The military coup, led by Army chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, has seen the installation of an 11-member junta, or administrative council, which is ruling under a year-long state of emergency.
Editor’s Note: The country was called Burma for generations leading up to 1989, when the ruling military changed its name in English to Myanmar. The two words mean the same thing, but Myanmar is the more formal version. The U.S. still officially calls the country Burma.
🤿 A deeper dive…
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won November’s election in a landslide, but the military claimed the vote was marred by fraud and used that to justify seizing power. Myanmar’s election commission has said the vote was fair.
In a court filing submitted Wednesday, police accused Suu Kyi of illegally importing and using communication equipment found at her home in Nay Pyi Taw (walkie-talkies), and remanded her into custody until February 15.
The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of three years, per the NYT. Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 years under house arrest between 1989-2010 after organizing rallies calling for peaceful democratic reform and free elections. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Deposed President Win Myint was charged with violating rules banning gatherings during the pandemic, and also remanded into custody for two weeks.
🎗️ Public Response
In an organized act of defiance yesterday, health workers in 70 hospitals and medical departments announced their refusal to “obey any order from the illegitimate military regime.”
However, there are few signs of major protest within Myanmar, with troops on patrol and a night-time curfew in force.
🌏 Around the World
The Group of Seven major economic powers – U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, & Japan – said it was “deeply concerned” about the coup in Myanmar, calling on the military to immediately restore the democratically-elected government.
The U.S. State Departmentofficially labeled the event a coup on Tuesday. The Biden administration raised the possibility of sanctions on Myanmar if the military refuses to relinquish power.
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⚖️ DOJ Drops Yale Lawsuit
The Justice Department notified a federal judge on Wednesday it’s dropping a lawsuit against Yale University that alleges the school illegally discriminated against Asian-American and white students. A DOJ spokeswoman said the department dismissed the suit “in light of all available facts, circumstances, and legal developments,” citing a November federal appeals court ruling favoring Harvard University in a similar DOJ lawsuit.
Researchers from Oxford University published preliminary findings showing its vaccine – developed with AstraZeneca – reduces the transmissibility of COVID-19 by 67%. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, also found a single dose was 76% effective at preventing the virus 22-90 days after injection.
More: Oxford on Tuesday said trial participants showed 82.4% effectiveness after receiving two doses 12 weeks apart, compared to 54.9% if the two doses were spaced less than six weeks apart.
Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D) and Minority Leader McConnell (R) reached a power-sharing agreement to govern and organize committees in the evenly-split chamber after weeks of negotiations. More details. (Left-Center | Right-Center)
House Republicans agreed to keep Rep. Liz Cheney as the third-highest ranking GOP member in a secret ballot vote. Cheney has received pushback due to her vote to impeach former President Trump. (Left-Center | Right-Center)
The House will vote later today on whether to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from the Education and Budget committees due to her past comments perpetuating several conspiracy theories, including QAnon. (Left-Center | Right-Center)
🥇 The nominees for the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards were released yesterday. The full list.
💊 Drug Deal
Jazz Pharmaceuticals announced the acquisition of GW Pharmaceuticals in a cash-and-stock deal worth $7.2B. GW Pharmaceuticals is a cannabis-based company best known for its epilepsy drug Epidiolex, the first plant-derived cannabinoid medicine ever approved by the FDA. The deal is expected to close in Q2 of this year.
🥂 ¡Viva Vivino!
Wine startup Vivino, which runs a website and app allowing users to rate and purchase different wines, raised $155M in a Series D funding round – a sum more than twice as large as all previous funding to date. Vivino has seen its user base grow from 29M in 2018 to 50M today, and is now valued at an estimated $600-800M.
🌐 Google Upgrades to Cable
Google, along with its partner SubCom, announced the company’s privately owned Dunant subsea cable between the U.S. and France became operational on Wednesday. Named after the first Nobel Peace Prize winner, Henry Dunant, the nearly-4k mile cable has a total capacity of 250 terabits per second – enough to transmit the entire digitized Library of Congress three times.
⏰ Catch Up Quick
💻 Suspected Chinese hackers exploited a SolarWinds software flaw to help break in to U.S. government computers last year, per Reuters. Note: This is separate from the alleged Russian hack of SolarWinds that compromised U.S. federal and private entities.
🚫 Parler CEO John Matze was terminated by its board. Dig deeper.
💰Consulting giant McKinsey reached a $573M settlement related to its role in the opioid epidemic and marketing advice it gave to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma.
Ethel the Raccoon lives on a ranch in Oklahoma, yearning for nothing more than to be friends with the owner’s dogs. Watch Ethel’s pure bliss as she achieves her dreams in this viral Tiktok from user @wywood.
But wait, there’s more…
Nevaeh Scales, a freshman at Maryville University in St. Louis, was homeless before moving into her dorm this past fall – so her high school advisor raised $9,000 to help out the steadfast student.
After becoming stranded in a traffic jam during a snowstorm last week, 20 healthcare workers transporting a batch of COVID-19 vaccines through Grant Pass, OR, braved wintry conditions in order to administer the doses to nearby drivers rather than letting them expire.
📣 Calling All Dog Lovers
Town & Trail delivers all natural, human-grade treats — perfect for any dog.
Taking a less is more approach, Town & Trail treats are made from USDA beef and contain only five human-grade ingredients. These naturally shelf-stable treats are rooted in South African tradition and are air-dried, keeping healthy protein and nutrients in — and gross chemicals out.
FiveThirtyEight analyzed a sample of 10 NFL contests last January, finding the average broadcast lasted three hours and 27 minutes but contained just 18 minutes of football action (and 50 minutes of commercials).