They’ll “find their heads bashed bloody against a great wall of steel.” That’s what Chinese President Xi Jinping, marking 100 years since the founding of the ruling Communist Party today, warned nations that “bully” China. Having achieved “historical inevitability,” he said, the People’s Republic, with 1.4 billion inhabitants, can stand its ground, although the government’s English translation of the remarks changed the bloody heads wording to “a collision course.” The belligerent tone coincided with a nuclear watchdog group’s release of satellite images showing 119 identical construction sites in northern Gansu province — suggesting China will soon have that many new nuclear missile silos.
Is #MeToo the loser? Legendary comedian Bill Cosby left prison yesterday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated his 2018 sexual assault conviction and prohibited a retrial. The beloved Cosby Show star was denied a fair trial, the justices ruled, because a Montgomery County prosecutor agreed not to pursue charges in the 2004 incident that his successor, Kevin Steele, ultimately did bring. Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt said the appeal proved “Mr. Cosby is innocent,” while one of Cosby’s accusers, Janice Baker-Kinney, said she was “just stunned.” Steele said Cosby won on a “technicality,” and hoped the ruling wouldn’t “dampen the reporting of sexual assaults.”
3. For Canada’s Dead, Climate Change Just Got Real
It’s no longer up for debate. Global warming’s incremental advances got fast and violent this week in Canada, with some 300 sudden British Columbia deaths blamed on a five-day heat wave involving Canada’s highest recorded temperatures. That includes obliterating the nation’s all-time record in Lytton, where the mercury topped 121 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat has subsided, but not the drought and fires, the latter forcing the mountain town’s evacuation. Meanwhile, experts say climate change is here, and beyond trying to fight it by reducing emissions, people need to find ways, like sunlight-reflecting buildings, to survive.
4. Robinhood Agrees to Record Financial Industry Fine
They’re too disruptive. Robinhood, the stock trading app at the center of the meme stock craze, has settled with FINRA, a private regulator for the financial industry over “widespread and significant” harm to customers. The platform, one of whose users died by suicide after the app exaggerated his losses, will pay a $57 million fine plus $12.6 in restitution to customers who lost money because of app shutdowns and misinformation over three years ending in December. The company says it is addressing those concerns, but hasn’t admitted wrongdoing. A Securities and Exchange Commission probe has yet to issue findings.
Coronavirus Update: European Union nations are beginning to provide residents with a new vaccine passport. And a Texas grand jury has refused to indict a Houston doctor accused of wrongdoing over his vaccination of acquaintances and his wife rather than let doses expire.
Today on The Carlos Watson Show, Carlos goes to the studio with Hit-Boy, the Grammy-winning producer known for beats behind stars such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. Hear the genius behind Nas’ Grammy-winning album share his emotional journey and hard work that’s gotten him where he is today, plus why he credits his mother for much of his success. How does this acclaimed beat-maker say he would Reset America? Watch now, plus tune in for a special profile of two of L.A.’s most exciting chefs.
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She’s been hit one more time. Variety is reporting that the probate judge considering pop star Britney Spears’ bid to control her life has issued a decision that retains Spears’ father as her conservator against the singer’s wishes, laid out in impassioned testimony last week. She claimed the conservatorship was “abusive,” with her being drugged and forced to use contraception. Documents filed Wednesday in Los Angeles show that Judge Brenda Penny denied Spears’ November request, but added the Bessemer Trust as co-conservator. While the filing affirmed the addition, it didn’t preclude future requests — which Spears has yet to formalize.
Should your next pet be named “Vector”? New studies show an alarming prevalence of COVID-19 in household cats and dogs. Canada’s University of Guelph found that 70% of cats and 40% of dogs in households with human COVID-19 cases also got infected, compared to only 10% among shelter animals. A Dutch study to be presented at a medical conference next week found only 20% of such pets testing positive, but researcher Els Brons said it raises concerns that “pets could act as a reservoir of the virus.” The good news? Scientists haven’t documented the virus spreading the other way — yet.
She’s found a new love. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and former Shalamar frontwoman Jody Watley has signed a talent deal with OZY that includes a biopic. The film will chart the “many formidable challenges in her life that she has never revealed publicly,” explained OZY Studios Executive Director Chris Rantamaki. On The Carlos Watson Show, Watley recalled those struggles, like being “broke” when she left Shalamar in 1983 — before a string of 1980s solo hits. “There’s so much about Jody that people don’t know,” said OZY CEO and co-founder Watson. “I want to share the incredible story of the woman behind the music.”
Two-time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who orchestrated and acerbically defended the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 2001 9/11 attacks, died Wednesday of multiple myeloma in New Mexico. Serving under four presidents, including as the youngest Pentagon leader under Gerald Ford, the Illinois native was ostracized over U.S. forces’ failure to stop a growing Iraqi insurgency and his approval of prisoners’ torture, leading to his 2006 ouster by President George W. Bush. He’ll also be remembered for curious language, like “known unknowns” describing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction — which were used to justify the U.S. invasion but have yet to be found.
In the end, the defense was outmatched. Facing a string of state laws and last week, a Supreme Court decision against it, the NCAA itself did what it had to on Wednesday. The governing body for major collegiate sports yesterday suspended its prohibition of its athletes cashing in on their names and images. That should be encouraging to Mississippi State baseball team members, who last night beat Vanderbilt 9-0 to win the final game of the College World Series. They may not all go pro, but players might score some local endorsements for their trouble.
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