🌊 Beware the Google-y Eyes

Plus: Havana Syndrome culprit identified

Can’t believe you fell for it…

We received a number of concerned emails yesterday over our April Fool’s announcement that we quit Roca to work for CNN and Fox. Come on, Roca Nation. We’d sooner take positions as Chuck E. Cheese ball pit supervisors than take our talents — or lack thereof — to Big News.

In today's edition:

🧑🏻‍💻 Incognito Mode spying?

🇯🇵 Everyone will be a Sato in Japan?

🪡 America's Greatest Tailor

–Max, Max, Jen, and Alex

KEY STORY

Google’s Incognito Settlement

Google will destroy billions of data points as part of a settlement involving its tracking of users in Incognito mode

  • In 2020, Google Chrome users filed a class action lawsuit accusing the company of collecting data on people using its “Incognito” mode

  • The plaintiffs alleged that the company’s marketing and privacy disclosures didn’t properly disclose that the company allows websites, internet providers, and others to collect data on people in private modes

  • In December, Google agreed to settle; on Monday, it said it will destroy data points on those who used private browsing modes

Dig Deeper

  • The lawsuit revealed internal company emails showing Google’s chief marketing officer raising similar concerns with CEO Sundar Pichai. In one exchange, the executive warned Pichai that Incognito browsing shouldn’t be referred to as “private” because that risks “exacerbating known misconceptions” about the service

  • The development comes as Google faces a series of other lawsuits, including one by the Justice Department accusing it of monopolizing the online search and advertising industry

KEY STORY

Havana Syndrome Culprit?

A new report linked Havana Syndrome to a Russian intelligence unit 

  • Beginning in 2016, a series of US diplomats began experiencing ear pain, dizziness, confusion, and similar symptoms. The government coined the mysterious illness the “Havana Syndrome” after the place – Havana, Cuba – where it was first observed

  • Some analysts have theorized that the syndrome is caused by a foreign actor firing high-energy microwaves or ultrasounds at US diplomats. A US report in early 2022 found that such a device could “plausibly” have caused the illness, although a subsequent report found it “very unlikely” that a foreign power was responsible

  • A new 60 Minutes, Der Spiegel, and The Insider report linked a secretive Russian unit to the illness. It found that a member of the unit received an award for his use of “non-lethal acoustic weapons”

Dig Deeper

  • A US military official who investigated “anomalous health incidents” told 60 Minutes that those who suffered from the syndrome were “top performers” in their respective fields, and that there was a “Russia nexus” between the incidents. “Unfortunately I can't get into specifics, based on the classification,” he said. “But I can tell you at a very early stage, I started to focus on Moscow”

KEY STORY

Israel/Iran General

Israeli missiles struck a building in Iran’s embassy compound in Syria, killing a senior Iranian general

  • Iran has significant influence over Syria. It arms militias there and uses the country to pass arms to Hezbollah

  • On Friday, Israel struck northern Syria, killing 36 Syrian soldiers and 7 Hezbollah members. “We will pursue Hezbollah every place it operates and we will expand the pressure and the pace of the attacks,” Israel’s defense minister said following the attack

  • Then, on Monday, Israel struck an Iranian government office next to Iran’s embassy in Syria’s capital, killing Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a general who oversaw Iran’s overseas operations arm. He is the highest-ranking Iranian general to be killed since Qasem Soleimani

Dig Deeper

  • A US National Security Council spokesperson told Axios that the US “had no involvement in the [Israeli] strike and we did not know about it ahead of time”

  • Israel reportedly didn’t tell the US about the strike until its jets were already in the air, and even then, it didn’t disclose that its target was a building in the Iranian embassy compound

  • Iran has vowed retaliation, and hours after the attack, Israeli air defense systems intercepted drones sent from Syria to Israel

KEY STORY

Man Catches Bird Flu

A Texas man was diagnosed with bird flu after coming into contact with infected cows

