Skimm for August 19th
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Skimm'd after spinning

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small" — NYC's parks department on why it removed a naked Donald Trump statue from a park yesterday. The same statue showed up in four other major US cities. Look ma, no big hands.  

THINGS SAYING 'MY B'

THE UN

THE STORY

Yesterday, the UN said 'remember that time there was a cholera outbreak in Haiti?...oops, our bad.'

WAIT WHAT?

Back in 2010, a massive earthquake hit Haiti. The UN responded by sending peacekeepers to the area to help. But a lot of those peacekeepers were coming from Nepal, which has a serious cholera problem. Cholera: a deadly bacterial disease that you usually get from contaminated drinking water. Shortly after the UN peacekeepers arrived in Haiti, the country had a cholera outbreak. And pretty much everyone traced it back to untreated sewage from a UN peacekeeping base that got into Haiti's biggest river. Since the outbreak, cholera has killed more than 9,000 people and sickened more than 700,000 in Haiti. Up until yesterday, the UN has always said 'wasn't me.'

SO WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?

The UN said 'JK, it was me.' The UN admitted to being involved in the initial outbreak and said that it needs to do more to help the situation. Good idea. A new set of UN actions to stop the outbreak will be rolled out in the next few months. A group of cholera victims has sued the UN, but late last night, an appeals court upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss the case. So now, victims and their lawyers have 90 days to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Yesterday's admission could mean a lot more help for Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, to fight the outbreak. But TBD on what it means for the UN, which has faced criticism recently for doing more bad than good in countries that need help.


THE STATE DEPARTMENT

THE STORY

Yesterday, the US kinda sorta cleared up the confusion over a $400 million payment to Iran.

BACK UP.

Remember that big Iran nuclear deal that was signed last year? A few month later, some US prisoners were released from Iran…around the same time that a cargo plane carried $400 million in US dollars to Iran. A lot of people said 'hmmm, sounds like a ransom payment.' Reminder: the US does not do ransoms. President Obama said 'not the case' – the cash was just sent to resolve a longstanding dispute that was totally separate from the freeing of the US prisoners. Just similar timing.

SO WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?

The State Department came out and said the timing wasn't exactly a coincidence after all, and that the US used the payment as "leverage" to get the prisoners back. Making even more people go 'hmmm, sounds like a ransom payment.'

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The relationship between the US and Iran is complicated AF (see: nuclear dealRussian airstrikes sent into Syria from Iranian territory). Yesterday's news doesn't help. And it doesn't look good for Obama, who is all about that setting that legacy right now. 

REPEAT AFTER ME...

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR FRIEND WALKS INTO A SCREEN DOOR AND TRIES TO PRETEND LIKE IT DIDN'T HAPPEN…

You're an idiot. Yesterday, Ryan Lochte's teammates said 'jeah, we lied about being robbed.' Reminder: Lochte recently finished competing in the Rio Olympics and had a night out on the town...which ended when he and three other teammates claimed they were robbed at gunpoint. Lochte texted his mom and then told the media all about the incident. While Lochte's mom was pretty sure this happened just like her son said, Rio police said 'hmm' and struggled to find actual evidence of the robbery. Meanwhile, Lochte went back home to the US. But then Rio detained two of his teammates at the airport. And then today, the Rio police told their official version of the story and said two of the swimmers backed them up. Turns out the swimmers actually vandalized a gas station. During a dispute over paying for the damages, a security guard (not a robber) pulled out a gun. Cue the whole world saying 'liar, liar, Speedo on fire.' Last night, the US Olympic Committee apologized for the athletes' behavior, but this has all put a big stain on Team USA's winning pool performance. It's not clear whether the swimmers will face criminal charges or a swimming suspension. For now, they're just in the reputation deep end.

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR LOCAL BODEGA CLOSES...

I'm kinda sad to see you go. Yesterday, it came out that Gawker.com – the website that had dirt on everyone from celebs to semi-regular people – is shutting down. Gawker declared bankruptcy earlier this year after being ordered to pay $140 million to Hulk Hogan for publishing a sex tape without his permission. It was later revealed that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel funded the lawsuit as revenge for that time Gawker outed him. And revenge is a dish best served bankrupt. Gawker went belly up and was auctioned off to Univison earlier this week. The sale also included Gawker Media's other brands (Jezebel, Deadspin, and Gizmodo). Those will reportedly stick around, and Gawker.com staffers may get jobs at one of those sites, or elsewhere at Univision. So there will be lots of Uni-noobs in the office.

WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR FRIEND WHO STILL TWEETS...

Keep calm and tweet on. Yesterday, Twitter says it's suspended 235,000 accounts over the last six months for promoting terrorism and violence. It also rolled out its "quality filter" to all users. Meaning harassment or tweets from sketchy accounts can automatically be filtered out of your feed. Big deal, since Twitter has avoided monitoring content in the past, because free speech. But that policy has also led to a lot of cyber trolling, anti-semitism, and has helped groups like ISIS find an outlet to spread their message. So now, Twitter's trying to step up and weed out the hate, one 'bye, Felicia' tweet at a time.

WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR FRIEND WHO BINGES "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK" THE DAY A NEW SEASON COMES OUT…

Bye, Litchfield. Yesterday, the Justice Department said it's phasing out the use of private prisons. That's because it turns out they're less safe and less effective than federal prisons. Private prisons — which started in the 90s because of prison overcrowding — have gotten a lot of flak in recent years for security issues. About 195,000 inmates are housed in the private facilities. Earlier this month, the Justice Department's inspector general issued a report that basically put private prisons behind bars, saying that they were more violent and problematic than government-run prisons. That, plus the fact that the number of people wearing orange jumpsuits has gone down, made the Justice Department go 'hmm, maybe we should get rid of private prisons.' It also made stock in private prisons go way down. Orange is the new 'baiii.'

PEOPLE MORE FIT THAN YOU

Skimm HQ worked out together last night. And then watched the Olympics at home on our couch. Here are the people more athletic than us. And you.

Ashton Eaton: The greatest athlete in the world. He won gold for the USA last night in the decathlon, which is a series of 10 events. Oh, and his wife took home bronze for Canada in the women's heptathlon. Relationship goals. 

Usain Bolt: The Jamaican with the perfect last name. Last night, he took gold in the men's individual 200 meters. Which means he's swept the 100 and 200 meters at three consecutive Olympics.

Helen Maroulis: The American who muscled her way to gold. She upset Japan's 3-time gold medalist Saori Yoshida to become 1st American woman to win wrestling gold.

Neymar: Brazil's hometown hero who only needs one name. The soccer star is playing in the gold medal match against Germany tomorrow.


SKIMM READS

"Cherry" by Lindsey Rosin 

This takes everything you ever loved about Judy Blume and marries it with "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Four best friends, four v-cards, four promises to lose them before high school graduation. A lot of cringe-worthy moments that will make you very nostalgic. Perfect beach read.


SKIMM BIRTHDAYS

* indicates Skimm'bassador. Go shawty.

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