Skimm'd while imagining cozy gift reveals

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Skimm'd while imagining cozy gift reveals

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Quote of the Day

"I have to keep my makeup on and keep my hair done" – Dolly Parton, on how she looks put together at all times in case of an emergency. She's the Modern(a) queen of 2020.

EU-man Rights

The Story

The EU's cracking down on human rights abuses.

Tell me more.

Yesterday, the 27-nation bloc adopted a new law that would impose sanctions on any person, entity, or body involved in human rights abuses around the world. Think: genocide, crimes against humanity, or other serious violations (like slavery or torture). Through the law, the EU can enforce travel bans and freeze assets of abusers. It also forbids anyone in the bloc from funding people or businesses that have violated human rights. The move comes after Canada and the UK imposed their own similar sanctions – modeled after the Magnitsky Act.

I...don't know what that is.

It's an Obama-era law named for investor and political activist Bill Browder's late lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. In 2009, Magnitsky died mysteriously in a Russian jail after allegedly uncovering a large fraud scheme involving Kremlin officials. In 2012, the law was signed to punish the Russian officials linked to Magnitsky's death – freezing their US assets and banning them from the country. In 2016, the Magnitsky Act was expanded to apply to human rights abusers worldwide.

Got it. What are people saying?

The US welcomed the EU's new law, calling it a "groundbreaking accomplishment" that'll further protect human rights globally. But some international orgs are calling on the bloc to expand it so that it also tackles corruption. In the meantime, EU officials now have to decide who to put on their 'human rights watch list.' Member states will get to submit their proposals. It could include those responsible for: the detention of Uighurs in China, the crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong and Belarus, and the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar.


For the first time, the bloc has come up with a way to punish individuals (not just countries) responsible for human rights abuses. Now, it looks like the EU's ready to use its collective power to hold people to task. Just in time for Human Rights Day this week.

And Also...This

Why climate activists are worried…

This decision. Yesterday, the Trump admin declined to tighten standards on industrial soot emissions, despite the evidence linking dirty air to respiratory illnesses. The Environmental Protection Agency reviewed soot standards in the spring – as required every five years. And the agency's scientists had warned of the links between the pollutants and deadly outcomes in respiratory illnesses (like COVID-19). It recommended tightening the current emissions rule set by the Obama admin in 2012. But EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said there wasn't enough scientific evidence to merit a change. The policy decision came as the admin has worked to roll back over 100 environmental regulations.

This report. Yesterday, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that the air pollution monitoring system is in disrepair. This comes after years of budget cuts and neglect. Since the 1970s, the air pollution monitoring system – made up of thousands of sites – has measured levels across the country. It's overseen by the EPA and maintained by state and local agencies. But since 2004, the network's funding has dropped by about 20%. And while federal funding is a major problem, states have also dropped the ball when it came to replacing aging equipment. Now, tens of millions of Americans could be breathing in bad air (made worse by wildfires and industrial pollution) without knowing it.

What President-elect Joe Biden has on his mind…

Public health. Yesterday, Biden announced his picks for positions to help guide his response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health issues. In addition to HHS sec and CDC director picks, Biden wants Jeff Zients (pronounced like 'science') to lead as coronavirus response coordinator. And Dr. Vivek Murthy for US surgeon general – a position he held in the Obama admin. He wants Yale professor Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith to head up a new task force on COVID-19 equity to advise the gov on reducing racial disparities in coronavirus care. And for Dr. Anthony Fauci to go exactly nowhere. Biden named him as chief medical adviser on the coronavirus, in addition to keeping him as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He just has that Effect on people.

Defense. Biden is expected to name retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin for defense secretary. If confirmed, Austin would be the US's first Black defense sec. But the pick is breaking norms, since the post is usually reserved for a civilian. If confirmed, Austin will not only have to shape US policy toward national security threats like Russia and China but head up the Defense Dept's efforts to distribute a vaccine and tackle climate change. Austin's résumé: over 40 years of military service and leading the country's US Central Command under President Obama.

