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FEBRUARY 11, 2019


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Skimm'd while earning cash back on gas


"Don't escape, you bad little gorilla" – A child watching chimpanzees escape in a Northern Ireland zoo. Spoiler: they didn't listen.


The Story

Turkey is calling for an end to the mass incarceration of Uighurs in China.

If one wanted to say Uighurs out loud…

They would pronounce it like wee-gurs.

Thanks. What else should I know about them?

They're a Turkic ethnic group of mostly Sunni Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China. In 2009, riots erupted in Xinjiang's capital, killing almost 200 people. And in 2012, a group of Muslim men killed 12 people in the Xinjiang area. Since then, the Chinese gov has cracked down on Uighurs, saying they're connected to terrorists. And responded by restricting travel in the region and being wary of men who grow out their beards. Last year, a UN panel found that an estimated 1 million Uighurs or more have been detained in the Xinjiang region.

Concerning. What's China have to say?

That these camps provide job training and help fight extremism and terrorism.

What's everyone else have to say?

That they're reportedly forced labor camps. And people who've been released from them say the camps are being used to get Uighurs to kick their devotion to Islam to the curb.

You mentioned Turkey...

Yep. Turkey and China are close, so Turkey had been quiet about all this for a while. But Turkish President Recep Erdogan apparently sees himself as a defender of Muslims and especially Turkic people. Now, the country's describing the detention of Uighur Muslims as a "great shame for humanity" – a rare case of a Muslim-majority country speaking out against this.

Why the shift?

It's unclear. But Erdogan may be looking to take a stand on this before the country's local elections next month. Also, the country specifically mentioned the death of renowned Uighur folk poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit, who it said died in one of the detention centers. (Since then, reports have come out that Heyit is alive – but still incarcerated.) Turkey is also calling China out for arresting Uighurs and subjecting them to "torture and political brainwashing."

I can't see China liking that.

Yeah, no. It says Turkey has it all wrong. And restated its claim that these "training" centers are necessary to fight terrorism.


Last year, the UN called on China to release those detained in the centers. And some US lawmakers called for sanctions to punish the country for repressing its citizens. Now, Turkey's getting involved. But beyond acknowledging the problem, the international community has so far failed to stop China from holding an estimated 1 million people against their will.


What to say when you hear Virginia Dems are still stewing in their own hot water…

Capitol Hill is still stewing in deadlock. It's T-5 days until the next shutdown deadline. And surprise: Republicans and Democrats still can't agree on border funding. Tonight, President Trump will be in the border city of El Paso, Texas, which he called one of the US's "most dangerous cities" before it got a fence along its southern border. Fact check: crime was falling there before fencing was built. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) will be speaking at a counter-protest nearby. Speaking of Dems making people think about 2020, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Yesterday, she announced she's running for prez, joining a long list of diverse candidates.

What people are watching…

Spain. Tomorrow, it's kicking off one of the country's highest-profile trials in years. Two years ago, leaders of Catalonia – the semi-autonomous part of Spain that includes Barcelona – held a vote on whether to declare independence. Spain wasn't amused. And sacked Catalonia's local government. Now, it's holding a trial for 12 of the Catalan leaders who've been charged with things like rebellion. But it's still causing some friction in the country – yesterday, tens of thousands of people protested Spain's prime minister after it came out that he was open to easing tensions with Catalonia's pro-independence movement. Meanwhile, Hungary's right-wing prime minister is making news. He's long made it clear he's not a fan of migrants. But the country's population is declining as people are apparently looking for better job opportunities in Western Europe. Yesterday, the PM gave a speech promising that women who have four or more kids won't have to pay income taxes. The goal: to reduce the labor shortage and make Hungary More Hungarian Again.

What to say when you hear "The Favourite" and "Roma" won big at the BAFTA Awards...

There were also big wins at the Grammys. Kacey Musgraves won album of the year. Childish Gambino made history with the first rap song to win record and song of the year – but wasn't there to accept the awards. And Cardi B made history as the first solo woman to take home best rap album. She also made waves off the stage. Speaking of, the red carpet was extra red. Drake didn't feel like being nice (for what). Host Alicia Keys got by with a little help from her friends. Dolly Parton got a lot of love. JLo didn't. Janelle Monáe made us feel. So did Diana Ross' grandson. And not everyone was ready for that "Aladdin" trailer.

What to say when you hear YouTube isn't going to rec conspiracy videos anymore…

Amazon may or may not be taking recs to stay out of NYC. Last year, New York offered the 'Zon tax breaks to help convince the company to build another HQ there. But some state and local Democrats weren't fans of giving a trillion-dollar company big tax subsidies. Plus there are concerns that having the company in NY will drive up already high real estate prices. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is saying 'please stay.' Critics are calling this a ploy by Amazon to get its haters off its back. Speaking of Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos is still at war with the National Enquirer. Bezos is accusing the Enquirer of trying to extort and blackmail him. And says this could have been politically motivated since he's the owner of The Washington Post – which has reported on President Trump, a friend of the CEO of the Enquirer's parent co. Now, the Enquirer's parent co is denying any foul play. And is accusing Bezos of threatening the Enquirer by accusing it of shady business dealings with Saudi Arabia.

Who's not gonna take it anymore…

Denver teachers. Today, after more than a year of failed negotiations, teachers in Denver are going on strike for the first time in 25 years to protest for better pay. Yes, this is part of a trend. Speaking of protests, people are protesting museums like the Guggenheim and the Met for accepting money from the Sackler family. The Sacklers own Purdue Pharma – the producers of OxyContin, which has been tied to the country's deadly opioid epidemic. Now, some are calling for museums to turn down donations and stop naming buildings after the fam.

Who was trending this weekend...

AOC. And Bob Costas.


Kym Worthy

She's the first black woman to serve as county prosecutor in Detroit's Wayne County and has worked to end the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in the city. Her work led to the discovery of more than 800 serial rapists.

Make sure you know about Worthy and other black leaders championing today's biggest issues.


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Cheers to...Cailey A (FL), who just started a new job in the NHL. And to Nicki M (IA), who just wrote and published her first book – a bilingual children's book.

All of the champagne for...Sarah B (MA), who's taking a month-long sabbatical after working up the ladder at her co for 10 years (think: intern to director of brand marketing). Started from the bottom now we're here.

(Some) Birthdays…the Skimm's Daniela Franco Brown (NY), theSkimm's Layla Zhang (NY), Lois Beckley (WA), Jesse Draper (CA), Michelle Haines (CA), Stacey Leiman (NY), Kori Lay (CA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Carolyn Flemming (TX), MaKenna Harwood (MI), Jeb Bush (FL), Sheri Kicklighter (GA), Monique Woodland (FL), Angela McCord (KY), Chelsea Fishman (CO), Erica Baevsky (NY), Raquel Rosenbloom (MA), Nancy Breedlove (AL)

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