Skimm for August 25th

Skimm'd while being productive AF

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"He's a very nice, kind boy" – Britney Spears's way of saying she's definitely not collaborating with Justin Bieber anytime soon. Gimme gimme more…sugarcoating. 

MAMMA MIA

THE STORY

Italy is trying to pick up the pieces after a major earthquake killed more than 247 people.

REMIND ME.

Earlier this week, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy in the middle of the night. A string of mountain towns got hit the worst, but the shock waves were felt all over the country — including in Rome. The small town of Amatrice, which is about 100 miles east of Rome, was almost completely destroyed. It's giving a lot of people bad deja vu to the 2009 quake that hit central Italy and killed almost 300 people.

WHAT'S THE LATEST?

The Italian gov has freed up about $265 million in emergency funds. A local search and rescue operation is now underway to save anyone who might still be alive under the rubble, and the Italian army is coming to back them up. But a lot of the towns affected are only accessible by small, winding roads. So getting resources to the area could be a long process.

theSKIMM

Because of where Italy sits on two major fault lines, it's prone to dangerous earthquakes. And this week's disaster is another example of how the country's failed to invest in the infrastructure of its towns, especially the older ones. Add that to the fact that Italy's gov. isn't exactly known for rapid response. Not a good combo.

REPEAT AFTER ME...

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR HS FRENEMY GIVES YOU A HUG AT YOUR CLASS REUNION…

Finally burying the hatchet? Yesterday, Colombia's government and the FARC rebels reached a peace deal after half a century of violence. The FARC rebellion started in the 60s when the fighters were part of a communist movement. Over the years, they became heavily involved in the drug trade. More than 220,000 people have been killed and millions have been displaced in their fighting with the government. It's taken four years of peace talks, and lots of Colombian roast coffee, to negotiate a final agreement. The deal lays out a timeline for the rebels to put down their weapons and become part of regular civilian life. Next, Colombian citizens have to agree to the deal in a referendum vote. That's TBD. For now, one of the world's longest-running conflicts seems to finally be over. So that exhale you hear is coming from Colombia.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE WATCHING…

The American University of Afghanistan. Yesterday, the school in Kabul was attacked. Toward the end of the day, an explosion went off and several attackers started firing at people. Afghan forces worked for hours to secure the campus. So far, at least 13 people were killed and dozens were wounded. No group has taken responsibility. This comes after weeks of Taliban bombings and kidnappings have the city on edge. Earlier this month, two professors were abducted in Kabul and haven't been heard from since. And just earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that 100 American soldiers would be deployed to one city to help Afghan forces strategize against the Taliban. So yes, the fight against the group is far from over.

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU CAN HEAR YOUR NEIGHBOR'S TV FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL…

Close quarters. Yesterday, a group of very excited astronomers raised their telescopes and said they've found an Earth-like planet in the solar system next door. Meet: Proxima B. Researchers say it probably exists in the 'Goldilocks Zone' – not too hot, not too cold, juuuuust right for liquid water to exist. And maybe even that ET life. Over the years, scientists have ID'd thousands of planets outside our solar system, and only a few dozen that are in the Goldilocks Zone. But this is the closest, at a mere 25 trillion miles away. Some telescopes scheduled to launch into space in the next few years could end up trying to get a closer look. But for now, this planet is going to have a LOT of curious PhD's looking over the fence.

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR FRIEND STARTS DATING HER EX'S BEST FRIEND'S COUSIN'S BROTHER…

This is confusing. Yesterday, the Syrian civil war – aka the no. 1 geopolitical hot mess – somehow got more complicated. Turkish forces backed by US airstrikes crossed the Syrian border to help rebel groups there retake a key town from ISIS. This is the first time they've done a ground mission in Syria since the country's civil war began. Last year, Turkey stepped up its involvement in the US-led fight against ISIS. And then ISIS started targeting Turkey with a string of deadly terror attacks. So now, Turkey's official mission is to stay in Syria for a while to protect their border and fight off the group. The other mission? Keep Syria's Kurds in check. That would be the semi-autonomous ethnic group that has taken control of much of the Turkey-Syria border while fighting ISIS. Fun fact: the US is also backing the Kurds. But Turkey is worried they're gaining too much ground too close to home. So now, everyone is still fighting ISIS, but two US allies who do NOT get along are in a face-off while they do it. Great.

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU GET HACKED

Reminder that it's not as bad as this...yesterday, "Ghostbusters" actress Leslie Jones had to shut down her website after it was hacked. The person who did it posted nude photos stolen from her iCloud account, along with her driver's license and passport. The hacker also put images of Harambe – the gorilla who was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year – on the page. Reminder: some people were none-too-pleased to see a "Ghostbusters" remake with an all-female lead cast. When the movie came out earlier this summer, all of the stars were the targets of harassment on social media – but Jones got it especially bad. Last month, she left Twitter after retweeting highlights of the most disgusting, racist messages she'd received. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey personally got involved by banning one man who'd inspired a lot of the trolling, and Jones returned to the site. Now, the harassment she's dealing with has been taken to a whole new, hateful level. 

THING TO KNOW

The Cloud: You know what it is. But you don't actually know what it is. The cloud is a network of servers that store all your data baggage so your phone doesn't have to. Think: work spreadsheets, your Spotify pump-up playlist, and all the embarrassing snaps from last night. The cloud also talks to all your tech - which is why when you edit that Word doc on your laptop you can pick up where you left off on your phone. You can say 'thank you, Office 365'. Or you can just go back to pretending it's magic. 


SKIMM BIRTHDAYS

* indicates Skimm'bassador. Pop bottles. 

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