Welcome to Monday. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday commemorating the birth of the civil rights icon – though he was actually born January 15th. Here’s what we’re reading (and watching):
🌎 Around the World Bloomberg estimates more than 42.2M doses have been administered across 51 countries at an average rate of ~2.43M doses per day.
Israel leads the world in proportional vaccine distribution, with a little over 25% of its population already receiving at least one dose (2.3M people).
The U.S. leads the world in total vaccines administered, with around 14.3M people already receiving at least one dose. (Data in this section was updated Sunday night at 10:30 pm ET.)
Side Note… According to the FDA, either vaccine is likely to induce less serious side effects commonly linked to vaccines (like injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, & fever).
Federal analysis of both trials showed few adverse events – separate from the less serious side effects – reported, including seven cases of Bell’s palsy (out of 73k trial participants) and 21 incidents of severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis (out of ~1.9M doses administered during December 14-23).
Because of this, the CDC recommends anyone who has ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine abstain from receiving it. (Find the ingredients here.)
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🔫 NRA Files for Bankruptcy
The National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday announced it is filing for bankruptcy and moving to reincorporate in Texas instead of New York, where a lawsuit filed by the state AG seeks to put the organization out of business. In announcing the move, the NRA said it was “in its strongest financial condition in years,” while an NRA board member later said the move was a result of “undue weaponizing of governmental agencies.”
More: The lawsuit filed is the culmination of an 18-month investigation that alleges NRA senior leadership embezzled tens of millions of dollars from the organization. The NRA has admitted some executives used nonprofit funds for personal benefit.
Even More: The bankruptcy will allow the NRA to keep operating while working out plans to repay creditors, and pauses all pending litigation.
📊 Data Dump: Firearm background checks in the U.S. reached an all-time high of nearly 40M in 2020 according to the FBI, which began keeping records in 1998.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte submitted the government’s resignation on Friday after the government’s tax office admitted ~10k families were targeted for their ethnic origin or dual nationality and wrongly accused of child welfare fraud. Each family was forced to repay tens of thousands of euros provided by the government to offset the cost of childcare, in some cases leading to unemployment, bankruptcy, and divorces.
More: The Dutch government created a fund to pay each wrongly-accused family at least $36K.
Even More: A nationwide election is scheduled for March 17.
🇩🇪 German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party elected her endorsed candidate Armin Laschet to lead the party. Laschet is expected to run for chancellor in this year’s election after Merkel said she wouldn’t pursue another four-year term.
🇵🇸 Palestinan President Mahmoud Abbas said parliamentary elections would be held in the spring and summer, sixteen years after he was elected to what was meant to be a four-year term. (Left-Center | Right-Center)
🇺🇬 Incumbent Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of Uganda’s presidential election on Saturday, handing him a sixth straight five-year term. The political party of opposition candidate (and former rapper) Bobi Wine plans to challenge the “cooked-up, fraudulent” results, which the U.S., UK, and others have also called into question.
🍩 DONUT Holes:
🎤 Legendary music producer Phil SpecterdiedSaturday at age 81. Specter, who worked with the Beatles, Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, & many others, was convicted in 2009 of murdering actress Lana Clarkson.
🇷🇺 Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny – who was airlifted to a German hospital five months ago after a near-fatal nerve attack left him in a coma – returned to Moscow yesterday and was immediately detained by Russian authorities. (The background.)
⛰️ A team of sherpas from Nepal became the first mountaineers to successfully reach the summit of K2 during the winter (the world’s second-tallest peak).
Saturday: The Green Bay Packers defeated the LA Rams 32-18 in the first contest, while the Buffalo Bills beat the Baltimore Ravens 17-3 in the nightcap.
Sunday: The Kansas City Chiefs overcame an injury to last year’s MVP QB Patrick Mahomes to beat the Cleveland Browns 22-17 in the afternoon game, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-20 last night.
This upcoming Sunday, Green Bay will face off against Tampa Bay in the NFC Championship Game, while reigning Super Bowl champ Kansas City plays Buffalo in the AFC Championship Game.
More: A unique feature of last weekend’s games was the age differences between QBs in each conference – all four AFC QBs are 25 or younger, while the NFC included Aaron Rodgers (37), Drew Brees (41), and the immortal Tom Brady (43!).
🚁 Technology Takes Flight
The FAA granted American Robotics approval to conduct the first fully-automated commercial drone flights in the U.S. (no on-site pilots), limited to rural areas and altitudes below 400 feet. American Robotics’ Scout drone model weighs less than 20 pounds, and uses acoustic technology to detect and avoid birds and other obstacles. The Scout in action.
🚀 News Above 400 Feet: Virgin Orbit completed its first successful launch of a payload into orbit yesterday, eight months after its first test flight failed. Dig deeper.
🤷 WhatsApp With Everybody Leaving?
WhatsApp announced it won’t enforce the planned update to its data-sharing policy, initially revealed earlier this month, until May 15. The company said the delay is aimed at providing users with more time to review the terms, and comes after tens of millions of people downloaded alternative encrypted messaging apps like Signal and Telegram in the days after news of the policy change broke.
More: WhatsApp’s policy change was the inspiration for Elon Musk’s succinct tweet – “Use Signal” – sending shares of a completely unaffiliated company named Signal Advance soaring 5,643% over a three-day trading span.
🍩 DONUT Holes:
❌ Nestlé announced a recall of more than 700k pounds of Hot Pockets that may contain pieces of glass and hard plastic.
🤖 Uber is planning to spin out Postmates X, the acquired company’s robotics delivery division, as a new company named Serve Robotics, per TechCrunch.
Although Tilly G the Turtle’s owners were initially hesitant to introduce him to Skippy, their new puppy, the two animals formed an instant connection after Tilly G was adopted from the Los Angeles Humane Society.
Skippy follows Tilly G wherever he goes, cuddling, sharing meals, and even swimming with his best friend.
For his part, Tilly G – who had been underweight and suffering from a cracked shell when the Humane Society rescued him – is incredibly patient with his canine companion.
“Love is love, and it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from, or what your differences are,” Tilly G and Skippy’s owner told The Dodo.
Room for more sweet tidbits?
Every time Haley Gamez leaves her grandparents’ house, her 89-year-old grandfather says goodbye by eagerly running alongside her car and waving as she drives away. (Video)
Rapper Post Malone teamed up with Musicians on Call, a nonprofit that provides live and recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities, to donate 10,000 pairs of his sold-out Duet Max Clog II Crocs to frontline workers at hospitals throughout the country.
🚜 Buy the Farm… an analysis from The Land Report found Bill Gates is the largest private owner of farmland located in the U.S.
🏎️ If You Build It… an Arizona businessman discovered the Porsche he wanted wasn’t sold in the U.S. – so he built it for himself.
🐟 Just Keep Swimming… Harvard researchers created a group of fish-shaped underwater robots that can autonomously navigate and find each other, forming schools that work together to perform tasks.
🍀 I’m Feeling Lucky… the Mega Millions lottery jumped to $850M after no winner was drawn Friday night, while the Powerball jackpot rose to $730M after Saturday’s drawing. How to handle a windfall.
🇺🇸 America’s City
The demographics of which U.S. city most closely resembles the entire country? (Data from WalletHub)
B) Oklahoma City
D) Washington, D.C.
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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Oklahoma City was first in WalletHub’s 2016 analysis ranking the ‘American-ness’ of the largest 379 U.S. metropolitan areas under its demographic category. (ICYWW, here’s a demographic breakdown of the whole USA.)