2.19.2020

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Need to Know
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Bloomberg Joins the Party
Democratic presidential candidates descend on Las Vegas tonight for the ninth primary debate (8pm ET, NBC), which comes just ahead of Saturday's Nevada caucuses. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) enters the night fresh off winning the New Hampshire primary and leading Democratic polls in the state, but dominating the headlines is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he makes his first appearance onstage. The billionaire has flooded airwaves targeting Super Tuesday - 34% of delegates will be awarded as 14 states vote March 3 - while skipping votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, and won't appear on the Nevada primary ballot at all. Joining Sanders and Bloomberg will be Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Joe Biden, each of which have knocked Bloomberg as representing the billionaire class while accusing him of trying to buy the nomination.

Track each of the candidate's television spending here.
Locust Swarms
Hundreds of billions of locusts that have ravaged East Africa have begun moving into South Sudan officials said yesterday, bringing the worst swarm in decades to a country where 60% of the population is already food insecure. The current outbreak began in October 2018 after a tropical storm in the Red Sea created favorable breeding conditions. Individual swarms can be the size of small cities ($$, Bloomberg), containing more than 300 million insects per square mile. The migratory bugs are voracious eaters, consuming their own body weight in food each day - scientists say even a small swarm can polish off enough crops to feed 35,000 people each day. The United Nations called on the international community to provide almost $80M to support insecticide treatments in the affected regions - the US pledged at least $8M - though it is unclear if it will be possible to halt the massive swarms.  

Locusts often lead solitary lives until they run into each other, change colors, and start acting gregarious (literally, the process is known as gregarisation). 
Pardons and Commutations
In a slew of high-profile executive decisions, President Trump pardoned former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and commuted the sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday. DeBartolo pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony and paid a $1M fine - but served no prison time - after being caught up in the 1998 corruption scandal of former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards (see background). While in office, Edwards demanded $400,000 from DeBartolo in exchange for a riverboat casino license, which DeBartolo paid before ultimately withdrawing from the project. Former NFL great Jerry Rice led the charge to lobby Trump for the decision. In the latter decision, Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011 for attempting to sell Barack Obama's former Senate seat, will be released after serving eight years. Trump also pardoned or granted clemency to nine others, including financier and philanthropist Michael Milken who was known as the "junk bond king" for developing high yield bonds but pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 1990.
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Answer: Zero. Nada. Goose egg.
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All returns current as of 2/14/2020.

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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Mickey Wright, golf Hall of Famer and 13-time LPGA major champion, dies at 85 (More) | Ja’Net DuBois, Emmy Award-winning actress best known for “Good Times,” dies at 74 (More)
> British rapper Dave wins top prize for Best Album at 2020 BRIT Awards, singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi led with two awards, and Billie Eilish wins best International Female Artist (More)
> Publisher HarperCollins announces two-book deal with LeBron James; “I PROMISE,” a children’s picture book, will be released this August followed by a middle-grade novel next year (More)
Science & Technology
> Prototype device creates electricity from ambient atmosphere; devices can power small electronics and rely on bacteria-produced nanowires to generate electric current from water vapor in the air (More)
> SpaceX inks deal with space tourism company, announces it will orbit four private citizens around the Earth in a version of its Dragon spacecraft by early 2022 (More)
> ElectionGuard, Microsoft's open-source voting-machine software, gets first test in local Wisconsin election (More)
Business & Markets
> International banking giant HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs (More) | Legg Mason to be acquired by fellow mutual fund provider Franklin Templeton for $4.5B (More) | Personal loan provider LendingClub to acquire online bank Radius for $185M (More)
> Employees of crowdfunding giant Kickstarter vote to unionize (More)
> Groupon shares fall 25% after whiffing on revenue and earnings expectations (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Sources say Attorney General William Barr considering stepping down over tweets from President Trump that Barr says interfere with Department of Justice prosecutions; Justice Department spokesperson denies reports (More)
> Corruption trial for Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled for March 17, two weeks after national elections are held (More) | Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani declared winner in disputed Afghanistan election after a five-month delay in vote tally (More)
> Boy Scouts of America declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits; move allows BSA to adjudicate cases in bankruptcy court and establish a victims compensation fund (More) | Bankruptcy 101 (More)
Excellent historical returns, no jargon.
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The Motley Fool was founded by brothers Tom and David Gardner out of their garage in Alexandria, VA. Since then, they’ve grown remarkably, thanks in part to some life-changing stock recommendations. Some highlights:
> Netflix in 2004 (20,468% returns to-date)
> Amazon in 2002 (13,249% returns to-date)
> Tom’s average recommendation: 191% returns
> David’s average recommendation: 619% returns

Today, they’re "all in" on a single stock. Check it out now!
 
All returns current as of 2/14/2020.
 
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Etcetera
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Newly digitized film of individual Marines marks the 75th anniversary of Iwo Jima.
Study says Chicago remains America's most corrupt city.
Most Americans say marriage is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have.

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Chess is becoming the latest esports craze.
China is sterilizing its cash to stop the coronavirus.
The newest threat to honeybees is organized crime.
Historic Plymouth Rock vandalized amid graffiti spree.
This 98-year-old woman has been selling Girl Scout cookies since 1932.
Clickbait: Fred the miniature service horse is back in the friendly skies
Historybook: Thomas Edison granted patent for the phonograph (1878); HBD musician Smokey Robinson (1940); Battle of Iwo Jima begins (1945); HBD musician Seal (1963); RIP “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee (2016).
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