After a deep freeze left millions without power for days, heat finally returned to many Texas homes. But the power outage also left water supplies unpurified, putting 13 million Texans under boil-water advisories — and for 300,000 still living without electricity, boiling water was easier said than done. Sen. Ted Cruz, who’d already had to apologize for past tweets during the crisis, was widely ridiculed as #CancunCruz for taking a family vacation to Mexico while his constituents suffered. He returned Thursday, admitting the trip was a “mistake,” but said he’d just wanted “to be a good dad.”
Can he put it all back in the box? President Joe Biden has moved to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal abandoned by his predecessor, taking on a daunting diplomatic challenge after four years of heightened tensions. The U.S. is offering to start talks ahead of Iran’s Sunday deadline for lifting banking and oil export sanctions, after which it said it would evict United Nations nuclear monitors. While it’s not clear if Tehran will be satisfied with the olive branch, Biden will bring along European partners that were largely sidelined by the former U.S. president.
Ahead of the virtual G-7 summit today, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Europe and the U.S. to send 5 percent of their coronavirus vaccines to poorer nations, arguing that failing to do so would worsen global inequality — and let China and Russia gain influence with their own vaccine exports. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly planning to pledge Britain’s many expected surplus doses to disadvantaged nations. He’s also expected to urge wealthy nations to find a way of developing vaccines for future diseases at the breakneck timeline of 100 days.
4. GameStop Redditors and Wall Street Bigwigs Collide in Congress
Calling to the stand … Mr. Kitty?Wall Street’s bizarre GameStop saga got its day in Congress yesterday, with House testimony from hedge fund CEOs and Keith Gill, aka “Roaring Kitty,” whose Reddit devotees turbocharged GameStop stocks. He told legislators that day-trading platform Robinhood manipulated the process, while the CEO of the mobile trading app, Vlad Tenev, defended its decision to halt trading, allowing major funds to recover at the expense of amateur investors. Tenev also apologized to the family of a Robinhood user who died from suicide after thinking he lost $730,000.
Looking for your weekend binge? Check out this week's episodes of The Carlos Watson Show! In addition to RHOA's Kenya Moore and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, the viral, improvising musician Marc Rebillet joins Carlos for some music-making and a conversation about collaborations with T-Pain and Snoop Dogg. And long-time Republican presidential consultant Alex Castellanos predicts 2024 GOP nominees. You won't want to miss these episodes!
After seven nail-biting minutes of descent with a 50-50 chance of ending with a $2.7 billion pile of inert junk, NASA’s Perseverance landed successfully on Mars yesterday. The rover, nicknamed Percy, managed to miss boulders it detected on the way into Jezero Crater, believed to be an ancient lake, before sending back the first photos of its “forever home.” The mission will be the first to record sound on Mars and in about a month will deploy the first Martian helicopter, the 4-pound Ingenuity, in what its project manager called “a true extraterrestrial Wright Brothers moment.”
2. Florida ‘Grannies’ Caught Seeking Second Vaccine Dose
Little Red Riding Hood would've known. Two women, 34 and 44, were caught trying to get COVID-19 vaccines reserved for the elderly by donning “the bonnets, the gloves, the glasses — the whole thing,” explained a Florida health official. Immunizers outed them in Orange County, where they received warnings from police — but after they’d somehow already gotten a first dose. Meanwhile, in Manatee County, local officials have blasted Gov. Ron DeSantis for setting up inoculation centers in the richest, whitest ZIP codes, prompting the governor to threaten to withhold doses from the county altogether.
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3. Poland Has Become a Game Industry Contender
It’s a game they can win. From 2012 to 2017, Poland went from Europe’s 13th-largest exporter of video games to the sixth largest in the world. That 750 percent growth came thanks to 800 new game developers — and for many of those young creatives, OZY reports, the country’s unique history is key. Under the communist regime before the 1990s, Poland had big technological aspirations and educational prowess, so once it opened up to capitalism and entrepreneurship, its developers were ready. Decades later, Poland’s government is confident games and esports can level up the country’s economic game.
You know we can read this, right? The head of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields resigned Wednesday after advertising for an art director who’d maintain its “traditional, core, white art audience.” Charles Venable apologized and edited “white” from the listing, while the museum’s governing board said it was “ashamed of Newfields’ leadership and of ourselves” for the January posting, which recently provoked a social media backlash. Some 2,000 signatories of an open letter are demanding anti-racism training for all remaining staff, and the museum has promised to listen to the community’s concerns and increase diversity.
Does he get the GOAT now? The Los Angeles Lakers superstar reached another milestone yesterday, scoring his 35,000th point with a first-half free throw against the Brooklyn Nets. While that’s still behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has the all-time record with 38,387, and Karl Malone’s 36,928, James takes another step toward settling arguments about who’s the NBA’s greatest of all time. Another point for his case came yesterday, with King James being named by fans to captain an NBA All-Star team opposite Team Kevin Durant. They’ll face off March 7 in Atlanta, pandemic permitting.
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