🌊 Male Birth Control Gene?

Male birth control gene? Tucker takes to Twitter, and Sudanese generals feud

If you thought Big News was anything more than Ebenezer Scrooge with a keyboard and teleprompter, we trust the last week proved otherwise. Fortunately, the firestorm has avoided Roca, and both Maxes somehow still have jobs. For now…

We started RocaNews to give you an alternative to the partisan fear porn that dominates the airwaves today. Thank you for your incredible support of our mission.

In today's edition:

  • Male birth control gene?

  • Tucker takes to Twitter

  • Sudanese generals feud

 🔑 Key Stories

UK Blocks Microsoft/Activision Deal

The UK blocked Microsoft’s $75B purchase of video game creator Activision Blizzard

  • Activision Blizzard is the US video game company that owns “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush Saga,” and “World of Warcraft.” Last November, Microsoft agreed to acquire it for $75B

  • The deal prompted the US, EU, and UK to launch antitrust investigations. Those generally claim that the deal will give Microsoft a monopoly over gaming

  • On Wednesday, the UK blocked the deal, saying it would give Microsoft a monopoly over cloud gaming. Microsoft and Activision have said they will appeal

Dig Deeper

  • Widely considered the future of video gaming, cloud gaming is a new technology that lets people play video games without having to download or install software

  • The UK estimates Microsoft controls up to 70% of existing cloud gaming services

Nuclear Deal

The US and South Korea reached a nuclear deal

  • In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War; since then, the US has been a close ally. It promises to defend South Korea if it’s attacked

  • Because of the US guarantee, South Korea hasn’t developed nukes, even though North Korea has had them since 2006. Recent opinion polls show that South Koreans want their government to develop them, though

  • On Wednesday, the US and South Korea announced a deal: The US will periodically deploy nuclear subs to South Korea and give it more say over when and how to use nukes; in exchange, South Korea won’t build them

Dig Deeper

  • “A nuclear attack by North Korea against the [US] or its allies and partners is unacceptable, and will result in the end of whatever regime were to take such an action,” Biden said afterward

  • South Korea’s president pledged to respond to a North Korean attack “swiftly, overwhelmingly and decisively using the full force of the alliance, including the United States’ nuclear weapons”

Male Birth Control

Scientists claim to have found a gene that, when disabled, makes men infertile

  • Earlier this month, researchers from Washington State University published a study in the journal Nature Communications that claimed to have found a gene that plays a major role in sperm creation

  • To test that gene’s effects, researchers genetically altered mice not to have it. Those mice produced 28% less sperm, which was abnormal and unlikely to result in a pregnancy

  • The study’s researchers said the findings could be applied for a future male birth control

Dig Deeper

  • The researchers said a drug developed to target this gene would likely have non-permanent effects on men’s sperm. They also said it would not likely impact other bodily functions because the gene only exists in the testicular reason

SCOTUS Ethics Bill

A bipartisan group of senators proposed a bill to force the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to create a code of conduct

  • Earlier this month, reports emerged that Justice Clarence Thomas went on vacations paid for by a GOP donor. That donor also allegedly bought Thomas’ mom’s house, where she still lives

  • Another justice, Neil Gorsuch, also reportedly sold property to a lawyer with links to SCOTUS cases

  • Neither disclosed those, but it’s unclear if they had to. On Wednesday, 2 senators proposed a bill that would require SCOTUS to create and enforce ethics rules

Dig Deeper

  • A code of conduct currently applies to all federal judges except for SCOTUS. Among various topics, that code governs how they can manage their finances and what constitutes a conflict of interest. It does not apply to SCOTUS, but in 1991 the justices pledged to adhere to it anyway

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Tucker speaks: Tucker Carlson spoke for the first time since his firing. He posted a video on Twitter that received 10M+ views in its first 12 hours

  • Minnesota Tantrum-wolves: Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards was charged with assault after he allegedly swung a chair that injured 2 female employees following their season-ending loss

  • Sing us a song, you’re the AI-man: Musical artist Grimes welcomes people to make AI-generated songs with her voice so long as she gets 50% of the royalties

Wildcard

  • Let’s get her out: The woman accusing Ed Sheeran of ripping off “Let’s Get it On” with his hit song “Thinking Out Loudcollapsed in court and had to be carried out

  • A birthday suit: A German court ruled that a landlord sunbathing naked in his building’s courtyard was not a reason for his tenants to pay less in rent

  • Rock & Jelly Roll: Jelly Roll is the name of country music’s newest star. He is a 38-year-old ex-rapper and ex-drug addict with face tattoos

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

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Today's Question:

If you had to move to another country, where would you go and why?

