🌊 Signed, sealed, scandal

South Africa accuses Israel of genocide, Florida man arrested for Subway footlong assault and 20 Questions!

Let’s end the week with a hilarious story. eBay is paying $3M to settle criminal charges over a harassment campaign that its employees launched against a couple. The couple claims eBay employees targeted them over content published in their newsletter, EcommerceBytes. Among other things, the employees sent spiders, cockroaches, and a funeral wreath to their home.

The Justice Department charged eBay with various crimes, including stalking. eBay accepted responsibility as part of an agreement that could result in charges against it being dismissed.

In today's edition:

  • South Africa accuses Israel of genocide

  • Florida man arrested for Subway footlong assault

  • 20 Questions!

 🔑 Key Stories

US, UK Bomb Yemen

The US and UK conducted missile and airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen

  • For months, the Houthis – a Yemeni militia with ties to Iran and Hamas – have attacked shipping they claim is linked to Israel. That has threatened international shipping lanes, causing the US, UK, and other countries to launch a mission to protect shipping

  • On Thursday, in response to anti-ship missiles fired by the Houthis into shipping lanes off Yemen, the US and UK bombed Houthi military sites in Yemen

  • In a statement, President Biden called the bombing “defensive”; the Houthis vowed the US will “pay”

Gambian Plane Emergency

A plane flying Gambia’s soccer team made an emergency landing due to a lack of oxygen

  • The Gambia is mainland Africa’s smallest country. On Wednesday, its men’s soccer team boarded a flight to Yamoussoukro, the capital of the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), which is hosting this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament

  • After takeoff, players began feeling dizzy and nauseous, and several passed out. The pilot turned the plane around and made an emergency landing

  • “I am ready to die for Gambia, but on the football pitch, not off it,” Gambia’s coach told ESPN. The team will reportedly still attend AFCON

South Africa vs. Israel

Israel defended its actions in Gaza before the UN’s top court a day after South Africa argued Israel’s actions were genocidal

  • South Africa’s ruling party has long aligned itself with the Palestinian cause. In December, it brought a case to the UN’s highest court accusing Israel of genocide

  • On Thursday, South African lawyers delivered opening arguments, during which they accused Israel of plotting genocide from “the highest level of state”

  • On Friday, Israel argued it is acting in self-defense “in a war [we] did not start and did not want.” It also accused South Africa of presenting a “grossly distorted” account of events and misinterpreting genocide

British Bonus Scandal

The UK is experiencing a scandal surrounding the wrongful convictions of postal workers

  • Beginning in 1999, the UK’s Post Office (PO) began using accounting software called Horizon. That software had a bug that gave the false impression that money was missing. The PO defended the software, though, and on the basis of the missing funds, prosecuted 700+ workers for fraud

  • Many workers were later exonerated. It emerged this week that the PO had given bonuses to investigators for each worker convicted. When asked if that influenced investigators’ behavior, a PO security team member responded, “I’d probably be lying if I said no”

“What, like it’s hard?”

That could be Elle Woods, after getting accepted into Harvard Law School. Or that could be you, after using the Brilliant app

  • Brilliant and RocaNews share the same philosophy: Informing yourself should be engaging, easy, and fun. Like we (hope) we do with the news, Brilliant makes it easy to master everything from AI and statistics to data science in fun, bite-sized lessons

  • The Roca team has used Brilliant and we can assure you it is way more fun than Ms. Fazio’s 60 hour lecture on triangle in second grade. Instead, Brilliant leans into the 21st century, using visual, interactive lessons that make concepts feel intuitive — so even complex ideas just click. Their real-time feedback and simple explanations make learning… well… learned

  • Join 10M+ people around the world — and the Roca team — and try Brilliant free for 30 days

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🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Double it and pass it to the next guy: McDonald’s will reintroduce the Double Big Mac, a four-patty version of the classic Big Mac with extra sauce, at some US locations starting January 24 

  • “Here lies a striped gum”: Ferrara Candy, Fruit Stripe Gum’s manufacturer, announced the discontinuation after 50+ years of the iconic, brightly-colored gum

  • The Sirloin Network: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he’s raising wagyu and Angus cattle at his Hawaiian ranch by feeding them macadamia nuts and beer produced on-site

