Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Foreign Flags, Facts and Figures: Only about a third (32%) of Spaniards say they are satisfied with how Spain’s democracy is working. The country has an election coming up this Sunday. Tuesday, the Indian capital of New Delhi entered its 10th consecutive day of hazardous air pollution. And lastly, the EU doles out $65 billion in agriculture subsidies every year. The thing is, a lot of that is going elsewhere.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
First Public Hearings in Impeachment Inquiry to Begin Next Week
Democrats in the House of Representatives said they would start holding public impeachment testimonies next week. On the hot seat: William Taylor, the senior American diplomat in Ukraine, and Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to the country, will be among the first to speak publicly. Why they matter: Both expressed alarm about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine in private hearings. Every View Analysis: Outlets on both the right and left focused on the release of a transcript from U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor in which he claimed to have a “clear understanding” of the Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo.
- As outlined in Fox News, “Republicans have pushed back that Taylor did not have primary knowledge regarding the key events in question, but rather based his testimony off conversations with others.”
- Meanwhile, The Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times brought Rudy Giuliani to the forefront of their coverage. Each pointed out that President Donald Trump’s personal attorney was pressing Ukraine “to intervene in US domestic policy or politics” by launching investigations into Trump’s political rivals according to a transcript of Bill Taylor’s deposition released Wednesday.
Brain Games: Deep brain stimulation is being tested to treat opioid addiction
A surgeon has implanted electrodes in the brain of a patient suffering from severe opioid use disorder, hoping to cure the man’s intractable craving for drugs. Similar procedures have been used on patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even depression. Why it matters: The same surgery for people with opioid use disorder has been performed in China and Holland, but this is the first time the procedure has been performed in the US.
- One crazy thing: Except when the hole was being cut in the patient’s skull, the man was awake and providing feedback throughout the procedure. – The Washington Post
The Upcoming Piracy Crackdown: What’s Next in America’s Streaming Wars
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock and others will be battling it out to attract subscribers to their streaming services over the next year. There is one thing that they’ll be working on together, however: Piracy 2.0. The Hollywood Reporter writes that password sharing is the “next front” in the ongoing streaming wars. Details: Streamers big and small have formed an anti-piracy industry group that aims to reduce unauthorized access to content, with password security cited as the chief issue. Industry leader Netflix, for one, is sick of you passing around your password, but all streamers are treading carefully in teaming up “against the grifters,” aware of the backlash record labels previously generated in the Napster era. Worth a read. – The Hollywood Reporter / VICE
🤝 A MESSAGE FROM: OUR.NEWS
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
China is imposing a curfew on online gaming for minors, the government has announced. The Details: Gamers under 18 will be banned from playing online between 22:00 and 08:00. They will also be restricted to 90 minutes of gaming on weekdays and three hours on weekends and holidays. Big picture: It’s part of China’s latest move to curb video game addiction, which officials say is damaging to children’s health. Why it matters: China is one of the world’s largest gaming markets. – BBCI won’t be back: justice for the Terminator
A Congolese warlord whose reputation earned him the nickname “The Terminator” is due to be sentenced today at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Details: Bosco Ntaganda has been found guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. His long list of atrocities includes mass murder, rape, recruiting child soldiers and keeping sex slaves—more charges than have ever been brought against anyone at the ICC. Further Watching: Who is DR Congo’s ‘Terminator’ Bosco Ntaganda? – The Economist
Other Global Going Ons: Boris & Baghdad
- In the UK Boris Johnson formally launched his general election campaign last night with a rally in Birmingham as he urged voters to help him deliver Brexit and unleash a ‘tidal wave of investment’ into the UK. Day one was a bumpy start.
- In the Middle East, Baghdad is still being battered by demonstrations. The protests, the biggest since 2003, have shaken the foundations of the Iraqi government. More than 250 protesters have been killed and thousands more wounded since the demonstrations began in early October, demanding jobs and better public services. Keep Listening: ‘They Have Stolen Everything From Us’: Iraq’s Anti-Government Protests Continue. – Daily Mail / NPR
SoftBank Reveals $6.5 Billion Loss From Uber, WeWork Turmoil
SoftBank on Wednesday reported its first quarterly operating loss in 14 years — about $6.5 billion –after writing down the value of a string of marquee investments. The most famous write-down was WeWork. Softbank swallowed a charge of $4.6 billion for the once high-flying shared-office startup. Another was Uber, which has seen its stock plunge 40% since its IPO in May to a record low on Wednesday. To be fair Softbank’s investment in Slack is a success story among the turbulence. Why this all matters: The losses call into question the billionaire founder Son’s deal-making approach just as he’s trying to raise an even larger successor to his $100 billion Vision Fund. – Bloomberg / CNBC
Russia, US go toe-to-toe at anti-doping meeting
The fight was about doping. The US delivered haymakers. Russia came back with jabs. The proverbial blows were delivered Wednesday during a pair of 3-minute speeches at the World Anti-Doping Agency. “We cannot allow one country’s proven state-sponsored doping system to steal medals and glory from clean athletes,” Travis Tygart of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Russia meanwhile portrayed the push for harsh sanctions as being driven by political interests in the West. One thing the Russians and Americans have in common: They view it as a cut-and-dried case. Keep reading. – AP
Uber is entering the ads business
Uber will become an ad platform, selling space inside its Eats app to restaurants hoping to lure in more food delivery orders TechCrunch reports. Why it matters: Selling ads could help it improve margins on Eats, where it only takes 10.7% of gross bookings. For comparison: Amazon successfully navigated a similar expansion from marketplace to ad platform; eMarketer expects Amazon’s U.S. ads business will grow 33% this year to reach $9.85 billion, and claim 7.6% of the total U.S. ad market, which makes it the biggest search ad player behind Google. The Takeaway: To save its share price, Uber’s best bet is to find new streams of cash it doesn’t have to share with drivers or restaurants. – TechCrunch
- Bonus Tech Story: The Saudi government recruited two Twitter employees to get personal account information of their critics, prosecutors said Wednesday. Why it matters: The Justice Department’s charges raised questions about the security of technology companies.
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1991: Magic Johnson announces he is HIV-positive
On November 7, 1991, basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson stuns the world by announcing his sudden retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, after testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. After the press conference, the perception was that Johnson had just pronounced his own death sentence.
Yet, close to 30 years later, Johnson is going as strong as ever in his roles as a sports analyst, businessman and HIV activist. So why is Johnson still alive?
From Live Science: How Has Magic Johnson Survived Years with HIV?
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag was a very good boy standing for the national anthem.
We’re going to stick with the foreign flag theme from up top and analyze the question below:
Why is there no Kurdish nation?