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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. I’m your host, Candice Norwood. Send any tips or suggestions to me.


14 days in prison

Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in federal prison for her role in a conspiracy involving more than 30 other wealthy parents who are accused of paying thousands of dollars to boost their children’s credentials on college applications. Huffman is the first to receive a sentence, which also requires her to pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service. Her sentence has fueled discussions about inequality in both the education and criminal justice systems. [Vox]


3 JPMorgan Chase traders

Three JPMorgan Chase traders have been charged with market manipulation. The traders are accused of influencing the prices of gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures over the course of eight years. According to the Justice Department, the goal was to manipulate when and for how much other traders bought futures contracts. The indictments are the latest in a series of similar fraud cases. [CNN]


$1.50 bet

Does anyone still think swatting is funny? An Ohio gamer will serve jail time after his prank attempt turned deadly. Back in 2017, Casey Viner, who’s now 19, was upset about losing a $1.50 bet, so he had someone call in a fake hostage situation at what was meant to be his opponent’s address. It turned out the address was wrong, and a different man was killed by SWAT officers. Viner was sentenced to 15 months in jail, and the teen is also banned from online gaming for two years after his release. Still confused by this strange trend? You’re not alone. [New York Post]


Up to 50,000 auto workers

Auto workers across the country are fed up, and as many as 50,000 have gone on strike. “This is about standing up for us, the families and the communities that are affected because this is not just about our members,” said the union’s vice president after negotiations with General Motors broke down. Even a short strike could cost the automaker hundreds of millions of dollars. President Trump joined the discussion via tweet, encouraging the two sides to continue negotiating. [NBC News]


117-year-old synagogue

A man was arrested and charged with first-degree arson after a century-old synagogue burned to the ground last Monday. The house of worship was founded by Lithuanian Jewish immigrants and had served the community in Duluth, Minnesota, since 1901. None of the synagogue’s approximately 75 members were injured, but six Torah scrolls were destroyed. According to Police Chief Mike Tusken, “There is no reason to believe this is a bias or hate crime.” [The Washington Post]


Chapter 11 bankruptcy

In a move aimed at protecting itself and its owners, the Sackler family, from thousands of lawsuits, Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday. The OxyContin manufacturer blamed for igniting a nationwide opioid epidemic is planning to use the bankruptcy process to restructure, a plan it agreed to as part of a tentative settlement with many of the localities that had brought suit against it. The filing comes just two days after New York’s attorney general announced that her office had found a series of previously undisclosed wire transfers totaling nearly a billion dollars that were sent from the company to the Sacklers’ private accounts. [The New York Times]


Candice writes the Significant Digits column for FiveThirtyEight, and is interested in how race, gender and class shape societies throughout the world. Most recently, she worked as a staff writer for Governing Magazine and a White House stringer with Bloomberg News.

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