“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.”
U.S. Sanctions Beijing Over South China Sea
The U.S. on Wednesday announced sanctions against 24 Chinese companies involved in advancing Beijing’s territorial claim over the contested South China Sea.
A deeper dive… The actions by the Commerce Department apply to a range of state-owned enterprises active in the South China Sea, which accounts for an estimated one-third of all global shipping.
Beijing insists it has sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, though its claims overlap with those of six other governments – Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, and the Philippines.
Since 2013, China has built more than 3,000 acres of human-made islands in the South China Sea, which host air-defense and anti-ship missile technology. (A photo of one such island)
The U.S., which doesn’t have any claims in the South China Sea, has said it wants to ensure freedom of navigation in a region that contains vital shipping lanes.
What’s Next? The full impact of the Commerce Department’s sanctions is still unclear, but officials said they hope other countries would join the U.S. in taking action to curb Beijing’s activities in the region.
Separately, China reportedly fired an “aircraft-carrier killer” missile into the South China Sea Wednesday morning in response to its claim that a U.S. U-2 spy plane entered its no-fly zone without permission on Tuesday.
So… what are people saying?
From Pivot to Defiance: American Policy Shift in the South China Sea
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Teenager Charged In Kenosha Shooting
A 17-year-old Illinois resident was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree intentional homicide stemming from a shooting in Kenosha, WI, on Tuesday night that left two people dead and one wounded. Authorities have provided few details about what happened, though dozens of social media videos appear to portray the incident. Here’s what they show (in words & links).
More: The White House on Wednesday authorized sending 2,000 National Guard troops from other states to Wisconsin, in addition to 500 WI National Guard members deployed to Kenosha.
Hurricane Laura was upgraded to a Category 4 storm on Wednesday ahead of expected landfall in Louisiana and Texas shortly after midnight local time. Featuring winds of more than 140 miles per hour, Laura is also expected to bring an “unsurvivable” storm surge of water that could reach as high as 20 feet and travel up to 30 miles inland, forcing hundreds of thousands of LA and TX residents to evacuate their homes.
🚨 Breaking News: The Christchurch, NZ, shooter – who killed 51 people in attacks on two mosques in 2019 – was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the first time New Zealand has imposed a punishment that denies any release.
🔴🔵 Republican National Convention: Day Three Recap, featuring speeches from Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, and Kellyanne Conway.
Worth Noting: Texas authorities discovered what they believe to be the body of a missing Fort Hood soldier, at least the 12th disappearance/death linked to the military base in 2020.
🗽 Art In The Park… NYC officials unveiled the first monument honoring historical women in Central Park yesterday – a bronze statue depicting women’s rights pioneers Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.
FB Loses Track Of Apple
Facebook on Wednesday said Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 could lead to a more than 50% drop in its Audience Network advertising business. The change centers around Apple’s “Identifier For Advertisers” (IDFA) user tracking feature, which the company plans to make an opt-in service for customers with iOS 14. Apple has not said when the new operating system will launch, but it is expected before the end of the year.
The U.S. government announced a more than $1B initiative to establish 12 new federal research centers dedicated to artificial intelligence and quantum computing. The move comes one month after the National Science Foundation secured $75M in funding to open three centers dedicated to quantum information science.
The NBA postponed all three playoff games scheduled for Wednesday after players (led by members of the Milwaukee Bucks) said they were boycotting over the James Blake shooting in Kenosha, WI. The WNBA also postponed all three games, while three MLB games were rescheduled for similar reasons.
🅿️ (Hands-) Free Parking… Ford, Bosch, and Bedrock unveiled an automated valet parking garage in Detroit, MI.
In The Arms Of A (Canine) Angel
Firefighters in Northern California have struggled with massive wildfires over the past week, with their faces often remaining stoic as they work around the clock fighting the barely-contained blazes. But even after a long shift, the brave men and women can’t help but smile when their workday ends in the arms of Kerith, their canine companion.
The 2-year-old golden retriever was initially bred to be a guide dog for the blind, but her energetic, super-affectionate personality made her more suited for her current position as a certified crisis response therapy dog. Kerith, who takes her job very seriously, delights in spreading joy to firefighters as they battle the Woodward fire in Marin County, CA.
Brad Wachsmuth of Milton, DE, was kayaking on a local river earlier this month when he came across a floating bottle with a message inside. Brad brought the bottle to the Milton Historical Society, where they opened it up and discovered the message was written back in 1985.
Using the Milton Historical Society archives, Brad was able to narrow down the identity of the two authors, who included personal details such as their pets’ names in the message. Brad found one of them still lived just a few miles away and reunited her with the note, much to her surprise and delight.
Wait And See
Taylor Ellis of Maryland was born with glaucoma and has very little vision as a result. When the pregnant 26-year-old went in for a 20-week ultrasound with her husband, Jeremy, she could not see the outline of her baby, leaving her in tears.
When the doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital learned Taylor was upset, they offered to conduct a special ultrasound and created a 3D print of her unborn daughter’s face. The hospital traditionally used the method for babies with spina bifida, but now offers the service to visually impaired parents as well.
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