In the News: Week of January 19th

What happened in the world from January 19th - 25th

Happy Sunday morning everyone! I hope you all had a great week.


In the news this week

The Senate impeachment trial marches on, and it appears to be moving fairly quickly. Following three days of arguments from the House impeachment managers, headlined by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, the President’s legal team took over the Senate floor on Saturday to argue Trump’s case. The GOP is confident they will defeat a vote next week to hear from more witnesses, and the trial could be over before February.

Bernie Sanders has been surging in recent polls, opening up a lead in Iowa and a slight national lead in a recent CNN poll. The latest New York Times/Siena College poll shows Sanders with 25% of the vote in Iowa, followed by Buttigieg at 18%, Biden at 17%, and Warren at 15%. The poll was conducted January 20th - 23rd. The latest CNN poll, conducted January 16th - 19th, shows Sanders with 27% of the vote nationally, Biden with 24%, Warren at 14%, and Buttigieg at 11%. This is the first CNN poll of the race where Biden has not been in the lead. The Iowa caucus is Monday, February 3rd, and it’s still anyone’s race.

The spread of coronavirus is accelerating, and the U.S. is evacuating diplomats out of China. The virus has infected about 1,400 and killed at least 41 people so far. Travel restrictions have been imposed on 35 million in China and Lunar New Year celebrations have been cancelled in several Chinese cities. The coronavirus is related to the common cold, and symptoms seem to start with a fever and a dry cough, followed by shortness of breath. The World Health Organization is planning for an outbreak that will last for months. A CDC official said the immediate risk to the U.S. is low at this time. The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began, had a huge potluck banquet to celebrate the Lunar New Year last Sunday. The event was attended by more than 40,000 people in an attempt to get in the Guinness Book of World Records. The mayor of Wuhan has taken criticism for allowing the banquet to proceed while the virus was spreading exponentially.

Apple may have abandoned plans to roll out end-to-end encrypted iCloud backups due to pressure from the FBI. This is just the latest story in the ongoing battle between personal phone privacy and the U.S. government. Currently, iCloud backups are not end-to-end encrypted. This means that the decryption key is stored on Apple’s servers, and law enforcement can force Apple to hand over iCloud data with a subpoena. Apple was reportedly considering adding end-to-end encryption to iCloud backups, and still may; if they did, it would mean Apple would be unable to hand over iCloud data to police, even if they wanted to. Six sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Apple dropped plans for fully encrypted iCloud backups after the FBI complained that doing so would harm investigations. Apple normally hasn’t been afraid to take on the government for the sake of user privacy, and has even ran ads and marketed itself on their strong stance for user privacy. The report comes as a surprise to many iOS users, who may not have realized how much Apple is willing to help law enforcement.

Headline of the Week: Pompeo Lashes Out at Reporter and Challenges Her to Find Ukraine on a Map

And it turns out she can find Ukraine on a map. Pompeo has been under a lot of heat recently over Ukraine, and he shouted and cursed at an NPR reporter for “about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted” during a recent NPR interview. Documents released as part of the impeachment proceedings show that individuals with ties to Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump physically and electronically spied on the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch (she is no longer the ambassador). Current and former diplomats were shocked that such extreme measures were taken against an American ambassador, and many have called for the resignation of Mike Pompeo. Pompeo, pride of Pacentro, Italy, has claimed that he “never heard” that Yovanovitch was under surveillance, and won’t say whether he owes her an apology.

Recommended Reading: Every Place Is the Same Now

This is a thoughtful piece about the spaces in our lives. Physical spaces were once reserved for certain activities; the bedroom was for sleeping, the dining room was for eating, and so forth. Since the invention of the smartphone, we don’t have dedicated spaces in our lives anymore. Bathrooms can transform into home theaters by watching Netflix, or into an office by sending some quick business emails from the toilet.

Our lives travel with us everywhere we go, on our phones. We can never truly leave work, and are always a tap away from friends and family. Our stressors travel with us everywhere we go, too. Emails from work can find you wherever you are, and your boss can send you a text at any time of day. 

We don’t need to leave the home for anything. Our homes are department stores, grocery stores, restaurants, theaters, and arcades. There are quite literally millions of possible distractions that could interrupt your life at any moment.

I think we need to re-purpose the home. A dining room should be for eating, a living room for entertaining or watching television, a bedroom for sleeping, and a bathroom for, well, going to the bathroom. When we know what to expect from a space, we can allow ourselves to relax and be more at ease. You won’t be on edge waiting for the next notification to come in.

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