in Washington over the last 48 hours in an effort to find a solution to a tariff fight, which he later described as “counterproductive” and would not decrease immigration.

Publicly, they’re saying they do not want to disrupt crucial supply chains, but those familiar with the talks say they’re privately looking at imports that have political significance and are sent directly to Mexico for consumption.

The behind-the-scenes talks are part of a more public push led Ebrard and other top Mexican officials who are warning their counterparts of disastrous consequences if President Trump carries out threats to impose 5% tariffs on June 10 as so-called punishment for not curbing migration flows, according to two sources familiar with the talks.

“They’re going to have to delicately balance inflaming tensions even further, as this could be horrific for both countries, but particularly the Mexican economy,” said a former White House official familiar with the conversations. “But you can’t just roll over and play dead if you’re verbally attacked like this by a foreign government’s president. That doesn’t play well, domestically.”

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent Ebrard as well as Mexico’s economy minister, Graciela Márquez, and agriculture minister Victor Villalobos to Washington in search of a solution to avert the tariff battle.

On Monday, Mexican officials said Márquez was expected to meet Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Villalobos met with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. There were also meetings planned with acting head of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Ebrard is expected to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

Some Republicans in key states that rely on a trade relationship with Mexico are warning Trump that he risks hurting U.S. interests.

“It’s important to remember that any actions that we take to secure our Southern border must also keep in mind the important role that Mexico plays in the economy of the United States,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “My state enjoys a strong relationship economically with Mexico because of that 1,200-mile common border.”

The Mexico team argues the best way to combat immigration is to invest in Central America, but the Trump administration wants Mexico to take stronger steps along its Southern border, dismantle human smuggling chains and improve coordination on asylum.

The relationship between the United States and Mexico goes well beyond immigration.

Mexico is the U.S.’s third-largest trading partner. The two countries collaborate on everything from drug trafficking to human trafficking. The United States has invested more than $2 billion through the Mérida security initiative, and the Mexican government, after decades of hostility, is now allowing U.S. investment in its oil industry.

During a press conference Monday, Márquez expressed confidence in finding a diplomatic solution, but said they’re evaluating the proper response if Trump carries out the tariffs.

“I cannot say that we’re are going to do the same [tariffs], because we have to make a strategic plan to take into account aspects of the commercial relationship,” Márquez said in Spanish. “We do not want to use tariffs to damage supply chains, job creation or investment.”

But Jorge Guajardo, a former Mexican ambassador to China, said what Mexico can do that China did not is implement more strategic countermeasures as opposed to blanket tariffs.

As an example, he said Mexico could consider targeting Kentucky bourbon because of its political importance and ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. It is also shipped to Mexico for consumption, but not part of a supply chain like production of various autoparts that make several trips back and forth over the border as a car is built.

“Very simply,” Guajardo said. “Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.] said he supported President Trump’s tariffs. You can be first certain that Mexico is thinking South Carolina what are they exporting to Mexico. And that will be targeted as long as it’s not in a supply chain.”

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Virginia Beach Gunman Cited ‘Personal Reasons’ For Quitting Just Before Mass Shooting

Victims’ names cover part of a flower vase at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., on Sunday.

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Hours before he walked into his workplace and unleashed a barrage of gunfire that killed 12 people, the Virginia Beach gunman wrote his bosses a two-sentence email that said he was quitting for “personal reasons,” according to a copy of the letter city officials released on Monday.

“I want to officially put in my (2) weeks’ notice,” DeWayne Craddock wrote. “It has been a pleasure to serve the city, but due to personal reasons, I must relieve my position.”

The new document does not shed light on his possible motive nor provide insight into his frame of mind just before the rampage, but city officials view the letter as evidence that the suspect did not offer clues about his violent plans before carrying them out.

Julie Hill, a spokeswoman for the city of Virginia Beach, characterized the letter as “unremarkable,” highlighting how the suspect’s written words “contained no foreshadowing of the actions he would take later in the day.”

