Happy Wednesday. Have a refined palate and a love of ice cream? Perhaps you can compete with this blindfolded Idaho man who matched a Guinness World Record by correctly identifying 11 ice cream flavors in 60 seconds.
“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
U.S., Turkey, and Syria
Sunday night, the White House issued a statement saying that U.S. forces in northern Syria would withdraw from the area, making way for Turkish military operations in the region. The announcement followed a phone call between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
What happens next? Turkey’s expected military offensive involves creating a safe zone in northern Syria, where it plans to relocate 2 million of the ~3.7 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey. In August, the U.S. announced that it would establish a joint operations center with Turkey for that safe zone. According to U.S. officials, American involvement would ensure that the Kurdish militia – a major U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS which is seen in Turkey as a terrorist group – would not be targeted in the process.
So… what are people saying?
The US withdrawal from northern Syria creates the perfect climate for war crimes
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US & China
The U.S. announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials thought to be involved or complicit in the abuse of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region. This comes a day after the U.S. blacklisted 28 Chinese entities for alleged abuses in the same region – trade talks between the two countries are set to resume tomorrow.
Tech giant Tencent and Chinese state broadcaster CCTV have suspended ties with the NBA following a now deleted tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey voicing support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters – online retailers JD.com and Alibaba also appear to have removed all Rockets gear from their sites. League Commissioner Adam Silver is meeting with Chinese officials in Shanghai today.
Target is partnering with TRU Kids, the parent company of Toys R Us, to relaunch ToysRUs.com. This comes ahead of the return of physical Toys R Us locations next month in Houston and New Jersey as the toy retailer attempts to rebuild its brand following the company’s liquidation and closure of 800 stores last year.
Facebook Workplace, a business collaboration tool that competes with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and others, announced it has reached 3 million paying users. The company will also release a video app to be used in conjunction with the Facebook Portal, marketing the device as a product for businesses as well as personal use.
Stock trading app Robinhood launched its new Cash Management feature, the company’s second attempt to include banking on its platform. The service will offer customers a 2.05% interest rate on their uninvested cash and will use existing banks to ensure FDIC coverage on the deposits.
A Philadelphia jury said Johnson & Johnson must pay $8 billion in damages over its failure to warn that young males taking its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could grow breasts. Though the punitive damages are expected to be lowered on appeal, there are thousands of Risperdal cases still pending in the state.
Growing up in a poor family in Lagos, Nigeria, Wale Sulaiman knew the financial burden of college was not feasible for his family to bear, so he applied for, and was awarded, a government scholarship to attend medical school in Bulgaria. But at age 49, instead of simply enjoying the fruits of his labor, Wale has dedicated his career to giving back to the kinds of communities he came from.
In 2010, Wale and his wife, Patricia, who is a nurse, established RNZ Global – a healthcare development company that seeks to bring high quality and cost effective health services to underserved regions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The organization has provided free back surgeries to people in need, as well as training in CPR and other medical services for local providers.
Wale spent years using up all his vacation time traveling back and forth from Louisiana to Nigeria. Recently, however, he decided to take it a step further. He took a paycut from his neurosurgeon job in New Orleans so he could spend 12 days per month in Africa. “I believe that happiness doesn’t come from what you get, rather, it comes from what you give,” Wale told CNN. “There is always room to give; you don’t need to be a millionaire to give.”
Tyra Winters, a 17-year-old high school cheerleader in Rockwall, Texas, was meant to be simply enjoying the festivities of the homecoming parade from her perch atop the team’s float last week. But when she noticed a toddler choking on a piece of candy in the crowd – so bad that he was turning purple – she knew she had to do something.
The 2-year-old boy was in the arms of his mother who’d tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver, but said she realized in the moment that she wasn’t sure how to do it. Tyra jumped off the float and reached for the child, dislodging the candy with a few strong pats on the back.
Tyra said that because her mom is a medical professional, she’d been trained in how to assist choking toddlers who are too young for the Heimlich to be effective. Now, she’s not just a star cheerleader – she’s being praised as a lifesaver, too… all before graduating from high school.