October 07, 2016

Matthew Wreaks Havoc And A Wee Brexit Update

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The countdown to the second presidential debate is on, which means you need some good vino to accompany you on the couch Sunday night while you play our debate drinking game. Drink up with Winc Wine Club to make the whole experience a little bit more palatable.

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IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ

Hurricane Matthew Just Trucking Along Its Path Of Destruction

Officials are only now seeing the full extent of Matthew’s destruction in Haiti, and it’s more grim than what was even predicted. Over 250 people were confirmed dead in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew left the country’s shores with the southern part of the country flooded “nearly to the point of non-existence.” Now, the Category 4 storm is headed for Florida, where Governor Rick Scott is urging 1.5 million people to flee. He’s also activated 3,500 troops from the National Guard – more than half the state’s total – to prepare for search-and-rescue operations once Matthew finally leaves.

STORM TRACKER: Follow Hurricane Matthew’s path and check your evacuation orders. Stay safe!

Just A Wee Update On Brexit

Brexit “discussions,” aka aggressive posturing, took an ominous turn last week during the UK Conservative Party’s annual conference. Unelected Prime Minister Theresa May sought to “reassure” voters that she would be pushing for a hard Brexit, hoping to limit immigration from the EU bloc, while speaking in an EU-funded venue. She struck a more centrist ground on the economy, promising to end austerity and reliance on monetary policy to stimulate the economy. Businesses were alarmed at the anti-immigrant tone however, as proposals were presented to force businesses to list foreign workers and the NHS to limit foreign doctors. German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck back, promising Britain an über hard Brexit that would deny them access to the common market if they don’t keep doors open to EU workers. The British Pound felt the pain overnight.

Meanwhile, the pro-Brexit UKIP party reached a new level of disarray when one of their Members of the European Parliament was beaten up during a regular party meeting. This comes a few days after their leader, Diane James, resigned 18 days into the job… bloody good show ol’ chaps.

IN A NUTSHELL: The 9 most important things to know about Brexit

NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ

UN: Aleppo Will Be Gone If Russians Don’t Knock It Off

Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy to Syria, believes that the entirety of rebel-held eastern Aleppo will be destroyed by Christmas if the Russian-backed bombing continues. In a sad, personal appeal, de Mistura called the scale of human tragedy “another Rwanda” and argued that Russia and the Syrian government’s insistence on targeting the city for its supposed 900 Islamist soldiers is just “an easy alibi.” He even offered to personally escort the Islamist fighters out of the city himself if it would just halt the bombing of the other 275,000 civilians.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad tried to replicate that suggestion, offering amnesty to any rebels in Aleppo who disarm and surrender. The offer comes after two weeks of the heaviest bombardment of the nearly six-year war, Assad’s awful way of incentivizing. Still, rebels don’t believe him and have no intention of evacuating Aleppo. The White House agrees with the rebels that Assad’s offer is deception. “For them to suggest that somehow they’re now looking out for the interests of civilians is outrageous,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

IMF: If Everyone Could Please Stop Taking Out Loans That Would Be Great

The IMF warned that global debt reached a high of $152 trillion or 225% of global GDP. Debt burdens rose due to a combination of low growth, low inflation and low interest rates that makes it more enticing to take on debt and harder to pay it back when it is due. The IMF is particularly concerned about private sector debt (think subprime mortgages and leveraged buyouts) in advanced economies and other important countries like China and Brazil. With so much debt sloshing around, the IMF and the World Bank are embarking on a defense of free-trade and open markets, hoping to avoid a protectionist sentiment that will only make things worse. We aren’t too optimistic considering how unpopular those two institutions are.

GOOD VIDEO: The Crazy Story of the World’s Debt

Startup Watch: Theranos Falls And Snapchat Rises

FALLING: Theranos announced on Wednesday that it is shutting down its blood-test centers and laying off 340 employees, roughly 40 percent of the company. CEO Elizabeth Holmes says the company will instead focus on its MiniLab product which aims to commercialize small, automated labs. The whole thing feels like a smoke screen to distract people from the fact that Theranos had once been valued at $9 billion and hailed as revolutionary in the healthcare community. That was until the Wall Street Journal found out that Theranos’ testing system actually didn’t work and the FDA banned Holmes from operating a lab for two years.

RISING: The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., is preparing for an IPO in March that could value the company at over $25 billion. That would make Snap Inc. nearly twice as valuable as Twitter at its 2013 IPO but only a quarter of the value of Facebook’s record-setting $104 billion IPO in 2012. $25 billion is a lot of funny looking sunglasses.

KEEPING OUR EYE ON 

Burundi: Probably the worst way to respond to an investigation from the International Criminal Court is threaten to leave the International Criminal Court, but that’s President Pierre Nkurunziza plan. His announcement is in response to the ICC getting too nosey with their investigation of the state violence that killed at least 450 people and forced hundred more the flee last year.

Iran: Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraeea, a young female writer and activist, was sentenced to six years in prison for writing a story about the act of stoning. What’s even more frustrating about this form of censorship is that she didn’t even publish the story: a draft of the fictional story was said to have been found in her home.

PNUTTY VIDEOS 

Debates just keep getting weirder. First we had Hillary Clinton’s shimmy, and now a California senate candidate has dabbed during a debate. Yes, you read that right.

If one good thing comes from the presidential election, it should be that you learn how to pronounce Nevada. Donald Trump can’t. Can you?

LOOSE NUTS: FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT

Chechnya Is The World Leader In Children’s MMA

It would be bad enough if Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov was televising barbaric cage matches between unprotected children. But to make things even more bizarre: three of those trained MMA babies are his own kids. The head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, presumably a proponent of the “boys will be boys” theory, was met with international outrage when he entered his three sons, ages eight, nine and 10, into a mixed martial arts tournament on the eve of his birthday. What could make a father more proud that watching his small children physically and emotionally destroy other small children? Two of the three sons won their matches but it’s not even worth mentioning the third kid because he was most likely disowned.

WEEKEND READS

A Few Fun Reads To Get Your Weekend Started

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