The Not Fake News Update, 20 February 2023

There was a massive earthquake on the Turkey-Syria Border, a huge rail spill in Ohio, and Russia is still invading Ukraine (or vice-versa, to hear Russia tell it). It’s a busy time in the news, and as is usual, if we pay too much attention to the top headlines we’re naturally going to miss a lot that’s going on outside of the immediate spotlight.

Enter the Update: Your source for news every couple of weeks, whether there’s anything to talk about or not!

– Former president Jimmy Carter has entered hospice care. After defeating cancer twice, Carter has decided that he wants to spend his remaining time peacefully at home. Carter went from a one-term president who lost re-election in one of the biggest landslides since George Washington to a revered statesman and icon of charity over four decades of retirement. In an unrelated story, I’ve decided to retire from politics.

– Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, former Ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, and former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, has announced her candidacy for President of the United States. A staunch Republican, Haley is one of the few major figures to have navigated the Trump presidency relatively unscathed, and is perhaps the only prominent politician that Donald Trump doesn’t hate.

– In sportsball news, the annual super sportsball competition took place, with one team defeating another for the sportsball victory. Commentators have concluded that this victory was largely due to the number of points scored, in combination with who scored them. This marks the end of this sportsball season, as several other forms of sportsball are even now beginning efforts to ramp up sports games of their own.

– During one of the nastiest winters on record, Canada has just decided, “Enough!” Significant elements of the Royal Canadian Navy are deploying to the Caribbean even as massive snowfall settles across Alberta and Saskatchewan, followed by a projected weeks-long period of arctic cold. The naval vessels anticipate conducting what they refer to as “intelligence-gathering activities” off Gulf-coast beaches, centering in an area just off Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Prime Minister Trudeau, during a “conference” that allegedly took place in Nassau this past week, announced that the move would be made under his personal supervision.

– A balloon animal sculpture, entitled merely “Dog”, was destroyed by an inadvertent kick from a patron. The sculpture, one of 799 copies… well, 798, now… was of insured for $42,000. Representatives of the artist were aghast; a spokesman for the gallery said, “Well, these things happen, which is why we have insurance. And sturdy lightweight plexiglass display stands, of course.” The display stand was undamaged, and is expected to be used to hold another copy of the sculpture on the gallery’s annual Toddler’s Day.

– Militants killed people in Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, the Philippines, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Haiti, Myanmar, the Middle East, the Far East, much of equatorial Africa, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and an awful lot of other countries. Various reasons were presented for the various violent acts of revolutionaries and freedom fighters, but we couldn’t care less.

– There was “no appreciable damage” as a result of any of the 23 reported train derailments in the United States over the past two weeks (aside from the one in Ohio). More than 1700 derailments are reported in this country annually; most are relatively harmless. Meanwhile, rail remains the primary method of transport for oil shipments from Canada to refineries in Louisiana, and more than 150,000 gallons of crude is shipped daily, with annual spills amounting to some 800,000 gallons — six times the amount spilled from all pipelines in the nation.

– Speaking of Ohio: New electric braking technology might well have prevented the cascade failure that led to the East Palestine toxic fires after the 20-car Norfolk Southern freight derailment. However, contrary to news and social media reports, those braking systems were never intended to be deployed on trains of this nature, and recent laws about such brakes would have had nothing to do with this disaster even if they hadn’t been repealed. Further, there is no suspicion of sabotage or attack by UFO, as the decayed nature of American rail infrastructure is sufficient explanation.

-Speaking of UFOs, several have been detected and shot down across North America recently, and another led to the closing of airspace in Rumania and Moldova. At least one was a weather-style balloon launched from mainland China, whereas others may well have been the property of civilian balloon enthusiasts. One, detected over mainland China, has no known origin, and the shapes vary from that of normal weather balloons to triangles and at least one octagon. Representatives of the federal agency in charge of such events, identified tentatively as the No Such Agency, are with us here in the studio, and have this to say:

– And in other news, Cambodia has closed down the Voice of Democracy media outlet on the grounds that it was responsible for personal damage to the prime minister and his son. Similarly, a court in Minsk has sentenced opposition figure Anderzej Poczobut to eight years in prison for criticizing Belorusan President Lukashenko, who is in fact an uncultured jackass and a boor.

– Sri Lanka has banned plastic plants — not factories producing plastic goods, but rather artificial flowers and other unnatural constructions disguising themselves as vegetable matter, citing pollution concerns. This ban is aimed at protecting elephants, who apparently have a tendency to eat them, which clogs their digestive systems. Other items on the forbidden list include cocktail shakers and disposable silverware.

– A new invasive mosquito that thrives year-round rather than seasonally has been detected in Kenya, where it has been linked with an increase in cases of malaria. The parasitic disease presently kills two thirds of a million people annually, mainly in central Africa, which is likely the only reason it hasn’t been eliminated.

– THIS JUST IN: EPSTEIN STILL DEAD. Apparently, officials investigating his multi-page client list have still been unable to discover anyone who might possibly be implicated in criminal activity surrounding his alleged sex-for-influence parties.

And that’s all the news that is news, plus as usual some that isn’t. Curiously enough, the story about the Canadian Navy is actually completely true, as is the central theme of every other item reported in this Update. We may have exaggerated slightly about Toddler’s Day at the art gallery, however.

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