Happy Friday. With countries around the world on lockdown due to coronavirus, many people are turning to classic tabletop games to pass the time. A nursing home in Wales recently enlisted its occupants and staff in a hilarious life-sized game of Hungry Hungry Hippos with residents in wheelchairs acting as the “hippos” (video).
“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort.”
– Jillian Michaels
DOJ Indicts Venezuelan President Maduro
The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday indicted Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, along with more than a dozen current and former government officials, on charges of drug trafficking and narco-terrorism. Among the others indicted are Venezuela’s current Supreme Court chief justice and minister of defense.
A deeper dive… The charges are the result of a years-long investigation involving prosecutors from New York, Washington, and Florida, which federal officials said revealed a government riddled with “corruption at the highest levels.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday announced rewards for information leading to the incarceration of several top current and former government officials:
$15 million has been offered for assisting in the arrest of Maduro.
Up to $10 million has been offered for helping U.S. officials capture four other current and former senior Venezuelan officials.
A Tale of Two Leaders The U.S. – along with nearly 60 other countries – formally recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the head of Venezuela’s “only legitimate” government last year. Maduro has managed to remain the country’s de-facto president, largely thanks to support from Russia following a contested election in 2018.
What’s Next? Although he is reportedly unlikely to face trial in the U.S., law enforcement officials have said the live indictments will make it difficult for Maduro and his associates to travel outside of Venezuela.
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Global cases rose above 531,000 yesterday with more than 24,000 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to more than 85,000 with 1,295 confirmed deaths.
China is temporarily closing its borders to foreigners in hopes of preventing a ‘second wave’ of the virus.
The U.S. now has the most confirmed cases in the world, gaining over 17,000 cases day-over-day to jump ahead of China.
The Trump administration is reportedly developing a plan to label each county in America as “high-risk,” “medium-risk,” or “low-risk” areas for the spread of the virus to impose corresponding guidelines.
New Orleans is currently experiencing the fastest growth in the number of confirmed cases in the world.
India’s government released a $22.5 billion emergency spending plan to help provide food and money to the country’s poorer residents.
Israel Agrees To Form Government
Israel’s two main political rivals – incumbent PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz – have agreed to join forces to form an emergency government following a contentious 12-month period of political deadlock. Under the terms of the agreement, Gantz will serve as vice prime minister under Netanyahu, then become PM himself after 18 months.
More: Netanyahu and Gantz have been on opposite sides of an unprecedented three general elections over the span of a year, each contest resulting in failure to form a government.
White House officials announced retired FBI agent Robert Levinson is now officially presumed dead. Levinson disappeared in Iran in March 2007 while working on an unsanctioned CIA investigation, and is thought to have died in government custody – Iranian officials have repeatedly denied any knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated that the U.S. government would take equity stakes in airline companies in exchange for billions of dollars in direct grants.
The House is expected to hold a voice vote – which doesn’t require members to be present – on the estimated $2.1 trillion stimulus package later today.
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of who will qualify for the stimulus bill’s one-time payment of $1,200 (automatically sent out to qualified Americans). If you’re a business owner, here’s how to apply for an SBA loan.
GM said it will temporarily reduce the pay of its 69,000 salaried employees across the globe by 20%, to be repaid without interest within the next calendar year.
StubHub said it has placed roughly 450 employees on furlough (about two-thirds of its total workforce).
Record Jobless Numbers Reported In U.S.
According to a Labor Department report released Thursday, 3.3 million people filed unemployment claims in the U.S. last week – a more than 1,000% increase over the previous week. It was the largest number of claims since the government first began collecting such data in 1967.
Relationship Status: Single
In a surprise announcement on Thursday, Facebook said Jeffrey D. Zients – a former economic advisor for President Obama – will no longer serve as a member of the company’s board of directors. Zients, whose departure marks Facebook’s fifth board replacement over the past year, will be succeeded by Robert Kimmitt, a former Treasury official in the Bush administration.
In other executive news: Groupon’s CEO and COO both stepped down effective immediately on Thursday, with company insider Aaron Cooper taking control on an interim basis.
With coronavirus forcing bars and restaurants to switch to a take-out or delivery service model, many small businesses have struggled to differentiate themselves as they drastically alter their operations.
Jeremiah Gratza, co-owner of a local Phoenix bar, came up with a unique way to drum up some business – he started including a roll of toilet paper with each beer or wine order, and made nearly $1,000 on their first day!
CBS reporter Steve Hartman usually travels across the country highlighting some of America’s most generous and compassionate citizens, but the virus has instead forced him to work from home for the time being.
Steve, however, is far from discouraged – each day of the week, he has been broadcasting a different 30-minute lesson on kindness from his own home to keep inspiring his regular viewers during these trying times.
The Art Of Teaching
Schools across the country are closed for the near future, so one business in Milford, Ohio decided to provide a fun, engaging, and educational activity for thousands of children across the globe.
Tabitha Harper, who owns an art studio named McHarper Manor, began advertising and hosting a free online art class that thousands of families tune into each day to learn how to paint, sculpt, and upcycle.
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🚀 Blast Off! The U.S. Space Force successfully launched its first-ever dedicated mission on Thursday, sending a strategic communications satellite into orbit.
🧻 Take A Wipe Down Memory Lane… with toilet paper (or lack thereof) becoming a trending topic in the news, now might be a good time to check out the medieval history of TP.