Skimm'd while giving back

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JANUARY 25, 2019


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Skimm'd while giving back


"We have plans with milk that day" – Oreo, on its Valentine's Day plans. Good Stuf.



The Story

Yesterday, Congo swore in its new president: Felix Tshisekedi. It was the country's first peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium almost 60 years ago. But there were allegations of vote rigging during the election. And some think the former prez – known for leading a repressive regime – could have made a deal with Tshisekedi that will let him call the shots behind the scenes. Tshisekedi denies anything shady went down.


Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. Yesterday, Tshisekedi said he'll work to crack down on corruption, free all political prisoners, and reportedly get rid of the country's dozens of violent rebel groups. But the jury is still out on if the power change was all for show. Or if new leadership will lead to much-needed reforms for the country's 80 million people, many living on less than $1,000 per year and lacking basics like electricity or clean water.


The Story

Yesterday, thousands of people protested throughout Sudan – the latest in almost daily protests against President Omar al-Bashir. The protests started last month over the rising cost of bread. But they've grown into calls for al-Bashir – who's been in office since the '90s – to step down. Security forces have been responding with tear gas and live rounds. Dozens of people have died. And hundreds have been detained. This isn't the first time there've been mass protests. But this time, wealthier and younger Sudanese are taking part en masse, as things like medicine and fuel are unaffordable or in short supply.


Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, including genocide in Darfur. And Sudan is also listed by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism. But the int'l community isn't rushing to get involved. After the Arab Spring, some worry that a new regime could be worse. Many are watching to see how this turns out.


The Story

This week, Angola reportedly decriminalized same-sex activities. And prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was apparently the first change to the country's criminal code since it gained independence from Portugal in the '70s.


There have apparently been no prosecutions in Angola for same-sex activity. But the change is a key move toward protecting LGBTQ rights not only in Angola, but around the world – where being gay is still a crime in dozens of countries.


What to say to your friend who always has some sort of drama going on…

What a coincidence, so does DC. It's day 35 of the partial government shutdown. That's more than a month. Yesterday, the Senate rejected two bills – one backed by Republicans, one backed by Democrats – to reopen the gov. The overall sentiment in DC seems to be that this shutdown needs to end soon. There may be a compromise in the near future – but until that happens, hundreds of thousands of federal workers won't get a paycheck for the second time since the shutdown. Commerce Sec Wilbur Ross says he doesn't "really quite understand" why federal workers have been going to food banks, and not just taking out loans. He's been widely criticized for appearing to minimize the concerns of federal workers.

What people are still watching…

The US-Venezuela standoff. Yesterday, the US ignored Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's call to close the US's embassy there. The background: earlier this week, hundreds of thousands of people protested to push Maduro out of office after years of his authoritarian regime. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president. And the US backed Guaidó up. Maduro didn't like that, and cut off diplomatic ties with the US – giving diplomats a couple days to leave. But yesterday, the US said 'here's the actually can't close our embassy because we don't recognize your authority anymore.' There's been worries this puts the safety of diplomats there in jeopardy. Especially considering Venezuela's military now says it's team Maduro – and that the opposition's attempt to take him down counts as a coup. Now the US says it's keeping the embassy open, but taking out "non-emergency" gov employees. Meanwhile, Guaidó said he may grant Maduro amnesty if he agrees to step down.

Who people are talking about...

These asylum seekers. Today, US officials are expected to send the first group of migrants to Mexico while their immigration cases are being processed. Last month, the Trump admin announced that people seeking asylum would have to wait in Mexico while their cases play out in the courts – which could take months or years. It's unclear how many migrants will be sent there or where they'll stay once they arrive.

What to say when you hear about HuffPost's layoffs

Yikes, bad times for media companies. Here's what's also looking grim: a new report says that robots could replace about 36 million US workers in the next few decades. Some of the industries that could be impacted the most are transportation, food, production, and office admin. But don't worry, we're not necessarily headed toward "Ex Machina" part two. The report says it'll bring both "benefits and stress," but not an "apocalypse nor utopia." Did you hear that, Alexa? We're good.

What to say to your friend who refuses to go out to dinner alone…

You're also gonna want a buddy to watch this new Ted Bundy docuseries.

What to say to your co-worker who never knows what day it is…

Reminder: calendars are your friend.


"Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist" by Sunil Yapa

A biracial teen gets involved in a mass protest in Seattle. Turns out, his estranged dad is the police chief on the other side of the barricades. This one's all about family, justice, and when the relationship between the two gets complicated. Get it here.


Cheers to…Kelly P (TX). She just retired from the Army after 12 and a half years. Thank you for your service. And Lisa Garrett (TX), who ran a half marathon last weekend in 1 hour, 36 minutes, and 48 seconds. For perspective: That's about five episodes of "Friends" on Netflix.

Spotlight on…Nikki L (CO). She just launched a new project called Define the Line. It's focused on ending workplace harassment and already has more than 1,000 advocates and allies.

(Some) Birthdays…Shelby Alpert-Waldman (CA), Leslie Saewitz (DC), Cindy Adams (CA), Ryann Moore (WV), Ali Perry (TN), Kera Recce (PA), Tanya Sehgal (NY), Chris Fretz (NJ), Meagan Gadreault (DC), Rebekah Garris (CO), Lynn Rowland (GRC), Sherri Satnick (NJ)

*Welcome to a new section we're testing with members of theSkimm. Want to take it to the next level? Reach out here for a chance to be featured.