“If something is wrong, fix it now. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing.” – Ernest Hemingway
This Week at a Glance
Monday: Read on to find out 😉
Tuesday: Deadline for state recounts and legal challenges to the presidential election
Wednesday: DoorDash IPO
Thursday: Experts advising the FDA meet to review Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine; Airbnb IPO
Friday: Midnight deadline to avoid U.S. government shutdown
🇮🇳 India’s Massive Protests
Tens of thousands of farmers gathered around India’s capital of New Delhi on Saturday, blocking highways on the outskirts of the city for the tenth straight day to protest agricultural laws passed in September.
📝 Background: India’s agricultural sector comprises ~15% of India’s $2.7T economy and employs more than half of the country’s ~480M workers.
A Brief Timeline:
September 20: India PM Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government passed threenewlaws it says will streamline India’s farming industry and transform the sector through increased private investment.
November 25: Thousands of farmers marched to Delhi – where they currently remain – accompanied by a 24-hour strike of ~250M people across India the following day in protest of both the agricultural laws and proposed labor law reforms.
The protesters say the legislation, which modifies the government’s long-standing practice of guaranteeing minimum prices for certain crops, was implemented without consulting farmers and explained poorly to those who would be most affected.
While the new laws say farmers will still have price assurances, protest leaders have expressed doubts about its vague language. They also argue the new laws would lead to lower prices, paving the way for corporate takeovers of independent farms.
On Saturday, they rejected the government’s offer to amend some contentious provisions of the bill, sticking to their demand for total repeal.
🌎 Around the World:
🇬🇧 Thousands gathered in London on Sunday to protest the Indian agricultural reforms.
🇺🇸🇨🇦 Hundreds (and sometimes thousands) participated in similar demonstrations across several major U.S. and Canadian cities over the weekend, including Chicago, Toronto, Indianapolis, Saskatoon, and Washington, D.C.
Indian protest leaders announced a nationwide strike for Tuesday, and will meet with government officials for further negotiation on Wednesday.
Why Protesting Farmers Are Unable To Trust Government
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⚖️ Judge Orders DACA Restored
A U.S. federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to fully restore the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation. The judge instructed the federal government to begin accepting and processing DACA petitions from qualified immigrants not currently in the program.
More: The Friday ruling also asks the government to issue the normal two-year permits instead of one-year permits sought by the Trump administration.
Even More: The Trump administration suspended new DACA applications in September 2017.
On Friday, the Trump administration ordered “the majority of personnel” stationed in Somalia to withdraw from the country by early 2021 (~700 American troops). The U.S. first stationed soldiers in Somalia 13 years ago to help government troops fight against al-Qaeda affiliated militant group al-Shabab.
A government-commissioned report released Saturday identified targeted microwave pulses as the most likely cause behind a series of strange illnesses experienced by American diplomats in Cuba, China, and other countries. The U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, first reported employees with symptoms in 2016 (dizziness, fatigue, hearing and memory loss, & more). American diplomats in China and U.S. intelligence officials working on Russia-related operations across the world reported similar symptoms over the past four years.
Yes, but… The report noted other non-targeted causes for the illnesses could not be ruled out.
🌿 The Democratic-controlled Houseapproved a bill on Friday decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, largely along party lines (5R & 6D crossed the aisle). The GOP-controlled Senate is unlikely to take up the bill before the current session of Congress expires on Jan. 3.
🇨🇳 China became the second nation to plant a flag on the Moon Thursday, joining six U.S. emblems. Beijing’s Chang’e 5 space probe left for Earth shortly after, carrying ~4lbs of lunar rocks.
🔬 Extra CRISPRy
Three groups of scientists independently published promising data over the weekend detailing new (and different) experimental approaches to treating sickle-cell disease, a genetic blood disorder affecting ~100k Americans – an overwhelming majority of whom are Black. Two of the treatments use the advanced gene-editing tool CRISPR, which, if proven successful, would mark the first time the technology was used to treat an inherited disease.
More: There is currently one known cure for sickle-cell disease – a risky bone marrow transplant requiring chemotherapy beforehand to make room for transplanted cells to grow.
💼 Jobs Report Card
U.S. employers added 245k jobs last month according to the Department of Labor, down from 610k jobs added in October. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.7% from 6.9%, in part due to ~355k people dropping out of the labor force.
More: The U.S. has ~9.8M fewer jobs than in February.
🎄 Singing Loud For All to Hear
Doug Henning, a 43-year-old father of two from Boston, was adopted at a young age and spent years eagerly searching for his biological father. Finally, on November 24th, Doug met his birth father, Raul, at the airport in Boston – dressed as the character Buddy from the movie Elf.
Holding a sign that read “Dad,” Doug greeted his father – who had previously not known about his son – by bursting into the song Buddy sings to his biological father in the 2003 comedy movie. (Video)
🐕🐈 Dogs & Cats Living Together
Ever since Julie Burroughs of Tampa, FL, rescued a pit bull named Dude in 2015, the pup has fit perfectly into her life, keeping her company through a divorce and becoming friends with Julie’s other dog, a pit bull named Harley Jane. When Harley Jane passed away this February, Dude fell into a heartbroken slump.
Hoping to cheer up the pup, Julie got Dude a 7-month-old rescue kitten named Ace. Dude and Ace have now become unlikely best friends – cuddling, napping, and plotting mischief together. (Photos)
📚 Never Judge A Crook by Their Cover
For the past seven years, a private prep school for boys in Salinas, CA, has partnered with Soledad State Prison to run a book club bringing together students and inmates. This year, the inmates worked together to raise more than $30,000 for a student in need.
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🏛️ All You Can Eat… in ancient Rome, the upper classes often threw lavish, hours-long banquets where attendees would lie down to eat and vomit in-between courses to make room for more food (a lá Hunger Games).
🌊 Ride the Wave… a new study suggests a series of now-submerged ancient islands near modern-day Britain survived the massive Storegga tsunami, caused by one of the largest known submarine landslides in Earth’s history.
🌟 Mass Effect
Fill in the blank: According to NASA, one teaspoon of neutron star material weighs approximately six ____ tons.
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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