October 06, 2016

Colombia Has Plan B, London Has Well-Endowed Fleas


Neither had a deep respect for the truth,” wrote one reader about Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate. Forty percent of readers said Tim Kaine won.

Excited about the prospect of self-driving cars? Don’t be.


 Antonio Guterres Is The Next United Nations Secretary General

In a surprising show of unity, the UN Security Council unanimously chose Antonio Guterres as the next Secretary General. Most expected the selection process to go until the end of the month, so the announcement feels like the holidays came early. The former Portuguese Prime Minister was also the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for a decade, and his approval from the Security Council reflects a prioritization on the refugee crisis.

Although the announcement feels like a symbolic victory for refugees in Europe, many are still disappointed by the decision. Over the last few months, there were several calls to appoint the first woman leader in the United Nation’s 71 years. UN officials penned a joint letter to the organization’s 193 member states specifically calling for the nomination of female candidates. Current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon frequently insisted that his replacement be a woman, pointing to the seven women nominees, all of whom with similar credentials as Guterres: former prime ministers, leaders of UNESCO and UNDP, even the champion of the Paris Agreement. While Guterres seems like a great pick, his unanimous victory in the Security Council caused some to question why the women candidates were ignored. “It’s hard to find enough words to say how disgusting, how outrageous this is,” Jean Krasno, the head of the advocacy group WomanSG, said in an interview. “It makes me wonder if they were ever taken seriously at all.”

PNUT READ: Our interview with Secretary General candidate Christiana Figueres

NSA Struggles To Keep Its Own Secrets

Don’t mess with the NSA. Harold Martin III learned that the hard way when the FBI arrested him for allegedly stealing government property and classified material. The anonymous official who tipped off the New York Times about the arrest said Martin’s motive was unknown and it was unlikely that he was politically-motivated or a Snowden copycat. Martin was an NSA contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton, the same company Edward Snowden worked for when he released thousands of classified documents about NSA surveillance programs. At least the NSA is still halfway decent at keeping secrets—the public did not know about Martin’s arrest for over a month and Martin’s house is mysteriously blurred out on Google Street View, though it is unclear why.

ON THE BEAT: The NSA was probably spying on your grandparents’ Yahoo email account.


 Colombia’s Plan B Is The Worst Plan Ever

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was shocked when citizens voted against the FARC peace deal in a referendum, but that doesn’t mean they were against peace. Santos, who lacked a Plan B after the referendum, could have drafted a new peace deal that includes voters’ demands for retribution, but instead he made a surprise announcement that the ceasefire will end on October 31. Confused FARC rebels heard the news while they were meeting with negotiators in Havana, and have already begun instructing units to grab their gear and take up secure positions. Everything Colombia built over the last four years of negotiations is crumbling quickly.

Either Santos is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, or this is a high level plot to secure a temporary ceasefire that will scare citizens into supporting the peace deal. There’s a chance it is the latter: the original bilateral ceasefire was contingent on approval of the peace deal, and therefore the October 31 deadline is really a well-disguised extension. Hopefully it will buy Santos time to create a real Plan B, but the first step probably should have been letting FARC in on the arrangement.

Russia And US Really Keen On Bringing Back Cold War

Just when you thought Russia-US relations couldn’t get any worse, they did. On Wednesday Russia announced that it would be suspending joint nuclear research and a uranium conversion agreement. Just two days ago Russia suspended a plutonium scrapping agreement with the US which was meant to limit both countries’ nuclear arsenals. But wait! Just like a crappy late night infomercial there is more. Russian bombers were intercepted as they did a leisurely flight over Norway, the UK, France and Spain in the latest in a series of provocations by Russian pilots. NATO says that these kind of airspace incursions are more and more frequent but this one was the furthest south to date. Comforting…

PNUT PROFILE: Everything You Need To Know About Vladimir Putin

Poland MPs Are ‘Scared Of All The Women’

The thousands of women who went on strike across Poland this week were an intimidating force. Following their massive protests against a proposal to completely ban abortion in Poland, the committee that reviews proposed legislation recommended that parliament reject the bill. The conservative ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) had to throw out the legislation they proposed just two weeks ago. Celebrating the PiS party’s humiliation, former Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz told reporters the PiS had “backtracked because it was scared by all the women who hit the streets in protest.” Parliament now must decide between throwing out the legislation altogether, or referring it back to committee who already rejected the idea.


 Tiny Machines: Congratulations to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The three scientists were pioneers in the development of molecular machines, the world’s tiniest mechanical devices.

Brussels: Two police officers were stabbed in Brussels in what prosecutors believe was a “terror-related” attack. The assailant did not make any statement or demands during the attack, but was shot in the leg before taken into custody.

Thriller: British songwriter Rod Temperton died at age 66 after an aggressive battle with Cancer. The famed behind-the-scenes musicians wrote several hits, but is best known for Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Rock With You. 


“It was like watching a loaf of white bread get pistol-whipped by a jar of mayonnaise,” Stephen Colbert on the Vice Presidential Debate.

The best (and most hilarious) out-of-context statement from Tuesday’s debate.

First he compared himself to Hitler, and now Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told President Obama he can “go to hell.”


 Fleas With ‘Massive Penises’ Have Invaded London

Pest control experts are warning Londoners that billions of “super-fleas with massive penises” could be entering a bedroom near you. The new breed, which comes equipped with a penis two-and-a-half times the length of its body, is expected to come out of hibernation this autumn and is ready to mingle. Pharmacists are reporting that flea bite cream is already flying off the shelves. The new breed of well endowed flea is believed to have come from Europe, no doubt the reason why Brexit supporters look at the parasite with such disdain (and jealousy.)

Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: