Friday: Chinese New Year (ushering in the Year of the Ox)
🇺🇸 The One About Immigration
On Saturday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. had notified El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that it had started the process of withdrawing the U.S. from Trump-era asylum agreements with the three countries.
The “safe third country” agreements, signed in 2019 but on hold since March due to the pandemic, allow the U.S. to send asylum seekers from other countries to Central America (where they are able to request asylum).
Blinken said the administration intends to work with the nations to reduce some of the insecurity and poverty causing people to flee in the first place while maintaining the security of the U.S. border.
The move is one in a series of executive actions regarding immigration the Biden administration has taken over the past week.
📝 Executive Decisions
President Biden signed three executive orders last Tuesday, one of which called for Blinken to “promptly consider” whether to notify the three Central American governments that the U.S. intended to terminate the safe third country deals.
Another ordercreated a task force to find ways to reunite children in the U.S. with parents deported without them (over 5,400 children since July 2017, per the ACLU).
The third order requires federal agencies to do a “top-to-bottom review of recent regulations, policies and guidance that have set up barriers to our legal immigration system.”
On Thursday, Biden signed an executive order to increase the U.S.’ annual cap on refugees to 125k from 15k for the year-long period starting October 1.
Biden sent his immigration legislative proposal, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, to Congress on his first day in office (which notably includes an earned path to citizenship for Dreamers). It’s unclear how quickly the plan may be considered.
Last month, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against a Biden administration memo published on Inauguration Day enacting a 100-day moratorium on deportations of illegal immigrants.
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🏫 Chicago Schools Update
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools announced a tentative agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union that would allow for in-person learning to begin on a phased-in schedule.
Under the agreement, pre-school students who opt for in-person learning would return to the classroom Thursday, with grades K-5 students and grades 6-8 students following soon afterward (March 1 & 8, respectively).
More: Union members still have to approve the plan before it goes into effect. A deal would end nearly eight months of negotiation between the CTU and CPS regarding a return to in-person learning.
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on California’s COVID-19 restrictions for churches saying the state can’t ban indoor church services, but can limit attendance to 25% capacity and restrict indoor singing and chanting. CA Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday revised restrictions to limit church capacity to 25% in areas with high virus spread and 50% in areas with moderate to low virus spread.
South Africatemporarily suspended the rollout of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. A recent clinical trial indicated the vaccine offers only minimal protection against a highly contagious strain of the virus recently discovered in South Africa.
A large part broke off a glacier in the Himalayas in India yesterday, releasing a flood of water and ice that struck two hydroelectric plants. At least nine people were killed and ~140 others are still missing.
Tens of thousands of peoplemarched in cities and towns across Myanmar on Saturday and Sunday in protest of last week’s military coup (and protests continued into Monday). Local authorities restored Internet service to the country yesterday following a 24-hour blackout.
🏈 Super Bowl Roundup
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV last night to win the franchise’s second NFL championship.
With the win, Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady, who was named the game’s MVP, earned his record seventh Super Bowl title – more than any single franchise in the NFL (New England & Pittsburgh each have six).
🐶 Puppy Bowl XVII featured 70 puppies from 22 different shelters, with Team Ruff defeating Team Fluff by a final score of 73-69. (The first adorable touchdown)
95 – The amount of penalty yards given up by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half of last night’s game – a Super Bowl record.
63M – Downloads of encrypted messaging app Telegram in January 2021, propelling it from ninth overall in downloads in December 2020 to first overall last month (according to data from Sensor Tower).
3rd – Firearm sales in the U.S. reached their third-highest monthly total ever in January 2021 (2.3M) after setting a yearly record in 2020 (nearly 23M), per the Washington Post.
⏰ Catch Up Quick
Fox Business canceled “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” The titular host has been named as a defendant in a $2.7B defamation lawsuit levied by voting machine company Smartmatic. (Left-Center | Right-Center)
The NCAAannounced San Antonio and its surrounding area will host the entire 2021 NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Earlier this month, the NCAA selected Indianapolis to host the entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship.
Nickie Lewis spent the last year filling her local park with mythical creatures made from completely natural materials.
From mermaids to Ewoks to large-scale dragons, Lewis’ forest friends have become hidden treasures for people to find on their daily strolls.
Break out the tissues…
With the help of a Facebook group called “Find Fergus!”, one Nashville family was reunited with their 200 lb. Irish Wolfhound (named Fergus) after he was thrown from their van in a crash last week. Here’s the tearful and tail-wagging reunion.
Robert Peters has been faithfully delivering pizzas for over 31 years to the people of Tipton, Indiana. After noticing Peters’ 28-year-old car was on its last legs, the residents raised $19,000 to buy their favorite delivery man a new whip.
Self-reflection just got social
Daily Haloha is a simple and uplifting daily routine, wrapped in a charming little app. It’s designed to help us all look inward and then share outward with others, positively and anonymously.
Say hello to your new daily routine
Each day the entire world gets a new thought-provoking fill-in-the-blank question. Then, all you have to do is open the app, and…
1: Check in with yourself
Take a moment to pause, reflect, and fill in the blanks with a little bit of “you”.
2: Connect with another
Then “swap” your Haloha with another random human somewhere in the world, anonymously and judgment-free.
3: Be a part of the bigger picture
Then browse the Haloha Wall to see how the world is feeling.
Be a part. Not apart.
The Daily Haloha app is free! Because of course, the best things in life usually are.
🔬Knock On Wood… researchers at the University of Maryland developed a process of converting wood into a material almost as transparent as glass and even more insulating.
🐦 Blue Check? Fact-Check. Verified accounts on Twitter shared a record amount of misinformation in Q4 2020, with nearly one-third of content from verified users leading to deceptive sites, per the GMFUS (a nonpartisan U.S. public policy think tank).
💰 Taking Stock
What is the most expensive publicly-traded stock in the world?
B) NVR Inc.
C) Berkshire Hathaway
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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