Skimm for July 29th
"I'm just glad it's over" -- Shelly Sterling. Yesterday, a judge ruled that she can go ahead and sell the LA Clippers. Her husband Donald's racist comments got him kicked out of the NBA, but he hasn't been so excited to sell the team. Moving on...
The worst Ebola outbreak ever is paralyzing West Africa. It's so bad that yesterday, Liberia closed its borders.
A deadly virus that spreads through close contact with bodily fluids. It's not contagious until symptoms -- like diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding, headache, and fever -- show up. There's no cure or vaccine and it can kill up to 90% of people who get infected.
You can stop looking at WebMD. But this is different than other outbreaks because it's happening in urban centers, not just rural areas. If you're a health worker in West Africa, you have permission to be a little freaked out. One of Liberia's top Ebola doctors died of the disease a few days ago, and two Americans working there were recently infected.
This is not "Contagion." It's unlikely that Ebola will expand beyond West Africa. But it has killed over 670 people there so far and the Obama administration has called it a "grave concern."
Russia's been hearing that lately too. Yesterday, the US and friends FaceTimed and – surprise -- agreed Russia has been causing too many problems in Ukraine. Actually, they think Russia's gotten more involved in eastern Ukraine since MH17 went down earlier this month. The West thinks it was pro-Russian separatists using a missile provided by Russia. So everybody's sanctioning Russia's financial, energy, and defense sectors. Sound familiar? That's because Russia's already been sanctioned. It was a big step for the Europeans, who have sanctioned Russia in the past but have been dragging their feet behind the US on harsher punishments (since punishing Russia could mean punishing their own economies, too). Now everybody's on the same page, and going on a Putin-free diet. Meanwhile, the US is also pointing other fingers at Putin (including the middle one) and accusing Russia of violating a 1987 arms treaty by testing banned missiles.
Heard of the Mideast lately? Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza have been fighting for weeks, and yesterday hopes for a more permanent cease-fire went from slim to non-existent. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis to get ready for a "prolonged campaign," and that Israel won't leave Gaza until Hamas's underground tunnels are destroyed. Hamas said it won't be done fighting until Israel's blockade on Gaza is lifted. Meanwhile, five Israeli soldiers were killed yesterday. And attacks on a Gaza hospital left many injured, and a Gaza park in a refugee camp was hit, killing at least 10 people. Nine of them were children. Both sides blamed each other.
Everybody's shacking up these days. Yesterday, Dollar Tree -- where everything is, yes, $1 -- went a little out of its price range in buying rival Family Dollar for $8.5 billion. The marriage will form a low-budget empire to take on Wal-Mart in the battle for 'Murica. Meanwhile, the corporate matchmaking moved online when real estate website Zillow announced it's buying rival Trulia in a $3.5 billion deal. Both companies helped bring house hunting online, and made it easier to figure out what your frenemy's new digs are worth.
Not when "SVU" plays out on my block. Yesterday, two US marshals and one NYPD officer were shot in NYC while trying to arrest a suspected child sex offender. The authorities were injured and the suspect, Charles Mozdir, was killed. Turns out CNN recently featured him on a show called "The Hunt." Some people in the neighborhood paid enough attention to notice the 'hunted' person on TV looked a lot like that guy down the block. When the police tried to arrest him, there was a shootout. Mozdir had been on the run for almost two years after being accused of molesting a boy in 2012. So now you know why you're going to be hearing this out of your neighbors' apartments for the foreseeable future: "In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses..."
Apologies. Stephen A. Smith, the ESPN host who basically said on air that women should try not to "provoke" men into hitting them, apologized yesterday. His comments had to do with an incident in February, when NFL player Ray Rice and his then-fiance (now-wife) got into a fight at an Atlantic City casino. Video later surfaced of him dragging her from an elevator, apparently unconscious. Last week, the NFL suspended the Baltimore Ravens running back for two games -- basically the same penalty that another player got when he was arrested twice for pot. There were opinions. And then there was Smith. It took about ten seconds for Twitter to freak out at him. In his apology, Smith said it was "the most egregious error of my career" and "to say I was wrong is obvious." Word.
SEO: "Search engine optimization." What your friends in marketing drop a lot when talking about how to win the Big G's popularity contest. It's how sites try to get themselves at the top of your Google search, usually using buzzy words they know you'll be typing.
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