Thing to Know: the National Security Act of 1947. It requires that a civilian head up the US's Defense Dept (unless Congress gives a special go-ahead). The goal is to avoid giving the US military too much power and keep civilians' perspectives in mind.

Who's breaking barriers…

Rashida Jones. The news exec (not to be confused with Ann Perkins) will become the next president of MSNBC in February. And the first Black female executive to run a major general news cable network. There's glass everywhere.

Who got an early birthday gift…

Margaret Keenan. Today, she became the first person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said she was "privileged" to be the person vaccinated.

While this artist is feeling the opposite of El Último

2024 is Stepping it Up.

Thing to Know


Think of it like your bag, but filled with all the investments you own instead of your keys and lipstick you haven't worn in eight months. Those investments could be stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and other assets. Splitting up your money across a mix of investments can help you stay balanced when one type isn't doing so hot.

Your portfolio should reflect what you want – whether that's a tiny house, your own biz or a travel-filled retirement. A Northwestern Mutual advisor can help with that. By building you a personalized financial plan where insurance and investments work together to help make all your dreams come true. Learn more.

Home for the Holidays

Hanukkah is coming up quick. It lasts eight nights, so you've still got time to get gifts for those on your list who celebrate. We're here to help. Today, check out our…

Baby (and Fur Baby) Shop: We've got things to clothe them, feed them, and entertain them.

Self-Care Shop: Everything they need to pamper themselves from morning to night. We're talking body scrubs, makeup kits, and essential oils. Shhh, quiet please.

Or, check out our full collection of gifts at our Home for the Holidays Shop. Happy shopping.


Here are our favorite picks to help you take a break today...

1. 13 smart products worth investing in. Aka things that you'll use for the rest of your life. Because you're an adult now. Except when you have to call to make a doctor's appointment.

2. 11 sugar substitutes to have on hand. For when your entire winter agenda is "cookies." Here's what to do when your pantry is all out of the sweet stuff.

3. Little gifts with big early 2000s energy. This company launched a Juicy Couture collab just in time for your white elephant. Think: velour makeup bags and bedazzled, eco-friendly underwear that say Juicy on the butt. Pssst...Skimm'rs get 20% off today only. Throw it back.*

PS: Want more? Sign up to get weekly recs in your inbox.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


For when you've basically spent 2020 in your workout clothes…

Why stop now? Athleta's Salutation Joggers are perfect for WFH or on the go. They're buttery-soft and hold their shape, so they're always flattering. Oh, and they're available in a range of colors. Yes, please.*

For when you're trying to work, but are having a migraine day...

Speak up. "Queer Eye" star Karamo Brown told us about living with migraine, and how it's more than 'just a headache.' Check out his tips in case you also have migraine – and get a heads up (sorry) on what it really is – here. So fab.*

For when you've been neglecting your hair lately…

Time for some self-care. This plant-based hair care brand is clinically proven to remove more than 97% of the build up on your scalp and in your hair. Oh, and they're founded by a female celebrity hair stylist. Skimm'rs get 25% off. Enjoy.*

For when you just realized it's only Tuesday...

Perk up with these energy bars. They're only 90 calories, but have as much caffeine as an espresso. And come in yummy flavors like coconut chai and maple blueberry. PS: Skimm'rs can try four flavors for just $0.95. Energize.*

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


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.

Cha-ching...Erik N (DC). He built a free app to help parents teach kids how to keep track of their spending and savings while building strong financial habits. Think: a kid-friendly app that mimics a real bank. Learn more.

Adding a new prefix...Carissa W (WI). She successfully defended her dissertation and earned her PhD in neuroscience. Nice job, doctor.

(Some) Birthdays...Kyle Marshall, Kristen Rossbach (DC), Amy Petreikis (TX), Kat Grosshans (VA), Christina Spiewak (WI), Lianna Levine (MA), Danielle Stapleton (TX), Blythe Spalla (TX), Anna Lewis (CO), Talia Marcus (VA), Carlee Vargo (PA), Nicole Verot (CAN), Mary Wheeler (FL), Robyn Tyner (IN), Kate Duncan (MA)

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

Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Niven McCall-Mazza, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain