Happy Wednesday. A big shoutout to all who shared their book suggestions with us. We have a ton of reading to look forward to – a few highlights include Edward Snowden’s Permanent Record, Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir, Hampton Sides’ Blood and Thunder, and our favorite response: “Wait… books still exist?”
“Don’t just follow your dreams—chase them down, grab hold, and don’t let go.”
– Kellie Elmore
Huawei & the UK
On Tuesday, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson granted Chinese tech giant Huawei (“wah-way”) a role in the construction of Britain’s 5G mobile network. The U.S. has warned the UK against the move, citing data security risks and the company’s close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Takin’ care of business… Since Mao’s rule, the Chinese government has been heavily involved in the economy. All companies in China are required by law to establish a Communist Party committee “to carry out the activities of the party in accordance with the [CCP] charter.”
The CCP’s economic influence seems to have aided Huawei’s rise to prominence:
In 1996, Huawei was given the status of a Chinese “national champion,” meaning the company furthers the government’s strategic aims in return for support.
Per the WSJ, Huawei has received as much as $75 billion in state support since its inception.
You should also know… In 2019, Huawei was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for theft of trade secrets, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice. The suit alleges the Chinese tech giant:
Offered bonuses to employees who provided them with stolen corporate secrets.
Violated confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in an effort to steal information about a T-Mobile phone-testing robot named “Tappy.”
Huawei also admitted to copying router software from Cisco in 2003, and in 2010, Motorola sued Huawei, alleging the Chinese company coordinated with dozens of employees to steal confidential information.
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Middle East Peace Plan
The U.S., along with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, announced a proposed plan for achieving peace in the Middle East. The proposal – which does not have the support of the Palestinian government – would recognize Israeli sovereignty over a portion of the West Bank and create a fully demilitarized Palestinian state.
A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and eastern Cuba on Tuesday. Tremors from the quake were felt as far as Miami, FL, and Mexico’s Quintana Roo, though no casualties or structural damage have been reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told other Republican senators in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he does not yet have the votes necessary to block witnesses from testifying in President Trump’s impeachment trial. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 75% of voters say they wish to hear from witnesses during the trial.
Tuesday saw changes at several prominent companies. Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg stepped down for personal reasons, Facebook’s VP of Engineering Jay Parikh announced his departure, and J. Crew Group appointed former Victoria’s Secret executive Jan Singer as CEO.
Apple of the Eye
Apple released its earnings report for the December quarter, featuring significantly higher revenue and profit than analysts had predicted. The company reported a 9 percent increase in revenue (up to $91.8 billion) on the back of $56 billion in iPhone sales, $12.7 billion in services revenue, and a wearables business “the size of a Fortune 150 company.”
Airbus has agreed to pay penalties of nearly $4 billion to settle corruption probes by U.S., U.K., and French authorities. The settlement comes four years after Airbus announced it was under investigation for using third-party consultants to pay bribes that secured contracts for the European aerospace company.
In other airline-related news, United Airlines cancelled dozens of U.S.-China flights due to a decline in demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A Suitable Sendoff
John Meade was known as a friendly staple to local residents who passed by the homeless man on the streets of St. Augustine, FL, and his warm personality left a lasting impact on the small Florida community. After Jack passed away, police realized he had no family to contact to make sure he received a proper burial. Officer Steven Fischer discovered that Jack had served in the army and contacted Veterans Affairs, who confirmed he was an honorably discharged veteran.
Fischer proceeded to contact a local veteran’s organization, who helped give Jack a proper burial in a national cemetery – complete with full military honors. With 37,085 veterans living on the street in 2019, organizations like the VA and the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program are working to make sure soldiers like Jack are given the recognition they deserve. Thanks to the help of a grateful community, this soldier can rest in peace, feeling appreciation from the nation he once so selflessly served.
Michelle Christensen is determined to make the world a better place through small acts of kindness – in her most recent endeavor, she found an innovative way to offer warmth to those in need. This winter, folks strolling along the metro area of Golden Valley, Minnesota can discover her examples of “scarf-bombing” – a seemingly spontaneous apparition of cold-weather gear, free for the taking by anyone who needs it. By providing plenty of free scarves, gloves, and hats, Michelle hopes to minimize the harsh cold for those without shelter.
Although she is at the helm of these giving efforts, Michelle is bolstered by a community of generous donors and volunteers, and raised $5,000 last year to buy vital supplies for the homeless. When asked about her motivation, she mentions her belief that kindness ripples outward and that you attract what you are. If this is true, Michelle and her army of helpers are in for a lifetime of love, kindness, and warmth.
Dog Years… a systematic review of nearly 70 years of global research published Tuesday in Circulation has found that owning a dog is tied to a 24 percent reduction in all causes of mortality.
Ring My Bell… an investigation by nonprofit digital rights group EFF has found that the Ring doorbell app for Android is full of third-party trackers that collect and sell user data.
Wood you believe it… in a paper published in Nature Sustainability, German researchers examined how building with timber instead of steel could help pull millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere.