“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
🇮🇳 India Cracks Down on Protest ‘Toolkit’
Police issued arrest warrants for two Indian activists on Monday for allegedly drafting a Google document designed to create and spread awareness about the ongoing farmers’ protests against agricultural reform.
This came two days after Delhi police arrested 22-year-old climate campaigner Disha Ravi for editing and circulating the ‘toolkit,’ which was originally posted – then deleted – by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg on February 2.
The next day, Thunberg tweeted an updated version of the toolkit, which includes suggestions on hashtags to spread awareness, tips on how to organize physical protests outside foreign embassies, and links to petitions in support of Indian farmers. (Full updated document)
📝 Background: India’s agricultural sector makes up ~15% of India’s $2.7T economy and employs more than halfof the country’s ~480M workers.
🤿 A deeper dive…
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped out on roads outside New Delhi since November to protest against new agricultural laws they say remove much-needed government support for poorer individual farmers.
The government says the laws will help farmers and consumers by modernizing and streamlining the agricultural supply chain and encouraging private investment. (See what the opposing sides are saying.)
The farmer protests have been mainly peaceful. However, on January 26 – Republic Day in India – thousands of farmers overwhelmed police and stormed into Delhi’s historic Red Fort complex. One protester died, and hundreds of police and demonstrators were injured.
The protests drew the attention of several celebrities including Thunberg and pop star Rihanna, who both tweeted their support for the farmers earlier this month (including the toolkit shared by Thunberg).
Soon after Thunberg’s tweet, a case was filed in Delhi against unnamed persons involved with the online toolkit, saying they could be guilty of charges including sedition and criminal conspiracy, among other things.
Police claimed the sharing of the toolkit indicated there was a “conspiracy” behind the violence on January 26.
On Monday, dozens of protesters – among them prominent historian Ramachandra Guha – gathered in the southern city of Bengaluru, Ravi’s hometown, holding signs calling for the climate activist’s release.
India’s farmers are protesting authoritarianism disguised as capitalism. Sound familiar?
At least 20 people have died as of Tuesday evening, per the AP. More than 3.7M customers across the U.S. are without power, according to PowerOutageUS (3.2M+ in Texas).
More: Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R) called on the state legislature to investigate the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in the wake of power outages across the state.
📝 NAACP + Thompson Trump Lawsuit
The NAACP and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, filed a lawsuit yesterday against former President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and others for alleged conspiracy to incite the January 6 Capitol riot.
The suit, which names Trump, Giuliani, and two extremist groups – the Oath Keepers & Proud Boys – cites the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act in accusing the defendants of civil rights violations for conspiring to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election.
More: The KKK Act, the third of a series of increasingly stringent Enforcement Acts, was designed to eliminate extralegal violence and protect the civil and political rights of four million freed slaves after the Civil War.
North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer systems of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and steal information on COVID vaccines and treatments, South Korea’s spy agency disclosed yesterday (per a local lawmaker). The news follows reports last year of suspected North Korean attempts to hack into nine healthcare firms’ networks, including AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
More: It is currently unknown whether the most recent cyberattack was successful.
🎥 As part of a documentary called The Missing Princess – which aired last night and is only available in the UK – the BBC released secret footage showing the daughter of UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum claiming she is being held hostage in a “villa converted into a jail.”
🏠 Hail Hydrogen
The UK announced plans to open the country’s first houses with appliances fueled exclusively by hydrogen this April. The two semi-detached homes will be open to members of the public, who can view appliances and see how they compare to existing ones.
💬 Relevant Quote:
“Unlike natural gas, which is responsible for over 30% of the UK’s carbon emissions, hydrogen produces no carbon at the point of use, with the only by-product being water.”
More: The move is part of a broader UK effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
🌳 Separately (but climate-related): Tech giant IBM announced its commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030.
⚖️ Legal Eagles
North Dakota’s state senatevoted against a piece of legislation that would have enabled software developers in the state to bypass app store fees charged by Apple and Google.
A federal judge denied a request from Citigroup to claw back roughly $500M the bank mistakenly paid out of its own pocket, in what the judge called “a banking error of perhaps unprecedented nature and magnitude.” Dig deeper.
🤖 Meet Mr. Marcus
Goldman Sachs unveiled Marcus Invest yesterday. The low-cost digital platform within its existing Marcus banking app automatically rebalances investors’ wealth across a portfolio of stocks and bonds based on models developed by the firm’s investment strategy committee.
Historically, Goldman Sachs has targeted consumers with at least $10M for its wealth management services – however, Marcus Invest will be available to any investor who can meet an account minimum of $1K, with an annual fee of 0.35%.
📈Separately (but investing-related): The price of bitcoin briefly rose above $50K for the first time yesterday, peaking at around $50,500.
⏰ Catch Up Quick:
Amazonacquired Australia-based e-commerce platform Selz last month, but didn’t publicize the deal. Selz offers tools to help businesses launch their own online stores, similar to Shopify.
The European Consumer Organisation filed a complaint against TikTok with the European Commission yesterday, accusing the short-video social media platform of violating multiple EU laws. Dig deeper.
Adidasannounced plans to sell or spin-off its Reebok brand, 15 years after it originally purchased the U.S. fitness label for $3.8B. Analysts estimate Reebok to be worth $1.2B today.
🛳💍 Sea It to Believe It
With cruises unable to sail for the foreseeable future, Captain Kate McCue has taken to TikTok to track her time at sea. Millions watched this month as she planned and implemented an epic engagement for two crew-members on board her ship.
🐢 I Like To Move It
What inspires you to do a happy little dance? For Turnip, a tortoise at the Tennessee Aquarium, it’s cold showers. One zookeeper caught the grooving tortoise on video this week.
📣 Calling All Dog Lovers
Town & Trail delivers all natural, human-grade treats — perfect for any dog.
Taking a less is more approach, Town & Trail treats are made from USDA beef and contain only five human-grade ingredients. These naturally shelf-stable treats are rooted in South African tradition and are air-dried, keeping healthy protein and nutrients in — and gross chemicals out.
🌠 Crash Course… a pair of researchers at Harvard proposed a new theory explaining the origin and flight path of the Chicxulub impactor – the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs when it crashed into Earth ~66M years ago.
💰 Prime and Punishment… websites are reportedly selling fake Amazon reviews in bulk to retailers, according to a UK-based consumer rights advocacy group. Packages of 1,000 phony appraisals are allegedly selling for just $1,300.
🤠 New Sheriff in Town… a pending piece of legislation in Nevada would propose the formation of “Innovation Zones:” specified land areas where tech companies would be allowed to effectively form their own local governments.
🎮 Console Prize… Microsoft, which launched its game-streaming service xCloud in September, is now preparing to make the service available on web browsers, a move that would allow users to stream Xbox games on PCs and Apple devices for the first time.
🐦 Bird is the Word
What is the only living bird to have a bladder?
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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Like humans, birds have kidneys to filter out nitrogenous waste. However, with the exception of the ostrich, birds don’t have a bladder or urethra – instead, they convert the nitrogen into uric acid, which is mixed with solid waste from the intestines and expelled as bird droppings.