Key Takeaways About the Condition of US Bridges | Litigation Finance Exposes Our Judicial System to Foreign Exploitation | RFK Jr. Has Assembled His Anti-Vax Conspiracy Squad, and more

Qatari Royal Reportedly Invested $50 Million in Pro-Trump News Channel Newsmax  (Natasha Turak, CNBC)
Right-wing news outlet Newsmax received an investment of roughly $50 million from a Qatari royal between 2019 and 2020, The Washington Post reported, citing documents seen by the paper and confirmations from representatives of both Newsmax and the royal investment firm.
Former Qatari government official Sheikh Sultan bin Jassim Al Thani invested in Newsmax through Heritage Advisors, a London-based investment fund that he owned, according to the report. At the time, Qatar was under an economic and diplomatic blockade by a coalition of neighboring Arab states, led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. These nations accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, which Doha stringently denied.
According to the Post’s reporting on Tuesday, Newsmax was looking for investors to compete with the likes of Fox News. The paper cited sources employed at Newsmax at the time as saying that they were urged to soften news coverage of Qatar — a claim that the outlet rejects.
A representative for the outlet told CNBC in a statement: “In 2019 Newsmax received a minority investment from a UK-based fund with a Qatari investor that also invested in a company associated with the current Washington Post publisher. Newsmax’s coverage of Qatar has always been balanced, including publishing many online and TV reports quite critical of its activities.”
It added, “The Washington Post ignored the fact we have offered extensive negative coverage on Qatar over many years,” and included a long list of TV clips and articles to back up its assertion.

Key Takeaways About the Condition of US Bridges  (AP / VOA News)
Inspectors rate bridges using a 0-9 scale, with 7 or above considered “good.” A “poor” rating reflects a 4 or below on any portion of a bridge’s main components. A mid-range rating is considered “fair.”
About 42,400 U.S. bridges are in poor condition, carrying about 167 million vehicles each day, according to the federal government. Those poor bridges are on average 70 years old.
Of those poor bridges, four-fifths have problems with their substructures (the legs holding them up) or their superstructures (the arms supporting their load). And more than 15,800 of the poor bridges also were listed in poor shape a decade ago, according to AP’s analysis.
Iowa has the greatest number of poor bridges, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois and Missouri.

Uranium Being Mined Near Grand Canyon as Prices Soar  (AP / VOA News)
The largest uranium producer in the United States is ramping up work just south of Grand Canyon National Park on a long-contested project that comes as global instability and growing demand drive uranium prices higher.
The Biden administration and dozens of other countries have pledged to triple the capacity of nuclear power worldwide in their battle against climate change, and policy changes are being adopted by some to lessen Russia’s influence over the supply chain.
But as the U.S. pursues its nuclear power potential, environmentalists and Native American leaders remain fearful of the consequences for communities near mining and milling sites in the West and are demanding more regulatory oversight.
The new mining at Pinyon Plain Mine near the Grand Canyon is happening within the boundaries of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukv National Monument that was designated in August by President Joe Biden. The work was allowed to move forward since Energy Fuels Inc. had valid existing rights.
Low impact with zero risk to groundwater is how Energy Fuels spokesperson Curtis Moore describes the project.
The mine will cover 6.8 hectares (16.8 acres) and operate for just a few years, producing about 907,000 kilograms (about 2 million pounds) of uranium — enough to power the state of Arizona for at least a year with carbon-free electricity, he said.

Litigation Finance Exposes Our Judicial System to Foreign Exploitation  (Yaël Ossowski, National Interest)
Now that Congress has come to its senses about a forced divestiture plan to uncouple TikTok from the Chinese Communist Party, we’d be remiss not to explore other examples of how powers such as China influence American institutions. Let’s look at our justice system.
In a handful of local court cases around the country, a Shenzhen-based firm has been clandestinely funding intellectual property lawsuits to help upend a major consumer brand.
That company, Purplevine IP, is a Chinese patency consulting firm that provided the money for the Florida tech company Staton Techiya in its lawsuits against Samsung. The company claims the South Korean electronics firm used its intellectual property in its popular audio products.
How do we know this? Because the Delaware judge in this case demanded information on third-party financial arrangements affecting the litigants. In November 2022, Chief Judge Connelly issued a standing order requiring that cases brought to him would need all outside funding disclosed in full before he heard a claim.
This arrangement, known as third-party litigation finance, is a booming trend in U.S. civil courts and is estimated to be a $13.5 billion industry.
Litigation funders are hedge funds, credit lenders, and venture capitalists who front legal costs in exchange for a percentage of any monetary reward. They offer financing to legal firms and plaintiffs fighting major class action lawsuits and tort cases they normally couldn’t afford.
The increase in the number of third-party-financed litigation cases reveals how quickly the fast-growing third-party litigation finance industry shifts the balance of justice in civil cases, whether good or bad. Even more so once foreign companies begin using these same tactics to file suits against U.S. firms.
The United States offers a free market and the rule of law for global innovators. This is a great advantage for consumers who benefit from a more bountiful supply of goods and services.
However, as we have seen recently with TikTok’s abuses of privacy and security and the growing intellectual property cases from well-financed firms in China, openness can also be abused to consumers’ detriment.

The Night the Francis Scott Key Bridge Came Down  (Maggie Ybarra, National Interest)
In the days following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, there was everywhere for the wandering mind to travel. Eight construction workers had been repairing the bridge when it plummeted into the river. Federal authorities held a press conference, revealing the timeline of events, which ended at 01:29:39 a.m. That’s when the pilot of the Dali had contacted the U.S. Coast Guard via radio to report that the bridge was down. It would be another ten minutes before firefighters began the water rescue. More time would pass before they requested additional resources. Twenty-two minutes later, they began to realize the scope of the rescue effort. Two of those construction workers managed to survive. Six others had been searched for but eventually presumed dead. By Thursday, first responders had found two of the six bodies among the wreckage. Would those ten minutes have made any difference?
Lawmakers have cleared a path for $60 million in aid to pay for emergency work, but it remains unclear if that money can address the full scope of the damage. Companies have already begun rerouting their cargo to other ports as the cacophony of recovery efforts filled the air. The truss bridge that once greeted ships and visitors has deposited fear in the hearts of port workers grappling with the possibility that they might not be able to pay their bills. In the end, the collapsed artery of a busy city may require more than financial surgery to repair.