Good morning. Los Angeles mourned the death of Kobe Bryant yesterday in a packed memorial service at the Staples Center. The two-hour program concluded with a viewing of Dear Basketball, Kobe’s Academy Award-winning short film.
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”
– Soren Kierkegaard
Coronavirus: A Cause For Concern?
Yesterday, U.S. stocks suffered their worst day in over two years, largely attributed to investor fears over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Likewise, European stocks suffered their worst day of trading since 2016.
A quick bit of context… There have been more than 80,000 confirmed cases, and over 2,600 deaths. For comparison:
Seasonal Flu: An estimated 29 million U.S. cases this season and 16,000 deaths.
Swine Flu (H1N1): An estimated 11% to 22% of the global population was infected in 2009, resulting in 150,000 to 500,000 deaths.
Cases Are Climbing Several countries outside of mainland China have seen an increase in the number of confirmed cases and deaths from Sunday to Monday:
South Korea: 833 total cases and 8 deaths (Sunday: 602 cases and 5 deaths)
U.S.: 53 total cases and 0 deaths (Sunday: 34 cases and 0 deaths)
Italy: 229 total cases and 6 deaths (Sunday: ~150 cases and 4 deaths)
Iran: 47 total cases and 12 deaths (Sunday: 43 cases and 8 deaths)
What’s next? The WHO on Monday said it was too early to call the outbreak a pandemic, but cautioned countries to be prepared for the virus. Also yesterday, Goldman Sachs lowered its projected first quarter U.S. GDP growth from 1.4% to 1.2%.
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Weinstein Found Guilty
A jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of two sex crimes on Monday, while acquitting him of the two most serious charges (that would have carried a sentence of up to life in prison). Weinstein was found guilty of a first degree criminal sexual act and third degree rape, carrying a sentence of anywhere from 5 to 25 years – he is scheduled to be sentenced March 11.
More: The jury’s verdict marks a milestone for the #MeToo movement, which so far has resulted in 7 convictions and 4 charges of influential figures.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 94, resigned from his position on Monday, effectively ending the country’s current ruling coalition. No official reason has been given for Mohamad’s decision, and he will continue as interim leader until his successor is chosen.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a potentially landmark case involving religious rights and same-sex couples. Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services is appealing the city’s refusal to place children for foster care with the Catholic agency, which does not allow same-sex couples to serve as foster parents.
According to the WSJ (no $ needed), pharmaceutical company Moderna has shipped the first coronavirus vaccine to U.S. government researchers who will begin human testing to determine its effectiveness. The government expects a clinical trial by the end of April, which would be the fastest ever Phase One trial of a vaccine.
UK financial technology (fintech) company Revolut announced Monday that it has raised $500 million at a valuation of $5.5 billion. Revolut was previously valued at $1.7 billion when the company raised $250 million back in 2018.
On Monday, Cargill – the largest privately owned agricultural company in the U.S. – announced plans to start producing plant-based meat products in April. Cargill is hoping to compete with startups Beyond Meats and Impossible Foods, as well as meat giant Tyson Foods, who is also introducing a line of fake meat products.
When Dagmar Turner was told by doctors that her brain tumor was growing and needed to be operated on, the 53-year-old violinist’s first concern was being able to retain her musical abilities following the procedure.
After Dagmar shared her reservations, the neurosurgeon team devised a plan – they had Dagmar play the violin during the operation (video) in order to identify and avoid key parts of her brain associated with her play.
When former Marine George Hood learned of the troublingly high rates of suicide among law enforcement officers, he figured it was his duty to help raise mental health awareness doing what he loves best.
The 62-year-old fitness nut recently set the Guinness World Record for longest time ever spent in the plank position, an astounding 8 hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds – George even celebrated his feat with 75 additional pushups.
We Are Groot
When an elderly couple went missing on a planned romantic Valentine’s Day hike, dozens of volunteers scoured the local woods for eight consecutive days, but to no avail.
Enter Groot, the search-and-rescue golden retriever, who managed to lead his handlers straight to the missing pair, and stayed with them until they were airlifted to a hospital (where they are expected to make a full recovery).
Rest in Peace… Katherine G. Johnson, the celebrated NASA mathematician who was the focus of Hidden Figures, passed away Monday at the age of 101.
Anti-anti-antibiotic… using AI technology, scientists have created a powerful new antibiotic that killed off strains of bacteria in mice that were immune to all previously known antibiotics.
Party from the Past… in honor of Fat Tuesday, National Geographic dives into the history of Mardi Gras, and the first state to ever celebrate the holiday (hint: it’s not Louisiana).
Virtual Public Network… an independent analysis of the top free VPN apps in the Google Play Store found critical vulnerabilities that allow hackers to easily access user information.
Which of these movies did NOT sweep all five major Oscar categories (Best Picture, Actor/Actress, Director and Writer)?
A) The Silence of the Lambs B) Titanic C) It Happened One Night D) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest