news·5 min read

Daily Skimm: Mozambique, the Supreme Court, and CBD Jelly Beans

DS 3-19-2019
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Mar 19, 2019


The Story

The president of Mozambique warns that the death toll from last week's cyclone could climb to more than 1,000.

What happened?

Last Thursday, a cyclone hit the country. Some spots there were predicted to get at least 18 inches of rain. The storm later made its way to Zimbabwe and Malawi before dissipating. Now we're learning how bad the damage really was.

I'm scared to ask...

We know at least 215 people were killed within the three countries. But yesterday, Mozambique's president said the death toll in his country alone could be more than 1,000 – more than 10 times the current death toll (which is at least 84).

Why is it taking so long to confirm this?

The Red Cross says that the storm destroyed 90% of a major port city in Mozambique called Beira. It cut off roads to the half-million people there, making it difficult for rescue workers to help and assess the damage on the ground. The cyclone knocked out power in the area, caused a dam to burst, and destroyed bridges and homes. It also could lead to food shortages in the region – since the cyclone apparently ruined the area's farms. It doesn't help that Mozambique is a poor country with a reportedly bad communication and transportation network.


Yup, and since the city is in such bad shape, we may not find out the final number or the true scale of the damage for a while. Emergency officials say that they think the death toll will drastically go up, but there's no way to know for now if it'll hit the president's estimate.

I have to this related to climate change?

Unclear. Cyclones are normal this time of year in the area. But they're becoming more frequent. Cyclones need warm air to form – and if global temperatures continue to increase, the number of cyclones may too.


The president reportedly says the country is facing a "humanitarian disaster of large proportions." If the death toll winds up reaching 1,000 or higher in Mozambique, it could be the deadliest storm in the country's history.


What people are thinking about…

The Netherlands. Yesterday, a gunman killed three people and wounded five more on a tram in the city of Utrecht (about 25 miles from Amsterdam). Hours after the attack, police arrested a suspect – a 37-year-old Turkish man with a criminal record. Authorities were treating it as a possible act of terrorism, though it's still unclear what the motive was. A Turkish news agency reported it was part of a family dispute. The attack had people around the world on edge, fearing a possible terrorist attack so soon after the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand.

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I'm listening. The Supreme Court isn't. Yesterday, it said it won't hear the case of a Hawaiian B&B owner who refused to rent a room to a lesbian couple. In 2007, the owner refused to let the couple stay there because she said it violated her religious beliefs. The couple took the issue to court – which found that the owner discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation. The owner appealed, and the case made its way up to the Supreme Court. Eyes were on how the court would handle this case, since it sided last year with a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding because of his faith. But the Supremes decided to pass on the Hawaiian B&B case – meaning that the lower court ruling stands. What the Supremes will take up: a case challenging a life-without-parole sentence for one of the convicted Beltway snipers who was underage at the time of his crimes.

Skimm More: Yesterday, SCOTUS decided what it is and isn't listening to next term. Our podcast goes into the gerrymandering case currently on its docket.

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Putting her foot down. Just like France's prime minister. He announced a ban on yellow vest protests in areas like the Champs-Élysées in Paris following violent riots. The movement started in November over a proposed fuel tax hike, but turned into general protests against the government. And have been going on for 18 weekends in a row. This past weekend, things turned violent and some well-known businesses were damaged or destroyed. Now, the PM is saying 'enough is enough.' And putting a ban on protests in the worst hit neighborhoods. Peaceful and authorized protests are reportedly allowed to continue. Meanwhile, the US and Russia are trying to do some damage control too. They're meeting in Italy this week to discuss the situation in Venezuela. The South American country is in the middle of political turmoil with Nicolás Maduro (backed by Russia) and Juan Guaidó (backed by the US) both claiming the presidency. The US and Russia are trying to play mediators and are reportedly talking about how to encourage negotiations between the two sides.

What to say when you're tired of hearing about men misbehaving…

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Yesterday, WarnerMedia said Warner Bros CEO and chairman Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down following sexual misconduct allegations. Earlier this month, a report came out that included allegations that he helped a woman he was having sex with get acting roles. WarnerMedia is still completing its investigation and hasn't named a successor for Tsujihara. Here's what else is in hot water: Myspace. The social network you've already forgotten about apparently decided to repay the favor by losing 12 years' worth of content. It reportedly told users about the issue months ago but practically no one noticed. Because…it's Myspace.

What to say when you hear about CBD-infused jelly beans

Might need some to process this. Researchers think humans might be able to sense Earth's magnetic field. So, next time you're lost and your phone is dead, trust your inner GPS.

What to say after you join your office sports league…

Don't drop the ball. Yesterday, ESPN accidentally leaked the women's NCAA basketball tournament bracket hours before it was set to be revealed. It wouldn't be March without a little bit of madness.

Skimm More: We have everything you need to know about the 2019 college basketball tournament, including the teams and players to watch.

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