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Quote of the Day

"They found the experience at the museum very enriching" – The Kansas City Zoo, on taking penguins to an art museum. See? Some things are still good.

Guess WHO

The Story

Today and tomorrow, world leaders are meeting (virtually) to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.

What's going on?

The World Health Organization is holding its 73rd annual World Health Assembly. Usually, it's held in Geneva and representatives from the WHO's 194 member countries discuss a wide range of issues. But with the coronavirus pandemic, this year's meeting will look a little different. Not only will it be held virtually for the first time, but other health topics may be put on the back-burner as officials zero in on the disease that's killed over 300,000 people and infected more than 4.5 million others.

So what's on the agenda?

Vaccines. The EU has reportedly put together a resolution calling for global cooperation to get it done. Also in the resolution: testing, treatment, and supplies. Some orgs are pushing to make the vaccine universally available when it's ready. And several countries (think: Australia, EU members) are expected to call for an investigation into the virus's origin. Today, China's foreign ministry said it was premature to start that kind of probe. But one place that's gotten international praise for its handling of the outbreak didn't get an invite.


Taiwan. Health experts have applauded the island for how it's tackled the coronavirus. Taiwan has more than 23 million residents but fewer than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and only seven deaths. All of that without a major lockdown. Experts say they kept numbers low by doing things like early screenings of incoming passengers from Wuhan, setting up testing centers, contact tracing, and ramping up face mask production. It's also been donating millions of masks to other countries, including the US.

Sounds like we could learn from Taiwan…

Maybe. That's what countries like the US, New Zealand, and Japan have been pushing for. But things are a bit complicated. China (a WHO member) considers self-governed Taiwan as its territory and has pressured other countries against having any kind of diplomatic ties with the island. It's also blocked Taiwan from coming to the World Health Assembly as an observer since 2016. And this year's no different. The WHO reportedly says it doesn't have a mandate to invite Taiwan – and that only member states can decide who gets an invite. Today, Taiwan said it won't push the issue, but it wants to talk about its participation at the WHO later this year. But the discussion has only added to the increasing tensions between the US and China over how the latter has handled the outbreak.


The coronavirus pandemic stands to be the biggest challenge the WHO's ever faced. As is, it's struggled to get countries to follow through on resolutions because it lacks the power to enforce them. Now, with geopolitical tensions taking center stage, the stakes are even higher.

And Also...This

What's raising eyebrows…

Steve Linick. On Friday, President Trump fired the State Department inspector general, raising eyebrows. The IG's job is basically the dept's hall monitor, looking into the agency for things like fraud, waste, and abuse. In this case, Trump said he no longer had the "fullest confidence" in Linick, who'd served since 2013. But a White House official said it's because Sec of State Mike Pompeo had specifically asked for Trump to cut him loose.

  • Pomp-eo and circumstances: Republicans and Democrats now want answers. One Dem says Linick was investigating Pompeo for potential misconduct, like having a staffer run personal errands on gov dollars. House Dems are opening an investigation.

  • Who watches the watchdogs: Linick is the latest federal watchdog to be relieved of his post since last month (see: this and this).

What's saying 'why don't you just meet me in the middle'...

Afghanistan's gov. Yesterday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a deal agreeing to a power-sharing gov. The announcement ends a months-long political deadlock, ever since Abdullah claimed election fraud from last year's election and rejected the results. Now, it seems the two are ready to play nice and are splitting the gov. Ghani will remain president and Abdullah will appoint half of the cabinet. He'll also lead peace negotiations with the Taliban – a move that could help the US end the 19-year war.

...Oh and speaking of power-sharing, Israel's new gov was officially sworn in, keeping PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm...for now. All while he awaits his May 24 trial on corruption charges.

Who people are missing…

Fred Willard. Last week, the four-time Emmy nominee and comic actor passed away from natural causes at 86. He was best known for his roles in "Best in Show," "Everybody Loves Raymond," and "Modern Family." Actors, filmmakers, and comedians paid tribute to his life and legacy, including Jimmy Kimmel who tweeted "there was no man sweeter or funnier." RIP.

Who's Liber-tearing himself away…

Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI). Over the weekend, the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Libertarian candidate said he is no longer running for president – nearly three weeks after announcing his exploratory committee.

Who deserves all of the good things...

The Class of 2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all in different ways. No matter your situation, sometimes you just need to press pause. Enter: our picks to help you take a break…

1. Homemade everything-bagel dip. For when snacks are the new dinner. Hummus is shaking.

2. The best '80s movies. TBT to simpler times when Tom Cruise danced in his underwear, nobody put Baby in a corner, and John Cusack had a thing with a boombox. Bring us back.

3. Zooming with Daniel Radcliffe. Here's what The Boy Who Lived had to say about quarantine life, his new Netflix special...and how many times he's read "Harry Potter." Yer gonna love it.

PS: Sign up to get a list of things to do, watch, eat, and more to your inbox every Monday.


For when you've finally mastered that chicken dinner recipe...

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For when your life feels it might be the plot of a movie…

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In times like these, community matters more than ever. Let us know how you (or someone you know) is making an impact by helping others.

Teamwork makes the dream work...Julia L (NC). She and friends Susan B, Judy M, Ann M, and Lindsay H, founded Feed the Fight Durham, a nonprofit supporting local restaurants and helping feed local health care workers. So far, they've raised more than $53,000 out of their $100,000 goal, delivering nearly 6,000 meals. Learn more here.

This one's for the moms...Hallie N (NY) and Kasey R. They've gathered donations for mothers and moms-to-be in need around NYC, including baby clothes, baby food, health essentials, and toys. So far, they've reached moms in three NYC boroughs.

(Some) Birthdays...Peter Boogaard (DC), Barbara Katsaros (IL), Elesa Poteres (IL), Alex Dao (WA), Maria Abbott (OH), Stefanie Schwartz (DC), Joanna Wolfe (PA), Megan Orr (CA), Katarina Juarez (CA), Betsy Curran (NY), Beatty Sterling (IL), Elizabeth Hunt (MO), Shirley Kirk (TX), Alexandra Tallas (WA), Paulina Stankiewicz (NY)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.