From Adidas' and Ye's expensive breakup to Amsterdam dealing with rowdy tourists – Here's your February 13 news briefing
Adidas is in a bit of a pickle with its Yeezy line.
To start off, we're looking into:
The aftermath of Adidas and Ye's breakup
The backstory: Adidas is in a bit of a pickle with its Yeezy line. The German sportswear giant recently cut ties with Yeezy creator Kanye West, aka Ye, after he made controversial and antisemitic comments. The nine-year partnership ended right before Christmas, forcing Adidas to adjust its 2022 earnings outlook, cutting it in half to around €250 million (US$267 million.)
The development: With piles of Yeezy merchandise sitting in its warehouses, the breakup could cost Adidas a massive hit of €1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) in sales. It's estimated it will cost the company €500 million (US$534 million) in operating profits this year alone. The news surprised the stock market, and Adidas shares took a 10% dive in early trading last Friday.
Now, Adidas is trying to figure out what to do with all that leftover Yeezy merchandise and is conducting a strategic review to bounce back and "reignite profitable growth" starting in 2024.
Robinhood wins lawsuit
The backstory: A group of shareholders sued investment platform Robinhood last year, saying the brokerage misled investors ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) in 2021. They said that Robinhood hid important information about its financials and growth potential from the public, pointing to a "severe deterioration" in things like its active users, revenue, assets and other key metrics. They also highlighted a huge drop in crypto trading volume and a plunge in Robinhood's stock price from US$38 to US$6.81.
The development: The judge in the case didn't see things their way. US District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco ruled that Robinhood's disclosures ahead of the IPO were accurate enough and that the drop in key metrics wasn't out of the ordinary. The judge also dismissed the claims against Robinhood's CEO Vladimir Tenev, his team and the big banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, who helped with the IPO underwriting.
Iran's state TV hacked
The backstory: The Iranian Revolution happened in 1979 when different groups like the secularists, Islamists and leftists all united to overthrow the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He’d gotten power through a coup in 1953 with the support of Western countries, like the US and the UK, that overthrew the democratic leadership. When the revolution began, it was with the hopes of bringing back democracy and booting out the autocratic Shah. After his removal, the Islamic Republic was installed, which modern critics accuse of also being autocratic and against dissent.
More recently: Toward the end of last year, the death of Mahsa Amini after being detained by the morality police triggered international demonstrations against the Islamic Republic. To deal with this unrest, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s government has arrested thousands of protesters and executed some people whose crimes were linked to the demonstrations. The ongoing protests have since become less about the morality police and law enforcement and more anti-government overall.
The development: The 44th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution was on Saturday. During the anniversary ceremony in Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi blamed “enemies” for causing the unrest, specifically the US and allies. But during his speech, a hacker group interrupted the broadcast with footage of a masked person encouraging more street protests and for Iranians to take their money out of banks. The broadcast returned to live coverage of Raisi after several seconds.
To end, we'll look into:
Amsterdam’s tourism problem
Amsterdam has gained an international reputation that has turned it into a major tourism hotspot. The city has a lot to offer – quaint buildings, iconic canals, clusters of tulips, fun food and museums like the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. While plenty of people go to this Dutch city to enjoy these pieces of culture, plenty more come for … other things. Like drugs and hookers.
Apart from exploring these things, some tourists take advantage of the fact that Amsterdam allows recreational marijuana and hallucinogenic mushroom use. And it also has its Red Light District, where prostitution is legal, and the nightlife is more lively. You can imagine how rowdy tourists act when they have access to these things, and all of this is starting to give Amsterdam a bad look.
"Some businesses misuse Amsterdam's image to sell it as a place of 'unlimited possibilities,'" said Deputy Mayor Sofyan Mbarki in a statement. "As a result, some groups of visitors think of it as a city where anything goes. This kind of tourism, as well as offerings specifically targeting these groups, is not considered desirable by the Municipal Executive."
Recently Amsterdam made some new proposals to limit undesirable tourism. A few months ago, Mayor Femke Halsema started pushing for a temporary ban on non-residents in coffee shops, which is where weed is sold. So, only Dutch national residents would have direct access to the drug. The policy hasn't come into effect, but it's just one of the ways that the government has been testing the waters of controlling hooligan travelers.
