July 02, 2015

Terror in Egypt, Greece (again), Cuba’s opening, Clinton emails, Uber (again) and Mugabe

“The World in a Nutshell”
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IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ The Arab Spring: Crushing Hopes And Dreams Since 2011 Egypt had its bloodiest day in years yesterday when the local ISIS branch, Ansar Beit Al Maqdis, simultaneously attacked 15 army checkpoints in the North Sinai cities of Sheikh Zuwaid, Al-Arish and Rafah. The ensuing battle raged through the night (was still going on at the time of writing) and claimed the lives of over 100 people, including, at least 60 soldiers and civilians. The attack happened just two days after the car bomb assassination of Egypt’s prosecutor general. The attack will predictably set off reprisals and counter-reprisals (always helpful) and never ending conspiracy theories (collecting conspiracy theories is a hobby of ours). In a separate but related incident, ISIS threatened to topple Hamas in Gaza… 
Greece: Full Steam Ahead
The Greek crisis fell into a predictable rhythm as the banks opened today so that pensioners could withdraw some of their money. During the day (conveniently while the European markets are open) we are filled with more hope than an Obama supporter circa 2008 that there will be a deal. Then sometime in the mid-afternoon someone presumably insults someone else’s mother, and we return to square one. Yesterday was no different with rumors of a deal being oh so tantalizingly close until about 6pm Greece time when PM Tsipras addressed the Greek people to inform them that he will not cower to European demands. Not only that, but he will proceed with the referendum (one which the top human rights group in Europe has deemed inadequate). This would not be the first time that Europe fell victim to unnecessary machismo…  GOOD READ: The Daily Pnut’s very own handy guide to help you make sense of the crisis
Obama And Castro Define The Relationship
After months of foreplay between the two world leaders, President Obama and President Raul Castro (of Cuba, Fidel’s brother…) finally defined their relationship yesterday by announcing the restoration of diplomatic ties and the opening of embassies in each other’s capitals (sounds dirty). The move is the diplomatic equivalent of “going steady” and is expected to elevate the relationship between the two countries and pave the way for trade and investment in the island nation. Although we may still be a long way from seeing a Señor Frogs on the shores of Havana (thank goodness!), we are happy to be putting the embargo behind us. Thank you, Pope Francis.
NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ But, But… Secretary Clinton… I Believe You Have My Stapler Looks like the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate is in the clear when it comes to her handling of Benghazi and her working relationship with unofficial advisor Sidney Blumenthal. But it does seem that working at the State Department would be akin to a scene from “Office Space” (think Milton: “I believe you have my stapler”). Not only was the fax line a source of tension (no one, including the former secretary, could figure out how to use it), but also “Twittering” became a verb. And, our personal favorite, Hillary showed Oprah who’s boss by making her trek out to the Hamptons to interview her… tough life, #bosslady.
Beware Of French Ministers Bearing Gifts
Much about the French confuses us, but their policy toward startups deserves special recognition. First, France’s Minister of the Digital Economy (oui, thats a thing) Axelle Lemaire announced a new program called French Tech Ticketwhereby the state offers entrepreneurs visas and $25,000 per team member (though, confusingly, not for developers) to move to France. At the same time, the CEO of Uber France was arrested yesterday and will stand trial on September 30 for, presumably, start up success. So as a French entrepreneur, what do you do? You could follow Renaud Laplanche, founder of Lending Club, to San Francisco and employ developers (turns out they are really useful in a startup after all) without getting arrested and finally taking your company public!… your loss France. 

Mugabe Sets His Eyes On Obama… Romantically
Raul Castro wasn’t the only head of state eager to define his relationship with President Obama this week. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, known human rights abuser and destroyer of his country, recently announced that he was set to travel to Washington D.C. and ask for the President’s hand in marriage. As you may have guessed, this was intended to be a dig at Obama for his support of same-sex marriage and the recent SCOTUS ruling on the matter. We tweeted at President Obama for a response… we’ll let you know if he accepts the proposal. In the meantime, Mugabe, don’t hold your breath.
Following on Mugabe’s homophobic statements, we wanted to share John Oliver’s segment this week on transgender rights.
APOLOGIES: Yesterday was Canada Day, and we forgot to wish our friends up north a Happy Canada Day. Please accept our deepest apologies… Ay!
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