Something is germinating

The Ebola epidemic takes a turn for the worst, a British icon is finally getting recognized and another MTV show is making a major comeback.

Something is germinating

The Ebola epidemic takes a turn for the worst, a British icon is finally getting recognized and another MTV show is making a major comeback.

✨  Good morning! Today is Tuesday, July 16, 2019, and who knew you could go on a real live treasure hunt this summer?


• The Background

A deadly, contagious virus is threatening lives in Goma, the largest city in the eastern Congo. A man infected with Ebola arrived to the city by bus and has since been transported and quarantined in an Ebola treatment centre. This marks the first case of the virus in the city of more than two million people since the epidemic began in central Africa nearly one year ago. Officials are now frantically searching for anyone who might also have been exposed to the virus. CBS News

• What Else You Need to Know

The severity of the diagnosis has been reinforced by the World Health Organization, which claims the confirmed case in the crowded region of Goma could be a major setback in tackling the epidemic. Even last month, when the virus spread to Uganda, the WHO decided it still didn’t meet the criteria for a global health emergency. But after the news of a confirmed case in Goma, the WHO is strongly considering declaring a global emergency, which would garner the necessary funding and global attention.

• What’s Next?

The epidemic has already killed at least 1,655 people in Congo, and the spread to Goma may cause that number to increase drastically. Toxic militias and a growing public mistrust of health officials have made it even more challenging to adequately respond to the situation. The biggest obstacle ahead is finding the funding to properly address the outbreak, which is the second worst in world history.


• A Friendly Face

You might recognize the name Alan Turing from the 2014 film The Imitation Game. Well, the movie was based on a true story about a British computer scientist and codebreaker whose code-cracking talents served a fundamental purpose in helping the allies in WWII. His Turing machine is considered a model of a general purpose computer, and Turing is widely recognized as the founding father of computer science and artificial intelligence. (Thank you, sir.) Despite all his accomplishments, he was never truly celebrated or recognized in the U.K. because he was gay, which at the time was considered a crime. Now, he is finally getting the acknowledgement that he deserves. The Bank of England announced yesterday that Alan Turing will be the new face featured on the £50 note. (A well-earned honour.) The new note, which will enter circulation by the end of 2021, will be the last of the Bank of England’s collection to transition from paper to polymer. BBC News


• U.S.: Prohibiting Protections

Amid a racism-ramped Twitter battle between the president and several congresswomen of colour, the Trump administration announced it was ending asylum protections for Central Americans, in an effort to limit the number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. A new rule published in the Federal Register states that asylum seekers who pass through another country prior to coming to America will not be eligible for asylum. The new rule applies to anyone arriving at the border, including children who have tried to cross in on their own. There are a few exceptions, including those who’ve been trafficked, those who came through a country that hasn’t signed one of the major international treaties that govern the management of refugees, and those who sought protection in another country but were denied. The new rule will reverse decades of U.S. policy on how refugees are protected, a change that comes as Trump is being scrutinized for his hard line attitude on migrants and the mistreatment of those in detention facilities. The policy will most likely face legal challenges, but it’s set to take effect today. CBC News

• World: Partnering Up

It looks like Russia’s found a new friend — and it isn’t the United States. Yesterday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the country will be deploying a controversial Russian missile defence system in April 2020, despite warnings from the White House not to do so. Not only will Turkey be using Russia’s system, but Erdogan also announced that the two countries would be building S-400 anti-aircraft equipment with Moscow. The move will likely result in a boatload of U.S. sanctions, along with being removed from the stealth F-35 fighter jet programme. Al Jazeera


“You aren’t heroes but villains. What a disgrace you are.”