Investigators are still searching for a motive in the shooting that ended with 11 government workers and one contractor dead and four others injured. The 40-year-old gunman, who had worked for the city as a civil engineer for 9 years, was killed in a shootout with police. Among the dead were two supervisors in the gunman’s city department, yet officials have stressed that nothing so far in the investigation suggests Craddock specifically targeted anyone. Instead, authorities say he unloaded dozens of rounds of bullets “indiscriminately.”

Authorities say in addition to carrying two .45-caliber handguns with him, the shooter had extended ammunition magazines and a device known as a suppressor that is supposed to muffle the sound of gunfire.

With law enforcement officials still puzzling over what set off the violence, the mood across sunny Virginia Beach has been grim at times.

Droves of mourners laid flowers outside an entrance of the municipal building in remembrance of the victims. Teddy bears, white crosses and other expressions of sorrow have accumulated into a manifestation of the community’s grief.

Mourners in Virginia Beach continue to lay flowers at a memorial near the municipal building where a gunman opened fired and killed 12 people three days ago.

Tomorrow, most government buildings here will reopen for business. But the shooting site remains an active crime scene. pic.twitter.com/FbQ6zU0xAZ

— Bobby Allyn (@BobbyAllyn) June 3, 2019

Some have wondered if additional guards and metal detectors in government buildings would have made a difference, but standing near a memorial, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said the city’s residents say this is not about increasing security.

“We can’t let this horrible incident define us because you look at where people are vulnerable, movies theaters, malls, and everything, this is hopefully just an unfortunate anomaly,” Dyer said. “We’re going to go back to being Virginia Beach.”

At another ceremony close by, dozens of Virginia Public School employees wore blue, the color of the city’s flag and a nod to how central the ocean is to this beachside community, as way to pay tribute to those who were killed.

School Superintendent Aaron Spence, said he was struggling with the senselessness of the tragedy.

“We did not and could not imagine what happened on Friday,” he said. “Fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, neighbors. Twelve people came to a building right next to ours on Friday and they did not return home. And they will never go home.”

At a press briefing over the weekend, City Manager Dave Hansen told reporters the gunman was not forced to resign. Coworkers, Hansen said, did not express any concerns about Craddock prior to the shooting.

“He was in good standing within his department, and there were no issues of discipline ongoing,” Hansen said.

Business will resume on Tuesday at the government complex where the violent attack took place. Officials say there will be a heavy police presence. At building No. 2, though, the yellow crime scene tape will stay, as federal investigators search it for additional evidence.

“There is an emotional challenge and a logistical challenge to all of this,” said the mayor. “This is the start of a very long journey.

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In His U.K. Visit, Trump Navigates A Strained Trans-Atlantic Relationship

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II hosts President Trump for a State Banquet in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace in London on Monday, on the first day of the U.S. president and the first lady’s three-day state Visit to the U.K.

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Dominic Lipinski/AFP/Getty Images

The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom may not feel very special at the moment. President Trump’s three-day visit to the U.K. got off to a rocky start on Monday, when he launched a Twitter attack on London Mayor Sadiq Khan as Air Force One was preparing to land.

.@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly “nasty” to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me……

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019

A day earlier, Khan had criticized Trump in Britain’s Observer newspaper, saying the president was “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” from the far right, which he said “uses the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century.”

Trump tweeted in response that Khan had done “a terrible job” as London mayor and is a “stone cold loser.” Trump said Kahn reminded him of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, “only half his height.” (De Blasio is about 1 foot taller than Khan.)

From rolling back women’s reproductive rights to defending white supremacists and far-right nationalists – President Trump’s behaviour flies in the face of ideals America was founded upon.