Now, some real changes are going to happen in Amsterdam. The city is putting a ban on smoking weed in the Red Light District. Halsema explained, "This should reduce the nuisance caused by drug use in public spaces, particularly by tourists." Misbehaved visitors often end up bothering or harassing the sex workers in that section of the city, and residents there also find them disturbing. Another new rule was also put in place, making the prostitution businesses and bars/cafes close earlier than before.
The new policies will go into effect this May.
In other news ...
💔Turkey and Syria earthquake: After last week’s shocking earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, rescuers are still finding survivors in the rubble in both countries. The death toll has now passed 33,000. But, there is still hope, with people continuing to be rescued even after days of being trapped.
💣Russia’s renewed offensive: Over the past few weeks, things have simmered on the war front for Ukraine, with Russia preparing a new offensive. Last Friday, Russia came back forcefully, sending strategic bombers, cruise missiles and killer drones to attack all over Ukraine. With Ukraine expecting these renewed strikes, its military was able to down a lot of missiles and drones.
🤝Biden and Lula hang out: The US and Brazil have similar recent political histories, with Trump and Bolsonaro being compared to one another and each of their governments being stormed by citizens contesting election results. On Friday, Biden and Lula met for the first time since Lula became president. They agreed to work together to create stronger ties, bolster democracy and fight climate change.
🛢Russia cutting oil output: Over the past few months, the EU and the G7 have been trying to weaken Russia by restricting its oil trade. But Russia has been countering those restrictions by limiting the oil supply. Russia just announced it’ll be cutting crude oil production by half a million barrels per day starting in March, probably in response to more oil sanctions from the EU.
🚀Russian spacecraft setback: A Russian supply ship docked at the International Space Station leaked coolant over the weekend. Luckily, the hatch between the station and the ship was already locked, so the issue hasn’t put any of the station’s crew in danger.
🤰Pregnant Russians flying to Argentina: In the past few months, thousands of Russian women have entered Argentina and given birth. Argentina believes the women are trying to have their babies there so they can get Argentinian citizenship. But the women have been saying they’re visiting as tourists.
😮Mayor of Toronto’s affair scandal: The conservative mayor of Toronto, John Tory, has been caught in an affair scandal, having been with a former staffer while she worked for him. On Friday, he said he’d be resigning from office.
💻ChatGPT-fever hits China: Microsoft’s ChatGPT AI bot still isn’t available in China, but the phenomenon has gotten a lot of interest there. Other tech firms are trying to create their own similar programs, competing to introduce something comparable ASAP.
🐄“Cow Hug Day” is canceled: Last week, India’s government called for Valentine’s Day to be celebrated as “Cow Hug Day” to promote Hindu values that consider cows sacred. But now, the government has canceled Cow Hug Day after it got a lot of criticism for pushing Hindu nationalism.
🍄A different kind of magic mushroom: Based on a new study from the University of Queensland, eating Lion’s Mane mushrooms could be better for our brains than we ever thought. According to the study, active compounds in this mushroom can help promote neural growth and enhance memory.
🦜Bird brains: We all know that birds are pretty smart, especially parrots. But now, the Goffin’s cockatoo has been shown to be especially clever when it comes to using tools. It’s been named the third species (after humans and chimps) that uses tools and carries around toolkits for solving future problems. Indonesian scientists observed the bird using tools in three different ways – wedging, cutting and spooning – to get seeds out of fruits.
⚡A shocking experience: On Friday, Brazil’s famous statue Christ the Redeemer was struck by a bolt of lightning, and the whole thing was caught by a photographer named Fernando Braga. This isn’t the first time the statute has been hit by lightning, but the stunning pics have gone viral on social media.
📷And still more weird celeb fashion: Famous singer Sam Smith turned heads this weekend when they showed up in a rubber-looking, oddly shaped ensemble at the 2023 BRIT Awards. How do you even sit down in that thing?
Editors note: A correction was made to this article, which previously unintentionally misgendered artist Sam Smith, who uses the pronouns they/them.
Written and put together by Joey Fung, Vanessa Wolosz, Shebby Farooq and Christine Dulion