  • Bird flu is a class of viruses that primarily spreads among birds. A highly contagious strain of the virus, H5N1, has spread widely among birds in recent years

  • Over the past week, health officials have announced that cows in Texas, Kansas, and Michigan had contracted H5N1. Cows in Idaho and New Mexico may also have it

  • On Monday, Texas health officials disclosed that a man who had close contact with infected cows contracted the disease. He is reportedly recovering and is responding to antiviral treatments

Dig Deeper

  • The US logged its first human case in 2022, although the infected person had close contact with infected birds. There is currently no evidence H5N1 can be transmitted between humans

  • The most recent patient’s “primary symptom” was eye redness. The Texas Department of State Health Services said that “the risk to the general public” currently posed by H5N1 “is believed to be low”

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

📱Georgia lawmakers approved a bill that would require children under 16 to receive parental permission to create social media accounts. The bill now heads to Georgia’s Republican governor for final approval

🇮🇱 Israeli forces withdrew from their weeks-long operation in Gaza's al-Shifa hospital. Israel claimed it was successful in neutralizing militants and evacuating patients; journalists invited to inspect the hospital said it had been almost completely destroyed and was scattered with bodies

🇺🇸 Lou Conter, the last living veteran of the USS Arizona, died on Monday. He was 20 years old when the attack occurred and one of 335 sailors who survived out of the Arizona’s 1,512 crew members

📰 On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to ban Qatar-based news outlet Al Jazeera in Israel, calling it a “terrorist channel.” Al Jazeera accused Netanyahu of making false claims against it

💰 US household net worth hit a record $156.2T at the end of 2023. The figure, announced by the Federal Reserve, was a function of rising stock prices at year’s end, which helped offset a dip in property values

🇯🇵 OpenAI plans to open an office in Japan, its first in Asia. The office will be OpenAI’s third abroad, following others in London and Dublin

🌎 Join European train tours for convenience and adventure, exploring diverse landscapes and captivating cities like Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, and more. Enjoy breathtaking scenery as you traverse iconic destinations. These tours may include international airfare, train tickets, guided tours, accommodation, and breakfast. Join Indus Travels for unforgettable journeys through Europe hassle-free*

COMMUNITY

We founded RocaNews because we wanted news companies to give us just the facts – not tell us what to think. That inspires us to do the “Roca Votes” story each week, in which we summarize a controversial topic and see how Roca Nation feels about it.

This week’s Roca Votes asks: Has sports betting gone too far?

Personally, I really don't care what they decide to do with their money. Sports betting is the same as stocks.  It has discouraged me from watching any sports games.  I'd rather just use an ad-free app (apple games), and use Pi-Hole to block all news sites, trackers, ads, social media, etc.

“Gen-X'er” from Texas

Sports betting would happen regardless if it is legal or not. Ask anyone
who grew up in the early 50's through the 70's etc. When we were young growing up in New Castle PA parlay sheets running numbers taking bets from bookies it was all out there. If you wanted to bet on sports you found a way!

Tom

Sports betting has permeated every aspect of sports, overshadowing the pure enjoyment and spirit of competition that defines athletics at its core. The relentless advertising and promotion of betting platforms have not only normalized but also glamorized gambling, potentially leading vulnerable individuals down a path of addiction. And the integrity of sports is at risk, as the influence of betting affects the outcomes of games and athlete performance, undermining the fairness and unpredictability that make sports so captivating.

Jill from West Virginia

Today's Poll:

Who should have the power to regulate sports betting?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Yesterday’s Poll:

Do you think sports betting apps should be legal?

