Mexico’s President Raffles Off Plane and Coronavirus Update

Grind for February 6th

“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.” – Duke Ellington

Are You Serious?

The Headline

Mexico’s president is giving away his private airplane

The Grind

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is holding a raffle to get rid of his predecessor’s opulent private aircraft.

The plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, contains a full bedroom, private bath, and conference room. The Dreamliner is “too luxurious for a country as poor as Mexico,” says AMLO, who uses commercial flights to travel.

The Details

The $218.7 million airplane was ordered in 2012 by then-President Felipe Felipe Calderon. It was delivered in 2016 and used by Calderon’s successor, Enrique Pena Nieto.

AMLO announced the raffle this week after failing to find a buyer. Tickets cost $27 and all proceeds will go to hospitals that offer free care for the poor. AMLO hopes to sell up to 6 million tickets.

“It feels like he’s pulling our leg, he must be joking,” says Mexican resident Ramsi Jimenez. Others believe the raffle is designed to distract residents from the nation’s growing homicide rate.

Social media is full of suggestions for the winner, including ideas to transform the 187-foot-long plane into a minibus, a house, or a giant food truck.

In addition to the plane itself, the winner will receive one year of maintenance and a parking spot at a military airfield. The winner will be announced on Cinco de Mayo.


The Headline

Coronavirus update: WHO changes its mind, Philippines confirms first fatality, and China scrambles to build new hospitals

The Grind

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the Chinese coronavirus a “global health emergency” just days after issuing a statement claiming the virus was not a global concern.

“The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China, but what is happening in other countries,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The Details

The US State Department on Friday issued a Level 4 warning for travel to China, warning travelers to “be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice” and reminding those in China that the US Government has little to no ability to help them there.

On Saturday, authorities in the Philippines confirmed the first coronavirus death outside of China. The patient, a 44-year-old resident of Wuhan, died after developing “severe pneumonia due to viral and bacterial infections.” The man’s health showed signs of improvement for several days before taking a sudden plunge.

To date, the coronavirus has infected more than 14,000 people in China and has killed at least 300. The virus has spread to every inhabited continent, with over 170 cases reported in more than 20 countries.

There have been eight confirmed cases in the United States.

In Wuhan, thousands of construction workers are building two new medical facilities to treat and quarantine the growing number of patients. The project broke ground on January 24th.

Critics worry the pace of the project threatens to contaminate the surrounding environment, including residential areas.

Did you know… In 1958, a nuclear bomb was lost somewhere along the swampy coast of Georgia. Its whereabouts remain a mystery to this day.