RocaNews - 🌊 New Country Drop?

June 29, 2022

Yesterday, a reader shared a fascinating connection to Part 1 of the Jim Jones story. At the urging of friends, she once attended service at the People's Temple. As she was leaving early, a Jones disciple warned her, "Do you know that very bad things happen to people that leave the service before the end?"

Well, she's still waiting to find out.

In today's edition:

  • Scotland going single?
  • 101-yo gets prison sentence
  • Story of Jonestown, Pt. 2
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 Key Stories

Maxwell Sentenced to 20 Years

Ghislaine Maxwell, former partner of Jeffrey Epstein, was convicted to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking

  • Maxwell, age 60, was convicted of assisting Epstein in sexually assaulting multiple teenage girls. Epstein died in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial
  • Maxwell called Epstein “a manipulative, cunning, and controlling man” in her final statement, and said meeting him was “the greatest regret of my life.” Her lawyers asked the judge for a 5-year sentence
  • In her ruling, the judge said that Maxwell “played a pivotal role in facilitating sexual abuse.” Prosecutors asked the judge to give her 30–55 years in prison
Dig Deeper
  • The charges stem from accusations that Epstein and Maxwell lured dozens of underage girls to his Manhattan and Palm Beach mansions to give massages and sexual acts. The girls were often lured with promises of gifts or money and told to recruit their friends as well

Scotland to Hold 2nd Referendum

Scotland’s leader announced plans for a second independence referendum to be held in October 2023

  • Scotland has been a part of the United Kingdom (UK), a sovereign nation that includes the territories of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, since 1707
  • Although 55% of Scottish voters opted to remain in the UK in a similar 2014 referendum, Scotland’s ruling party believes that discontent with Brexit and other key issues may have shifted public opinion
  • Scotland’s leader expressed her desire to hold the vote in a “legal, constitutional” manner. It is unclear if UK PM Boris Johnson will support the vote
Dig Deeper
  • In the Brexit vote, in which the UK opted to leave the European Union (EU), only 38% of Scottish voters chose to leave the EU as opposed to England's 53.4% and Wales's 52.5%, a stark difference

Sweden and Finland to Join NATO

The leaders of NATO, a US-led defense organization, have agreed to allow Finland and Sweden to join after Turkey lifted its veto on their membership

  • The addition of both states — the largest expansion of NATO in decades — deals a strategic blow to Russia, which shares an 810-mile (1,300 km) border with Finland. Preventing the expansion of NATO was one of Putin’s primary objectives in invading Ukraine
  • The decision came as NATO’s members met at a summit that a leading official predicted would “fundamentally shift” its strategy for the future
  • NATO will also fortify its eastern flank and increase the size of its “rapid reaction force”
Dig Deeper
  • Previously, Turkey had resisted allowing both Nordic countries to join out of a long-standing disagreement over their lenient policies towards the Kurdistan Worker's Party, a Kurdish political organization that Turkey sees as terrorist

Flint Water Crisis Charges Dismissed 

Michigan’s Supreme Court dismissed charges against state officials linked to the Flint water crisis

  • The crisis started in 2014, when the city of Flint began drawing lead-contaminated water from the Flint River. Over 16+ months, 9 residents died and many others were harmed by the high lead content
  • In a 6-0 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the charges against officials, including former Governor Rick Snyder, were invalid based on irregular procedural methods used
  • Although the state settled with Flint residents for $626M last year, state officials have yet to face criminal prosecution for their role in the crisis
popcorn Popcorn
  • Oh, the irony: Top accounting firm Ernst & Young is being fined $100M after admitting to its employees cheating on their ethics exams
  • Game, set, donezo: Serena Williams was eliminated in a final-set tiebreak in the first round of Wimbledon, her first match in a year
  • Bed, Bath, & Burning: Analysts have accused Bed Bath & Beyond of shutting off AC at stores nationwide as part of its cost-cutting efforts

  • Grandpa, is that you? Early human ancestors in South Africa were even 1M years older than previously thought, per new cave findings
  • Better late than never: A 101-yo German man was sentenced to 5 years in prison for allegedly working as a Nazi concentration camp guard
  • Put the shampoo down! An Italian town has forbidden barbers and hair stylists from shampooing hair twice amid a water shortage

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
Who owned the role of the Joker more? 
Heath Ledger
Joaquin Phoenix

Today's Question:

Should there be a soda tax? Please *sips Coke Zero* elaborate.

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

 Roca Wrap

Today's Wrap is part 2 of a 3 part series on the story of Jonestown, the US-based cult that gave rise to mass suicide in a remote South American jungle.