Yes: 47%
No: 53%

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🇯🇵 Sato-day in Japan: A Japanese professor predicted that “Sato” will become everyone’s surname in Japan by 2531, given its growth rate and a law that requires married couples to share a surname

🐎 Black Horse Down: Nearly 24 hours after getting trapped in California’s Santa Ana River, a horse named Conquistador was airlifted to safety

🤠 Dial 1-800-Cowboy: Cowboys finally captured two escaped cows that had been troubling an Oklahoma woman’s property for two years after escaping a trailer accident in 2022

🏀 LSU geauxs down: Caitlin Clark dropped 41 points as the Iowa Hawkeyes took down the reigning national champion LSU Tigers in a 91-84 slugfest. Iowa will play UConn in the Final Four on Friday

🐣 Oh no he Diddyn’t: Sean “Diddy” Combs posted Easter photos of his 17-month-old daughter, Love, days after federal authorities raided two of his properties amid sex trafficking allegations

🏈 RIP, Vontae Davis: Former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis, 35, died at a Florida residence. Police indicate no foul play in his death, but the investigation is ongoing

ROCA WRAP
America’s Greatest Tailor

This man survived the Holocaust – and later became America’s greatest tailor.

Martin Greenfield – born Maximilian Grünfeld – was born into a Jewish family on August 9, 1928, in Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia (now Ukraine). When he was 15, the Nazis forced him and his family from their home and onto a train to Auschwitz, where he was separated from his parents and siblings.

Grünfeld was assigned to wash Nazi uniforms, and one day, he accidentally tore a soldier’s shirt – a mistake for which he was brutally beaten. He kept the shirt, though, and a fellow prisoner taught him how to sew up the collar.
He later decided to wear it under his prison uniform, which people seemed to respect him for. That decision felt so empowering, he later wrote, that he risked ripping a second one so he could have two.

“Strangely enough, two ripped Nazi shirts helped this Jew build America’s most famous and successful custom-suit company,” Grünfeld wrote in his memoir. “God has a wonderful sense of humor.”

In 1945, Allied troops liberated Grünfeld, who made his way back to Czechoslovakia. It was then that he learned he was the sole survivor of his immediate family. His mother, father, two sisters, and brother had all been killed. While Auschwitz took so much from him, however, it gave him one of his greatest gifts: Experience in tailoring clothes.

In 1947, he took that gift to the United States, where he had decided to start a new life. He changed his name to Martin Greenfield to sound more American and secured a job at a Brooklyn-based clothing factory as an entry-level floor boy, where he trained to become a professional tailor.

Greenfield showed such dedication, skill, and attention to detail that after three years, he had become the head of the factory. His first major client, in the early 1950s, was General Dwight Eisenhower, who wanted a custom suit as he was preparing to run for the presidency.

By 1977, his reputation and savings had grown so large that he purchased the clothing factory from the founders and renamed it Martin Greenfield Clothiers. Soon he was tailoring custom suits for some of the US’ most famous politicians and celebrities, from former US President Bill Clinton to Frank Sinatra. In 2009, GQ called him “America’s Greatest Living Tailor.”

A year later, he got a call from the White House asking him to make suits for then-President Obama. However, the White House asked Greenfield to do so using the suits from Obama’s current closet, rather than measuring the president himself. Greenfield refused, writing later in his memoir: “Martin Greenfield does not copy anybody’s suits. Everybody copies Martin Greenfield’s suits.

Soon Hollywood wanted the expert tailor too, and he was designing 1920s-era suits for the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” as well as costumes for movies such as “Argo,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “The Great Gatsby.”
One of his most recognizable suits is the bright red suit and neon orange waistcoat worn by Joaquin Phoenix in 2019’s “Joker.”

After Greenfield retired, his sons Jay and Tod took over the family business but kept their father’s practice of manufacturing the suits by hand in Brooklyn. Greenfield’s sons announced on Instagram last week that their father had died at the age of 95 from natural causes.

Despite everything the Holocaust took from him, Greenfield’s legacy lasts in his beloved Brooklyn factory.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Did any of you pull off April Fools pranks yesterday? Send us your best — we’d love to hear.

Happy Tuesday Roca and see you tomorrow!

— Max, Max, Alex and Jen