Wildcard

  • Mile-high arrest club: Police arrested a man who grabbed one flight attendant and invited her and another to join the “mile high club” during a Louisville-to-Orlando Spirit Airlines flight

  • Fast & PRICEY: Auction house Bonhams is auctioning a used Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ – the world’s fastest road car – on January 25. Bonhams expects it to fetch up to $5.5M

  • 5… 5 dollar… 5 dollar bail fund: A Florida man threw his footlong Subway sandwich at a Subway worker since it wasn’t cut into two halves, according to police and restaurant footage

👇🏻 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

How many languages do you speak?

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Today's Question:

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🗣 20 Questions

20 questions logo

Every Friday, we ask the Roca readers 20 questions, then feature our favorite answers the following week.

This week, we have a Roca favorite: The “Rate This” 20 Questions! From Queen Latifah to rocks, we want to know what you think on a scale of 1 to 10. Here is the form — a perfect way to kick off your holiday weekend (and yes, three day weekends are a prompt).

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

What is your opinion of Aaron Rodgers?
Fan: 21%
Not a fan: 38%
Indifferent: 41%

Last Week's 20 Qs Responses:

Last week we ran a "This or That" music edition 20 questions. We gave you a matchup of songs and artists on Rolling Stone's Top 500 Songs of All Time. We bolded the most popular prompt per question below:

  1. Ain't No Mountain High Enough or Smells Like Teen Spirit?

    Ain't No Mountain High Enough

    Smells Like Teen Spirit

  2. American Pie or Gold Digger?

    American Pie

    Gold Digger

  3. Billie Jean or Gimme Shelter?

    Billie Jean

    Gimme Shelter

  4. John Lennon or Beyoncé?

    John Lennon

    Beyoncé

  5. Green Day or The Beach Boys?

    Green Day

    The Beach Boys

  6. Fast Car or Sweet Child O' Mine?

    Fast Car

    Sweet Child O' Mine

  7. Since U Been Gone or Bridge Over Troubled Water?

    Since U Been Gone

    Bridge Over Troubled Water

  8. Johnny Cash or Rihanna?

    Johnny Cash

    Rihanna

  9. I Want You Back or Rocket Man?

    I Want You Back

    Rocket Man

  10. Fleetwood Mac or Credence Clearwater Revival?

    Fleetwood Mac

    CCR

  11. Lose Yourself or Son Of A Preacher Man?

    Lose Yourself

    Son Of A Preacher Man

  12. Billy Joel or Lil Nas X?

    Billy Joel

    Lil Nas X

  13. Mr. Brightside or Unchained Melody?

    Mr. Brightside

    Unchained Melody

  14. Livin' On A Prayer or Summertime Sadness?

    Livin' On A Prayer

    Summertime Sadness

  15. The Rolling Stones or Beatles?

    Stones

    Beatles

  16. Killing Me Softly With His Song or Bohemian Rhapsody?

    Killing Me Softly With His Song

    Bohemian Rhapsody

  17. You're So Vain or Stayin' Alive?

    You're So Vain

    Stayin' Alive

  18. Whitney Houston or Taylor Swift?

    Whitney Houston

    Taylor Swift

  19. Africa by Toto or Uptown Funk?

    Africa

    Uptown Funk

  20. Better movie soundtrack: Lion King or Grease?

    Lion King

    Grease

🌎 Roca Reports

Today’s Roca Reports continues in Bosnia. A reminder that you can start a two week free trial today and keep reading below!

When traveling in unusual places for long periods, it’s always nice to meet someone from your country. A person you can relate and speak to without a cultural or language barrier. In Republika Srpska, that is not necessarily the case. 

After leaving the Twilight Zone-esque town of Milici, a bus dropped us at a rural intersection from where we needed to catch a ride to Srebrenica – the “Auschwitz of Bosnia,” as Bosnian Muslims told me. The intersection sat between an abandoned bombed-out building and a gas station. No one was around besides one man who was trying to catch a ride in the same direction as us. 

After five minutes of unsuccessfully trying to flag down cars, the man turned to me and asked, “Where are you going?”

I was shocked he spoke English. “You speak English?”

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