- The Current
- 🌊 Juul Thief
🌊 Juul Thief
JUUL meets its successor, Steven Spielberg's UFO theory, and The End of Françafrique?
129 years ago today, Dr. John Kellogg served the world's first-ever cornflakes. The lucky taste-testers were mental health patients. Kellogg invented the cereal to help improve digestion. He lamented that people of his age loved nothing more than "meat and pie." *Note to self: Try cornflakes after the next T-Bell trip.*
In today's edition:
JUUL meets its successor
Steven Spielberg's UFO theory
The End of Françafrique?
🔑 Key Stories
Altria, the company that owns Marlboro, bought vape company NJOY after parting ways with Juul
Altria, the world’s 3rd-largest tobacco company and owner of Marlboro cigarettes, has tried to diversify away from cigarettes. In 2018, Altria invested $12.8B in Juul, a startup that dominated the vape market
But Juul soon faced thousands of lawsuits and regulatory issues, and on Friday, Altria announced it had converted its remaining equity – worth $250M – into intellectual property rights on Juul tech
On Monday, Altria’s CEO said it will buy rival NJOY for $2.75B, which controls 3% of the US vape market
Despite its small market share, NJOY has obtained regulatory approval to sell its tobacco-flavored vapes in the US, something its main rivals – Juul and Vuse – have yet to do
Canadian Companies Selling Cocaine?
2 Canadian companies prompted a government backlash after saying they had the right to distribute cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and other drugs
One of the companies, Adastra, sells marijuana; the other, Sunshine Earth, produces psychedelics
Last week, Adastra and Sunshine said they received permission to legally possess, produce, sell, and distribute drugs including cocaine and heroin
The statements prompted an immediate government backlash, with one official saying he was “astonished” and the health department saying distribution was only for researchers and doctors
Adastra subsequently retracted its statement, saying that it is only licensed to sell the drugs to those who are licensed to possess them, including researchers and doctors
23 Arrested for Police Facility Attack
23 people face domestic terrorism charges after an attack on an Atlanta police training facility
In 2021, Atlanta approved a $90M police training facility in a wooded area south of the city. Protesters criticize the facility, which they call “Cop City,” saying it will destroy the forest and militarize the police
On Sunday, police say people clad in camouflage and black used the cover of peaceful protests to launch a “coordinated attack” on the facility
They burned buildings and vehicles and threw rocks and at least 1 Molotov cocktail at police. Atlanta police say nearly all of them weren’t from Georgia
"This wasn't about a public safety training center," Atlanta’s police chief said. "This was about anarchy...and we are addressing that quickly." He also said Atlanta police have developed a strategy to deal with potential further violence
Spain’s Gender Quota Bill
Spain’s prime minister proposed a bill that would set gender quotas in businesses and in Spain’s cabinet
On Saturday, Spain’s Socialist prime minister announced a proposal to require each sex hold at least 40% of Spain’s cabinet positions
It would also require parties to nominate equal numbers of men and women for elections
The same applies to corporate boards of all public companies and all private companies with 250+ employees and $50M+ in annual revenue
The bill needs parliamentary and cabinet approval to become law
“If women represent half of society then half of the political power and half of the economic power must belong to women,” Spain’s prime minister said. Spain's cabinet is currently 61% female and 39% male
A search is ongoing for 4 Americans kidnapped soon after driving into Mexico from Texas
On Friday, 4 Americans entered a Mexican border city in a white van with US plates. Soon after driving into Mexico, assailants began shooting at their vehicle and pushed them into another car
The kidnapping happened in the city of Matamoros, which is in a region of Mexico where a number of cartels are vying for control of smuggling routes
The US has warned Americans to avoid the city or stay home, and the FBI is offering $50k for their return
The US government grades foreign countries’ safety on a 1-4 scale, 1 being totally safe, for example, Iceland, and 4 being most dangerous, for example, Syria. It grades the region of northern Mexico where the kidnapping happened – Tamaulipas – a 4
Do Your Kids' Vitamins Need An Upgrade?