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See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

General Burhan v. General Dagalo. This is the feud at the center of the world’s newest war.

Sudan is an Arabic-speaking, predominantly Muslim country located south of Egypt. It was Africa’s largest country by area until 2011, when it split in 2; today, it’s the 3rd-largest.

Sudan has long been poor and authoritarian.

Analysts describe its politics as a battle for control over resources, particularly gold, which accounts for 40% of its exports. Sudan has experienced 16 coup attempts – 6 successful – since 1956.

In 1989, a military officer named Omar al-Bashir took control of Sudan in a coup.

Bashir’s government banned rival political parties and introduced Islamic law. In the 1990s, Bashir personally invited Osama Bin Laden to Sudan.

Sudan became an enemy of the US, which in 1993 listed Sudan as 1 of 7 “state sponsors of terrorism,” a classification it held until 2020. The US bombed Sudan in 1998 over allegations that it was producing chemicals for al-Qaeda. Reports later cast doubt over those accusations.

In the 2000s, numerous countries accused Sudan’s government of waging genocide in Darfur, a region in Sudan’s west.

In 2009, Bashir became the first sitting head of state to be indicted for war crimes. In 2011, a civil war ended with Sudan’s southern region splitting off into a new country, South Sudan.

In December 2018, bad economic conditions sparked mass protests against Bashir. Those continued until April 2019, when the military overthrew Bashir in a coup. The military reached an agreement to pass power to civilians by 2022.

In October 2021, though, the military conducted another coup. They arrested many civilians in the government and replaced them with officers.

Since early this year, negotiations between Sudan’s military and civilians have sought to put the country back toward becoming a democracy. But as that’s happened, a feud intensified between 2 generals: Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

Burhan is an army general. Dagalo is the leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a “paramilitary” group that is armed by Sudan’s government but technically outside the military.

Burhan and Dagalo cooperated to overthrow Bashir in 2019, after which Burhan effectively became Sudan’s leader.

The RSF operates gold mines, through which the organization makes millions of dollars. That’s largely how the RSF pays its troops, whom Western analysts estimate number between 70,000 and 150,000. Under the terms proposed to establish a new Sudanese government, though, the RSF would become part of the army – making Dagalo dependent on Burhan.

Related tensions grew between Dagalo and Burhan until last Saturday, when they erupted into gunfights and airstrikes in the capital.

War has since been ongoing around the country. Exact numbers are unclear but hundreds of civilians have died with thousands more injured. The US and many other countries are racing to evacuate their citizens from Sudan. Several attempts to hold a ceasefire while civilians and foreigners clear out have failed.

Both generals insist they are fighting off a coup from the other side and intend to bring democracy to Sudan.

For now, though, they’ve brought war.

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Have you ever adopted an animal from a shelter?

Yes: 40%
No: 60%

Yesterday's Question:

What was a life lesson that was difficult to learn?

Mary from Kansas: "That I can only control me --I can't control what others do & think, but I can control my reactions & how I respond to a situation."

Thiago from Argentina: "The hardest lesson I had to learn was that, despite my efforts, I would never be able to make people understand, least of all accept, myself, my opinions, and my ideas. I find a lot of enjoyment in explaining and helping people understand different subjects, particularly my ideas in debates, but I found myself constantly frustrated in such pursuits. I had to accept that some people will not get me, or will not care enough to do so, and that's okay."

Mário from Portugal: "Learning not to pursue relationships with people who do not reciprocate. Many times I made the mistake of giving and not receiving. I think now I am much more mature on that regard. If I see the other person is not treating me the same way I treat them, then it's time to move on. This applies to every kind of relationship."

🧠 Final Thoughts

We don't have much to add today, beyond the usual: Down with Big News, thanks for reading Roca, have a great Thursday.

–Max and Max