– Facebook user Justa Kruger, unleashes her fury on a couple from Edmonton who were pictured on safari kissing behind a dead lion. Global News


• Protesting Prime

While most of us spent yesterday glued to our computer screens, scouting out the hottest Amazon Prime Day deals for things we likely don’t need, the company’s own employees rallied against the e-commerce giant. Activists, immigrants and Amazon employees joined forces, marching in seven cities across the U.S. in a fight against the company’s labour practices and involvement with the Trump administration’s deportation efforts. Protesters say Amazon is unfairly benefiting from its yearly sale event while its staff struggle in poor working conditions. Demonstrators are also infuriated that the company’s technology is being used for deportation purposes. Amazon Web Services is the software used by the Department of Homeland Security to keep databases, which allow the department to track immigrants. To top it off, a special delivery was made to CEO Jeff Bezos’s Manhattan home on Monday: 250,000 petitions calling on Amazon to halt communications with the U.S. government agencies that are responsible for deporting immigrants. The Guardian


• Pay Your Way

Good news for summer road trippers: you can now know ahead of time how much your jaunt is going to cost you. Popular traffic app Waze just added a new feature that shows drivers their estimated toll prices when they’re taking a route that involves driving through a toll gate. The new info will show up alongside the route ETA and traffic conditions, making it easy for drivers to decide whether or not they want to swap their route. The new feature is launching in the U.S., Canada, and Israel — and will likely hit other markets soon. Engadget


• Boxing: So Long, Sweet Pea

Lightweight boxing legend, Pernell Whitaker — fondly called “Sweet Pea” — passed away yesterday at the age of 55 years old, after he was struck by a motor vehicle in Virginia. Police were called to the scene of the accident (where the driver remained on scene) and are continuing to investigate the crash. His son, Domonique Whitaker, confirmed the news on Facebook, writing, “We lost a legend truly one of boxing’s greatest Pound 4 Pound champions my father Pernell Sweetpea Whitaker.” Whitaker had an illustrious career, with 40 wins and only four losses. He was recognized as fighter of the year in 1989 by Ring magazine, and in 2002, he was ranked the 10th greatest boxer of the last 80 years. Whitaker hung up his gloves in 2001 and transitioned to working as a trainer. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. CNN


• Making the Comeback

After a 10-year hiatus, Making the Band is coming back to MTV in 2020. The reality television series, which originally started in 2000 and was taken over by Sean “Diddy” Combs in 2002, centred on putting together a singing group while also following the lives of the contestants. The second iteration of the show resulted in the formation of several bands, including Danity Kane, Day26, Da Band and Donnie Klang. Diddy enthusiastically announced his reunion with MTV, saying “we’re going to bring that supernatural energy back to the format and bring the world its next global superstars.” Casting opportunities are expected to be announced in the next few weeks. Variety


• Game of Thrones

Staying in the same position for several days straight can’t be comfortable, unless it’s in a bed. But a 48-year-old Belgian man opted to sit on a toilet for a total of five days straight, in a strange bid to set a world record. The man set himself up for 165 hours on a special potty that he purposely placed in the middle of a bar (not a bad call, tbh). He was permitted a five-minute break each hour because, ironically, he needed toilet breaks since his own personal potty was not properly plumbed in. “I was very tired and my legs hurt but I believe in my success and try to make this record official,” the man said. Oh, the things people do. Reuters


• Never Again

Though National Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated globally on Monday, January 27, France is marking the 77th anniversary of the Vel’d’Hiv Roundup today.  The roundup was a Nazi-orchestrated raid and mass arrest of 13,152 Jews, including over 4,000 children.


• Canada’s air passenger “bill of rights” came into effect yesterday, with new rules governing the rights of Canadian flyers.

• The neo-Nazi responsible for ramming his car into a group of people at a white nationalist rally in 2017 has been sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years.

• In the wake of a scandalous data breach, Desjardin Group is offering all members free, lifelong protection. 

• Amazon won the rights to develop a series based on Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels.

• He’s all shook up — Austin Butler will star as Elvis in HBO’s upcoming biopic.


• Little Rascals

It’s hard to keep up with kids these days.

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