Happy Wednesday. Have you ever heard a seemingly outlandish tale of lost homework? Two Canadian teenagers may have a story to top them all – the pair of 16-year-old snowboarders were stranded overnight after venturing into an out-of-bounds area at a ski resort, but managed to build shelter and a fire to survive the night with the help of some homework from one of the teen’s backpacks.
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
– Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)
Late last night, U.S. officials confirmed that Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting two Iraqi military bases housing American troops – there was no immediate word on casualties. This was in response to a targeted U.S. airstrike at Baghdad International Airport that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and six others early Friday.
What else has happened? On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament voted to expel thousands of U.S. troops currently stationed in the country in a nonbinding resolution. The following day, a U.S. official said that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had been denied a visa that would have allowed him to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York this week.
Where do we go from here? President Trump warned Iran in a tweet over the weekend that the U.S. has targeted 52 Iranian sites, including important cultural areas, that will be hit should Iran retaliate for the death of Soleimani – though Defense Secretary Mark Esper later said that the U.S. would follow the laws of armed conflict in regards to targeting cultural sites.
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Boeing 737 Crashes in Iran
A Ukranian Boeing 737 plane carrying 176 passengers and crew members crashed shortly after takeoff from Iran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran early Wednesday morning, killing everyone on board. Iranian state television cited technical problems as the reason for the crash, though the circumstances are not yet fully known.
Venezuelan lawmakers stormed the National Assembly on Tuesday, forcing their way past security forces loyal to contested president Nicolás Maduro, who had previously attempted to seize control of the parliament on Sunday. Once inside, opposition leader Juan Guaidó was sworn in for a second term as Venezuela’s interim president.
Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez declared a state of emergency yesterday after a series of earthquakes killed at least one person and caused power outages in most of the country. The largest quake registered at magnitude 6.4, the most powerful to hit Puerto Rico in over a century.
In conjunction with the CES technology conference in Las Vegas, Toyota announced plans to build a “prototype city of the future” on a 175-acre plot of land at the base of Japan’s Mt. Fuji. The project, known as “Woven City,” is expected to break ground in 2021, and will house around 2,000 employees, retailers, and visiting scientists on its grounds.
On Tuesday, Santa Barbara-based electronics company Sonos announced a lawsuit against Google for patent infringement. The lawsuit centers around Sonos’ patented technology that allows smart speakers to wirelessly play music in different rooms, which the company alleges Google’s Chromecast Audio and several other products infringes upon.
Tesla shares rose 3.88 percent Tuesday, the latest in a six-month period that has seen the Silicon Valley automaker’s market capitalization roughly double to $84.5 billion, just $2 billion shy of Ford and General Motors combined. CEO Elon Musk presided over the launch of the Model Y in China yesterday, as GM separately reported its biggest-ever year-to-year sales drop in China, roughly a 15 percent decrease from 2018.
Jessica Benzakein was only 12 years old when she was placed into foster care after her mother surrendered her parental rights. Hoping to spare others from the kind of instability and loneliness that no child should suffer, Jessica decided to become a foster mom and give other children the life that she missed out on. Jessica began fostering with an emphasis on keeping siblings together – since she and her own brother were separated at a young age – and wanted to help ensure that wouldn’t happen to anyone else.
On Friday, Jessica’s family of 3 (which includes her biological son and daughter) became a family of 9, when her adoption of six boys was declared official in court. Jessica has been fostering her six new sons (who are all related biologically) for several years, saying that they’ve truly given her a sense of purpose. Jessica is able to provide the comfort of a loving family and a supportive home life not just to others in need, but also to herself.
Everyday heroism can save lives, especially when the potential victims are fortunate enough to be in the company of quick-thinking first responders. On a recent flight from China to New York, an elderly man experienced a painful medical emergency causing his bladder to become dangerously full, and putting his life in mortal danger. The plane was still six hours away from landing, so two on-board surgeons stepped in to help the man.
Zhang Hong and Xiao Zhanxiang worked together to create an emergency medical device from straws, a needle syringe, and oxygen masks, using the device to simulate a catheter and expel the urine from the man’s body after he’d gone into shock. If it weren’t for the two surgeons’ brilliant MacGyver-esque ability to improvise, it’s possible the man may not have survived the flight. The two doctors and flight crew are proof that amazing things can be accomplished with ingenuity, teamwork, and selflessness.
Show Me The Money… CES (formerly ‘Consumer Electronics Show’) 2020 in Las Vegas opened to the public yesterday, featuring cutting-edge TV technology and a surprise EV concept from Sony (video).
Space Race… late Monday night, SpaceX successfully launched its third group of 60 Starlink satellites following an initial test launch in May 2019, and a subsequent production launch in November.
Tractor Factors… the Minnesota Star Tribune reports an uptick in demand from Midwest farmers for tractors manufactured in the late 1970s and 1980s, noting the relatively low cost and increased durability compared to newer models.
A Study in Sativa… a group of Italian researchers published an article in Scientific Reports detailing the discovery of two new cannabinoids – THCP and CBDP – the first of which is allegedly 30 times stronger than THC.
Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Which of the following is true about every single U.S. President?
A) They all had at least one sibling B) They all were married C) They all lived in the White House D) They all had a pet while in office