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THE HIGHLIGHTS

Kazakhstan is facing massive protests. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

Decades ago, Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union. The country became fully independent in 1991 and was pretty much ruled by the same authoritarian leader up until 2019, when a guy named Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took over as prez. Political opposition isn’t exactly tolerated, so protests are extremely rare. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

Scratch that, because over the past few days, people have been taking to the streets in droves over a sharp rise in fuel prices in Kazakhstan. Thousands of people gathered in cities across the country, with some of the protests turning violent. Demonstrators clashed with police, captured police vehicles, and stormed gov buildings. Security forces responded with tear gas and stun grenades. 

 

THE REACTION. 

Explosive. Tokayev declared a two-week state of emergency. Dismissed the prime minister and his entire cabinet. Imposed an overnight curfew, restrictions on movement, and a ban on mass gatherings. Blocked social networking sites and chat apps, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, and WeChat. Kazakhstan’s largest telecommunications biz even shut off internet access throughout the country. And while the gov did agree to lower the price of fuel, the protests have now turned into a greater cry for democratic reforms.

 

THE TAKE. 

This is already shaping up to be one of the biggest protest movements in Kazakhstan’s history. TBD on whether it’s successful. 


THE ACTION

CORONAVIRUS: Here’s your daily update on the coronavirus pandemic. Mozambique’s prez and his wife tested positive for the virus. They’re reportedly not displaying any symptoms, but they’ve gone into isolation as a precaution. Over in Hong Kong, the gov suspended flights from eight countries (including the US) due to fears of a fifth wave. In the US, more and more schools are switching to virtual classes. The teacher’s union in Chicago voted to move things online, but since the city’s mayor is against the plan, school was straight-up canceled today. Also making headlines: the CDC now says infected people should take a rapid test at the end of their five-day isolation and continue to isolate if they’re still positive. This comes after widespread confusion over the CDC’s new isolation recommendations.

 

WORLD: North Korea reportedly just launched another ballistic missile - the second in three months. South Korea’s military says it’s studying the trajectory and other flight data in an attempt to learn more. Meanwhile, the US just charged a Colombian man with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the US in connection with the assassination of Haitian Prez Jovenel Moise. It marks the first official charges in the killing despite dozens of arrests. Stay tuned. In other news, prosecutors in New York have dropped a charge accusing ex-governor Andrew Cuomo of groping an aide. Albany’s district attorney says the accuser is “credible,” but there’s not enough evidence to take things to court. 

 

USA: Lots and lots of Americans are quitting their jobs. We’re talking 4.5 million people in November alone - a new record. Many of those jobs came from the accommodation and food services industry, with the health care and assistance fields and transportation, warehousing, and utilities sectors dealing with increases in resignations, too. In general, lower-wage jobs directly affected by the pandemic had higher levels of quitting. Experts say this could indicate workers want to switch jobs “in light of the many opportunities the current labor market provides.” Meanwhile, recently, hundreds of motorists were trapped for hours along a 5o-mile stretch of I-95 in Virginia due to heavy snow. People described having to ration heat and food as they waited for the Dept of Transportation to relieve the congestion. 


WHAT TO KNOW

Giant phantom jellyfish:” what was just caught on camera in a rare sighting. 


SAY WHAT?

“It might be thematically richer than the Bible and more confusing than Ulysses” - the opening remarks at the first annual ‘Boss Baby’ symposium. 




ICYMI, Cramm This Book is coming on February 15, 2022! Cramm This Book is a dive into the history that’s shaped the world as it is today, looking at the wars, the movements, the disasters, and more. Pre-order your copy today!
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