Sunday News Roundup 1/5/20: Kosher Thailand Hotel, Mexican Jail Mileage Run, Jeopardy GOAT, Fugitive Ex-Nissan CEO Escape, EgyptAir Coverup, And More!

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Some stories and deals don’t get their own post, but should get some coverage. Here are some quick takes on stories that caught my eye.

View previous roundups and commentary here.


Featured Trip Reports Of The Day

 

  • DD trip report:

In 2014 I shared a trip report compiled from several trips to Kauai Island:

 


Is The Renaissance Koh Samui Becoming A Year-Round Kosher Hotel?

This YNet article in Hebrew was posted on the DDFB group implying that the Renaissance Koh Samui was going kosher year-round, with a synagogue and separate beaches for men and women. YNet calls it the first venture of its kind in Thailand.

I contacted the hotel and they said there is no full time kosher program at the hotel and there are no separate beaches. However they do have a kosher Passover program.

The hotel referred me to Chabad, which does indeed deliver excellent kosher meals in Thailand. We loved the Chabad restaurants in Phuket and Chiang Mai!

I contacted the author of the article for more information, but it seems to me like it’s just a mix up.

Hit the comments if you have any information otherwise!


The Mileage Run That Led To A Night In A Mexican Jail

This Twitter thread (Disclaimer: Language is NSFW) chronicles the unbelievable journey of Andrew Kimmel going on a mileage run to qualify for American Platinum Pro status.

In 2006 I went on a 36 hour mileage run to earn 6 figures of miles and and elite status for under $200. And I took my family on a JetBlue mileage run a few years ago to pick up over 300K miles on the cheap. But for the most part mileage running to earn miles is dead.

In this case, Mr. Kimmel went on a mileage run to spend enough money to retain his status. American Platinum Pro status requires that you fly 75,000 miles and spend $9,000 on AA flights. He flew enough miles, but was $275 short spending $9,000. American wanted $1,875 to maintain the status without meeting that threshold, so he booked a flight to Cabo for a fraction of that in order to requalify.

Elite status becomes less and less valuable each year, while it becomes more and more expensive to attain. Most people would be far better off just being a free agent, especially if they can’t get top-tier status, which at least has some meaningful benefits.

He fell victim to a bar scam where they gave him a bill of more than $300 for 2 beers. The bartender took his wallet and passport and the corrupt Mexican police were in on the scam and locked him up in jail overnight until he was bailed out by someone who may or may not have been in on the scam and/or fell in love with him. Fun times indeed.

The bar posted this video that they claim proves his guilt, but actually seems to show the scam as he refuses the champagne (“No, it’s you”) and they give it to the girl next to him, also likely in on the scam. And that’s likely why they have that video in the first place.

At any rate, American confirmed that Mr. Kimmel did indeed fly to Cabo and their social media team, one of the worst in the business, managed to compose this tone-deaf tweet while he was just starting his rant.

After I had to bribe my way out of a bogus ticket just minutes after landing in Cancun in order to get back my license and passport, I can’t say I have much of a desire to return to Mexico. This story just reinforces that.


An Epic Jeopardy Battle Will Air On Tuesday. I Can’t Wait! 

Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, the 3 biggest winners of all time, will face off starting on Tuesday evening on ABC in prime time at 8pm EST in a series of one hour showdowns. Whichever contestant has the most winnings over the 2 games in the match will win that match. The first to win 3 matches wins $1,000,000 and the title of Jeopardy GOAT, while the others will take home $250,000. The shows will continue until someone wins 3 matches.

As a Jeopardy fan I’m stoked for the showdown!

I think that James will prove hard to beat due to his killer combo of encyclopedic knowledge and always perfect betting strategy, but Brad and Ken are also excellent players who will likely emulate James’ strategy, so it’s really anyone’s game.

Who do you think will be crowned GOAT?


Carlos Ghosn Pulled Off The Most Unbelievable Escape Of All Time

The entire Carlos Ghosn saga fascinates me and this Bloomberg article has the full scoop.

He was Nissan CEO, flying high, controlling 3 major automakers (Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi), and was known as “Le Costcutter” before Nissan accused him of financial misconduct.

He was arrested after being lured back to Japan, a country with a 99.9% conviction rate. He says higher ups in Japan were unhappy about losing autonomy and fabricated charges, while Nissan says he siphoned off money for years.

On the day that Nissan was forced to stop monitoring him while he was under house arrest, he managed to take a bullet train to Osaka, hide in an audio gear box, and catch a private jet from Osaka to his home country of Lebanon, via Istanbul. A former Green Beret helped him avoid detection via a Japanese security flaw and escape from a country where Ghosn thought he would never have a fair trial.

With an Interpol red notice out for him, he will probably spend the rest of his days in Lebanon, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan. But that sure beats a Japanese prison.

The Japanese have to be embarrassed about this situation. I doubt they’re going to let fellow former Nissan detainee Greg Kelly escape like Mr. Ghosn.

Mr Ghosn is expected to hold a press conference on the escape on Wednesday, but I can’t wait for the movie! 😀


EgyptAir Flight 804 Coverup 

EgyptAir claimed that flight 804 from Paris to Cairo was downed by a terrorist’s bomb. The WSJ writes that the airline blocked investigations that show it was actually felled by shoddy maintenance.

EgyptAir did all that they could to cover up that story and block outside investigators from uncovering the truth.

