Summary: “Skimm This” is a weekly news program that breaks down important stories from the past week and adds context and clarity to answer the questions on your mind. Every Thursday evening.
France wants big tech firms to pay a 3 percent tax on profits they make in the country. We’ll explain why the companies are siding with President Trump to push back. Then: authorities in Texas reported a coordinated cyberattack on computer systems in 23 towns. We’ll tell you what we know – and why this is becoming a thing across the US. Also on the show: your warm-up for the new college football season, and scientists are turning apple peels into eco-friendly plastics.
Dueling protests by right-wing and anti-fascist groups in Portland, Oregon over the weekend are raising questions about the definition of domestic terrorism. We’ll break down what happened, and where the law currently stands. Then: Italy is refusing to take in over 100 migrants stuck on a rescue ship. We’ll look at the situation on the boat and in Italian politics. Also on today’s show: the UN is celebrating World Humanitarian Day and scientists have found evidence of a black hole swallowing a neutron star...900 million years ago.
Today North Korea called off peace talks with South Korea and launched its sixth missile test in a month. We’ll examine when and why diplomatic talks turned sour. Then: President Trump has reportedly been floating his most ambitious real estate purchase to date… all of Greenland. It’s put the island in the headlines, but we’ll tell you why we should actually be talking about Greenland. Also on today’s show: state officials are freaking out over election infrastructure, and super-deep diamonds could hold the clues to what Earth looked like billions of years ago.
Thousands of residents in Newark, NJ are grappling with a growing crisis over lead in drinking water. Officials are handing out bottled water instead - and trying to figure out how to fix the pipes. We’ll discuss why lead in drinking water has been a problem across the US, and what officials say should happen next. Then: Israel told Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib that they can’t come to the country. We’ll look at why, and how it might affect US-Israeli relations. Also on today’s show: a look back at the 1969 Woodstock music festival, and tracking Greta Thunberg as she sails across the Atlantic.
The Trump administration is changing immigration rules to make it more difficult for welfare recipients to obtain green cards. We’ll break down the new rules and the arguments being used to defend them. Then: New York is opening a one-year window for survivors of child sex abuse to bring civil lawsuits against their alleged abusers – no matter how long ago the abuse occured. We’ll look at the possible consequences for institutions linked to abuse. Also on today’s show: people are struggling to keep up with massive student loan debt, and amateur beekeepers are causing a buzz in Berlin.
Protesters and riot police clashed at Hong Kong’s International Airport today in ongoing demonstrations against the government. We’ll examine the background of the protests, and how the world is responding. Then: President Trump visited a cracker plant in Pennsylvania today. We’ll explain what cracker plants do, and why Trump was on site. Also on today’s show: scientists are one step closer to a chlamydia vaccine, and two gay penguins are hoping to make a family.
Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide has left his accusers and the public demanding answers about why he was removed from suicide watch. We’ll explain why the federal facility that held him – and the Justice Department – are under scrutiny. Meanwhile, Russia keeps changing its story about a nuclear-powered rocket explosion that killed seven people last week. We’ll examine how Russia’s mysterious actions fit into a possible new arms race. Also on the show: the Trump administration is limiting protections for endangered species, and a new perfume claims to recreate the scent of Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
Imagine a computer downloading footage or photos of you from the internet and using them to create a video of you saying something you’ve never said. Sounds more than a little sinister, right? It might not be a sci-fi thing of the future anymore, thanks to advances in deepfakes. On today’s episode, we take a deep dive into deepfakes – what they are, how they are made, and the headaches they can cause. We’ll look at why lawmakers are concerned about their possible effect on elections, but also how researchers are enlisting other computers in the fight to help us spot - and stop - these videos.
The UN’s latest climate change report says the way we are using land is seriously damaging the planet. We dive into the main findings, what problems we are causing, and what we really need to change. Then, ICE agents arrested some 680 workers at food plants in Mississippi, saying they were not allowed to work in the US. We’ll look at what this means for the workers, their families, and the plants. Also on the show, presidential hopefuls are set to descend on the Iowa State Fair, and scientists are creating ‘Atomik’ vodka from rye grown around Chernobyl.
The Trump admin still has issues with Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro -- and it’s using new sanctions to try to squeeze him out of office. Venezuela calls it “economic terrorism.” We’ll look at whether these sanctions could have their intended effect. Also: today President Trump visited survivors and first responders of the mass shootings in Dayton, OH and El Paso, TX. We’ll look at gun laws in both states. And finally: Monica Lewinsky is producing a TV show about a certain presidential impeachment, and how toilet paper is going eco-friendly.
We’re still learning more about the two mass shootings that took place in Texas and Ohio over the weekend. Lawmakers are placing blame for these acts of violence on a bunch of things: from violent video games, to mental illness, to anti-immigrant hate speech. We’ll explain the arguments being made. Meanwhile: the US is calling China a ‘currency manipulator’. We’ll explain why China weakening its currency is getting people riled up and how it’s connected to the ongoing trade war. Finally, we wrap up with a few words from Toni Morrison – the groundbreaking African American author who passed away on Monday at the age of 88. Her books and essays transformed her into an icon of American literature. We will miss her.
This weekend in the US, there were two deadly mass shootings: one in Texas, and one in Ohio. They were less than 13 hours apart, and at least 31 people were killed. From increasing background checks, to shutting down websites hosting white supremacist content, to making ‘domestic terrorism’ a federal crime, we’ll explain who is calling for what. Meanwhile, tensions between India and Pakistan are running extremely high, after the Indian government announced a plan to revoke the ‘special status’ of the disputed – and until now, largely autonomous – border region of Kashmir. Also on today’s episode: anti-government protesters block the streets of Hong Kong, and Japan is going back to the future with flying cars.
The US officially pulled out of a historic Cold War arms control deal today. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty helped the US and Soviet Union reduce their nuclear stockpiles. But these days, President Trump wants to spend more on new weapons, and so does Russian President Vladimir Putin. We’ll explain why there’s no need to build a bunker just yet. The US has also just made its next move in its trade war with China, and China isn’t thrilled. Also on today’s episode: Saudi women are gaining a bit more freedom, and AI is changing happy hour.
Onstage at last night’s democratic debate, candidates went after each other on their criminal justice records. Things got heated -- and personal. We’ll explain the history here. Meanwhile, rapper A$AP Rocky took the stand in Sweden today. He’s accused of being involved in a fight, and was charged with assault. Rocky says: ‘not guilty.’ And now US officials are backing him up. Also on today’s episode: good news for phone-owners everywhere, and Woodstock 50 organizers face the music.
Medicare for All was all the rage at last night’s democratic debate. And not necessarily in a good way. We’ll tell you why Dems are divided over it, and what to expect for the second part of the debate tonight. Meanwhile: today, the Fed cut interest rates for the first time in a decade. If you’re asking yourself, ‘why now?’ -- you’re not alone. But the Fed chair is telling everyone: think global. We’ll tell you what this news means for your wallet. Also on today’s episode: how one restaurant is taking ‘make lemons out of lemonade’ seriously.