Happy Friday. With the 49ers and the Chiefs facing off in Super Bowl LIV Sunday, we’d like to present a challenge. We’re predicting that none of our readers can correctly guess the victor and score of the game. Want to prove us wrong? Just reply to this email – the closest estimate gets a t-shirt.
But if you’re wrong… you owe us three referrals. Don’t worry, we’re kidding. Kinda.
“To be the best, you must be able to handle the worst.”
– Wilson Kanadi
Brexit: It’s Happening
Britain will officially withdraw from the European Union at 11 PM GMT (6 PM EST) Friday night, triggering an 11-month transition process in which the UK and EU will negotiate terms for the future.
Here’s how it happened… The deal has been in the works since a June 2016 UK referendum passed with 51.9% of Britain voting to leave the EU.
PM David Cameron resigned after the results and was succeeded by Theresa May.
May negotiated a 2018 withdrawal agreement, which parliament voted against three times. She later resigned in July 2019 and was replaced by Boris Johnson.
Johnson held an early general election in Dec. 2019, where his Conservative party won a majority. The UK government ratified a new withdrawal agreement one month later.
What it means: The UK will use the 11-month transition period to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the rest of Europe. Some other aspects of the UK-EU relationship are yet to be determined:
Law enforcement, data sharing, and security
Aviation standards and safety
Supplies of electricity and gas
Licensing and regulation of medicines
So… what are people saying?
Don’t tune out yet: Britain’s Brexit odyssey is far from over
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WHO Declares Health Emergency
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency on Thursday. The WHO director-general said their greatest concern was not what is happening in China, but rather the potential for the disease to spread to other countries with weaker health systems.
Also on Thursday, the CDC confirmed the first person-to-person transmission of coronavirus in the U.S.
In an 8-hour session, lawyers on both sides of the Senate impeachment trial fielded questions from individual senators, relayed through Chief Justice John Roberts. A vote on whether to involve witnesses in the trial is expected to come later today.
The House approved two measures on Thursday aimed at limiting U.S. military action without congressional approval. Mainly along party-lines, representatives approved the No War Against Iran Act and voted to repeal the 2002 authorization for use of military force that ushered in the war against Sadaam Hussein’s Iraqi regime.
According to the WSJ, a pending U.S. Department of Transportation report accuses Southwest Airlines of flying more than 17 million passengers on planes with unconfirmed maintenance records over a two-year period. The DOT reportedly also criticized the Federal Aviation Authority in Dallas for its “lax, ineffective, and inconsistent” oversight.
General Motors on Thursday confirmed its plans to resurrect the Hummer as a line of all-electric trucks. Dubbed the ‘GMC Hummer EV,’ it is expected to go into production in fall 2021 featuring 1,000 horsepower and 0 to 60 MPH acceleration in three seconds.
Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook published their Q4 earnings reports this week. Amazon’s Q4 earnings beat analysts’ expectations and Microsoft recorded a profit of $11.6 billion, while Facebook’s market cap took a $30 billion hit as the company reported a 51% increase in expenses compared to 2019 (compared to 25% YOY revenue growth).
In other news, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty announced she will be stepping down. She will be replaced by senior VP Arvind Krishna.
Food for Thought
Kindergartener Kiki Hardee became a shining example of the value of generosity, regardless of one’s age. After Kiki learned several families at Breeze Hill Elementary School were behind on their school lunch payments, she had the bright idea to sell cocoa and treats to wipe out their debt.
Her original goal was to pay for the $616 owed by families at her own school, but she quickly blew past that amount and ended up raising over $7,000. The money Kiki raised covered the lunch debt of her entire school district, and inspired young classmates to follow in her footsteps of making the world a better place.
When Georgina Laurie lost her husband suddenly seven years ago, she considered taking her own life. At the last moment, she decided to reach out to Samaritans, a crisis hotline for those considering suicide. Georgina opened up to the man on the other end of the phone, opening up to him about all her troubles. He simply listened and empathized with her pain and exhaustion, adding a few kind words here and there. Georgina now works as a volunteer for the organization she credits with saving her life.
Georgina recently made an amazing discovery – she overheard the volunteer in the next cubicle utter the exact same words that had changed her mind about taking her own life. She found that her colleague, Des McCarthy, was indeed the one who helped her all those years ago. Des is set to retire from Samaritans next month, but his legacy will be continued by Laurie, who continues to do for others what Des did for her.