Skimm'd while learning how to make a dramatic career change

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FEBRUARY 01, 2019


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Skimm'd while learning how to make a dramatic career change


"Wifey really going all out tonight" – Jessica Biel fell asleep while heading out to celebrate Justin Timberlake's birthday. I got this feeling...I'm about to take a nap.


Fentanyl bust

The Story

Yesterday, border officials announced their biggest fentanyl bust ever.

Whoa. Tell me more.

Fentanyl is the largest source of overdose deaths in the US. Last weekend, a truck carrying cucumbers was stopped while trying to get into the US through a border checkpoint in Arizona. A drug-sniffing dog led to the discovery of hundreds of pounds of fentanyl and methamphetamine – worth an estimated $4.6 million. President Trump has pointed to drugs like fentanyl as one of the main reasons why there needs to be a physical barrier at the US-Mexico border. But Dems have said the focus should be on the ports of entry since that's where most of the drugs from Mexico get through the border.


As Trump and lawmakers are trying to figure out funding (including potentially increased border spending) to avoid another gov shutdown, some see this drug bust as an example of why beefing up security at border checkpoints would be a better allocation of funds than building a physical barrier.

Fake university sting operation

The Story

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a fake university in Michigan.

Excuse me?

In court filings that were unsealed this week, prosecutors revealed that the University of Farmington was run by undercover Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents – part of DHS. The fake university (think: no classes, no teachers) had been set up back in 2015 as part of a sting operation. The goal: to catch foreign nationals illegally using student visas to stay and work in the US. Now, DHS is charging eight alleged recruiters at the school with things like conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Agents say the recruiters got hundreds of people to enroll in what they knew was a "pay to stay" scheme. Some of the students have also apparently been arrested.


Prosecutors say this recent sting exposes how the student visa program can be "exploited and abused." Others see it as entrapment. And it's worth noting that this school is included on DHS's list of certified schools where international students can enroll.

"Birth tourism" crackdown

The Story

US authorities just carried out a major crackdown on businesses that help Chinese women travel to the US to give birth.

Tell me more.

It isn't illegal to visit the US while pregnant. But visa fraud is. And these so-called "birth tourism" businesses did things like encourage the women to hide their pregnancies and lie on their visa applications. The goal: to give birth in the US so these babies automatically become US citizens. People would pay as much as $100,000 for these businesses' coaching and services. Yesterday, three people from the businesses were arrested on charges including conspiracy, visa fraud, and money laundering. And more than a dozen others were charged – but are no longer in the US.


Birth tourism has been a trend for years. But this is the first time the feds have filed charges against birth tourism businesses. And authorities warn that it's not just immigration fraud – it's a national security risk.


What people are watching very very closely…

Venezuela. Officials there have reportedly arrested at least 10 journalists in the past week, expelling four. These sorts of detentions have become common in the country. And they come as President Nicolás Maduro is facing the biggest challenge to his rule since he rose to power in 2013. Last week, opposition leader and head of the country's parliament Juan Guaidó invoked the constitution to act as interim prez. Yesterday, the European Parliament joined the US, UK, Canada, several Latin American countries, and others in backing Guaidó. And the EU spoke out against the attacks on the press. Six journalists have apparently been released.

Skimm More: Here's your backgrounder on how the situation in Venezuela got to this point.

What people are talking about…

These sex trafficking arrests. Earlier this week, officials said they've arrested 33 people for sex trafficking in Atlanta in the lead up to Super Bowl LIII this weekend. They also rescued four survivors. You might have heard that the Super Bowl is an especially big hub for sex trafficking each year because of the extra foot traffic. That may or may not be true. This year, Atlanta – which is hosting the big game – is apparently using its time in the spotlight to raise awareness of the issue. Atlanta is one of the top cities known for human trafficking. And it's been plastering airports, gas stations, and convenience stores with posters to flag warning signs and distribute a hotline number. Here's the number if you or someone you know needs it: 1-888-373-7888. And here are more ways you can help.

What to say when you hear about this new report on heart disease

In other alarming numbers...a new report shows the number of military students experiencing unwanted sexual contact went up nearly 50% in the last two years. The Pentagon has been working to get these incidents down by doing things like raising awareness and encouraging students to report their claims. This info was gathered before these initiatives may have made an impact, but officials still say there's a lot of work to be done to change the culture at military academies.

What to say to your friend living in the UK…

Careful with the fish and chips. A new study found that many of those shops are actually selling endangered shark meat.

What to say when you try to get a red wine stain out with warm water…

You're making it worse.


"Grit" by Angela Duckworth

If you've ever wanted to know what makes people succeed, this is the book for you. Spoiler: it's not talent. There's research, analysis, and reflection from famous psychologist Angela Duckworth. Perfect for a career slump or the next time you need some motivation. Get it here.

PS: Need help getting your career in order? Our upcoming book, "How to Skimm Your Life," can help. It will give you resume and interview tips, negotiating tactics and more. Pre-order here.


Cheers to...Brittany M (UT), who's always wanted to narrate books. Now, after hustling (think: buying a mic, taking classes, networking), the offers are rolling in. Congrats, (ear)bud. And to Stephanie and Isabelle D (MO), the mom-and-daughter duo who are about to take classes together as part of Harvard Extension School. Paging Lorelai and Rory...

Spotlight on...Mary L (NY), a professional photographer who came up with More Good. The mission: to collect and profile stories of compassion and human kindness. She's traveled to 34 states, been profiled in the news, and given a TEDx talk. Now, she's been listed by her local paper as 2018 Suffolk Times Person of the Year.

(Some) Birthdays…Fran Schechter (NY), Chris Steadley (OH), Emma Eales (CA), Ashlynn Dey (CA), Lauren Conrad, Natalie Martinez (FL), Catarina Daltro (IN), Ina Garten, Carter Bell (IA), Kelli Dawson (ID), Nina Udeshi (VA), Jacob McCourt (ON), Kyoshi Robinson (MS), Michele Corigliano (UT), Monelle Rougeau (TX)

*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.