September 26, 2016

UN Roasts Russia, While Miami Mourns Jose Fernandez


Maybe we are just political nerds but we are so excited about tonight’s Presidential Debate we even created a drinking game for the occasion. Here’s what to expect tonight. The debate is at 9 PM EST and will go on for 90 minutes and, much to the dismay of corporate America, there will be no commercial breaks.


UN Session Turns Into A Roast For Russia

Well, this is awkward. UN Security Council sessions are not known for being blunt, but British, French and American ambassadors decided to change that when they took turns ripping Russia a new one. UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft kicked things off by directly accusing Russia of war crimes in Syria. Citing widespread use of bunker-busting, incendiary bombs on the 275,000 civilians living in Aleppo and the targeting of water supplies, Rycroft said it is “difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes.” French Ambassador François Delattre echoed Rycroft and went so far as to say, “impunity is simply not an option in Syria.” Then, US Ambassador Samantha Power stepped up to the plate to point out Russia’s targeting of the White Helmets, the volunteer emergency service providers.

Needless to say, Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin had a tough act to follow. When Churkin made it to the stage, he blamed the failed ceasefire on the rebels and praised the Assad regime for its “admirable restraint.” Any hope for making a deal with Russia feels distant, you might say.

Miami Mourns The Loss Of Jose Fernandez

The baseball community was shocked by the tragic news that Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, one of the sport’s rising stars, was killed in a boat accident early Sunday morning.

“He was pillar to our community, he was involved in everything that he could be to give back,” said Lorenzo Veloz of the Fish and Wildlife Commission. Fernandez was a Cuban defector who left the island nation at the age of 15, famously rescuing his mother when she fell overboard en route to the United States. Not only was he deeply loved in the Miami community, but Fernandez, who was 24 years old, had recently announced that he and his girlfriend were expecting a child.


Corbyn Goes From No-Confidence To Reelection In Under 3 Months

Unity was the word of the weekend at the Labour Party convention after leader Jeremy Corbyn handily won reelection with nearly 62% of the over 500,000 votes cast. Members of the party appear to have gotten over their post-Brexit frustration with Corbyn after he received a vote of no confidence from Labour MPs just three months ago. In his victory speech, Corbyn called for unity in the party he has lead for a year, though he is still seen as a hard-line outsider by many in the party establishment. By American electoral standards, 62% would be seen as a sweeping victory, but there is still a sense of disunity in the Labour party and the results have provided fodder for Corbyn’s political opponents. “172 Labour MPs don’t think Jeremy Corbyn can lead the Labour Party – so how can he lead the country?” said Conservative party chairman Patrick McLoughlin.

Dislike: Jordanian Writer Murdered For A Facebook Post

Nahed Hatter, one of Jordan’s most prominent and controversial writers, was shot dead outside the court house where he was slated to stand trial. Hatter was arrested last month on charges of insulting God after he shared an offensive cartoon on Facebook. He didn’t draw the cartoon himself, he just hit the share button. Police arrested the suspected shooter and identified him as Riad Abdullah, a local imam who was angry at the Facebook post.

Hatter was no stranger to controversy. He was once charged for insulting Jordan’s King Abdullah II and at one point was a prominent supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While his death now raises concerns about Jordan’s security, there is clearly a conversation about free speech that needs to take place… even if it’s just on Facebook.

Swiss Trade In Privacy For Security

With 65.5% of voters in favor, Switzerland will now have an arsenal of somewhat-scary surveillance powers. The approved new law will give government intelligence authority, pending court orders, to tap phones, creep into email and even use hidden cameras. Opponents of the law had their good reasons: beyond the usual fear of lost privacy and civil liberties, the law could also put Swiss neutrality at risk by requiring closer cooperation with foreign entities. Still, the law received massive voter support, reflecting the public’s bigger concern: terrorism. Switzerland has become increasingly fearful of militant attacks, evident in how they are cool with the country’s intelligence snooping through their emails and browser history. The Swiss people have spoken… and it was probably recorded, too.


North Carolina: The Charlotte Police Department released videos of the fatal shooting of Keith Scott. However, it is still unconfirmed whether or not Scott was holding a gun. “You can’t clearly identify what, if anything, is in his hand,” said the Scott family attorney.

Libya: The Canadian government confirmed that one of their citizens, as well as two Italians, were kidnapped in Libya. The three victims were working on airport projects when they were abducted near the Algerian border. It is still unclear who is behind the kidnapping.

Yemen: Saleh al-Samad, a top official in Yemen’s armed Houthi movement, said he would cease attacks on Saudi Arabia and even offered amnesty for Yemeni fighters opposing the Houthis. In exchange, al-Samad is asking for Saudi Arabia to stop air strikes and lift a near blockade on the country.


This video of Jose Fernandez’s grandmother seeing him pitch for the first time will help you understand why so many are mourning his death.


Snapchat Hopes To Repeat Google’s Mistakes

Snapchat decided to release its first hardware product: Spectacles. This is great news for anyone hoping to recycle some of their Google Glass jokes. Snapchat’s new sunglasses, available this fall, contain a tiny camera that will record video without the laborious hassle of taking out a phone. Finally, a device that lets you record your epic lifestyle while freeing up both hands to do something else on your phone. If Google Glass taught us anything, it’s that not all wearables are really that wearable. The idea that someone can be unknowingly recorded from a pair of sunglasses is sure to strike fear whenever someone in those glasses approaches. But if we can look past that, it may actually work. Still, Glass wearers were quickly labeled “glassholes” and there are limitless possibilities with the name Spectacles.

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