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Daily Skimm Weekend: Chinese Spy Balloon, Deadly Earthquake, and Beyoncé

Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023.
February 6, 2023

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The Story

Republicans want answers over the Chinese spy balloon.

I would also like to know what is going on.

Over a week ago, a white balloon first appeared over US airspace. About the size of three buses, it flew over Montana, home to a key missile site. The military discussed shooting it down with President Biden. But for days it held off. Now, over the weekend, the military popped it over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of South Carolina.

And Republicans are upset why?

For not shooting it down sooner. They called the delay a display of “weakness” and a failure to protect US airspace. And are considering passing a resolution this week condemning the Biden admin. But the military says it didn’t want debris from the balloon to hit Americans — and advised Biden to hold off. Meanwhile, amid the tensions with China, Sec of State Antony Blinken has canceled his trip.

Why is China floating a balloon over the US again?

That’s the question. This apparently isn’t the first time it’s happened — with multiple sightings in recent years. As for why they went with a balloon over something more subtle like a satellite: balloons can be cheaper and harder to detect by radar. Anyway, China isn’t admitting this was a military balloon. 


It says this was a civilian aircraft collecting weather data. And has fired the head of its weather service. Meanwhile, it has criticized the US choice to shoot it down, calling the move an “overreaction.” And said it reserved the right to “take further actions” in similar situations.


This isn’t the last we’ll hear about the “Up” sequel no one asked for: The Pentagon says there’s a second Chinese spy balloon, this one seen flying over Latin America. Two spotted, 97 to go.

And Also...This

Where people are mourning…

Turkey and Syria. Overnight, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the region, killing more than 1,000 people in what’s reportedly the strongest quake to strike Turkey since 1939. Thousands have been injured and potentially millions more impacted as tremors could be felt as far away as Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. Dozens of buildings have collapsed. And the death toll is expected to rise. Hundreds of rescue workers have been deployed. And the EU and NATO said member states are also mobilizing support. It comes as President Biden has directed federal government agencies to assess a possible relief response to help those affected. Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed hope that the country will “get through this disaster” as soon as possible.

Who kept her crown and added some jewels…

Beyoncé. The queen beat traffic to earn her 32nd Grammy — breaking records for the most Grammy awards an artist has ever won in their career: 32. As she put it, she’s “trying not to be too emotional” and just wants to “receive this night.” Meanwhile, Harry Styles will be the one taking album of the year to his house. Bonnie Raitt also gave people something to talk about. Sam Smith and Kim Petras broke barriers for the LGBTQIA+ community. The first award for the best song for social change went out to an Iranian protest anthem. Quavo gave a moving tribute to Takeoff. Lizzo gave a “Special” performance...and speech. Viola Davis EGOT what she needed. Ben Affleck didn’t. But at least Bad Bunny brought the love and passion.

Who’s facing new allegations…

Rep. George Santos (R-NY). Last week, a former aide has accused the congressman of sexual harassment. The aide says he was offered a job last month. But he was then told to work as a volunteer while his paperwork went through. In that time, the aide says there was one point when Santos asked him if he was on Grindr and touched him inappropriately in the congressman’s office. The aide says that days after the incident, his offer to work as a staffer was rescinded. Now, he’s asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Santos. The congressman — who faces a number of unrelated domestic and international investigations — has yet to comment.

Who belongs in “Legally Blonde 3”…

Jennifer Coolidge.

Who’s saying ‘I know nothing’...

Jon Snow…about a possible spinoff.

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