Good morning. The CEO of a large Canadian casino company quit after it was discovered that he and his wife traveled to a remote community, disguised themselves as motel workers, and tried to get a coronavirus vaccine.
Words fail me. Some people go a long way - literally - to get vaccinated.
Social Media. Parler, Signal, and Telegram… are no longer the top apps in the App Store. Those are Reddit and Robinhood
Automobile. Toyota overtook Volkswagen last year to become the world's top-selling carmaker. Toyota sold 9.5 million vehicles in 2020, an 11.3% drop from the year before. Volkswagen sold 9.3 million vehicles, which marked a decrease of 15.2%.
Social Media. Facebook’s oversight board overturned 4 of the company’s moderation decisions. One of the 20 board members said the board “starts with the supremacy of free speech” in reviewing each case. Next up: Donald Trump’s account.
Medicine. Johnson & Johnson said that its COVID-19 vaccine is 66% effective, according to a global trial. The Phase 3 study showed different levels of protection in different territories: 72% in the U.S., 66% in Latin America, and 57% in South Africa, where a more contagious strain of the virus is making headways.
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1587 Queen Elizabeth I of England signs death warrant for her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.
1923 Fascists Voluntary Militia forms in Italy under Benito Mussolini.
1979 Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile.
2013 "House of Cards", starring Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood and Robin Wright as his wife, is released on Netflix.
EU extends Nigerian beans ban to 2022
Image Source: GH Gossip
The Story The European Union has extended Nigeria’s bean export ban till June 2022 over the country’s failure to implement its food safety action plan submitted to the commission in 2018.
Why did the EU place the ban initially? The EU Safety Authority had in 2015 banned Nigerian beans export because it contained between 0.03mg/kg and 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide when the EU acceptable maximum residue limit was 0.01mg/kg. The commission later extended the suspension of the imports of dried beans from Nigeria until June 2019 owing to the continuous presence of dichlorvos and the impossibility to achieve in short term compliance with the union food law requirements regarding pesticide residues.
Why are the industry players not doing the right thing? Aren't they affected by the export ban? Experts in the agricultural industry say the ban extension is a major threat to the country’s export drive initiative and investments in the beans value chain. Nigerian farmers have, however, continued to heavily apply harmful pesticides on farm produce to protect against pests and insect invasions as well as ring-fence their investments.
And the authorities have done nothing to address this? According to a statement by the EU Commission, 'in February 2018, Nigeria submitted a new action plan and stated that its objective was to control and streamline particularly dried beans, strengthen the legal and regulatory environment and build fundamentals for quality production of dried beans'. “However, the Commission understands that Nigeria has not yet implemented that action plan, nor granted any budgetary means for its implementation", the statement read.
Consequently, the EU said the duration of the suspension should be extended for an additional period of three years to allow Nigeria to implement the appropriate risk management measures and provide the required guarantees, thus applying until 30 June 2022. SOURCE
Rebels And Government Both Thirsty For All The Yemen Aid
Image Source: New York Times
The Story While the people of Yemen groan under the impact of years of civil war, both sides of the waring fence appear unmoved by the pains of their people, as a UN report has suggested that the war is being fueled by corrupt profiteering.
How's that? Yemen’s six-year civil war, between a US-backed Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized government and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, has been catastrophic. More than 112,000 people have been killed, the infrastructure is wrecked, and the country is on the brink of famine. It is among the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
What's in the UN report? A new report from a UN panel of experts says economic profiteering is fuelling the war. The report estimates Houthi rebels diverted at least $1.8 billion in 2019 earmarked for the government to pay salaries and provide basic services to citizens. Meanwhile, the government implemented a scheme to illegally divert $423 million of Saudi money earmarked to buy rice and other commodities for the Yemeni people.
How did they even get here? Trouble began with the 2014 Houthi takeover of the north, where the majority of Yemenis live, which prompted a destructive air campaign by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition aimed at restoring the government. The panel said the government lost strategic territory to the Houthis and the Southern Transitional Council, a separatist group backed by the United Arab Emirates. In December, the coalition announced a power-sharing cabinet including southern separatists, part of a deal to end a power struggle between the former allies.
The experts concluded that both the Houthis and the government are continuing to redirect the country’s economic and financial resources, and “appear to be indifferent” to the devastating effect it’s having on the people. SOURCE
What's the game with Gamestop?
GameStop is taking the stock market by storm.
This is so over my head.
We're here to help. First, a brief history: Everyone's favorite video game retailer went public in 2002. But being a brick-and-mortar shop in a digital world isn't easy, and GameStop had been struggling for quite some time. To make matters worse, the pandemic hit, forcing the former shopping mall staple to announce hundreds of store closures. In 2020, its share price fell to under $5. And certain investors, hoping to see GameStop's stock continue to decline, began short selling aka betting against it. But suddenly, as if by magic, GameStop's stock soared nearly 1,800% this month, and its share price reached over $350.
