🌊 Newark Gets Scammed
Newark's fake country, wild start to March Madness, and 20 Questions!
After day one of March Madness, we have a quote that you — or your bracket — might need to hear: "Your imperfections make you beautiful." Well, if you're like us, you feel very pretty today. Max F's bracket has already lost its champion (shoutout UVA!), and Max T's perfect bracket run didn't make it past the first game.
So have a happy St. Patrick’s Day and a great basketball-filled weekend. But first, the news!
In today's edition:
Newark's fake country
Wild start to March Madness
🔑 Key Stories
Newark Gets Scammed
The government of Newark confirmed that it signed a deal with a country that doesn’t exist
In January, Newark – New Jersey’s largest city – hosted a delegation from the supposed Hindu nation of Kailasa. Following a ceremony, Newark and Kailasa signed a sister-city agreement
But Kailasa isn’t a real country, and Newark’s government dissolved the agreement after 6 days. The city has since confirmed it was tricked into the signing
“Kailasa” was actually founded by a fugitive Indian guru who bought an island near Ecuador in 2019. He has declared a country there with his followers
Beyond Newark, the UN confirmed that Kailasa representatives attended 2 of its recent public committee meetings, and late last year, followers of Nithyananda attended an event hosted by the UK government’s ruling Conservative Party
Peace in Yemen?
Islam is split between 2 sects, Sunni and Shia. Iran is the most powerful majority-Shia country; Saudi Arabia is widely seen as leader of the Sunni world
Yemen is a small country on the Arabian Peninsula. Since 2014, a war has raged there between a Shia rebel group called the Houthis and the Sunni government
Iran has armed the Houthis, whom Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies have heavily bombed
Last Friday, Iran and Saudi Arabia signed a deal to ease tensions between them. As part of that, Iran will stop arming the Houthis, increasing prospects for peace
The war and resulting blockade have made Yemen the site of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. 377,000+ people have died there since 2014
France’s Pension Fight
France’s president used executive powers to bypass parliament and pass a law to raise the retirement age
Under France’s pension system, current workers pay the retirement benefits of current retirees. But France’s government says that as the country ages, it will no longer be able to afford its pensions, causing a crisis
In January, French president Emmanuel Macron proposed increasing France’s retirement age from 62 to 64, sparking mass protests and strikes
On Thursday, Macron used executive powers to bypass France’s parliament and enact the reforms. That caused an outcry, as some call for him to be ousted
Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in French cities to protest the move. One major union said the government “forces a vote [in parliament] when it is sure to win it… [but] prevents the vote when they know they would lose”
France’s prime minister said the country had no choice: “This reform is needed”
Uranium Lost & Found
On Wednesday, the UN said uranium had gone missing in Libya; the next day, a militia claimed to have found it
Muammar Gadaffi ruled Libya, a North African country, from 1969 until 2011. During that time, he imported uranium in an effort to build a nuke. In 2003, he allowed the UN to remove some, but not all, of Libya’s uranium
Libya has had a civil war since 2014. On Wednesday, the UN said 2.5 tons of the uranium still in Libya was missing
On Thursday, a Libyan rebel group claimed to have found the uranium. They said soldiers from Chad stole it, realized what it was, then left it in the desert
The UN said it's "actively working to verify" reports that it's been found. The rebel group released a video of one of its soldiers counting 18 barrels of supposed uranium; the UN originally said only 10 were missing
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Don’t get caught flat-footed at the bar when talking sports
Let the Madness begin: Furman shocked UVA in the first round of March Madness after an eventful final 12 seconds in which UVA gave away the ball for a game-winner
YouTube apology vid NOW: Google bumped the price of YouTube TV from $65 per month to $73 per month, citing "rising content costs"
Romeo, stream me: Taylor Swift released 4 new songs at midnight on the eve of her Eras Tour. Her sold-out tour crashed Ticketmaster and kicks off in Arizona tonight
"I'll take Big Yikes for $400": Jeopardy! accidentally revealed the contestants' final scores in the opening monologue of the show. So.... what is a spoiler?
Record-setting surf: A Sydney man broke the record for the world's longest surf session. He surfed for over 30 hours straight to raise money for mental health
He's one of us: President Biden released his official bracket shortly after the start of March Madness. His champion pick Arizona was eliminated hours later
👇🏻 What do you think?
Are you wearing green today? 🍀
See last week's results below the Wrap!
🗣 20 Questions
Every Friday, we ask the Roca readers 20 questions, then feature our favorite answers the following week.
On Tuesday, we asked, “What is an unspoken rule that more people should follow?” We got quite a variety of thought-provoking answers, which got us thinking about etiquette. So this week we’ve got....
Nice or Necessary!
We’ve got 20 standard-ish etiquette practices, many of which are based on your answers from Tuesday. You will decide if each is a nice gesture, or something that should make us question how someone was raised. Let’s see where you stand!
Here's the link. Have an AMAZING WEEKEND!
If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!
🌊 Roca Clubhouse
Will you watch March Madness?
What is a key indicator of intelligence, in your opinion?
Ana from Guatemala City: "I think intelligence is something that is very subjective as one person can be really good with numbers whereas another person can be very creative and make amazing art. For me emotional intelligence is the most important type of intelligence. People that know how to navigate the social world I believe are the ones that truly thrive in life."
Bonnie from North Carolina: "An indicator of intelligence is the ability to listen, really hear what someone is saying, and then respond to that. What most people do while listening is try to come up with their own response at the same time, which means they don’t actually hear what the other person is saying."
Zach from California: "I think intelligence has to be determined by the ability to learn. I've met lots of straight-A students who can't learn new processes or skills, and plenty of intelligent people who weren't great at school, but they know how to adapt and learn."
Last Week's 20 Qs Responses:
Brussel sprouts: Take 68%, Leave 32%
Artichokes: Take 60%, Leave 40%
Sardines Take 24%, Leave 76%
Calamari: Take 59%, Leave 41%
Oysters: Take 42%, Take 58%
Licorice: Take 42%, Leave 58%
Anchovies: Take 22%, Leave 78%
Beets: Take 54%, Leave 46%
Eggplant: Take 48%, Leave 52%
Blue cheese: Take 60%, Leave 40%
Canned tuna: Take 69%, Leave 31%
Turkey bacon: Take 46%, Leave 54%
Olives: Take 68%, Leave 32%
Bologna: Take 45%, Leave 55%
Mushrooms: Take 78%, Leave 22%
Pineapple on pizza: Take 55%, Leave 45%
Pickles: Take 82%, Leave 18%
Liver: Take 22%, Leave 78%
Raisins: Take 68%, Leave 32%
Veal: Take 45%, Leave 55%
🧠 Final Thoughts
That's all we've got for this week. Have awesome weekends,
We hope you all have wonderful weekends. We hope you do those 20 Questions, and that your March Madness brackets stay perfect.
—Max and Max