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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Tito’s Handmade Vodka urged the public not to use its vodka as hand sanitizer, as it has insufficient alcohol content to kill germs.

In reaction to the spread of the coronavirus and an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, the S&P 500 fell so precipitously that a circuit breaker halted all trades for 15 minutes; by the closing bell, the market’s gains for the year had been erased.1 2 The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization that has a larger budget than the World Health Organization and is not subject to external review, pledged up to $125 million to develop COVID-19 treatments; the Wellcome Trust, a U.K.-based science charity that invested $50 million in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands, promised to contribute up to $50 million to the same fund.3 4 5 Several attendees of last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference—including the congressmen Mark Meadows, Doug Collins, and Matt Gaetz, who wore a gas mask during a House floor vote on emergency spending for the coronavirus—who met with a man diagnosed with coronavirus have self-quarantined. Senator Ted Cruz, who met with the man prior to CPAC, has no symptoms but also self-quarantined.6 7 8 New York governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new line of floral-scented hand sanitizer, which is manufactured by prisoners at Great Meadow Correctional Facility, and female inmates at Hong Kong’s Lo Wu prison have begun working night shifts to produce face masks, allegedly against their will.9 10 11 Officials from Lo Wu and New York State have refuted accusations of modern-day slavery. A Beijing-based company announced that it had created facial-recognition technology that can identify people who are wearing face masks.12 A professional Mr. Bean impersonator stuck in Wuhan has created videos that praise the Chinese government’s management of the coronavirus outbreak.13 “Once people were waiting for hospital beds, now beds are waiting for people,” said the comic. “It sickens me to hear of other countries blaming China, but for what?”

The Great Barrier Reef experienced widespread coral bleaching, and a newspaper in Darwin, Australia, printed additional pages amid a toilet paper shortage.14 15 The United States military, which had agreed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan as part of a peace deal with the Taliban, carried out an air strike against the Taliban, which later declined to participate in International Women’s Day celebrations.16 17 18 Ashraf Ghani, who was narrowly elected president amid accusations of fraud and low voter turnout, and Abdullah Abdullah, who has contested the past three presidential elections in Afghanistan, simultaneously took the oath of office as the Afghan president.19 20 A fire destroyed most of Venezuela’s voting machines, and Nicolás Maduro encouraged Venezuelan women to have as many children as possible.22 23 Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that raffle tickets for his predecessor’s presidential plane, which he refuses to use, would go on sale the same day as a nationwide women’s strike in protest of violence against women and femicide.24 25 An EasyJet flight from Manchester, England, to Alicante, Spain, was forced to return to Manchester twice because of two different sets of drunken passengers.26

“I can’t be inebriated when I’m planning on killing a bunch of people,” said a man dressed up as the Joker while he ordered a Sprite at a Missouri restaurant.27 Tito’s Handmade Vodka urged the public not to use its vodka as hand sanitizer, as it has insufficient alcohol content to kill germs.28 A Swiss Gruyère won best cheese at an international competition held in Wisconsin.29 A Democrat in the Alabama House proposed a new bill that would eliminate the state’s 1993 ban on yoga in schools, but that would also prohibit “chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, and 11 namaste greetings.”30 The official seal for the City of Santa Fe, in New Mexico, misplaced an acute accent on the city’s full name, La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís.31 The founder of Pets.com and Toys.com purchased the only known prototype of the Nintendo PlayStation for $360,000.32 William Shatner will receive “all horse semen” from the horses he owned with his ex-wife as part of their divorce settlement.33Violet Lucca

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