Ironically, EgyptAir spent years claiming that flight 990 from JFK to Cairo was accidental and not downed by terrorism, while most sources pointed to the co-pilot downing the plane in an act of suicide and/or terror.

Either way, I think I’ll pass on flying EgyptAir…


Vox And Ami Horowitz Tackle Anti-Semitism In NYC 

In a surprisingly balanced article, Vox tries to tackle the thorny question of anti-Semitism in NYC.

The writer posits that debunked conspiracy theories spread among blacks about Jews is certainly a cause of anti-Semitism. The writer also discusses anti-Orthodox and anti-Hasidic prejudice. Left unclear is why blacks and Jews don’t seem to have problems in other mixed communities outside of NYC.

I spent a year in yeshiva in Crown Heights and was egged along with a friend one night (not on Halloween) by a group of African Americans. It’s not something I’ve experienced elsewhere and it reminded me how good I had it growing up in Cleveland.

So, what is it about NYC?

Ami Horowitz hit the streets and says most people in Brooklyn blame it on class warfare:

 

Ironically, class warfare is something that is stoked by politicians that profess to stand against violence and hate. Class warfare may get votes, but it also causes needless hatred and violence. Politicians like Rashida Tlaib only care about attacks on Jews if they’re instigated by white supremacists. Anti-Semitism certainly isn’t limited to the right or the left of the political spectrum and the causes of it on both sides need a deep examination before things get even worse.

Clearly more Jews live in NYC that anywhere else in America, but why do you think NYC suffers from a disproportionately high amount of anti-Semitic attacks compared to the rest of the country?


Travis Kalanick Is Done With Uber

Uber’s co-founder has severed all ties with the company.

Kalanick was forced out as CEO in 2017 and now he has sold off all his stock and is stepping down from the board.

The problem with Uber is that it isn’t likely to be profitable until self-driving cars are around. Kalanick correctly assessed that threat and bought off self-driving pioneers like Anthony Levandowski. The only problem was that Levandowski allegedly stole trade secrets from Google and it wound up costing Uber big time.

If self-driving is won by companies like Google and Tesla, I’m not sure where that leaves Uber. I’d guess that Mr. Kalanick agrees with that assessment and happily took his chips off the table.


If You Pack Expensive Things, Don’t Be Surprised When They’re Stolen

This is a good reminder that what you pack may not get to its final destination.

While the airline and credit cards may wind up covering stolen items, it’s sure to be a hassle. I once had a bag ripped open and destroyed by an airline and was reimbursed, but it’s not fun collecting receipts for everything that was in the bag.

Don’t pack what you can’t afford to lose.

Have you had items stolen from your luggage?


Y2K+20: NYC Parking Meter Fail

Y2K never turned into the Armageddon that was predicted by many, but 2020 was programmed to be the end of the line for NYC parking meters.

I just find it hilarious that somebody thought it was a good idea to program an end date of 2019 for a parking meter, instead of say, 2999 for Y3K.

Even more mind boggling is that each meter has to be manually fixed in person.

Maybe it was just someone trying to keep their buddies employed?


A Stunning Timelapse of LAX

DDF member AJK sent me this amazing LAX timelapse! Almost makes you forget just how terrible the airport is 😀


Helpful Link: AMEX Old Interface

The new AMEX interface makes it too hard to view the balances of all of your cards on one screen.

It says it’s going away next month, but for now you can use this link to access the old interface.

Why companies insist on removing useful functionality is beyond my comprehension.


Share your thoughts on these stories or post a comment about what other stories that I missed!


Previous roundups

Catch up on what you missed!

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29 Comments On "Sunday News Roundup 1/5/20: Kosher Thailand Hotel, Mexican Jail Mileage Run, Jeopardy GOAT, Fugitive Ex-Nissan CEO Escape, EgyptAir Coverup, And More!"

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@dan

What happened to “Sunday News Rounup”?

Jeff

What’s your opinion on giving Egyptair my passport info? If we want to open accounts for the whole family and merge them to gain status on Star Alliance, they ask for everyone’s passports. Are they selling the info?????

Ari

Are you able to put in fake passport numbers?

Ari

How do you read WSJ for free?

Ari

Look at the best deals of the decade.

yy

Your public library probably has an online account you can use from home.

Danfan

this roundup is a dud 🙁

Ari

Why’s that?

Eli

What a great roundup this week! We couldn’t afford to miss it another week.
(To tackle your question, how many Blacks have Jewish landlords in CLE?)

PM

Love these roundups. Thank you Dan.

Maifriend

Flew from Bangkok to SFO last summer and got my Bose noise cancelling earbuds stolen while in my checked luggage.

Fjdo

Lost my suitcase on a direct ElAl flight- still mourning its loss

JR

That time lapse. Wow! So many expletives to explain the feeling of watching that but I’ll just simply say freaking amazing! Thank you for sharing!

Work-for-ur-muny

I would probably put my money on James to be the GOAT. He’s the most recent and freshly into things. The others are rusty by now. They are obviously brushing up and preparing, but still.

chaz

keep em coming! great read. tx guru

Andy

Thanks for the jeopardy reminder. Totally forgot about that.

Mendy

What about that ticket in Mexico was bogus?

joel2

RIP Amex old interface..
canceled Cancun vacation after talking to a few friends.

12345

its not safe?

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