Skimm for December 20th

Skimm'd with spiked eggnog

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I want you to be like snowflakes" – The head of a Canadian Santa school, encouraging her students to let their Kringle flags fly.

THINGS HAPPENING FAR AWAY

BERLIN

THE STORY

Yesterday, 12 people were killed and dozens were injured in an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

WHAT HAPPENED?

A truck rammed into a crowd of people at a market in the German capital. Two people were in the truck. One of them was found dead at the scene. Police say they've arrested another suspect and that they think this was a terrorist attack. The White House agrees.

THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR...

Unfortunately, it is. This bears a lot of similarities to an attack earlier this year in Nice, France. 86 people were killed when a truck drove into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks. ISIS claimed responsibility.

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A series of recent terror attacks – many carried out by ISIS supporters – have had the EU on edge all year. This is the first major attack to hit Germany in a long time.


RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR

THE STORY

Yesterday, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated.

WHAT HAPPENED?

An off-duty police officer in Turkey's capital city of Ankara shot and killed the ambassador at the opening of an art exhibit. Both Russia and Turkey are calling it a terror attack. Several photographers were there, which is why you've seen images of the shooting all over social media. The gunman was later killed. In a witness video of the attack, he's heard saying "Allahu Akbar" and "Don't forget Aleppo" – an apparent reference to Russia's involvement in Syria. Add this to the list of reasons why Turkey and Russia's relationship is really strained right now.

EXPLAIN.

They've been on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war for years. Russia's been supporting Syrian President Assad, while Turkey and the US have been propping up rebel groups that want to take him down. Last year, Turkey-Russia relations went from bad to worse when Turkey shot down a Russian military jet near the border Turkey shares with Syria. Things have been getting better in recent months. Then this happened.

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A Russian diplomat was just shot and killed at point blank range in Turkey. This is another sign that – after struggling to take in millions of refugees from a neighboring war, overcoming a failed military coup, and dealing with several terror attacks – Turkey's having a hard time with security right now.

REPEAT AFTER ME...

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR BOSS SAYS 'DRINKS ON ME' BUT LEAVES BEFORE THE BILL ARRIVES...

All talk, no action. Yesterday, a French court decided IMF Chief Christine Lagarde is guilty of negligence – but she won't be fined or go to jail for it. This has to do with a scandal from Lagarde's days as France's finance minister. Back in the 90s, a businessman claimed that a partially state-owned bank had defrauded him. He'd asked the bank for help selling shares in Adidas, which the bank did. Later, the bank resold them for way more money. Cue the businessman saying 'you cheated me.' France paid him hundreds of millions of dollars to settle the case. Now, a French court says Lagarde should've thought twice before making taxpayer dollars rain all over this guy's bank account. Meanwhile, the IMF -- the group that pretty much keeps the financial world turning by setting economic policy and giving out loans -- is no stranger to leaders with legal problems. Hi, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Last night, the IMF said that the negligence is NBD and Lagarde's not going anywhere. C'est la vie.

WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR FRIEND WHO'S BEEN DOING A LOT OF PRE-NATAL YOGA...

Your brain's getting its downward dog on too. A new study that came out yesterday shows women's brains change when they're pregnant…and those changes can last at least two years. Here's what's happening: "gray matter" (a certain kind of brain tissue) decreases in pregnant women, and researchers think this makes them become more in touch with other peoples' – or their baby's – feelings. The study included first-time moms and women who'd never been pregnant. And the more the moms' brains changed, the more emotionally attached they were to their babies. In other XX chromosome news, another new study shows that if you have to go to the doctor, you'll want to see a lady. Turns out, patients treated by female doctors may be less likely to die early or make a repeat trip to the hospital than patients treated by men. Paging Meredith Grey.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT...

Brock Turner. Yesterday, a California judge was cleared of wrongdoing for how he sentenced Turner in a sexual assault case. Brock Turner is the Stanford student who was found guilty earlier this year of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman near a dumpster on campus. Turner's crimes came with a max sentence of 14 years. The judge gave him six months, saying that a longer sentence might have a "severe impact" on him. The survivor's court statement was later published online and went viral. That put a harsh spotlight on the case, and led a CA judicial panel to investigate whether the judge was biased against women or abused his authority. Their answer? No and no.

WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR FRIEND WHO'S BEEN FOLLOWING @ALABEDBANA ON TWITTER...

She's safely out of Aleppo.

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR LANDLORD UPS THE RENT…

Could always try a shipping container.

THING TO KNOW

Hygge: Pronounced hoo-guh. Feels like a hug. Means "to be cozy." Think: candles everywhere, coffee by the fire, fuzzy socks. Ask your Danish friends about it.


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