Happy Friday. Have you ever had a problem you’ve tried to fix that just refuses to go away? Perhaps you can empathize with a Colorado man who has been forced to replace the inner workings of his car three separate times after rogue squirrels repeatedly targeted and chewed through the exact same part.
“You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.”
– Leymah Gbowee
Plane Crash in Iran
A Ukranian International Airlines Boeing 737 plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran early Wednesday morning, killing all 176 people on board – including a reported 63 Canadian citizens. In a press conference yesterday afternoon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that intelligence from multiple sources indicates the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile.
What do we know?
Early Wednesday morning local time, Iran retaliated for the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani – who was killed in a U.S. airstrike last Friday – by launching more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops.
Also early Wednesday, Flight-tracking site Flightradar24 – which collects and displays live air traffic data from around the world – shows that Ukrainian Flight 752 took off at 6:08 AM local time and climbed to an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet. Data from the flight was abruptly cut off at 6:14 AM.
Yesterday afternoon, a video obtained and verified by the New York Times was released that appears to show the moment the Ukranian plane was hit (here’s a different angle of the crash as reportedly shown on Iran state TV).
Where do we go from here? Under global aviation rules, Iran has the right to lead the investigation into the crash – however, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization chief Ali Abedzadeh has said they will not release the black box flight recorders recovered from the plane to the manufacturer, Boeing, or to the U.S. government.
So… what are people saying?
Ukrainian Plane Crash Gives US, Iran Opportunity to De-Escalate
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Latest Brexit Vote
Britain’s House of Commons voted 330 to 231 in favor of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Brexit) yesterday, sending the bill to the House of Lords where it will also be voted on before becoming law later this month. The legislation outlines the details of Britain’s exit from the European Union, which is set to occur on Jan. 31.
On Thursday, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released a plan to make significant changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, which was signed into law by President Nixon in 1970. The proposal would no longer require any form of federal environmental review of construction projects that lack significant government funding, as well as widen the category of projects exempt from regulations.
The House of Representatives passed the War Powers resolution yesterday with a 224 to 194 vote, mostly along party lines. The symbolic, non-binding resolution would limit the White House’s ability to go to war with Iran without first consulting Congress.
On Thursday, Facebook reaffirmed its policy on political advertising, saying it won’t ban, fact check, or limit the targeting of political ads on their platforms (which include Instagram and WhatsApp). Instead, the tech giant announced a new feature that will allow users to select an option to see fewer political ads.
Electric scooter startup Lime told Axios yesterday that they will lay off about 14 percent of their workforce, representing roughly 100 employees. The largest electric scooter-sharing company in the world also disclosed plans to close operations in 12 markets in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.
Skin in the Game
Silicon Valley-based personal genomics company 23andMe has signed an agreement with Spanish pharmaceutical developer Almirall to produce dermatology treatments based on an antibody developed by 23andMe. As part of the agreement, Almirall acquired exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the antibody worldwide – financial terms were not disclosed.
Robert Trulocke is living proof that you’re never too old to have the time of your life – even if you’re wheelchair or walker enabled. The 92-year-old has always held a lifelong dream of going for a ski ride, but even after retiring and moving into a senior living facility, he’d yet to experience the thrill. That’s when the staff at Care UK’s Millers Grange senior living facility stepped in to grant his boyhood wish.
Through their “Wishing Tree” initiative, the staff at Millers Grange worked in concert with Snozone, an indoor ski slope, and secured an accessible ski for him to ride in. Video from the trip shows Bob having the time of his life, grinning from ear to ear like a little boy. It was the community of caregivers around Bob that made his dream a reality, proving that where there’s a wish (and plenty of love), there’s a way.
You never know if an idea or creation will change the world until it becomes a reality. 25-year-old Dutch engineer Boyan Slat has already contributed a great deal to the fight against pollution – he invented a self-contained system that captured two shipping containers’ worth of plastic bottles and waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch last year. Now, he’s set his sights on an equally commendable target – the world’s most polluted rivers – with plans to clean up the Klang River in Kuala Lumpur and the Cengkareng Drain in Jakarta.
The Dutch inventor created a barge specifically for catching river trash, called the Interceptor, which operates using a conveyor belt and can collect 200,000 lbs of trash per day. Slat aims to have an Interceptor in all 1,000 of the world’s most polluted rivers by 2025. Eco-conscious innovators like Boyan Slat prove that thinking outside of the box can lead to positive global impact.
Ring the Alarm… Amazon-owned home security camera company Ring disclosed in a letter to U.S. Senators that four employees have been investigated and terminated for improperly accessing Ring users’ video data.
The thrill of the kill… a coalition of European researchers have succeeded in killing cancerous tumor cells in mice using nano-sized copper compounds combined with immunotherapy – the cancer did not return following the process.
Lab-to-Table… Finnish company Solar Foods has developed a sustainable protein source – named Solein – totally disconnected from agriculture, in a process that uses air, water, and renewable energy to grow the microbial meat.
Tree of Life… the #TeamTrees campaign spearheaded by Youtube personality ‘MrBeast’ has raised enough money to plant 21.5 million trees (at $1 per tree) through The Arbor Day Foundation by the end of 2022.
All You Can Eat
Which of these restaurant chains has the most locations in America?