Happy Monday, folks. Cold fronts, a call for an Arab alliance against ISIS, and the Oscars. Bit of a mixed bag. Such is The Skinny. Let’s do it.
Terror Mall Attacks
Al-Shaabab is a Somalian terror group with links to al Qaeda, infamous for a 2013 attack on an upscale Kenyan mall; more than 60 were killed. Today Homeland Security has warned shoppers to be careful after the group posted a video calling for attacks on western malls. More specifically, malls in America, Canada and Britain. The group singled out the Mall of America, but Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson (first name Jeh?) said there is “no credible or specific evidence” of an eminent attack.
Yemen is in dramatic chaos. A month ago, Houthi rebels (bad guys) forced President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to house arrest and took over the government. Somehow, Hadi escaped and released a statement declaring that he’s still President and that all government moves since September are illegal. A day after the statement, Hadi’s nephew was kidnapped by the bad guys.
The Yemen situation is not good for us, as Yemen serves as a key intelligence hub in our fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the group’s most dangerous branches.
Ukraine is also in chaos. A ceasefire went into effect last week, but has done virtually nothing. An explosion rocked a peaceful protest in the city of Kharkiv, killing two. It’s been a year since Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted, and the region only looks worse.
Egyptian President Fattah el-Sisi has called for an Arab force to combat ISIS. As the group continues to up the ante on its own brutality — a video emerged over the weekend showing several Peshmerga fighters in cages being marched through the streets — the Egyptian president believes it is time for the Arab world to collectively take a stand.
Jordan famously became the first Arab country not called Syria or Iraq to intensely fight ISIS after the group posted a video showing Jordanian pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive inside a cage.
The Oscars was a bit of a activist show last night. From Black Lives Matter speeches to a call for weird teens to “stay weird,” Oscar winners took their opportunity in the spotlight to say something last night. Birdman won best picture, Lady Gaga gave a dazzling performance and John won creepiest person alive.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 23, 2015
Dow: 18,140 +121 (+0.7%) S&P 500: 2,110, +13 (+0.6%)
The market had a solid week last week with some corporate earnings, some positivity out of Greece and Apple doing Apple things.
Facebook stock is up after investors valued Instagram, which Zucks bought for $1 billion, at $33 billion. Apple is also up after orders for its new smart watch are up to 5 million and rumors of an Apple car are swirling about. And Nordstrom reported $4.04 in quarterly revenue, which is, well, awesome.
On the flip side, John Deere is down after a 17% fall off in sales, MGM Entertainment is down after a 5% drop in quarterly revenues and Transocean, which specializes in oil spills, will lose its CEO and drop dividends thanks to low oil prices.
Internationally, Greece was handed a four-month lifeline after Euro leaders agreed to a bailout extension.
Today we’ve got quarterlies from Kate Spade and Rosetta Stone.
We’re still in that awkward February window where we’d love to have the Olympics back. Football is off. Baseball is off. Hockey and basketball are still a couple months away from the playoffs. Golf is just making its way down to Florida. March Madness is still, well, a month away. But here’s what we got.
Golf – James Hahn won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera yesterday, beating out Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey in a playoff. It was Hahn’s first PGA Tour victory; Hahn played golf in college before giving it up for a sales gig. He worked a 9-5 job for several years before giving golf a shot with his final $288. Great decision; yesterday’s win made him a millionaire.
And that’s it. That’s literally all that’s going on.
Already covered it. Oscars. Boom.
Super Important Fact
In the following 19 states, teachers are legally allowed to spank children as corporal punishment: Iowa, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.
There’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that it’s Monday, we’re a long way from Friday, it’s really cold and there are limited sports to watch. So, instead, I shall tell you to have a day and show you this gif of young John Travolta.