By 1973, Jim Jones was a well-known Pentecostal preacher with thousands of followers. But his progressive church, the People’s Temple, was starting to garner a reputation as a cult. As public scrutiny grew, Jones decided to move his congregation from San Francisco. But to where?
In several of his “contingency plans,” Jones proposed relocating the church to Canada, Russia, or a Caribbean island. Yet he chose Guyana, a small, impoverished South American nation, due to its socialist politics, English-speaking citizens, and policy of not sending people to face criminal charges abroad. Deep in the Guyanese jungle, Jones leased 3,000 acres.
In 1977, Jones announced that he and 500+ Temple followers would relocate to Guyana, where they would found “Jonestown,” a model socialist utopia. Jones described the community as the “purest communists there are.” Jones’ wife summed up the mentality: “[We are] dedicated to live for socialism, total economic and racial and social equality. We are living communally.”
Life in Jonestown – which operated independently from Guyanese authorities – was difficult. Every resident worked 12+ hours a day, 6 days a week. After work, residents were required to attend educational seminars about socialism and current events. Jones gave these lectures himself, often weaving paranoid conspiracy theories about supposedly subversive efforts by the CIA to destroy Jonestown and undermine its socialist mission. All outside information was heavily censored and interpreted by Jones for its underlying meaning.
Despite the low quality of life, though, Jones’ supporters continued to arrive. At its peak in 1978, 900+ people lived in Jonestown, 70%+ of whom were African American.
The same behavior that had raised media attention in California continued to escalate. Followers weren’t permitted to leave, and armed guards constantly patrolled the perimeter of the town. Parents were separated from their children and often blocked from seeing them for long periods. Residents accused of crimes were arbitrarily assigned punishments, including being left overnight in “torture holes.” Jones’ control over the compound was absolute: Throughout the day, his voice could be heard relaying news and spreading socialist propaganda from a megaphone.
Within a year, discontent with Jones led some followers to defect. The most prominent of these “deserters” was Tim Stoen, a lawyer and former senior leader of the People’s Temple. Tim’s wife, Grace, had a son with Jones; after they deserted, Jones refused to let the child join his parents. This incident prompted Tim Stoen to file a lawsuit against Jones in a Guyana court.
The incident exacerbated Jones’ paranoia. His speeches grew increasingly cataclysmic, and he started warning of conspiracies and threats everywhere. Soon after the Stoen incident, he began “White Nights” – mandatory rehearsals of what residents should do in case of emergency. On several occasions, Jones lined up his followers and pressured them to drink what turned out to be fake poison. He started talking about “revolutionary suicide” as a means to avoid imprisonment.
By 1978, Jones’ health was failing. He suffered frequent bouts of weakness, delirium, and convulsions, and reportedly lost a significant amount of weight after suffering several strokes. He also started abusing prescription drugs, including quaaludes, Valium, and barbiturates.
Thousands of miles away in the US, concerned family members were putting pressure on government officials to investigate the cult at Jonestown.
One prominent California politician decided to travel to Jonestown to talk to its leader directly. He wouldn’t return.
Check back tomorrow for the final installment of this wrap series!

If you have thoughts, let us know at!
Future Wrap ideas or requests? Let us know!

 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Which city would you rather visit for a weekend? 
Austin: 36.8%
Nashville: 63.2%

Yesterday's Question:

What's the most useful invention of the last 100 years? Why?

Maggie from North Carolina: "The (adjustable) memory foam pillow - cause who wants to lay their head on a piece of wood? Or better yet… a pile of hay"

Jacob from Virginia: "The ONLY answer is air conditioning. Humankind can now control the weather lol."

LuAnn from Florida: "I'm going to go with DNA fingerprinting back in 1984. How it has helped crime investigations is beyond any words as well as setting free wrongly accused people of crimes they did not commit. No one can hide because the evidence is there no matter how small."

  RocaNews Shoutout:

Thanks to a Roca Rider Isaac from Vancouver, Canada who referred 10+ friends to The Current! As a thank you, we're shouting out an Instagram page important to them: sneaker.sundae, their shoe page on Instagram!
Today's Clue (Day 2 of 4):

Easiest to hang out with me on new and full moons, twice a day
Clue 1: Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning...

Each newsletter this week contains a clue about a landmark in the United States. Thursday's newsletter will contain a bonus clue, which is automatically unlocked by referring 2 people to this newsletter. In total there will be 5 clues about 1 landmark.

This week, first place takes home $250; second and third place take home $100 each. 

You get one guess, which you submit by replying to a newsletter with a Google street view screenshot.


 Final Thoughts

We are on the precipice of an incredibly exciting milestone for the newsletter. We expect to share the news tomorrow and want to thank you for your incredible support of our mission that has taken us there.

Now, back to the salt mines. And by the salt mines we mean the greasy breakfast sandwiches we have on our desks which have way too much sodium.

- Max and Max

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