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“Energy and initiative count as much as talent and luck.”
– Will Peters
Violence In Venezuela
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday said authorities arrested 13 suspected terrorists, including two American citizens, in what he described as a U.S.-backed plot to enter the country and assassinate him. The arrests stem from an incident on Sunday, where the government reportedly killed eight mercenaries and captured two others in an attempted marine incursion into the country.
A Blast From The Past A crisis concerning who is the legitimate President of Venezuela has been underway since the country’s general elections in May 2018, where the incumbent Maduro claimed victory despite widely disputed results.
The opposition-controlled legislature – called the National Assembly – declared Maduro a “usurper” following his inauguration in Jan. 2019, and named their president, Juan Guaidó, as acting leader.
The Supreme Tribunal of Justice later denounced the National Assembly’s actions, declaring the entire ruling body to be unconstitutional.
Maduro has remained in complete control of state institutions throughout the entire process. Around 50 UN-member countries are backing Maduro, while 65 countries, including the U.S., have pledged their support to Guaidó.
The Claim Game U.S. military veteran Jordan Goudreau, the owner of Florida-based security firm Silvercorp, claimed responsibility for organizing the attack on Monday and positively identified the two Americans taken into custody.
Goudreau claims that Guaidó signed a $213 million contract with Silvercorp in October for “general services,” but never ended up paying any money.
Guaidó, on Monday, denied reports that he hired Silvercorp to invade the country. He claimed the event was orchestrated by Maduro to distract attention away from Venezuela’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.
President Trump has denied any involvement by the U.S. government, despite Maduro’s repeated accusations.
So… what are people saying?
Pragmatic U.S. approach could oust Venezuela’s Maduro
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Global cases rose to nearly 3.73 million yesterday with more than 258,300 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to almost 1.24 million with 72,271 confirmed deaths.
A new study published on Tuesday found COVID-19 mutated into a more contagious form and began spreading across the world in late March. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizerbegan human testing on a potential COVID-19 vaccine in New York and Maryland on Tuesday.
The U.K. on Tuesday jumped ahead of Italy for the highest total number of coronavirus deaths in Europe; however, Britain still lags behind Italy in deaths per capita.
Former HHS official Rick Bright filed a whistleblower complaint accusing top HHS officials of pushing hydroxychloroquine, a drug linked to heart problems, on COVID-19 patients.
French scientistsannounced the discovery of a man infected with COVID-19 dating back December 27 – one month before the country’s first reported cases.
The EU, Japan, and the UK, among other superpower countries and organizations, reached their fundraising goal of $8 billion for COVID-19 vaccine research on Tuesday.
Mississippi Discovers Welfare Scandal
The Mississippi Department of Human Services on Monday released an audit that identified more than $94 million in questionable spending of federal welfare funds given to two nonprofit groups. The groups allegedly bought luxury cars, paid NFL quarterback Brett Favre to speak at events (none of which he attended), and directed funds towards companies owned by friends or family.
More: In 2015, fraud cost state and federal governments roughly $136.7 billion out of about $2.8T in overall welfare spending.
The U.K. and U.S. began talks on Tuesday regarding a trade deal between the two countries following Britain’s exit from the EU. These talks are expected to last for two weeks, with further sessions occurring every six weeks afterwards.
Airbnbannounced plans to lay off nearly 1,900 employees, roughly 25% of the company’s workforce.
U.S. household debtrose to $14.3 trillion over the first three months of the year, its highest total ever.
Federal prosecutorscharged two New England men with illegally attempting to procure hundreds of thousands of dollars in the PPP loan program’s first fraud case.
Disneyreported mixed results for its Q2 2020 earnings, with theme parks and cruises taking a hit while streaming service Disney+ is booming (now at 54.5 million subscribers).
Lord & Taylor will reportedly liquidate all in-store inventory once their locations are allowed to open, as the company prepares for a looming bankruptcy.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against Uber and Lyft on Tuesday, accusing the two companies of misclassifying their drivers as contractors in violation of state law. The new labor law, known as AB5, requires gig economy companies to classify their workers as employees – not contractors – and give them the corresponding benefits and protections.
Can WeWork It Out?
Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is suing SoftBank for backing out of its $3 billion tender offer to WeWork’s early shareholders, which included $970 million allocated to Neumann himself. The Japanese conglomerate terminated the tender offer last month, saying WeWork failed to meet certain unspecified conditions before an April 1 deadline.
A Cut Above
In the absence of barbershops, people across the country have taken matters into their own hands when it comes to cutting hair. One Chicago couple decided to spruce things up and put a charitable spin on these so-called ‘quarantine cuts.’
Scott and Pammy Kramer have asked their social media followers to share photos or videos of their at-home haircuts and pledged to donate $10 for each post they see containing the #MyQuarantineCut hashtag. So far, the couple has raised $780 to fight cancer!
Invent To Prevent
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, ventilators, face masks, and other pieces of PPE are in high demand. Many poorer African nations have been struggling to source the much-needed medical equipment as their number of cases continues to climb.
Ezedine Kamil, an 18-year-old inventor from Welkite, Ethiopia, has taken great strides to solve his country’s scarcity problem. Among the 30 inventions to Ezedine’s name thus far are a contactless electrical soap dispenser, and an affordable, homemade ventilator.
Sing For The Moment
As professional opera singers, Leah Edwards and her husband, Dimitri Pitta, love to show off their beautiful singing voices. When COVID-19 temporarily locked down their South Carolina neighborhood, the couple soon found a new captive audience for their performances.
Over the past month-and-a-half, Leah and Dimitri have set up shop in their driveway once a week to perform classical and contemporary opera pieces, much to the delight of their neighbors.
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Here at Cup & Leaf, we’re always on the hunt for new tea to sip and fresh knowledge to share.
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☀️ Beat The Heat… in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists estimate at least one billion people will live in extreme heat (an average of 84ºF+) within the next 50 years.
🎥 Space Jam… Tom Cruise and Elon Musk are reportedly working with NASA to create the first-ever narrative feature film to be shot in outer space.
🏥 RBG Hospitalized… Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized and underwent non-surgical treatment for a gallbladder condition on Tuesday. She is expected to be released from the hospital in the next day or two.
💨 Money To Blow… a police chase in Central California last week resulted in the perpetrators dumping nearly $1 million in cash on the highway as they attempted to make an unsuccessful getaway.
Living On Borrowed Time
Approximately how many adults in the U.S. use ‘borrowed’ streaming service logins?
A) 22 million B) 11 million C) 44 million D) 33 million
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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