🌊 No Door ̶N̶o̶ Problem

PLUS: WSJ reports Elon Musk likes drugs, hockey fans throw 70k stuffed animals and Roca Reports continues in Sarajevo

Wow, what a weekend for Succession, the Steelers, and snow plows. Succession — along with Oppenheimer — dominated the Golden Globes; the Steelers once again snuck into the playoffs; and a snowstorm covered the northeast giving snow plows their first day of work this winter. By the way, does anyone know if that sidewalk salt is edible? Asking for a friend…

In today's edition:

  • WSJ: Elon Musk likes drugs

  • Hockey fans throw 70k stuffed animals

  • Roca Reports continues in Sarajevo

 🔑 Key Stories

Boeing 737 Max 9 Grounded

A US regulator ordered the grounding of 171 Boeing 737 Max 9s

  • On Friday night, an Alaska Airlines flight was flying from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California when an apparent rapid pressure change caused a window and the surrounding portion of its fuselage to blow out. The flight landed without anyone suffering serious injury

  • Airlines immediately canceled flights with the plane. US regulators ordered the grounding of certain 737 Max 9s pending comprehensive safety inspections

  • The Max 9 is a different model than the Max 8, two of which crashed in 2018 and 2019 due to a design flaw

Hamas in Trouble?

Israel claimed it has destroyed Hamas in northern Gaza

  • Northern Gaza – which includes Gaza City, Gaza’s largest city – has been at the center of Israel’s post-October 7 invasion. Israeli airstrikes and evacuation warnings caused most residents to flee, after which Israeli troops invaded to destroy Hamas

  • On Saturday, Israel said that mission was complete and that none of Hamas’ 12 battalions in the region remained capable of acting as a fighting force

  • Israel believes Hamas has up to 24 battalions and 30,000 members in total. Israel said its operations will now center around southern and central Gaza

Elon on Drugs

Elon Musk has taken cocaine, LSD, mushrooms, and ketamine, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported

  • According to the WSJ, Musk – who once smoked weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast and is known to take ketamine for depression – has hosted parties where attendees have had to sign NDAs and give up their phones to enter. Witnesses described Musk taking LSD at a party in LA and mushrooms in Mexico

  • The WSJ reported that some executives at Tesla and SpaceX fear Musk’s drug use is risking his health and performance. Musk’s lawyer said Musk regularly takes drug tests and has never failed one of those

Defense Secretary Hospitalized

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin kept his hospitalization private for three days

  • Austin – the second-in-command of the US military, after President Biden – was hospitalized on Monday (January 1) amid complications from a procedure. He didn’t inform the White House of his hospitalization until Thursday and the public until Friday. He was in the ICU and his deputy – working remotely from Puerto Rico – took on his workload

  • Politico broke the story on Saturday. Austin said in a statement, “I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed”

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Dawn of the Apukalypse: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua set new NFL rookie records for receiving yards and receptions. The yards record had stood since 1960

  • Teddy time! Fans of the Hershey Bears – an American Hockey League team and Washington Capitals affiliate – threw 74,599 stuffed animals onto the ice for their annual Teddy Bear toss

  • Who’s laughing now? Jad Sleiman – a reporter fired from WHYY, a Philadelphia-based NPR station, for his standup comedy – won reinstatement through arbitration

Wildcard

  • Squeaky clean: After finding his shed mysteriously tidied for months, a Welsh man set up a night vision camera and caught a mouse organizing items like clothespins, corks, nuts, and bolts

  • World of Snoopcraft: Police arrested a 31-year-old Florida man after investigators used information from the video game “World of Warcraft” to find a missing 16-year-old girl from Ohio in his home

  • Update that resume…: The Wuzhishan Science Area in northern China’s Hebei province seeks to hire an individual to dress as the Monkey King, a mythical Chinese character

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Is it a big deal that the Secretary of Defense did not inform President Biden that he was hospitalized for three days?

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Today's Question:

Today’s premium Wrap features a Roca reader we met through Roca Reporters — a global network of Roca readers who we contact for local tips or insights on stories we cover. We think news is a two way street and this helps us keep it that way. Want to join Roca Reporters? Fill out this form! We hope to speak with many more of you this year.

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

A pub owner in this county grabbed a pint as his business flooded.

Great Britain refers to the island made up of England, Scotland and Wales. The River Severn is Great Britain’s longest and most voluminous river. In England, the river runs through four counties, including Worcestershire.

Starting last Thursday, authorities across Great Britain began issuing hundreds of flood alerts as heavy rains pummeled the island. They warned communities along the River Severn to expect flooding for “several days”

Already on Friday, 18 of the 30 measuring stations across the river recorded record-high levels. That left homes and businesses pumping water for 30+ hours, including the Rose and Crown pub in Severn Stoke, Worcestershire.

Rather than panicking, though, the pub’s owner, Andy Goodall, poured a pint.

In a social media video posted to TikTok and Facebook, a friend first shows the rising waters, already several feet high, before panning to Andy. He’s sitting on a bench outside his pub, water above his hips, and holding a fresh pint.

“Ah good afternoon,” he says. “Welcome to the Rose and Crown, riverside view, and probably the best Guinness….” The rest of his comment cannot be heard over the sounds of pumping water.

It’s not all fun and games, though. After the video went viral, Goodall posted again on social media, saying this was the third flood in 12 months, costing him tens of thousands of pounds in damage.

He said local authorities are not prioritizing flood control, having repeatedly delayed promised flood control measure over costs and environmental concerns, which is killing local businesses.

“It is killing us as we still have outgoings,” he said. "It gets to the point where you're wondering why are we bothering?” But just like the last two floods, he promised, "We battle on and will get back open again soon.”

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

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Have you ever played Tetris?
Yes: 70%
No: 30%

Yesterday's Question:

Just 20 Qs!

🧠 Intermission

If you haven’t watched the Teddy Bear toss video, we highly recommend. Also, “Hershey Bears” has to be one of the best team names in America.

Leaving the ice for a second to somewhere a bit warmer, Max F is gearing up to go to Senegal tonight. Our goal with these trips is for you to go with him. So buckle up and get ready for an adventure.

–Max and Max

🌎 Roca Reports

This summer, we asked Roca readers to fill out a form so we could contact them if we were in their cities. Thousands did so, including 25-year-old Latif in Sarajevo. 

Many readers just filled out the form with their contact information; others – including Latif – left interesting details about their city. 

“WW1 started in my city,” he began. “The architecture and history are very cool since Bosnia was always at the borders between the oriental east and the european west.”

“In my neighborhood there is a tunnel that has been dug under the front lines during the siege of Sarajevo to get necessary supplies in for a starving population. [The tunnel] has saved hundreds of thousands of people,” he wrote. 

On Latif’s advice, I visited that tunnel and met him for dinner.

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