As the US’s closest friends we have a duty to speak out. #Ridgepic.twitter.com/pYDBvh1dU4

— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 2, 2019

That bitter exchange is a far cry from the way the trans-Atlantic friendship is memorialized at Brookwood American Cemetery, in the leafy county of Surrey, a 40-minute train ride southwest of London. More than 460 U.S. service members and civilians who died during or after World War I are buried there. Inscribed on the walls of the cemetery’s chapel are the names of more than 500 Americans who were lost in the surrounding seas, including the 131 crew and passengers of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, which was sunk by a German torpedo in the fall of 1918.

In one corner of the lush lawn stands a marble cross that illustrates the early days of what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would eventually call the “special relationship,” the unusually close political, cultural and military ties between the U.K. and its most successful former colony.

More than 460 Americans are buried at the Brookwood American Cemetery, in the county of Surrey, outside London.

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Frank Langfitt/NPR

Written on the cross is the name Wayne Hart Moore, identified as a 2nd lieutenant of the British Royal Air Force. Moore joined the U.S. Army from Arkansas, says Gail Anderson, a guide at the cemetery, which is overseen by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

“He wanted to fly so he then attached to the British RAF,” Anderson explains. “It does just show to everybody the actual strength of the relationship between the two countries.”

She says 95% of the attendance at the cemetery’s Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day commemorations are British, adding, “They will come here and remember the Americans and be honored to be a part of it.”

President Trump is ostensibly in the U.K. over the next several days to reinforce the special relationship. He is attending a banquet hosted by the queen at Buckingham Palace on Monday evening and will travel to Portsmouth, on England’s south coast, to commemorate the 75thanniversary of the D-Day invasion.

Queen Elizabeth II, President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, listen to the U.S. national anthem during a ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London on Monday.

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Frank Augstein/AP

But Trump’s first two years in office have been a time of strain across the Atlantic.

Lew Lukens, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in London, says Brexit has consumed so much political energy that the U.K. has had little time to focus on issues of shared interest. He adds that Trump’s policy choices — such as pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and the Iran nuclear deal — have frustrated the British, and the president’s blunt style has also taken a toll.

“He has definitely insulted and lashed out in ways that have been gratuitously insulting and that haven’t accomplished any foreign policy objective,” says Lukens, who spent three decades as a career diplomat before retiring earlier this year.

Monday’s Twitter tirade was far from the first time the president has broken with British protocol and insulted U.K. officials. Before Trump visited London last summer, he gave an interview to The Sun, a British tabloid, in which he criticized Prime Minister Theresa May. He said she had ignored his advice on Brexit and had jeopardized her country’s hopes for a U.S. trade deal.

Queen Elizabeth II greets President Trump (center) and first lady Melania Trump (left) with Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London, on Monday.

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Frank Augstein/AP

“I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” The Sun quoted Trump as saying.

Following a 2017 London terrorist attack that left seven dead, Trump lashed out at Khan, quoting the mayor out of context, suggesting he wasn’t alarmed by the killings, which wasn’t true.

Officials in Khan’s office reached out to Lukens, asking if he could offer words of support for the mayor. Lukens turned to Twitter to express solidarity with the people of London and praised Khan’s leadership, which Lukens says drew a very positive response from Britons.

“But I also got a lot of strong reaction from supporters of the president who felt that I was being disloyal to him . . . and they were attacking me online [with] some really vile expressions of things that they hoped would happen to me,” Lukens recalls. “Pretty awful stuff.”

Lukens says many U.K. officials hope the U.S. public will vote Trump out of office in 2020. He believes that if Trump serves just one term, the special relationship, which he says still operates well at the working level, will recover at the top.

Some observers point out that the White House’s relationship with the British leadership could improve if former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson succeeds outgoing Prime Minister May. Trump and Johnson are friends, are fans of Brexit and are considered politically incorrect populists.

But Robert Singh, a professor of politics at Birkbeck, University of London, is more skeptical about the trans-Atlantic relationship.

“I think it’s on the rocks in many respects,” Singh says.

