Skimm'd while picking a weekend read

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OCTOBER 20, 2017


Meet Skimm Notes

Skimm'd while picking a weekend read


"He's not available but you're going to fall in love with him but you can't have him" – What the director of "Hocus Pocus" was told about a young Leonardo DiCaprio before he auditioned for the movie. Sounds about right.


The Story

On Sunday, Japan votes in a snap election.

The What

Last month, Japan's PM Shinzo Abe called this election…more than a year ahead of schedule. He's aiming to lock in political support for his North Korea strategy. Japan's not-so-friendly neighbor has been revving up its nuclear weapons testing lately. Multiple missiles have flown over Japan, triggering public service warnings in the country. Abe – who's expected to win – is hoping the election will give him enough support to change Japan's constitution to give the country's military more power.

What does the constitution say?

After WWII, the US occupied Japan – and wrote the country's new constitution. Including an article that says Japan's military can only act in self-defense. Shinzo says it's time to expand what the military can do. And is hoping this election will help make that happen.

Anything else?

Tomorrow, Spain is expected to begin taking control of Catalonia. This is unprecedented. Earlier this month, Catalonia – a semi-autonomous region that includes Barcelona – voted to break up with Spain. Spain says the vote was unconstitutional, and has repeatedly called on Catalonia to back off its plans. Catalonia's been sending those calls to voicemail. This is the result.


Japan has been a largely pacifist country for 70 years. Its attempts to shift towards military power is a tangible consequence of the crisis with North Korea.


What to say when it's Friday…

I need a nap. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) apparently does not. This week, he announced he's backing a Democratic bill requiring social media companies to disclose more info about political ads on their platforms. It's in response to Russia buying ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Google to promote fake news and propaganda to millions of people before and after last year's presidential election. And last night, McCain and his fellow Senate Republicans passed a budget plan. If the House says 'aye' too, it gives the GOP a clear path towards making its tax overhaul dreams come true. McCain's busy schedule didn't stop there. As the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he also said he might need to issue a subpoena to get more info about the ambush in Niger that left four US soldiers dead. McCain says the Trump administration hasn't been forthcoming with details. Separately, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose son died in combat, addressed the controversy. Worth a watch. Meanwhile, the Former President's Club had some words for Mr. President without mentioning his name.

What people are watching…

Malawi. Yesterday, in the country's second-largest city, mobs reportedly attacked and killed two people accused of being vampires. Malawi is one of the world's poorest countries. Many there also believe in witchcraft. At least five others have already been killed in attacks that started last month. Rumors of people drinking blood have spread throughout Malawi for years. After these recent attacks started, the UN pulled staff from some areas of the city. Malawi's president has reportedly been visiting the areas affected by the scare, and says it's of "grave concern."

What to say to your friend with an MD after her name…

Heard about Yescarta? Earlier this week, the FDA approved a second gene therapy for US cancer patients. This treatment will be used to treat lymphoma in adults. Here's how it works: doctors take certain cells from a patient's immune system, and genetically modify them to attack and kill cancer cells. The cells are then put back inside the patient's body to fight the disease. It's a type of immunotherapy, which researchers have thought for years is the key to beating many types of cancers. The bad news: Yescarta costs more than $300,000 per patient. The good news: most patients who got the treatment saw their cancer shrink or go away altogether. Next, researchers are aiming to put similar treatments for other cancers and diseases on the market.

What to say at the flea market…

I wonder how much this is worth? Yesterday, Stitch Fix – the company that acts as an online personal stylist – filed for an IPO. It's one of just a few e-commerce companies to start dipping its toes into the public pool. And the industry's hoping it makes a bigger splash than the subscription meal service Blue Apron, which tanked when it IPO'd earlier this year. Working in Stitch Fix's favor: it's actually been making money. And the IPO could value the company at around $4 billion. TBD on when it officially hits the market.

What to say when you see another post with #MeToo…

Lupita Nyong'o did too. And she has something to say.



"Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter

The Italian Riviera. Something about "Cleopatra." Richard Burton's there. Sounds weird but this was one of our earliest and most favorite Skimm Reads. You won't be able to put it down. And today we got you a little something off the price tag.*

PS: Want more of our all-time favorite Skimm Reads – including "Girls on Fire" and "The Nest"? - We got you deals from Goodreads.*

For when you're feeling classy AF…

This chardonnay knows the feeling. Pour yourself a glass and pretend your apartment is a swanky hotel lobby.*

For when you need to get out of town...

Welcome to Miami. We have two nights for two people. Money to go toward your flights. Glossier to pack in your toiletry case. Sweetgreen to keep those 'my body is my temple' beach vibes going when you're back home. Etc. Enter here.

*PS This is an affiliate partner, which means if you purchase or sign up, theSkimm may get something in return. Thanks.


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