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Sep 28, 2021
North Korea launched another missile shortly before its ambassador addressed the United Nations about “hostile” American policies. R. Kelly is guilty on all counts in the singer’s sex trafficking trial. And Mr. Goxx the hamster is killing it at crypto trading.
It has a “righteous right.” That’s how Kim Song, Pyongyang’s representative to the United Nations, couched North Korea’s weapons tests shortly after Japan detected its launch of a suspected short-range ballistic missile. Kim said the Hermit Kingdom, which recently tested train-borne and cruise missiles, is merely defending against “hostile” American policy, noting the presence of 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea. Continuing the recent softening of rhetoric, Kim said his isolated, nuclear-armed nation would “respond willingly” to offers of talks, but doesn’t expect the U.S. and South Korea to change their stance to facilitate them. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Reuters, United Nations)
2 - Brink Baiting
GOP Blocks Funding Bill as Default Clock Ticks
You’re on your own. That’s the message for Democrats from Senate Republicans, who voted to block House-approved funding to keep the government running until Dec. 3. With the fiscal year ending Thursday, the government may partially shut down unless Democrats, with their razor-thin Senate majority, separate raising the federal debt limit, which Republicans oppose, from funding they’ve said they’ll support. While Democratic leaders noted that Republicans approved debt ceiling hikes under a GOP president, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said raising the limit now would allow a “socialist binge” in the form of a $3.5 trillion spending bill. (Sources: NPR, Washington Post, NY Post)
3 - Who’s Counting?
Adding 2,000 Daily, US Virus Deaths at 700,000
By some tallies, it’s already happened. But whichever accounting experts might favor, it’s clear that in a year and a half, COVID-19 has claimed more American lives than the 1918 Spanish flu. And despite vaccinations being widely available, 2,000 more are dying daily. From conservative politicians to basketball stars to health care workers, unfounded vaccine skepticism has kept millions from protecting themselves. Even the pro-vaccine majority have their own disputes over booster shots, which President Joe Biden received yesterday, while the Food and Drug Administration replaced its vaccination chief after officials questioned the need for extra doses. (Sources: CNN, CBS, The Hill, NYT)
4 - Big Cookie Jar
Fed Board Members Resign Amid Trading Affair
Is it the ultimate insider trading scandal? It appears not, as Eric Rosengren and Robert Kaplan, presidents of the Boston and Dallas Federal Reserve banks, resigned yesterday over what one called a “distraction” from the central bank’s work. Their financial disclosures revealed stocks and other investments that they’d traded while helping set financial policy that has a profound effect on markets. The move, coming soon after the Fed said it would review ethics rules, is thought to help Chairman Jerome Powell, who’s due to testify before Congress today, in his bid for a new term. (Sources: WSJ [sub], CNBC, Reuters)
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Coronavirus Update: With infections tapering off, Japan is ending its state of emergency on Thursday. And the premier of Australia’s New South Wales has warned that Sydney residents who remain unvaccinated when lockdown restrictions are lifted in December will face social isolation.
The powerful new iPhone 13 Pro is here, and T-Mobile is the place to get it. When you shoot videos with your iPhone, you know they‘re going to be amazing, but the new iPhone is a game-changer. The new Cinematic Mode turns your videos into filmmaking masterpieces. Now at T-Mobile, you can get the iPhone 13 Pro for FREE when you trade in a qualifying device — and that’s not even the best part! Right now, when you get the new iPhone at T-Mobile on the Magenta Max plan, you can lock in the trade-in value of your new iPhone up to $800, so you can upgrade every two years. In other words, you can get a new iPhone now and upgrade forever. Only T-Mobile has an offer like this, and it’s available to new and existing customers. What else is there to say except hurry to T-Mobile today?
He’s finally muted. Robert Sylvester Kelly, 54, watched silently as a federal jury in New York delivered his verdict Monday: Guilty on eight counts of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering. It’s taken decades since the Grammy-winning “I Believe I Can Fly” singer “used his inner circle to ensnare underage girls, men and women” in a “web of sex abuse, degradation and humiliation,” said acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis. Kelly’s lawyer expressed disappointment and said he’d consider an appeal, while Kasulis called the verdict a “powerful message” to abusive men that “the law will catch up with you.” (Sources: Chicago Tribune, CBS2 New York, Fox32 Chicago)
Watch out, Elon Musk. Mr. Goxx, who livestreams cryptocurrency trades on Twitch, has gained 20% since June. That’s better than Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and pretty good for a hamster. Running in his “intention wheel,” he chooses a denomination, then scrabbles through either “buy” or “sell” tunnels. The two anonymous Germans who bankroll him told the BBC the gains are real: His initial investment of $390 peaked at $580 before settling back to $468. But as the site warns his 7,000 followers, the furry financier isn’t an investment adviser, so don’t bet all your food pellets on his next pick. (Sources: BBC, PC Gamer, Twitch)
3 - Image Issues
Facebook Pauses Instagram Kids After Outcry
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.” So read an internal Facebook presentation about Instagram. After such misgivings were reported by The Wall Street Journal and criticized by lawmakers and 44 attorneys general, the company said it’s pausing its tween-targeting Instagram Kids. Facebook says it'll work with concerned parties to show the “value and need” of the project. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said it’s an outlet for young users who might otherwise lie to access adult Instagram. But that won’t satisfy many, like Rep. Ken Buck, who wants the platform to “abolish the program completely.” (Sources: WSJ [sub], Engadget)
Prayers may have been uttered. The sight of a massive fireball blazing toward Earth must have set hearts racing in coastal North Carolina Friday, especially for those unfamiliar with the phenomenon. Video emerged yesterday of the fireball, an exceptionally bright meteor that was tracked by NASA, as it appeared 48 miles above the ocean and flew 26 miles through the atmosphere before burning up. It was a big event for the American Meteor Society, which received 80 reports of the spectacular display. You may have missed this one, but the ASM says several thousand scream through the skies every day. (Sources: CBS, NPR)
5 - Inside the Line
Barty Drops Indian Wells, Osaka Has Tennis ‘Itch’
For fans, it’s preferable to those scratches. Naomi Osaka has publicly struggled with mental health, most recently pulling out of October’s Indian Wells Masters. But after dropping to world No. 7, the 23-year-old recently admitted, “I kind of have that itch again.” She’s in good company avoiding Indian Wells. Serena Williams has already withdrawn, and top-ranked Ash Barty, also eliminated in New York, announced Monday she’d sit it out too. That means Barty’s season may be over: Her coach complained that November’s culminating WTA Finals Mexico venue is 5,000 feet above sea level, played with unfamiliar pressureless balls. (Sources: Reuters, Yahoo, The Guardian)
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