Good morning. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be difficult to find a nice quiet moment to sit back and relax. However, a certain species of cave salamander has perfected the art of doing nothing – a UK study found one specimen that stayed motionless for seven whole years.
“A true friend is someone who is there for you when they’d rather be anywhere else.”
— Len Wein
The Syrian Situation
An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was held Thursday to address a humanitarian refugee crisis in Idlib, Syria. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and nearly 520,000 people displaced due to fighting between Syrian forces (backed by Russia and Iran) and the Turkish government.
A bit of context… The meeting comes days after Turkey launched retaliatory missile strikes against Syrian forces in the region, reportedly killing 13 Syrian soldiers.
Turkey’s attack was in response to shelling from Syrian forces that killed eight Turkish military personnel earlier this week.
The big picture… The back-and-forth missile attacks have jeopardized an October 2019 cease-fire pact between Turkey and Russia.
In 2017 and 2018, the two countries made agreements to work towards de-escalating the fighting in Idlib and creating a demilitarized zone.
This past week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Russia of abandoning the agreements.
In an address to parliament on Wednesday, President Erdogan stressed that any further violation of the cease-fire agreements would result in swift Turkish retaliation.
So… what are people saying?
Outspoken Recep Tayyip Erdoğan challenges both Washington and Moscow
The Department of Homeland Security announced that New York residents will be prohibited from enrolling in programs that allow easier travel across the U.S. border (i.e, Global Entry). The new policy is in response to New York’s Green Light Law, which allows immigrants to seek driver’s licenses regardless of their legal status.
Chinese officials have ordered Wuhan authorities to round up and quarantine all residents infected with the coronavirus, as the total number of confirmed cases climbed above 31,000. Dr. Li Weilang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist-turned-folk hero who was one of the first to voice initial concerns about the coronavirus in Wuhan, reportedly died from the illness early Friday morning.
According to the WSJ, Juul Labs has raised over $700 million in convertible debt to fund its operations amid increased regulatory scrutiny. Last week, major shareholder Altria took a big charge on its investment, and now holds the stock at a price valuing Juul at $12 billion, down from $38 billion in 2018.
Go With the Stream
ViacomCBS has announced plans to launch an all-new streaming service following their merger finalized late last year. The platform will build off CBS All Access and include Viacom properties such as Showtime and Paramount Pictures movies.
The Exchange Pt. 2
NYSE-owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced it has decided to stop exploring options to purchase e-commerce company eBay. The WSJ had reported that ICE was mulling a more than $30 billion takeover of the online marketplace, but the company reconsidered after its shares fell nearly 10% in response to the news.
When a U.S. veteran ordered a Rolex watch for about $350 while deployed abroad in Thailand in the 1970s, he hadn’t the faintest idea how much that watch would soon be worth. He took it in to Antiques Roadshow appraiser Peter Planes, who initially told the man that his timepiece usually sold at auction for a whopping $400,000. Upon hearing the news, the man literally fell over in disbelief.
After getting back to his feet, the veteran was met with even more good news – since he kept it in such good condition, the watch’s true value is actually closer to $700,000.
If The Shoe Fits…
Middle school teacher Trey Payne received a wonderful surprise last Tuesday – he was gifted a brand new pair of shoes by his students. Trey’s old shoes had been stolen out of his classroom two weeks ago, so when a group of his students heard the news, they pooled their money together to buy a new pair.
Thankfully, the surprise was caught on camera – several tears were shed as Trey was overwhelmed by his students’ generosity.
I’m Coming Home Again
After putting her goal of becoming a police officer on hold when she became a mom, Erika Benning worked hard to achieve her childhood dream once her son joined the Army and deployed to Germany for two years.
The police department of Irving conspired with Erika’s husband and son, Sgt. Giovanni Pando, to ensure that Erika’s son was the one who bestowed her badge, creating a touching family moment that will last a lifetime.
(Don’t) Play It Again… Netflix users rejoice! You can finally turn off autoplay previews – find the step-by-step process here.
Or Not To Bee… a new study suggests the likelihood of a bee population surviving in any given place has declined by 30 percent over the course of one human generation.
Built Ford Tough… in an attempt to make cycling safer, Ford has developed ‘The Emoji Jacket,’ which features a large LED panel that displays various emojis and signals.
Task Manager… for over 10 years, Google conducted research under the name ‘Project Oxygen’ to find the qualities that make the perfect manager – here are the top ten.
The Show Must Go On
What is the longest running show in Broadway history?
A) Cats B) Chicago C) The Phantom of the Opera D) Les Misérables