Together with Hiya
At Roca HQ, we used to eat children’s gummy vitamins like they were going out of style
That was until we learned from Hiya that most gummy vitamins are more like candy: Full of sugar, chemicals, and gelatin gunk
Hiya is changing the children’s vitamin game though. They spent 3 years crafting a super-powered chewable made with 15 essential vitamins, a blend of 12 fruits and vegetables, and no sugar
The other bonus? Hiya vitamins taste awesome. Each chewable is naturally sweetened with monk fruit extract and all-natural sweeteners found in fruits and vegetables that dentists suggest fight against tooth decay
When we think of candy, we think of sugar, gelatin, corn starch, and added coloring. But should your kids’ vitamins have the same ingredients? Probably not. Get a 50% discount off Hiya with the link below
Model S(ale): For the second time this year, Tesla has slashed the prices of the Model S and Model X in the US. Sticker prices have fallen up to $29k
Name's Bezos, Jeff Bezos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' $500M superyacht has returned to sea after a scandal involving the dismantling of the Dutch bridge
Red-collar crime: The Spanish couple accused of stealing over $1.5M worth of wine from a restaurant has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison
Close encounters of the future kind: Filmmaker Steven Spielberg shared a theory that UFOs are time-traveling humans from the future observing our civilization
C'est la vie! France's most-famous novelist lost a lawsuit and will now appear in an adult film
Wetsuit to lawsuit: A California couple is suing a Hawaiian snorkeling tour company, claiming it abandoned them in the middle of the ocean during a tour
👇 What do you think?
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🌯 Roca Wrap
After centuries of dominating West Africa, France is being replaced by Russia.
The Sahel is a region on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. 14 countries lie totally or partially within it, and it spans from Africa’s west to east coast.
France colonized most of the region in the 19th and 20th centuries and has been the leading foreign power since. While the countries are now independent, much of the area still speaks French, uses currencies pegged to France’s, and attends French schools. The region is often referred to as “Françafrique,” or French Africa, due to France’s influence there.
In the early 2010s, Islamist militants threatened to overwhelm several countries in Françafrique.
In 2013, Mali, a former French colony on the verge of being overrun, requested French military assistance.
The French poured thousands of troops into the region, and their advanced air power and weaponry rolled back the rebels.
But the rebels switched to guerilla hit-and-run tactics, launching a years-long insurgency. France got bogged down and Mali’s army took heavy casualties. Some began criticizing France for protecting their soldiers at the expense of Mali’s, and for attacks that killed civilians.
In 2021, Mali’s military overthrew its pro-French government and demanded that France withdraw from the country. Mali’s new prime minister said France “stabbed [Mali] in the back” with its “neocolonialist, condescending, paternalist, and vengeful policies”
Then last September, Burkina Faso, another Françafrique country suffering from widespread Islamist terrorism, also experienced a military coup. The new military rulers criticized France, calling its military presence in the country predatory and unhelpful. They demanded France withdraw its troops by this February.
France did so and has now ended its counterinsurgency missions in both Burkina Faso and Mali
And in both countries, Russia is now on top.
Since December 2021, the Wagner Group, a mercenary army with deep ties to Russia’s army, has sent soldiers to Mali. Russia’s military has also directly supplied Mali with fighter jets and attack helicopters. Mali’s military has said that with Russia, it has “achieved [more] in the past 2 years… than what was done in past decades.”
Several sources, including the US Department of Defense, have alleged that Russia was behind the Burkina Faso coup. At the time, Wagner’s leader, a Russian oligarch, called French forces “colonialists [who] robbed the people.” Wagner troops have since been reported in the country.
The US estimates that more than half of military aid to West Africa now comes from Russia and that Wagner operates in at least 7 African countries.
If trends continue, Françafrique may become “Russafrique.”
If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!
🌊 Roca Clubhouse
I do most of my shopping…
Online 💻 : 64%
In person 🛍️ : 36%
When was a time you took a risk and it paid off?
Rebecca from Houston: “Walked up to a stranger in a bar. Introduced myself, took his beer out of his hands and started drinking it myself. 5 years, 1 wedding, and 2 babies later...it worked out!”
Julia from London: “I moved to a new country towards the end of the pandemic and found myself friendless and isolated at my work-from-home job. I desperately wanted to get to know some new people, find a community, and stop rotting in my flat... so I signed up for crossfit classes 5 days per week. 14 months later, that crossfit box has given me community, friends, and stellar fitness. It 100% paid off!”
Matt from Detroit: “I quit my job with no backup plan. Took 4 months but found my dream job for twice the money. The money was just a bonus.”
🧠 Final Thoughts
We don't have much to say today besides that we hope you have a nice day and look forward to bringing you another edition tomorrow. Enjoy your Tuesday!
–Max and Max