February 02, 2016

Cruz Takes Iowa, Democrats Basically Tie, Zika Declared Global Emergency






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Iowa Circus, Errr Caucus

High turnout and close races in Iowa yesterday. Here is the lowdown:

  • Ted Cruz defied pollsters and won the Republican Caucus with eight delegates. Trump came second place, taking home seven delegates. Marco Rubio, now the establishment favorite, came a surprisingly strong third place with 23% of the vote and seven delegates (same as Trump). Jim Gilmore got 12 votes (not delegates, total votes).
  • As of 5:45 A.M. EST the race remained too close to call for the Democrats. Hillary Clinton held a narrow lead, with some races so close they were decided by coin toss… No better way to pick the leader of the Free World.
  • Mike Huckabee (R) and Martin O’Malley (D) dropped out of the race. Here is a guide for other candidates thinking of doing the same. 
So what?
Iowa shattered Trump’s “aura of inevitability” as he heads to New Hampshire (where he’s got a strong lead). Him and Cruz will battle to consolidate the conservative vote. Barring a major upset in New Hampshire the “Republican establishment” will coalesce around Rubio. On the Democratic side, the intensity of the race gives Bernie a shot at stopping the Clinton machine. The race has already exposed deep schisms in the party.

ELECTION READ: The Full Results From Iowa 

Zika Virus: Rio Still Wants To Party With You, Unless You’re Pregnant
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a global health emergency after an explosive number of cases swept South America (1.5 million cases in Brazil alone). The mosquito-borne virus is connected to microcephaly, a neurological birth disorder where infants are born with underdeveloped brains and abnormally small heads. Pregnant women are urged not to travel to infected regions, and those living in infected regions are cautioned to stay inside. 

Despite WHO declaring a state of emergency and officials struggling to destroy mosquito breeding grounds, authorities in Brazil say they are still eager to host the Olympics in Rio this year. They’ve stated that there is no risk to athletes or spectators…unless of course they’re pregnant or might become pregnant.


China: What Happens When Bernie Madoff Meets Lending Club  Chinese authorities arrested 21 people involved in a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of $7.6 billion. The fraudsters used Chinese peer-to-peer lender Ezubao to create fake business profiles and promise investors a 14% return. This is the biggest case of financial fraud in China (although much smaller than Madoff’s $50 billion fraud).  

Alphabet Makes A Very Profitable SoupAlphabet, the artist formerly known as Google, announced fantastic Q4 earnings yesterday making it the world’s most profitable company during after-hours trading. Alphabet made $75 billion in revenue last year (GDP of Sri Lanka) from its core business (Google) while its “#moonshot” divisions (that focus on driverless cars and other cool stuff) lost $3.1 billion. High fives all around.  

GOOD LISTEN: Alphabet’s Earning Call

Keeping Our Eye On…

  • Syria: Talks to end the five year civil war progressed in Geneva yesterday with UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura engaging in shuttle diplomacy between the two sides because they didn’t want to meet in person yet. 
  • Russian Dissent: A video posted by Chechen leader (and Putin ally) Ramzan Kadyrov showing Putin critic Kasyanov in the cross hairs of a sniper’s rifle unnerved the remaining dissidents in the country.  
  • Chefs: The world of gastronomy mourned the loss of Benoit Violier after he was found dead at his home in Switzerland in an apparent suicide. His death highlights the pressure some of the world’s top chefs face in the race to stay competitive.


Japanese Subway Riders Struggle To Hold On Some people collect stamps, others collect loose hairs of their ex-lovers (stay away from those people) and others like to collect things that don’t belong to them (aka steal). Tokyo police are struggling to solve the mystery of the theft of hundreds of hand straps from subway trains across the city. There seems to be no pattern or motive to the thefts and the police have urged the public to help them catch the culprit. Ah, to live in a city where this is the police’s primary concern… 

Parting Thoughts: Ai Weiwei And RefugeesChinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei posed as the drowned Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi in a controversial photograph meant to highlight the plight of refugees. The photograph is meant to ensure that the international community doesn’t forget the millions of refugees trying to make it to Europe but some have accused it of simplifying the complex situation Europe (and the Middle East) faces. Tweet or Facebook us your thoughts on the issue.


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