Skimm'd while getting in the holiday spirits

theSkimm50 West 23rd Street, Suite 5B; New York, NY, 10010, United States Update Profile

DECEMBER 14, 2018


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Skimm'd while getting in the holiday spirits


"A stranger tried to talk to me on the tube" – The New York Times asked Londoners if they've experienced petty crime for a story and the sarcastic responses did not disappoint.


The Story

The two sides in the Yemen war are showing off some good will.

Back up.

Houthi rebels (a Shiite militant group in Yemen) took over the port city of Hodeidah when the country was still picking up the pieces from the Arab Spring. Since then, it's become somewhat of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia (the Sunni-majority country that backs Yemen's gov forces) and Iran (the Shiite-majority country that backs the Houthis). Now, the country is dealing with the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the world's worst cholera outbreak, what seems to be the world's worst famine in 100 years, and more. In 2016, there were peace talks. But those failed. Earlier this month, the two sides went to Sweden to try those out again – with help from the UN. Now, we're getting a status update.

I'm listening...

The two sides shook on a deal for a ceasefire in Hodeidah that would allow the city more access to humanitarian aid. It gives troops from both sides three weeks to leave the area. They also agreed to ceasefires on two other ports. On top of a prisoner exchange and an agreement to de-escalate fighting around another major city.

That all sounds really good.

It is. If it works out. There have been efforts to make peace before but they've fallen apart. The UN is overseeing the ceasefire. TBD if it can get the two to turn that handshake into some on-paper signatures.

Anything else?

Whether this works or not, some US lawmakers are saying 'we're done' with the country's involvement in Yemen. Yesterday, the Senate approved a resolution to end US military support for Saudi Arabia's role in the war. It's not expected to make it past the House. But it's a symbolic move by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are frustrated with the Trump admin's support for Saudi Arabia – despite everything that went down with the death of Jamal Khashoggi.


The port city of Hodeidah is the entry point for around 70% of the country's humanitarian aid. And apparently the site of 37% of all civilian casualties in the war this year. So this ceasefire could be a huge relief for Yemenis who've been suffering there. All eyes are on the UN and the international community to make sure that this isn't just all talk.


What to say to your friend who watched "The Americans"…

TV, meet reality. Yesterday, Maria Butina pleaded guilty to acting as a Russian spy in the US. This isn't part of the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation. But it still has to do with Russia trying to influence US politics. Butina – a 30-year-old who was in grad school in the US – was trying to infiltrate US conservative groups like the Republican Party and the NRA to get them on board with pro-Russian policies. She's now cooperating with prosecutors and could be sentenced next year. Speaking of things in trouble, President Trump's inaugural committee. Yesterday, reports came out that it's being investigated for misusing some of the more than $100 million it raised in donations. And also whether it let donors do things like open their wallets in exchange for access to the Trump admin or to influence policy (hint: potentially illegal). The committee says it did everything by the books, and that this whole investigation is news to them.

Who people are talking about…

Emantic "EJ" Bradford Jr. Last month, Bradford – a black Army veteran – was shot and killed by a police officer who mistook him for a gunman. Since then, there've been a bunch of protests. Alabama's attorney general is now taking over the investigation into Bradford's shooting from the district attorney – who apparently knows some of the protesters. On top of that, the officer who shot Bradford was involved in helping out in some 20 other cases that the DA has been handling. Alabama's AG says he doesn't think the district attorney is biased but is taking over the case, because optics. But a local lawmaker reportedly warned that if there's any kind of cover-up from the AG's office, there will be even bigger protests than before. TBD if this investigation results in any disciplinary action or charges.

What to say when you hear the Dept of Ed is canceling $150 million in student loans...

Cha-ching. Speaking of things seeing green, the National Institutes of Health is reportedly promising to stop putting out research funded by people with a conflict of interest. You think? Earlier this year, the NIH was working on a study testing whether a drink a day had health benefits. Problem: it was funded by the alcohol industry. Once news came out, the NIH canceled the study. And now, the NIH is apparently saying 'oops my b' on how it vets funders. But some apparently worry that this won't go far enough, since the guidelines don't put an end altogether to companies funding NIH research.

What diplomatic saga you'll keep hearing about next…

China v Canada. Yesterday, China announced it detained a second Canadian it says was undermining its national security. This came weeks after Canada arrested the CFO of Huawei – China's top dog smartphone maker – who's accused of violating US sanctions on Iran. China hasn't said the two are related, but it definitely looks that way. And brings Canada further into the mess that is the US and China's ongoing trade war.

What to say when you hear how Michael Jordan gives feedback

Feedback for sports stadiums: maybe don't be gross.

What to say when you hear Starbucks is taking it to the next level...

You ain't seen nothing yet.


Tall Poppy Syndrome

When the garden gets a little too shady. It's a term from Australia that describes the tendency to bring down people who are doing 'too' well. Aaand it happens a lot to women in business. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women wants female entrepreneurs to keep hustling. It's a global program that empowers women through business education and access to capital. Learn more here.


"The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai

This novel moves between Chicago in 1985 and Paris in 2015. No ticket or time machine necessary. You'll learn about the AIDS crisis, art world, cults, and more. It was nominated for the National Book Award and Skimm HQ understands why — one HQ'r finished it in a weekend. Get it here.

PS: Want more reads for holiday break? Here's our list.


For when you swore off holiday cookies…

Get your mouth something just as sweet. quip makes electric toothbrushes that look fancy and brush real good. Gift or buy one for yourself. Either way, do it by tonight for no-rush delivery by Christmas. Psst...Skimm'rs get something off the tag. Go for it.*

For when the holidays are for hosting…

Insert signature cocktail here. Check out our tips for getting into the holiday spirits. Aka how to mix drinks your guests will want to sip on. Putting the rum in pa rum pum pum pum.

For when your boss says you can WFH most of December...

Arigato. Take some more time off with a trip to Kyoto. Enter here to get money for a flight and a five-night stay. Bonus: you also get to join a tea ceremony and take a Japanese cooking class.

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