Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya, 24, says she is “safe” after refusing to board a flight to her home country. Timanovskaya, who was set to compete in the women’s 200 meters today, was taken to the airport, against her will, to be repatriated after criticizing her coaches online. She is under police protection in Japan and spent the night at an airport hotel after asking for help on Sunday, saying she feared arrest on return to Belarus — sometimes dubbed Europe’s last dictatorship. The United Nations is now involved; she is reportedly seeking asylum in Poland.(Sources: CNN, BBC, The Guardian)
2. UK, US Claim That Iran Is Behind Deadly Tanker Attack
Iran has denied allegations by Israel, the U.S. and the U.K. that it was behind an attack on a tanker off Oman that killed two crew members last week. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday the apparent drone attack on the oil tanker, which killed a British and a Romanian citizen, was “a violation of international law.” Blinken warned that an “appropriate response” would follow. Recently elected hardliner President Ebrahim Raisi is set to be sworn in Thursday, with talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal expected to recommence soon. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Washington Post, BBC)
3. Afghanistan Criticizes Washington for ‘Abrupt’ Withdrawal
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today blamed the “abrupt” U.S. withdrawal for the war-torn country’s worsening security situation as the Taliban continues to make gains. Ghani said he had warned Washington the troop pullout would have “consequences.” However, he pledged the country would be under control within six months, with the Taliban responding that Ghani’s “time is over, God willing.” Heavy fighting continued overnight in Helmand Province’s Lashkar Gah, with Afghan forces using airstrikes to repel Taliban assaults. Kandahar airport also came under attack by the militants. If Lashkar Gah falls it will be a major blow for the government.(Sources: Al Jazeera, AFP)
Read former Deputy Director of the CIA John McLaughlin’s view on Afghanistan on OZY.
4. Square to Acquire Australian Company Afterpay for $29 Billion
Don’t be square, get tech-savvy. Digital payments platform Square, led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, just offered to purchase Australian fintech company Afterpay for $29 billion in what would be its biggest-ever acquisition. Afterpay allows users to “buy now, pay later” and is a cheaper alternative to a credit card. If customers miss an automated payment their account is blocked until it is repaid.It’s popular with young consumers and doesn’t charge any fees or interest on the loan as long as it’s paid on time. Square says it would integrate Afterpay into its consumer Cash App as well as its product for small businesses. (Sources: Bloomberg, WSJ)
5. Also Important …
Some six months after a military coup, the Myanmar junta has formed a caretaker government and said emergency rule may extend until 2023. Tourists have been evacuated as more than 800 wildfires burn in parts of Italy, with blazes also affecting much of southeast Europe including Greece and Turkey. And Simone Biles has announced she will compete in tomorrow’s balance beam final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Coronavirus Update: China is mass-testing millions of people in Nanjing as it attempts to stem its worst COVID-19 outbreak in months. Australian soldiers have been deployed in Sydney to enforce a strict lockdown.
As we cheer on our favorite teams and athletes in Tokyo, this week on The Carlos Watson Show we celebrate our guests who have participated in the Olympic Games! Today, see a new side of Caitlyn as Olympic gold medalist and reality star Caitlyn Jenner talks parenting, politics and mental health. As one of the country’s most visible trans women, Caitlyn reveals what she thinks were her failures as an activist and spills a couple secrets about the Kardashian/Jenner clan. Watch on Youtube.
Become a financial thriver and survivor with a brand new world from Minecraft. “Fintropolis” shows players how to take their money game to the next level. They’ll learn everything from responsible spending and saving to taxes and making big purchases. All in a super fun way that’s easy to understand. The goal? Increase players’ financial literacy and set them up to lead financially healthy lives. The game was created by Blockworks in collaboration with Ally and was inspired by four interns from Moguls in the Making, a pitch competition that challenges young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs from HBCUs to create impactful business solutions. Their goal with Fintropolis was to help parents and teachers empower players from all backgrounds to build the blocks of financial literacy and practice good money habits. These skills will help them become good financial citizens in the game — and the real world too.
“Lively.” That’s what a zoo in central France dubbed twin panda cubs born today. It’s not a word often associated with adult pandas though, who are notoriously disinterested in having sex. Not so for mum Huan Huan and partner Yuan Zi, who recently turned their attention away from eating bamboo and towards each other — a marathon eight times in a weekend. Zookeepers were bamboozled by the birth of the twins, calling it an “exceptional” event. The cubs won’t be named for another 100 days, but the zoo will pander to China, who loaned them Huan Huan. President Xi Jinping’s wife, Peng Liyuan, will choose their names. (Sources: BBC, AFP)
Send your best names for the two cubs to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll choose the winners!
2. Antisemitism Rife Over Social Media, Study Finds
Social media platforms are failing to curb antisemitic hate online, a new study has found. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok allowed 84% of anti-Jewish posts to remain, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a U.K./U.S. non-profit found, even though the posts violated the platform’s policies. Only 1 in 6 of the 714 posts examined were removed. Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Soros and other prominent Jewish people were common. Facebook bans Holocaust denial but acted on just 10.9% of posts. In response to the study, TikTok and Twitter have vowed to do more to combat online antisemitism. (Sources: The Guardian, Report)
3. Time is Tik(Tock)ing for Young Americans to get Vaxxed
Fight influenza, or rather COVID-19, with influencers? Young people have the lowest vaccination rates of any eligible age group in the U.S. The White House is trying to change that by recruiting social media stars to encourage their peers to get inoculated. While more than two-thirds of people over 50 in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, fewer than half of Americans aged 18-39 are, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some state governments are following suit, paying local micro-influencers, with between 5,000 and 100,000 followers, up to $1,000 a month to promote vaccines.(Sources: NYT)
4. IOC Looking Into ‘X’ Protest by US Medalist Raven Saunders
U.S. women’s shot put silver medalist Raven Saunders became the first athlete to make a podium protest statement at the Tokyo Olympics over the weekend. She crossed her arms above her head in an “X” in solidarity with “oppressed people.” Saunders, who is Black and LGBTQ, took the stand despite International Olympic Committee rules prohibiting athletes from making political statements when receiving their medals. The 25-year-old now risks possible disciplinary action with IOC officials today saying they are “looking into the matter” to consider their next steps. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic committees have said they won’t penalize American athletes for protesting.(Sources: AFP, NPR)
5. Texas-born Italian Sprinter Surprises in Olympic 100 Meters
All eyes this weekend were on Lamont Marcell Jacobs, a hitherto-unknown sprinter who just became the world’s fastest man. The 26-year-old Italian was born in Texas to an African American father and an Italian mother. It’s the first time in 125 years that an Italian has won an Olympic medal in the 100 meters, making Jacobs the successor to now-retired Usain Bolt. Jacobs, who bookmakers had given a 3% chance of winning, made the dash in 9.80 seconds to win the gold. He beat America’s Fred Kerley and Canada’s Andre DeGrasse to the finish line, though still falling short of Bolt’s world record of 9.58.(Sources: AP, NYT)