Friday: Hagia Sophia hosts first Friday prayers since retransformation to mosque
2020: Not So Bad After All? (Pt. 2)
We’re over halfway through the year, and already it seems that 2020 has held enough significant events to last a few decades. But what are the global trends? Is the world getting better or worse? Today we aim to surface some underreported positive trends of 2020 (see Part 1).
The second-largest Ebola outbreak in the world – which plagued the Congo for nearly two years – ended in late June.
Amidst the pandemic, donor contributions to free food programs across the U.S. have increased by 667%. Nearly all nonprofit sectors have seen sustained or increased support in the past several months.
The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 has reached an all-time high, with 37 companies led by women.
85% of Americans have reportedly made at least one positive lifestyle change in the past year – i.e. turning off electronics or not wasting food – to be more environmentally conscious.
According to the International Energy Agency, carbon dioxide emissions will fall by 2.6 billion metric tons in 2020 due to coronavirus lockdowns around the world.
A newly announced £1 million rewilding project will bring wild Bison back to England, a country where they haven’t roamed for six thousand years. These efforts are part of a larger plan to reverse species loss in the UK.
The world’s largesturban rooftop farm in Paris is now bearing fruit. When complete, the farm will provide 2,200 lbs of roughly 35 different varieties of fruits and vegetables to the local community.
What’s Next? The remainder of the year is shaping up to be just as action-packed as the first half.
Up next: Global COVID-19 vaccine efforts enter large-scale human trials, sports and schools restart in some capacity (to possibly shut down again), and the U.S. gears up for the November election.
Major virus news: The FDA granted emergency use authorization to Quest Diagnostics for its ‘pool testing’ technique, which potentially allows for four COVID-19 test samples to be tested at the same time.
Police Declare Riot In Portland
Saturday night’s protest over the death of George Floyd in Portland, OR, was declared a riot by city police. The move came after hundreds of protesters – demonstrating for the 52nd consecutive day – broke into a building, set it ablaze, and started other fires in dumpsters.
More: On Sunday, the Democrat chairs of several House committees co-signed a letter calling for an investigation into reports that federal law enforcement agents – sent to Portland by the Trump administration – have been using unmarked vehicles to arrest protesters.
Anti-Putin protests in the eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk continued for the eighth straight day on Saturday, with residents demonstrating against the arrest of regional governor Sergei Furgal. Local media estimated that Saturday’s protest attracted over 15,000 people, which – along with last weekend’s protest – marks the largest gathering in the city’s history.
More: Furgal – who defeated a Kremlin-backed opponent in 2018 – was detained and flown to Moscow on July 9 in connection with his alleged involvement in a series of murders 15 years ago, which he has denied.
Even More: Last month, Russian citizens overwhelmingly voted to approve constitutional changes that could keep President Vladimir Putin in power until 2036.
Worth Noting: Civil rights hero and GA congressman John Lewis died on Friday at age 80. From lunch counters sit-ins to earning a spot on Capitol Hill – take a look back at his legacy.
Also Worth Noting: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced on Friday that she is receiving treatment for cancer, but will still perform Supreme Court duties.
Bonus: President Trump joined FOX News’s Chris Wallace over the weekend to discuss COVID-19, racial unrest, Joe Biden, and Mary Trump’s tell-all book. Watch it here.
Correction: On Friday, we mistakenly reported that Ohio ordered a statewide mask mandate alongside AR & CO. Thanks to Melisa R. for setting us straight.
The Coronavirus Effect
Take a peek at five charts across the auto, restaurant, hotel, airline, and real estate industries that are tracking the economic recovery.
NCAA President Mark Emmert recently expressed concern about the feasibility of fall sports – here’s what a lost season would mean to the college sports economy.
Disney Updates FB Status
Per the WSJ, Disney has “dramatically” cut its advertising budget on Facebook and Instagram for an undisclosed amount of time. According to research firm Pathmatics, Disney was Facebook’s largest advertiser for the first six months of 2020. Disney joins a growing list of companies to pause ad spending on the social media giant over its content moderation policies and actions.
Reach For The Stars
A Japanese rocket carrying the UAE’s Mars spacecraft launched from a small Japanese island early this morning. The craft, whose name means ‘Hope’ in Arabic, represents the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. Hope is expected to reach Mars by 2021, the 50-year anniversary of the UAE’s formation.
Bonus: Get the inside scoop (from the perpetrators themselves) on the massive Twitter hack that took over dozens of famous accounts to promote a Bitcoin scam. NYT – no $
(Gently) Bursting Their Bubble
As public-school districts around the country outline safety measures for primary education this fall, many concerned parents struggle to convey the importance of social distancing to their young children. The situation poses a puzzling predicament, as adults want to make their young ones aware of the threat of the virus without needlessly scaring them.
Determined to tenderly teach her 2-year-old and 3-year-old daughters about the spread of the virus, Tara Travieso of Jacksonville, FL, wrote a children’s book that explains social distancing through characters who avoid germs by staying in bubbles. Tara, who has been working from home full-time throughout the quarantine, wrote and self-published it in just six weeks.
An Exercise In Exercise
Growing up in Japan, Momo Hayakawa Koenigs, now of St. Paul, MN, incorporated light movement into her day by listening to radio taiso – a short calisthenics routine broadcast daily on the country’s national public radio station. In March, Momo, weary from the quarantine’s loneliness, decided to share her homeland’s practice with the isolated members of her community.
Each evening at 6:30 p.m., Momo and her neighbors gather in the street – maintaining a safe 10-feet-apart – as she leads them through a 3-minute radio taiso workout. After the exercise, the community members continue to safely socialize, standing on smiley faces drawn in chalk as they greet friends, celebrate birthdays, and listen to music together.
The Queen’s Search
In May, after several months of quarantine, 7-year-old Timothy Madders of Essex, England, noticed that extended isolation and persistent worries about the virus could negatively impact a person’s mental health. He concluded that his country’s leaders are regular people, and are thus equally susceptible to gloomy thoughts. So, Timothy set to work brightening the day of one distinguished dignitary.
Using his best handwriting, the thoughtful Timothy created a happiness-themed word search for the Queen of England. He incorporated terms such as smile, sunshine, and family to cheer Her Majesty up. On July 3rd, Timothy was elated to receive a letter from Windsor Castle – signed by one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting – thanking him for his kindness.
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🔴 Button Pusher… some recreational flyers are now able to purchase a private plane with a “big red button” feature, meaning it can safely land itself in the event of an emergency.
🐜 Bug Eyed… scientists at the University of Washington have created a miniscule bug-sized camera that can stream video from the back of a tiny insect (live or robotic) to a phone up to 120 meters away.
🌡️ Room Temperature… the Plaza Minorista food market in Colombia has teamed up with the University of Antioquia to install AI technology that can take the temperature of up to 200 customers per minute.
🌐 Take A Leak… an independent report has accused seven Hong Kong-based VPN providers – who claim not to log the activities of their users – of leaking over 1.2 TB worth of user logs onto the internet.
Long Hair Don’t Care
The longest human hair on record was measured at ___.
A) 26 feet B) 18 feet C) 14 feet D) 22 feet
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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