Skimm'd with our favorite holiday reads

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DECEMBER 07, 2018


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Skimm'd with our favorite holiday reads


"Consider my hole life changed" – An ad campaign for a bidet company apparently didn't make the cut for NYC subways.


The Russia Investigation

The Story

Special counsel Robert Mueller is working on a deadline.


You know Mueller as the guy behind the FBI's Trump-Russia investigation. He's already charged a number of people. Including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy as part of a plea deal. Last week, Mueller's team accused Manafort of breaking the deal. Today, Mueller has to prove the deets on how.

That all?

Nope. There's also Michael Cohen, aka President Trump's former fixer-slash-personal lawyer. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to charges like campaign finance violations brought by federal prosecutors in NY. Then last week, as part of a deal with Mueller, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a potential Trump biz deal in Russia. Trump wasn't happy. Today, Mueller and federal prosecutors have to recommend how long he should be sentenced. If they're lenient, it could be a sign that he's been a helpful witness…like Michael Flynn. Cohen is expected to find out his fate next week.

That's a lot.

Yup. There's also this: former FBI Director James Comey is headed to Capitol Hill today to talk to lawmakers about the FBI's investigation. And former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos (aka the first person to plead guilty in Mueller's probe) is getting out of jail, just in time for the freakin' weekend.


Mueller's team has been picking up steam in the last couple weeks. And with rumors that his investigation is wrapping up, everyone is paying very close attention to today's news.


The Story

Huawei is putting US-China trade talks in limbo.


The US has some mixed feelings about Huawei – a major Chinese telecom co and the world's no. 2 smartphone maker. US intelligence officials have said they're concerned that the Chinese gov could use Huawei products to spy on Americans. Also since 2016, the US has been investigating whether the co violated any trade sanctions against Iran. Earlier this week, it came out that Canada arrested Huawei's CFO – and she could be extradited to the US. The reason: she allegedly violated those sanctions. China wants her released. Now. And said the arrest violated her human rights. This puts the US and China's trade truce and future talks up in the air. Investors took note.

Anything else?

In other news in the tech world, Australia just passed a bill that would make tech companies hand over encrypted data (think: WhatsApp) to authorities in cases like suspected terrorism. It's the most extreme law around data in the West.


The US and China have been in a trade standoff since earlier this year. Then last weekend, the two started playing nice. This Huawei development is throwing a real wrench into that. And making it clear that there's more to this beef than just trade.


What to say when you get on the elevator right before the doors close...

Close call. Yesterday, Congress approved a stopgap spending bill to snooze a partial government shutdown. Without it, funding for some federal agencies (like the Department of Homeland Security) would have expired tonight. This also postpones the fight over funding for President Trump's US-Mexico border wall. Trump is expected to sign the bill before the clock runs out. But don't get too comfy. The new deadline is December 21st. Happy holidays. Meanwhile, the US isn't getting enough support at the UN. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's last big push before she leaves was to help pass a resolution that would condemn Hamas – an Islamist militant group that the US and others consider a terrorist group. Yesterday, it was given the thumbs down.

What people are watching…

Yemen. This week, the two sides of the years-long civil war are meeting in Sweden to discuss a possible path to peace. For years, Yemen's gov forces (backed by Saudi Arabia) and the Houthi rebels (backed by Iran) have been fighting. It's considered the world's worst humanitarian crisis: thousands have been killed, millions are at risk of famine, and it's also dealing with the world's worst cholera outbreak. Back in 2016, there were peace talks that eventually failed. Now they're trying it again – with the UN playing middleman. The progress so far is that both agreed to a prisoner swap, which might lay the groundwork for getting both sides to start to trust each other. There are no major breakthroughs expected out of these talks but things have to start somewhere. Eventually, these talks may lead to a ceasefire or even reopening access to let resources into the country.

What to say when your hear Luxembourg's plans for going green...

France has had issues going green lately. There have been protests for weeks over the gov's planned fuel tax hikes – part of President Macron's efforts to fight climate change. Tomorrow, dozens of Paris museums and stores will be closed in anticipation of more protests. The hikes were supposed to go into effect next month but after massive pushback the gov said 'ok fine, we'll scrap this.' Authorities are being cautious, and places like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre are shutting down – just in case more protests happen this weekend. Not a bad idea considering what happened to the Arc de Triomphe. In other environmental updates, the EPA announced yesterday that it plans to reverse a rule that would make new coal plants install tech to control their carbon dioxide emissions. This probably won't do much since there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in building new coal plants. Also, the Interior Dept plans to take away protected land from the greater sage grouse (a type of bird that's near endangerment), potentially opening up nine million acres of land to drilling. We've been talking about the environment and climate change a lot lately – make sure you know what's up.

Who people are thinking about…

Eric Garner. Yesterday, a judge reportedly said the officer involved in Garner's 2014 death will face an NYPD disciplinary trial next year. The officer is charged with reckless and intentional use of a chokehold.

What to say while waiting for the Grammy noms

We're also waiting for a new Oscars host now that Kevin Hart dropped out. The reason: past anti-gay comments he'd made on Twitter.


Winter fireplaces and reading go together like wine and cheese. Here are a few of our current faves to curl up with by the fire...or on your airplane seat:

"One Day in December" by Josie Silver: If a Nora Ephron movie had a baby with that "You're Beautiful" song by James Blunt. It's about a woman who spots her 'true love' on a bus one day in, yup, December.

"Nine Perfect Strangers" by Liane Moriarty: From the author of "Big Little Lies," this book is about strangers who meet at a fancy health resort. Except the resort isn't quite what it seems. Cue: intrigue.

"The Best American Short Stories 2018": Skimm HQ looks forward to these every year, but this one's extra special. The 2018 edition is edited by Roxane Gay, who curates pieces that are timely and eye-opening.

Deck the halls with stacks of books. Check out our full Ho Ho Holiday Reads Guide for more.


For when you're exhausted from holiday shopping...

Bags on bags. Under-eye bags included. Tarte Cosmetics can help. They're having a big holiday sale with up to 30% off site-wide, plus free shipping. You got this.*

For when it's 5pm...

Turning water into wine. This appliance is just as game-changing. It turns water, salt, and vinegar into a spray that works as well as bleach. Non-toxic and Mother Nature approved. PS: Skimm'rs get $50 off plus free shipping. Get it.*

For when you're planning your holiday party outfit…

More is more. This jewelry membership service sends you three new pieces a month. Keep them as long as you want and buy the ones you want to keep. Skimm'rs get their first box free. Get at it.*

*PS This is a sponsored section.