What if I don't believe in magic?
Then believe this: the driving force behind the stock surge is Reddit. Specifically, its message board with nearly 5 million followers called Wall Street Bets – where people can share trading tips and ideas. And occasionally rally a huge internet community with a shared goal: to stand up against big hedge funds, and mess up short sellers. (Remember: short selling is when investors borrow a company's shares to sell them. Then they buy them back at a cheaper price when the stock price falls. And pocket the difference.) So having learned that hedge funds were short selling GameStop, message board members went into full multiplayer mode. They teamed up to buy GameStop stock en masse. And then others hopped on the bandwagon.
I'm assuming Wall Street wasn't happy.
Not at all. Some hedge funds that had shorted the stock (see: Melvin Capital) had to buy it back at a higher price than what they sold it for – losing a collective billions of dollars. And as the stock price kept going up, some individual investors reportedly made millions of dollars. But that delight quickly turned into anger when stock trading app Robinhood (and other financial companies) jumped in to say 'game over.' It restricted people from buying GameStop stock due to the "volatility" in the market. But other established investors and hedge funds were free to trade stocks.
That doesn't sound fair.
Many – including American politicians spanning from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) – agree. They condemned the company, whose mission statement reads in part: "we believe that everyone should have access to the financial markets." A class-action lawsuit's already been filed for alleged market manipulation. Others wondered why the SEC didn't get involved, and called for regulators to re-examine how the system works. And the irony of Robinhood's name is not lost on people. Robinhood said its decision wasn't easy, and that it was made to best serve its customers. Today, the platform's allowing for limited buying.
An army from Reddit escaping disarming...
A group of investors on Reddit have turned the market upside down in an attempt to hurt big hedge funds. And companies had to step in to gain control – a move that's sparking criticisms about Americans' rights to trade freely in a market that often benefits the rich. SOURCE
Poles Polish Their Protest Signs And Take To The Streets
Image Source: ABC News
The Story Thousands of outraged women, teenagers, and allies took to the streets again in Poland after a contentious near-total ban on abortion went into effect Wednesday.
Tell me about this. The Constitutional Tribunal made the ruling last October, but its implementation was delayed after hundreds of thousands of Poles protested in the largest demonstrations in the country since the collapse of Communism. Now, even the termination of pregnancies for fetal abnormalities — virtually the only kind of abortion performed in Poland — is banned.
Was abortion widespread before the new ruling? Poland already had one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws, with the procedure legal in only three instances: fetal abnormalities, pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and threats to a woman’s life. Abortion of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and threats to a woman’s life remain legal, but last year 1,074 of 1,100 abortions performed in the country were due to fetal abnormalities.
What do the protesters want? Protesters are demanding that women's right to decide on abortion be respected. The protesters chanted slogans like “I think, I feel, I decide!” and “Freedom of choice instead of terror!”. In Warsaw, they marched to the headquarters of the governing Law and Justice Party to songs including 'I Will Survive'. “We are dealing with incompetence, corruption, a total decay of the state, so these men are doing what they know best — taking away rights and freedoms from the citizens,” Marta Lempart, a protest organizer, told the television station TVN24 on Wednesday.
Critics from outside Poland, including UN independent human rights experts, have joined the protesters in condemning the ruling. “Many of us cannot be in the streets with you to march in defense of our fundamental rights,” Terry Reintke, a Green lawmaker from Germany who is in the European Parliament, said on Twitter. “But know this: In every village, in every city in Europe there are women following your struggle. Never forget you are standing on the shoulders of brave and courageous women who have fought this fight for many years.” SOURCE
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My successor won’t inherit any abandoned project – Wike.
1. The coast of which country is called the Gold Coast? A. Ghana B. Cameroon C. Niger
2. By which river delta is Port Harcourt located? A. Niger B. Victoria C. Chad
3. Two neighbouring African countries get their names from a river they share. What is the name of the river? A. Chad B. Niger C. Osun
QUESTION & ANSWER
What are some of the great coincidences of history?
One man’s life was intertwined with Life magazine…
On November 23, 1936, the inaugural issue of Life magazine under Time Inc. entered circulation and within its pages, featured this photo of a doctor holding a seconds-old baby with the caption “Life Begins”:
That baby grew up to be George Story, a man who spent his working years as a journalist, then a city manager, before retiring to Hawaii with his wife. Life followed Story’s life throughout all the major milestones — careers, marriage, kids. His life and the magazine were thoroughly entwined.
Here’s the weird bit.
At the turn of the millennium, just a month after Life announced that it was to cease publication, George Story died following a cardiac arrest.
The last issue, rather fittingly, included the title “A Life Ends” and featured his story and lifelong connection to the magazine. SOURCE
African History Quiz Answers
1. The coast of which country is called the Gold Coast? A. Ghana
2. By which river delta is Port Harcourt located? A. Niger
3. Two neighbouring African countries get their names from a river they share. What is the name of the river? B. Niger