Good morning. On this Veteran’s Day, we acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our armed forces through countless services, memorials, and flower arrangements – an Australian pigeon even joined in, pilfering poppies (a locally symbolic flower honoring the deceased) to build a prominent, colorful nest at a war memorial.
“The advantage of growing up with siblings is that you become very good at fractions.”
– Robert Brault
The Race to the White House
Last week, former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg filed the necessary paperwork to be on the presidential ballot ahead of Alabama’s Democratic primary election, though he did not formally announce his candidacy. If announced, Bloomberg will join 17 other Democratic candidates in the 2020 primary race. Four Republicans, including President Donald Trump, also remain in the presidential race.
What’s next? There are two Democratic debates left before the end of the year, and each event requires a higher threshold of support – a combination of official polling numbers and individual donations. So far, ten candidates have qualified for the November 20 debate in Georgia, and five have qualified for the December 19 debate in Los Angeles.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that Vitamin E oil was detected in all 29 samples of lung fluid taken from patients suffering from a vaping-related lung disease that has affected over 2,000 people, including 39 confirmed deaths. A CDC official described the finding as a breakthrough, yet cautioned that the results were not enough to definitively label Vitamin E as the cause of the disease without further testing.
Hong Kong police arrested or put warrants out for seven pro-democracy lawmakers on Saturday, a day after the death of a university student who was tied to pro-democracy protests in the region. Demonstrations continued over the weekend and into Monday (where at least one protestor was shot by police), marking the 24th consecutive week of protests.
Spain held its general election Sunday amid the ongoing protests in support of Catalan Independence – the political deadlock continued, as Spain’s ruling socialist party (PSOE) claimed victory sans majority despite significant gains by the conservative People’s Party (PP). In other election news, Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned Sunday evening following weeks of civilian protests and accusations of fraud related to his October reelection.
This week, Instagram will begin to hide Like counts on posts for some U.S. users in an effort to reduce anxiety and social comparison. Instagram has been testing the feature in seven countries since July – a study on the initial data found that influencers across the board saw a decrease in Like counts as a result of the change.
Sales from the first hour of Singles’ Day, the Alibaba-hosted version of Cyber Monday, hit 91.2 million yuan ($13 billion) – a 32% increase from last year. The world’s biggest online retail event saw sales of $30 billion a year ago, close to four times the $7.9 billion in U.S. online sales for Cyber Monday.
On Friday, WeWork made public an October presentation (dated two weeks before SoftBank agreed to a $9.5 billion bailout) aimed at prospective creditors, sharing the company’s plans to nearly double the number of desks currently offered as part of its office-sharing business through yet-to-open leasing locations. Additionally, the presentation laid out a plan to divest seven non-core businesses and initiate an undisclosed number of layoffs.
Saudi Aramco released a preliminary IPO prospectus over the weekend, reiterating plans to pay out an annual dividend of at least $75 billion in 2020, with the potential for increases and special distributions as time goes on. The state-owned energy giant indicated it will wait until early December to disclose IPO pricing and how much of the company it plans to list.
Rusty Plemons was finishing his junior year of high school in May of 2016 when he received a diagnosis he thought was “a death sentence”: acute myeloid leukemia. Around the same time, William & Mary offensive lineman Mark Williamson signed up to be a potential bone marrow donor through a Be The Match drive on campus. It was not an empty gesture.
When Williamson received a call later that summer from non-profit Be The Match with news he may be a match for an 18-year-old boy with leukemia, he leapt at the chance to help. Though it would mean jeopardizing his upcoming football season, Williamson told the Washington Post, “It was a very big privilege to be able to say yes.”
On September 20, 2016, Rusty’s surgery took place. Three years later, after many ups and downs, his body is now producing completely normal blood cells, and he is off all medications for the first time since his diagnosis.
Rusty and Mark finally met at William & Mary after Friday’s practice, where they embraced on the field in the presence of the entire football team. Mark said of Rusty, “I look forward to seeing all the great things he’s going to do in life.” Well, Mark – thanks to you, Rusty now has a life full of opportunity!
Kayla Denney is, quite literally, a lifesaver. When she was appointed Lead Animal Control Officer at the Animal Control Department in Taft, Texas in November 2018, nearly 100% of the four-legged residents there were euthanized. She has since brought that number to zero.
When Denney took over, the underfunded shelter had no electricity and no volunteers. Ever the resourceful one, she reached out to her Facebook friends for support, and donations quickly poured in. One donor even put in electricity so they had lights. Through her tireless efforts, 565 dogs and cats have found their forever homes over the past year.
This inspiring feat has earned Kayla Denney the Petco Foundation’s National “Unsung Hero” Award, an honor for which she initially didn’t know she had been nominated. The award earned her a stunning $35,000, which Kayla said she will put into updating the run-down shelter and improving conditions for the animals. Because of Kayla’s dedication and love of animals, there are a lot of happy tail-waggers in Taft, Texas!
Precious medal… President Trump signed the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act on Friday, recognizing the four African American women who worked at NASA during the Space Race – a fifth medal was also granted in honor of all women who contributed to NASA during that time.
The situation is fluid… Chinese researchers are experimenting with a specially designed fluid-structure to build the more complex body parts necessary to 3D print human tissues and organs.