Happy Friday. Did you find yourself missing this newsletter yesterday? Hopefully, you handled your donut cravings better than a Detroit man who is in police custody after blocking traffic on a major highway to perform donuts in the middle of the roadway.
Housekeeping note: Don’t forget to fill out this eleven question survey to be entered into a drawing to receive a package full of DONUT merch and a personal, handwritten note from our team – plus a special surprise we know you’ll love. The survey will be live through Sunday night, and the winners will be notified Monday.
“Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.”
The Iraqi Situation
Late last night, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani – leader of the elite Quds Force – was killed in a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad International Airport. The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed Iraqi militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and five others.
How did we get here? Last Friday, Iranian-backed paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah (KH) launched a missile strike on an Iraqi base, killing a U.S. civilian contractor and leaving several American and Iraqi troops wounded. In response, the U.S. military carried out airstrikes on five KH locations in Iraq and Syria this past Sunday. Two days later, KH supporters attempted to storm the American embassy compound located in Baghdad, but were rebuffed by the embassy’s security detail with the help of nearby U.S. marines.
What’s next? After protesters attempted to storm the embassy on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper authorized 750 troops to be sent to the Middle East immediately, with an additional 4,000 troops expected to deploy this week.
So… what are people saying?
Shock Waves From American Airstrikes in Iraq May Have Just Begun
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Vaping Flavors Prohibited
The Food and Drug Administration announced a nationwide ban yesterday on most flavored cartridge-based vaping products. Companies have 30 days to comply with the flavor ban, which does not extend to tobacco and menthol flavored pods or to tank-based flavored nicotine liquids.
According to a Military.com report, the U.S. Army has banned its soldiers from using popular Chinese social media app TikTok on government-owned phones, calling the app a cyber threat (the Navy instituted a similar ban on TikTok last month). As recently as November, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command had been using the app to reach potential recruits.
The Australian state of New South Wales has declared a week-long state of emergency in the face of deadly wildfires (photos), the third time such a declaration has been made since the fires began in November. According to officials, at least eight people have been killed by the fires since Monday, bringing the total death count to 17.
Interpol delivered a wanted notice to Lebanese authorities on Thursday requesting the provisional arrest of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail and fled from Japan to Lebanon earlier this week. Ghosn has been accused by Nissan of understating his own financial compensation and colluding with fellow board member Greg Kelly, who remains imprisoned in Japan under the same inquiry.
Apple has signed a five-year deal with New York-based Eden Productions, which is owned and operated by former HBO CEO Richard Plepler. Under the terms of the deal, Eden Productions will make television series, documentaries, and feature films exclusively for Apple TV Plus.
Starting Feb. 1, truck and trailer rental company U-Haul will stop interviewing and hiring nicotine users, though the company has not yet decided on whether or not to test for the drug. The Phoenix-based company’s new policy will be implemented in the 21 U.S. states (including Arizona) where it is legal to not hire nicotine users.
It’s been said that the smallest steps can produce the greatest results. That’s what Irishman Liam Duggan discovered in 2016 when he decided to raise money to help sick children. Liam’s original goal was to one day open a children’s hospital, an objective he pursued by simply collecting spare change from generous passersby outside of a local cafe.
Three years later, Liam has raised over $165,000 through his foundation, Koins for Kids Ireland, and shows no signs of slowing down. His new goal is to be able to afford an MRI machine (an estimated cost of $1.3 million) by 2023. Now collecting change in several different venues, Liam’s dream of helping children is quickly becoming a reality – all because he decided to take one small step toward making the world a better place.
Ethan Emilo Guzman’s dad was proud to see his son display the type of generosity and thoughtfulness rarely seen in everyday life. The two were driving in their car when Ethan spotted a neighbor his age playing basketball on the hard pavement without shoes on his feet. Ethan asked the boy why he had no shoes, and the boy responded by saying he’d recently moved from the Dominican Republic, and wasn’t used to playing in shoes.
Ethan quickly ran up to his apartment, grabbed a pair of his own sneakers and socks, and gifted them to the boy to welcome him to the neighborhood. Ethan’s dad caught the touching moment on video and praised his son for being kind-hearted, telling Ethan that his behavior was the definition of true love – which can come in all shapes and sizes!
Don’t wait for the new year to make fitness and nutrition a priority
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Drone Unknown… at least 17 unmanned drones have been spotted in rural Colorado – according to local law enforcement, the drones fly in harmony in a grid search pattern, though their origins remain a mystery.
DNA Desktop… researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a computer that uses 32 strands of DNA to store and process information, and can also calculate the square root of numbers up to 900.
The Answer to Cancer? Google Health has developed an AI program that, in testing, performed better at spotting breast cancer in mammograms than expert radiologists.
Remains to be seen… Russian archaeologists have found and analyzed the remains of four female warriors who may be linked to stories of Amazon warrior women that were popular in Ancient Greece.
Degree of Difficulty
What temperature is the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit?