Trump asks the Guggenheim for a van Gogh, gets countered with a Golden toilet. JayZ makes rap history with a GLAAD award from the LGBTQ community for a rap video. And California bears get VIP treatment thanks to fish skin.
Catch up on the week in global politics & culture! ☕🥐
Legislation News: Trump offers to exchange a border wall for DACA receipients. The administration Thursday night proposed giving 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship in exchange for drastically reducing family-based migration, a $25 billion trust fund for a border wall, stepped-up security at ports of entry, and stricter internal enforcement.
Science News: The International Space Station might lose its support and funding by 2025 if the Trump administration has its way, according to a draft budget proposal reviewed by The Verge. Without the ISS, US astronauts could be grounded until NASA produces new vehicles for its deep-space travel plans, according to the report.
The draft may change before it is presented for an official budget request Feb. 12, but according to The Verge, sources have confirmed that the directive to end funding will be part of the final proposal.
Society News: Vanity Fair debuted its anticipated Hollywood Portfolio, and on the magazine’s website the headline read, in part, “12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year.” There was meant to be another star on the coveted cover spread, James Franco, but the Hollywood actor was airbrushed out of the photo. “We made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him,” a Vanity Fair spokesperson says.
Art News: The White House asked to borrow a van Gogh, The Guggenheim offered a gold toilet instead. The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm. The museum could not accommodate a request to borrow a painting by Vincent van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters. Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.
Society News: GLAAD announced the nominations for their 29th annual Media Awards, and JAY-Z is slated to receive special recognition at this year’s ceremony. The world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization is praising the rapper for featuring his mother’s coming out story in his “Smile” video.
Science News: When two bears suffered painful burns while escaping Southern California’s wildfires, veterinarians used an unconventional bandage to treat the animals’ paws: fish skin. Inspired by a Brazilian practice, the team decided to use sterilized tilapia skin sutured over the wounds as a temporary second-skin.
Business News: Jingdong X self-service supermarket opened in Tianjin, China this week. Shoppers enter the supermarket by scanning a QR code on their mobile phone and they pay by facial recognition technology. The company is a subsidiary of JD.COM, one of the biggest e-commerce companies in China.
Special Report: This week Davos Switzerland hosted The World Economic Forum (WEF).
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an annual meeting hosting more than 3,000 participants, of which 900 are chief executives or company chairs and more than 70 are world leaders.
WEF Drama News: Billionaire George Soros made a dramatic declaration stating that Facebook and Google are “obstacles to innovation” and are a “menace” to society whose “days are numbered”. George Soros is a billionaire investor and philanthropist. The attack is a quote from his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday. He further explained, “Mining and oil companies exploit the physical environment; social media companies exploit the social environment,” said the Hungarian-American businessman, according to a transcript of his speech. “This is particularly nefarious because social media companies influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it. This has far-reaching adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy, particularly on the integrity of elections.”
WEF Google News: In a surprising turn of events the chief executive officer Sundar Pichai of Google told leaders at the WEF, Google would be happy to pay more tax and called for the existing system to be reformed. Sundar Pichai was speaking before the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who challenged the tech giant to pay more tax. Pichai replied: “As a company we paid, over the last five years, close to 20% in tax. We are happy to pay a higher amount, whatever the world agrees on as the right framework. It’s not an issue about the amount of tax we pay, as much as how you divide it among various countries.”
Culture News: Thousands of Cubans, youths, soldiers, and residents gathered at the Memorial Jose Marti in Havana, Cuba to celebrate the 162nd birthday of the national independence hero and poet, Jose Marti.
Political News: Raul Castro has declared that he will step down from the presidency and that therefore the National Assembly will elect a new president in Cuba on April 19, 2018. Diaz Canel is said to be most likely Cuba’s new President. Cuba’s Revolution leader Fidel Castro died in November 2016.
Culture News: India celebrated its 69th Republic Day with a grand parade watched by thousands of people along with 10 Asean leaders, who attended the event as chief guests.
Health & Welfare News: India launched the Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI) program in 1995 as a result of World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative. WHO was founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. Under the World Health Organization’s program, all children under 5 years are given 2 doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in December and January every year until polio is eradicated. India will maintain a sensitive surveillance system for children treated with the immunization up to 15 years of age for sudden onset of paralysis.