February 23, 2016

Another attempt at a ceasefire and operation carwash in Brazil






Republicans in Nevada head to the polls today. Will Trump, the casino mogul, win the state full of casinos? FiveThirtyEight thinks so. In the meantime, we are gearing up for a much more interesting announcement tomorrow. Please help us spread the word by signing up for our Thunderclap campaign



Syria: How Many Ceasefires Does It Take To Actually Cease Firing?  Russia and the US announced that a much needed ceasefire in Syria will actually happen on February 27 at midnight. The announcement comes after world powers missed a previous deadline to impose a ceasefire earlier this month. The ceasefire does not include al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) and ISIS, two groups that do a lot of the firing. But it’s also unclear if the Turkish-Kurdish conflict is included. Any other group that announces it is taking part by midday Friday will not be targeted by Russian or coalition airstrikes. 

  • Pros: Ceasefire means more humanitarian aid reaching more civilians and less violence overall. 
  • Cons: Low probability of success, many armed groups feel dissatisfied, some major armed groups still not obliged to cease firing. 
Brazil: Operation ‘Carwash’ Threatens Presidential Motorcade 
An ongoing investigation into a bribery scandal at the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras (aka operation “carwash”) snagged some of President Rousseff’s senior aides. Investigators allege that the “marketing manager” for her campaign helped funnel money from Petrobras into her political party (the details are sketchy). We wonder what skillset you need to be able to run effective Facebook campaigns while laundering bribe money. The arrests will only increase the pressure on the wildly unpopular president who currently faces impeachment. Boa sorte!


El Chapo’s Wife Calls Drug Lord ‘Family Man’We all have that crazy uncle. In an attempt to paint an endearing picture of the Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s wife and former beauty queen Emma Coronel Aispuro says that her husband is wrongfully blamed for the world’s problems. In her first interview with Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, she disputed many of the claims of her husband’s prison break and says she fears for his life. Not only is her father a top lieutenant for El Chapo, but her brother is accused of aiding his last escape. So it appears she’s not wrong: he is a family man. 

Pentagon Might Actually Get Started On Closing Guantánamo… MaybeBetter late than never, right? The Pentagon is expected to maybe… hopefully… you know, if there’s time… send Congress a plan today for closing the wartime prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Closing Gitmo was once part of President Obama’s platform before getting elected President, but the feat took longer than anticipated. The administration is eager to shut the prison down before the end of his presidency, but nobody is sure where the inmates should go. There is currently a statute banning the military from bringing the detainees to the United States, and it’s unlikely Republican controlled Congress will revoke that law. 

Astronauts Heard Music Coming From The Dark Side Of The MoonNew audio tapes from the Apollo 10 mission are telling us a lot about astronauts. First of all, they get down to Space Jams. A recorded conversation between astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young reveal their confusion and curiosity over what they call, “outer space-type music,” or the eerie whistling they heard while on the far side of the moon. NASA has released the “music,” and if you play it while watching The Wizard of Oz, it’s a guaranteed good time. 

Keeping Our Eye On…

  • Delhi: The government thinks that almost 10 million people are without water as much of the city’s water supply has been cut off after members of the Jat caste sabotaged a canal in protest. 
  • Umberto Eco:  The release date for Pape Sat in Aleppe: Chronicles of a Liquid Society has been moved earlier due to the Italian author’s death. Eco’s final book of essays will be published this weekend in Italian. 
  • Taylor & Kesha: Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha, after a judge ruled against the “Tik Tok” singer. Kesha had asked the courts to let her record music independently of producer Dr. Luke who she claims sexually abused her.


Medical Records Reveal That Hitler Had… Uh, ‘Genital Deformities’ Many have speculated that Adolf Hitler’s attempt to conquer Europe indicated his need to compensate for something. Well, today, we have hard evidence as to what that something could be. To put it bluntly: medical records show that Hitler had a deformed micro-penis and only one testicle. To deal with the deformity, he was prescribed cocaine or even amphetamines with hormones to help him sexually perform. A little ironic, since we’ll forever know him as a huge dick. 


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Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: