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Cramm for 2/13/20
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THE HIGHLIGHTS

The US gov is taking a magnifying glass to Harvard and Yale. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

ICYDK, the US has a law that requires universities to report every gift or contract it receives from foreign sources - if the amount is over $250,000. Problem, since the US says it’s uncovered, oh, $6.6 billion (yes, with a b) in gifts from foreign countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates since July. And none of it was reported to the gov. Scene, set. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

Recently, the Education Dept said ‘that’s it, you fail in Transparency’ and opened investigations into Harvard and Yale over foreign funding. The gov says Yale hasn’t reported any foreign funding over the past four years - but has allegedly received at least $375 million in gifts and contracts. Harvard’s got a similar story. Add that to the fact that the chairman of Harvard’s chem dept - plus two Chinese researchers - were recently charged with making false statements about ties to the Chinese gov. Yes, really. 

 

THE REACTION. 

This is a big big deal. Hint: the gov says that that much foreign funding typically comes with strings attached. And in the past, they’ve warned that foreign spending on US universities is a “black hole” that raises serious transparency problems. 

 

SO…?

The investigations into Harvard and Yale are just the beginning. Case in point: the gov says the more they dig, they more underreporting they uncover. TBD, TBD, TBD.


THE ACTION

HEALTH: All eyes are on the Wuhan coronavirus. Reminder: since appearing in December, the virus has infected tens of thousands of people. But lately, there have been reports that the amount of coronavirus cases were leveling off. Scratch that, because yesterday, China announced a single-day spike of more than 14,000 new coronavirus cases and 242 deaths. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 60,000. Now, the World Health Organization is warning that the Wuhan coronavirus could “create havoc” if it reaches a country with an underdeveloped medical system. In other news, recently, Massachusetts sued Juul over claims the vape biz bought ads on Cartoon Network and other youth sites to market to teens. Not cuul. 

 

PEOPLE: ICYMI, last week, Iowa headed to the polls in the first caucus of the Dem primaries. It was chaos. See: tech failures led to results that were delayed by days and still had apparent inconsistencies. Now, it looks like the Iowa Democratic Party chairman is resigning. Speaking of which, Michael Bloomberg is under fire after this 2015 clip emerged showing him defending police tactics that specifically target minorities. Cough, “stop-and-frisk,” cough. This comes after Bloomberg, who’s running for the Dem presidential nomination, snagged third place in some national polls. Meanwhile, Pope Francis is shaking his head to a proposal that would allow married priests. 

 

ENVIRONMENT: Recently, an iceberg nearly the size of Atlanta broke off Pine Island Glacier at the edge of Antarctica. Very very very bad, since rising sea levels - which could flood coastal cities across the globe - are counted as one of the greatest threats of climate change. Now, scientists are saying that it’s clear Pine Island Glacier and the region around it - which hold enough water to raise global sea levels by 4 feet - is “responding to climate change dramatically.” In other news, a new study found that roughly half of the deaths related to poor air quality in the US took place in states where the pollution didn’t originate. In English: people are dying from poor air quality...from other states. 


WHAT TO KNOW

Mushrooms:” what’s apparently the new trendy food. No, thanks. 


SAY WHAT?

“KFC and Crocs created a clog that’s covered in fried chicken with a charm that smells like it, too” - an actual headline. We’ve officially lost all faith in society. 

There will be no Cramm tomorrow or Monday. See you back in your inbox on Tuesday the 18th!
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