Dispatches > Looking Ahead
Rex Features via AP

Looking Ahead

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Issue: "The Battle for Africa," Feb. 8, 2014

Feb. 2

With Super Bowl ads costing more than $133,000 per second, online broker E-Trade decided against 30 seconds of advertising time and will be absent from the gallery of Super Bowl ads for the first time in seven years. But, others are picking up the slack. SodaStream will make its Super Bowl debut to take on soda giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi with an ad featuring Scarlett Johansson.

Feb. 7

After six years of production, LEGOs are set to star in a feature-length film. More than half a trillion LEGO blocks have been manufactured since the Danish toy company started in 1949, meaning Warner Bros. is banking on ready-made demand for a film franchise. An ensemble cast including Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, and Chris Pratt will offer voices for the animated film.

Feb. 7

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Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will lead the United States delegation to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. But it’s the absence of President Obama—and the presence of openly gay athletes as part of the delegation—that has Olympic watchers talking. The move is seen as a protest against Russian policies opposing homosexuality.

Feb. 9

Swiss citizens will vote on whether to tighten immigration restrictions in the land-locked country. Supporters of the referendum say the measure will stop mass immigration they say is causing a housing shortage and rising crime rate. The growing push to curb immigration reflects trends in Europe generally where opposition to immigration seems to be rising.

Feb. 14

Estimates from the National Retail Federation had Americans spending more than $18 billion for Valentine’s Day last year. And if form holds, Valentine’s Day 2014 shouldn’t look too different. Historical trends indicate men spend much more than women. In 2013, men planned to spend $176 on average whereas women planned to spend $89 each.

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