He points out that many irritants between the two allies predate President Trump. They include the indefinite detention of enemy combatants at Guantánamo, America’s use of capital punishment and the decision of the U.K. to join the United States in invading Iraq in 2003.

“Iraq really weakened the willingness of the British public to be there almost unconditionally to wage war with the United States,” Singh says.

Both countries will suffer if their relations continue to decline, he says. Few allies can provide the U.S. the political and diplomatic support the U.K. has and, for the United Kingdom, there is no better partner than America to amplify British power on the world stage.

Singh notes that the two have spent decades championing an international order emphasizing human rights, democracy and the rule of law. He says that system is now under attack by authoritarian regimes in Russia and China. A weakening of the trans-Atlantic alliance poses a serious threat to the system Britain and America helped build from the ashes of war.

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Astronomers Worry That Elon Musk’s New Satellites Will Ruin The View

A Falcon 9 rocket carried 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network into space last month.

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John Raoux/AP

Victoria Girgis was leading a public outreach session at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., when one of her guests noticed a string of lights moving high overhead.

“Occasionally, you’ll see satellites, and they look kind of like shooting stars moving through the sky,” Girgis says. “But this was a whole line of them all moving together.”

The guest hadn’t spotted a UFO invasion. Rather, it was the first installment of billionaire Elon Musk’s vision for the future: a constellation of satellites known as Starlink that’s meant to provide Internet to the entire planet.

On May 23, Musk’s company SpaceX launched a rocket that carried 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. The 500-pound satellites fanned out like a deck of cards. From the ground, they looked like a glittering string whizzing across the arc of the sky.

The crowd watched as the satellites moved in front of the small telescope Girgis had trained on some distant galaxies. The bright satellites created over two dozen streaks across an image she was taking.

“My first immediate reaction was, ‘That’s visually kind of cool,'” she says. “But my second reaction was, ‘Man you can’t see a single galaxy.’ “

The picture was useless.

In the days after the launch, similar images and videos began to pop up on social media. “All of those videos and pictures delighted the public,” says Jessie Christiansen, an astronomer at Caltech. “But it horrified the astronomy community.”

The Starlink satellites streak across a photo of distant galaxies taken by the Lowell Observatory.

Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory


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Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory

Professional astronomers are trying to take lots of pictures of really faint things far out in space. While they’ve had to contend with satellites in the past, Starlink is something different entirely, says Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer with the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and the Smithsonian. The constellation will be made up of as many as 12,000 satellites. That’s “potentially as many visible satellites moving around on a dark night as there are stars visible,” McDowell says.

Like many of SpaceX’s plans, the Starlink program is on an aggressive path. By the end of the year, Musk says, there could be hundreds of satellites in orbit.

“We should have been having these discussions 10 years ago,” McDowell says. “This problem sort of snuck up on us much faster than we expected.”

SpaceX is not the only company looking at developing a global constellation. Other companies, including Amazon, are planning similar constellations. Space is about to get much more crowded, and there’s not a lot that astronomers can do about it. Although space companies are regulated by national governments, and the U.N. does have a treaty on the peaceful use of space, there’s no obvious forum for this kind of issue.

“Space is still a little bit of the Wild West,” Christiansen says. “We’re still trying to figure out who owns it and who gets to make the rules.”

SpaceX says it expects the satellites to grow dimmer as they reach their final orbits, and it’s looking into other ways to minimize the glare problem. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory says it has been working with SpaceX to minimize the impact. The International Astronomical Union, meanwhile, has encouraged national regulators to take the astronomical community’s concerns into account.

McDowell says he’s encouraged by the company’s response. “I think there’s room without regulation for a cooperative effort between the astronomy community and the Space X and other operators of mega constellations,” he says.

But he says he also hopes the launch will trigger a broader conversation: “As a planet, we need at the global-governance level to have this discussion of how we manage the night sky as a resource.”

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