1.12.2018

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1.12.2018
NEED TO KNOW.
Companies Respond to Tax Reform.
Walmart, the country's largest private employer, announced yesterday it will raise its hourly minimum wage from $10 to $11 per hour, while providing one-time bonuses of up to $1,000. The company, which employs 1.3M workers in the US, estimated the wage increase would add $300M to its annual operating expense. The move follows similar announcements by companies like AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo, and others in the wake of the tax overhaul. On top of pay increases, Walmart - who will save an estimated $2B this year from tax reform - said it also plans to increase maternity leave from 6-8 weeks at half pay to 10 weeks at full pay. The wage hike comes amid a 17-year low for the US unemployment rate, intensifying competition for workers - but also comes with bad news, as Walmart announced the closing of 10% of its Sam's Club warehouse stores. 

Feds Open Door for Medicaid Work Requirements.
The Trump Administration said it will allow states to set work requirements for Medicaid eligibility, one of the biggest changes in the 50-year history of the program. The decision would allow individual states to require that individuals, if determined capable, be actively looking for work or participating in some kind of community engagement to be eligible to receive benefits. The program provides health insurance to 74 million low-income and disabled Americans, costing the federal government about $565M each year (see fact sheet). 10 states have pending applications with the Department of Health and Human Services to institute work requirements on recipients. 

Hundreds Arrested in Tunisia Protests.

Police have detained nearly 600 people over the past three days in Tunisia following protests over government austerity measures. The North African country (see CIA Factbook) sparked the Arab Spring revolution in 2011, and the country was considered one of the few success stories, with street protests eventually toppling an authoritarian government. With the anniversary of then-President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali approaching, many of the conditions that sparked unrest seven years ago still persist - including a stagnant economy with youth unemployment around 35%
 
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IN THE KNOW.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> 'Fast' Eddie Clarke, guitarist for iconic rock band Motorhead, dies at 67 (More)
> The Shape of Water wins Best Picture at Critics' Choice Awards; full results here (More)
> Five women accuse James Franco of inappropriate sexual behavior (More)
 

Science & Technology.

> Astronomers identify massive cliffs of ice on Mars (More)
> Researchers map out how neural stem cells turn into brain cells, may allow treating of neurological disorders early on (More)
> A specific protein related to chronic inflammation found to cause loss of muscle mass in elderly (More)
 

Business & Markets.

> Facebook makes changes to news feed to drive "meaningful interaction", emphasize friends vs. news services (More)
> File sharing company Dropbox files confidentially for IPO; last valued at $10B (More)
> Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, etc) fall on news South Korea is considering a bill to ban trading (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

> House renews NSA surveillance program, rejects new privacy safeguards (More)
> Pentagon bulks up Afghanistan effort with 1,000 new combat advisers and armed drones (More)
> Women in Saudi Arabia now allowed to enter soccer stadiums, will watch first match today (More)
WEEKEND READS.

I Started the Media Men List. 

The Cut | Moira Donegan. The anonymous creator of a secret, crowd-sourced Google document listing men in the media for women to beware of outs herself in this essay in the face of growing uproar. (Read
 

Why Pakistan Supports Terrorist Groups. 

Brookings | Vanda Felbab-Brown. On the heels of Trump's decision to freeze military aid to Pakistan, an in-depth look at the country's complicated relationship with terrorist networks. (Read)
 

The Beginning of the End for the Patriots? 

ESPN | Seth Wickersham. The much-discussed and also much-denied-by-the-organization look at a potential split between Brady, Belichick, and owner Bob Kraft. (Read)
 

Mystery of the Exiled Billionaire Whistle-Blower. 

New York Times | Lauren Hilgers. Guo Wengui, a billionaire real estate developer chased from China in 2015, has exposed a phenomenal web of corruption in China’s ruling elite - if you can believe him (paywall). (Read)
 

The Grandparenting Generation. 

New Republic | Sarah Jones. Almost 2.7 million households have a grandparent as the primary caretaker of a child, nearly doubling the amount since 2009 and paring two vulnerable populations under a single roof. (Read)
ETCETERA.
Netflix newest must-see show is just under 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Japanese game show pits three soccer stars versus 100 little kids (the pros score). 

The eSports revolution is here - Overwatch League's launch drew 300k viewers and ESPN covered it

Your college major can predict your health later in life

The world's smallest wildcat is pretty cute (and probably a killing machine).

Find your doppelganger in museum portraits using this app

Compare photos Paris with its Chinese replica.  

We should all be spending more time in saunas.  

Clickbait: Alligators frozen during the cold snap have thawed and they are grouchy. 

Historybook: HBD Jack London (1876); HBD Joe Frazier (1944); HBD Howard Stern (1954); RIP Agatha Christie (1976); Earthquake in Haiti kills 100,000+ (2010).
"LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS A MATTER OF HOLDING GOOD CARDS, BUT SOMETIMES, PLAYING A POOR HAND WELL."
-Jack London
 
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