A "peace plan," the coronavirus, and how Facebook stalks you everywhere you go

Third Cultured vol. 47

I hope your weekend is off to a great start. This week was a monumental one on a lot of fronts – the coronavirus, impeachment, Libya, a Middle East “peace plan” – and our world isn’t slowing down at all with the US election right around the corner. However, next week we put one of those to bed: Trump’s impeachment.

Yesterday, the Senate voted (49-51) for no witnesses in President Trump’s trial.

Monday, the House managers and Trump’s defense will give their closing arguments.

On Wednesday, the senators will vote to acquit the president at 10am. Unfortunately for the president, that means he’ll give his State of the Union before being acquited.

Maybe I’ll write someday about what (another) impeachment means for our country. To Millennials, it seems to be how our country functions. We’ve had four presidents – Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump – and two of them were impeached. #Sustainable

This is America. It has been for a while.

Thanks for reading,

Kyle


Three Things to Know

  1. One American Thing

    President Trump and Bibi proposed the long-awaited Middle East Peace Plan. You can read the 80-page report, here. Palestine vehemently opposes the plan with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas planned to speak at the UN Security Council in the coming weeks to denounce it with global backing. Which won’t be hard seeing as our closest allies in Europe don’t even support the “peace” plan.

  2. One International Thing

    Updates on 2019-nCoV: The Wuhan Coronavirus (interactive map)

  3. One Cultural Thing

    Use Facebook’s new “Off-Facebook Activity tool” to clear/monitor your data.


American Empire

Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Syria

Extremists killed three US troops at a base in Manda Bay, Kenya in early January. Shabab – an affiliate of Al Qaeda – destroyed an American surveillance plane and ignited gunfight that lasted hours because reinforcements were 1,200 miles away. The attack demonstrates the group’s capability to strike directly at the US and its allies.

Iran

Kenya to begin free-trade negotiations with the US, first sub-Saharan nation to do so.

Longest drug-smuggling tunnel ever was discovered in San Diego.

Megaconstellations of satellites are the next frontier of warfare infrastructure.

National Security Adviser wants a 355-ship Navy by 2035, but the Navy isn’t biting.

Solitary confinement is globally regarded as torture…so, why does America love it?

Space Force got a familiar logo!

Staffers of color on Pete Buttigieg’s campaign are quitting out of frustration of being tokenized and sidelined or outright ignored by the campaign’s leaders.

Starting this week, the following countries are included in the travel ban: Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

The Guardian revealed US-born Rinaldo Nazzaro – aka “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf” – to be the leader of US-based neo-Nazi terror network “the Base,” which was recently the target of raids by the FBI after an investigation into domestic terrorism uncovered their plans to start a race war.

US Navy sailed 2020’s first Freedom of Navigation operation in the South China Sea and began deploying new “small nukes” on submarines.


China, Europe, Russia, and Everyone Else

1,317 days later, Brexit is done. Britain has left the European Union.

Bolivia’s “interim” president decided she wanted to run for the full-time role.

Britain and the EU both sided with Huawei in the 5G dispute. The latest (and biggest) blow to DC.

Germany called for sanctions on any country that breaks the Libyan arms embargo. The ceasefire brokered at the Berlin Libya Summit last week fell almost immediately apart with attacks on Tripoli continuing unfettered.

India’s Modi miscalculated by doubling-down on Hindu Nationalism. The backlash domestically and internationally isn’t simmering down and his mandate is wiped out.

In Syria, Assad is making a final push to regain control of the Idlib province and, with it, complete control over Syria. 120,000 people have fled the region in the past 12 days, moving closer to the Turkish border.

Netanyahu surrendered his immunity, moments before Israel’s Knesset stripped it from him and he will now face corruption charges, the first sitting PM to do so.

Ukraine joined NATO’s arms procurement system. The move all but solidifies Kyiv’s pivot to the West. Moscow miscalculated in the medium-to-long term with the Crimean Annexation. All it accomplished was pushing Ukraine into NATO’s open arms while creating a combat-tested, democratic army in Eastern Europe.

Zimbabwe is shutting off water access for 96 hours a week amid a unending drought.


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Cities, Climate, Culture & Corporations

30,000 – Number of people displaced by heavy rains in southeast Brazil that also killed 54 people and left 18 missing.

Airbus to pay $3-5 billion in fines as part of a settlement in its corruption probe by US, French and British authorities. I’m sure Boeing is happy to see its rival stumble.

American’s library visits outnumbered movie tickets in 2019.

Boeing’s Washington factory is shut down amid the 737 MAX grounding scandal, but the company also has to figure out what to do with their feathered falcon friends who rely on the plant to survive.

Facebook hired Fox News executives to run its “News Tab.”

New Jersey became the first US state to require developers to take climate change into account to win government approval for projects.

World’s largest alien-finding telescope launched in China.