Good morning. In this digital age, you’re probably no stranger to an embarrassing autocorrect mistake. However, Facebook’s most recent blunder may take the cake – on Saturday, the social network issued an apology for translating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name as “Mr. Sh*thole.”
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
Senate Impeachment Trial
On Monday, President Trump’s lawyers filed a 110-page brief with the Senate prior to the impeachment trial – which is set to begin this afternoon. Late yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed a 4-day calendar for each side to give opening statements (a process that took six days in President Clinton’s 1999 Senate trial). McConnell’s proposal would postpone the decision to call witnesses or allow new evidence until later in the process.
What new evidence? A trove of documents provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was released last Tuesday. On Friday, a set of text messages was released showing a top aide to Intelligence Committee member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in frequent contact with Parnas.
Why is this just coming out now? Parnas was arrested and indicted on campaign finance charges in October 2019. Earlier this month, a federal judge allowed Parnas to begin turning over evidence to the House Intelligence Committee.
What are these documents?390 pages of encrypted WhatsApp messages and screenshots from Parnas’ cell phone, including a copy of a letter from Giuliani to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky requesting a meeting.
Where do we go from here?
McConnell’s proposal is likely to pass in a vote along party lines later today. If passed, senators will be allowed to question lawyers from both sides after four days of opening arguments. Several hours of debate will then follow. At this point, the Senate can vote on calling other witnesses to testify, or to allow evidence collected by the House to be admitted.
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Protests Over Puerto Rico Aid
Puerto Rican Gov. Wanda Vázquez has fired three of her cabinet members after a Facebook video posted Saturday revealed a 43,000-square-foot government warehouse full of unused emergency aid. On Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered in San Juan to express their outrage over the situation.
On Monday, a prominent Chinese scientist confirmed that the mysterious new coronavirus believed to have originated in Wuhan is capable of spreading from person to person. The respiratory illness has killed at least three people and sickened more than 200 across China – the World Health Organization is convening a panel of experts on Wednesday to discuss whether or not to declare an international emergency.
Norway’s Progress Party pulled out of the country’s ruling coalition Monday, pointing to the government’s decision to repatriate a woman suspected of belonging to the Islamic State. Last week, the cabinet decided to bring the unnamed 29-year-old woman and her two children back to Norway so her five-year-old son could receive medical treatment.
According to CNBC, Boeing has secured loans from banks totalling at least $6 billion so far, and is in talks to borrow an additional $4 billion (and maybe more). The loans will go towards the rising costs stemming from two fatal crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft, as the company recently posted an unprecedented net negative in plane orders for 2019.
UK defense company BAE Systems has agreed to pay $1.93 billion in cash to acquire United Technologies’ Military Global Positioning System business. BAE also said Monday it was acquiring Raytheon’s Airborne Tactical Radios business for a price tag of $275 million.
Tesla issued a statement on Monday pushing back against a recent petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that complains about “sudden, unexpected acceleration” in a wide range of Tesla vehicles. In the statement, the company identifies the individual who brought about the petition as an independent investor shorting Tesla stock.
As a father, Glenn Preston wants to be there for his kids’ most important moments. Unlike most dads, Glenn is currently battling Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer that requires him to go through intensive treatment and surgery, which has made it difficult to continue his job as a firefighter.
When treatment rendered Glenn unable to attend his son’s baseball game, he was crushed. But his firefighter brothers and sisters from nearby towns refused to let Glenn and his family down – hundreds of Glenn’s colleagues from more than 50 fire departments showed up to cheer on 11-year-old Jake. Together, they inspire the world to remember the powerful force of love that happens when people come together.
Like most people in urban communities, Jack Jokinen and his wife are careful to lock their doors at night. You can imagine their surprise, then, when one morning they woke up to find a malnourished dog sitting in the middle of their living room. When they checked their security footage, the couple saw the emaciated pooch had wandered in when the door was blown open in the middle of the cold winter night, and was subsequently closed by a passing Good Samaritan.
Jack and his wife washed off the dog’s fleas and ticks, gave her a good meal and a warm bed, and took her to the vet for a checkup. Jack was able to fund the unexpected healthcare costs through donations from an online community of dog lovers, who were kept abreast of the situation via social media. The couple decided to name her Suzy, and continue to consider themselves fortunate to have such an adorable late-night intruder.
Slow & Steady… the results of a study published in Physical Review E found that letting slower passengers go first is actually the quickest way to board an airplane.
Social Subterfuge… a 2019 study by the University of Oxford found evidence of organized social media manipulation campaigns in 70 different countries over a two year period.
Pull a Fast One… Caltech Professor Lihong Wang has created an ultrafast camera that can render video of transparent objects at 1 trillion frames per second.
Pichai’s Pitch… in an op-ed in Sunday’s Financial Times ($), Google CEO Sundar Pichai called for increased regulation on artificial intelligence, emphasizing both the positive and negative impacts of the technology.
Which TV show’s series finale was the most watched television episode of all time?
A) Cheers – “One For the Road” B) Seinfeld – “The Finale” C) M.A.S.H. – “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” D) Roots – “Part 8”