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TNM: May 18-22

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+ GetSmart(Elon Musk built a computer game at age 12?)


BREAKING: A Pakistan International Airlines domestic flight crashed this morning, killing more than 100 people. Developing story (read here) Unemployment: Last week 2.4 million new unemployment claims were filed, bringing the nine-week total to 38.6 million, just under 25% of the total labor force. The official numbers are likely higher, as the reported data do not take into account “gig workers” or those who are self-employed. WHO Funding in Limbo: In a four-page letter to the director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros, President Trump said that if substantial changes are not made to how the WHO operates within the next 30 days, the U.S. plans to make permanent its funding cuts to the organization. Trump primarily criticized the WHO for an “alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China” and for repeatedly making “claims about the coronavirus that was either grossly inaccurate or misleading.” Context: The U.S. is the single biggest donor to the WHO. The Trump administration recently temporarily halted funding to the WHO to allow for a review into what it called the WHO’s failed response to the global pandemic and China’s outsized influence within the organization.  Dam Floods in Michigan: Two dam failures in Edenville, Michigan, overflowed into the Tittabawassee River on Monday, flooding streets, homes, and businesses. Over 10,000 residents of Midland, Michigan, were forced to flee their homes in what has been called a ‘500-year’ event. (video of dam failure) Joe Rogan Strikes Deal with Spotify: Joe Rogan announced a multi-year agreement to host his video podcast exclusively on Spotify starting in late 2020. The Joe Rogan Experience, which receives 190M podcast downloads a month and several million YouTube views per episode, has become the largest online podcast and vlogcast in the world. According to The Wall Street Journal, the $100M licensing deal will move Rogan's entire library of content (1,478 episodes) to Spotify in September. (Rogan’s Youtube channel) Arrests in Carlos Ghosn Case: A former U.S. special forces soldier and his son have been arrested in connection with the escape of former Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, from Japan late last year. The arrests came after Japan filed an extradition order requesting that the father and son be brought to Japan to stand trial (an extradition treaty exists between Japan and the U.S.).  Context: In late December 2019, as he was under house arrest awaiting trial, Ghosn suddenly disappeared. In what resembled a cinematic escape, he was stowed in a box typically used for concert equipment and taken on a private jet from Japan to Turkey. There, he flew to Lebanon where he currently resides (he is a Lebanese citizen). Ghosn says he fled because he didn’t think he would stand a fair trial in Japan. Video of Ghosn’s escape and subsequent interviews.

COVID-19: What You Should Know this Week

The Situation in the U.S. There are over 1,577,758 cases and 94,729 deaths in the U.S., up from 1,417,889 cases and 85,906 deaths a week ago. Below is a chart showing the weekly percentage change in the number of new cases and deaths:

Here is a chart showing in which states new cases are increasing, decreasing or staying the same. States Begin Reopening All 50 states have now eased some lockdown measures. Some states, such as Georgia and Alaska, are nearing complete reopening with a few exceptions. In Georgia, you can visit the gym, attend a church service, and eat at a restaurant. In Alaska, restrictions are also being removed with a few exceptions: you must quarantine for 14 days after traveling outside of the state, nursing homes will remain on lockdown, and mask-wearing is recommended. Several states on the East Coast remain in strict lockdown, only easing restrictions to allow for things such as restaurant curbside pickup. You can see a list of states’ reopening policies here. Global-View

  • Number of Cases: +5,127,125, up from 4,444,670 last week.

  • Number of Deaths: +333,398, up from 302,493 last week.

Here is a map from the John Hopkins Center showing the number of cases and deaths by country. While infection curves have been flattening in Europe and the U.S., leading to large societal reopenings, the virus is gaining pace in a number of countries around the world. Here are 5 countries in which the virus is spreading the fastest:

  • Russia

  • Brazil

  • Mexico

  • India

  • Pakistan

First Coronavirus Vaccine Test on Humans Yields Promising Results


Researchers from all over the world are in a race to bring to market the first vaccine for the coronavirus. Normally, the mass deployment of a vaccine takes years of testing and development, but amid the coronavirus pandemic, scientists, biotech companies, and government agencies are aiming to cut what usually takes years, into months.

What did the results show?

On Monday, Moderna, an American biotech company, announced encouraging results from the first-ever coronavirus test on humans. The company said that 8 volunteers, who received the test vaccine, built a strong immune response and were also safe and healthy. 

The news sent the stock market to it’sbest day in over six weekson Monday, with the S&P 500 rising three percentage points, along with Moderna’s stock rising 25%.

Although the test showed promising results, the vaccine will need to be tested in growing increments of size. Moderna said it will begin its second phase, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, in testing 600 people. The third phase, expected in July, will test thousands of healthy people.

Moderna is working closely with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson received half a billion dollars from the U.S. government in an effort to speed up the process of developing and testing a new vaccine.

What to watch moving forward

Although the tests yield promising results, the key is whether or not those results continue as larger, more diverse groups of people are tested.

China to Vote on New National Security Laws in Hong Kong


A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under a bilateral agreement that it would remain unchanged for 50 years in its “capitalist system and way of life.” Under this “one country, two systems” agreement, Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region of China, having its own “Basic Law,” which ensures an independent judicial system, and broad political freedom (i.e. free speech, assembly).

In June 2019, Hong Kong was set to vote on anextraditionbill that would have made it easier for accused criminals in Hong Kong to be sent to China to stand trial, where the justice system is more opaque and harsh than in Hong Kong. Massive protests, which began in opposition to the bill but later transformed into broader pro-democracy protests, lasted through the rest of 2019, eventually leading to the total withdrawal of the bill (videoof some of the protests that turned violent). While the protests have quieted during the Covid-19 pandemic, tensions are still high.

New China National Security Laws

China announced on Thursday that its National People’s Congress will vote onnew national security lawsfor the territory of Hong Kong. In expounding on the rationale for the laws, a letter from China’s Foreign Ministry office read, “the opposition in Hong Kong have long colluded with external forces to carry out acts of secession, subversion, infiltration and destruction against the Chinese mainland.” 

The new security measures would ban "treason, secession, sedition and subversion” in Hong Kong. They are largely seen as a way to limit freedom in Hong Kong by tightening Beijing’s grip and oversight of the territory and give them more power in managing the protests. The Hong Kong protests have frustrated Beijing, who view them as a threat to China’s sovereignty (in the case that Hong Kong should try to secede or demand more freedom), and to President Xi Jinping’s rule.

Typically, in passing national legislation, Beijing must receive approval from the legislature in Hong Kong. It is still unclear whether China will seek approval for the new laws or not.

U.S. Senators Draft Sanction Bill

In response to the news from China, U.S. senators Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) and Pat Toomey (R., Pa)initiated legislationthat would sanction actors who help enforce the new national security laws (should they go into effect). Such actors may include officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as well as financial institutions.

Towards the end of 2019, Congress passed (in bipartisan fashion) an act that requires an annual review of Hong Kong’s autonomous status and gives lawmakers authority to sanction actors who commit human rights abuses in Hong Kong.


Elon Musk Taught Himself How to Computer Code at Age 9

Not only did he learn how to code at age 9, but Musk also began turning a profit at age 12 with a game he created called Blastar which was sold to atech magazine for $500. You can actually still play the game online today.

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