A police officer wept, a Republican congressman fought back tears. The first day’s hearing of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was a highly emotional one. Four police officers gave first-hand accounts of the attempted insurrection, with Harry Dunn, who is Black, relaying how he was racially abused by rioters who supported former president Donald Trump, adding, “a hit man sent them.” Policeman and Iraq war veteran Aquilino Gonell described how he needed surgery for his injuries. A third, Michael Fanone, described how rioters threatened to kill him with his own gun. The select committee is now reviewing the testimony and could hold another hearing in August. (Sources: Washington Post, NYT, CNN)
2. Masks On! CDC Changes Rule After COVID Surge
It’s like a tempestuous romance — on again, off again. The CDC says some vaccinated Americans need to don masks again in high-risk public places, reversing the policy just two months after saying the inoculated could move about uncovered. The advice would apply to states like Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana, where the Delta variant, reportedly striking even vaccinated Americans, has driven new infection rates above 50 per 100,000 residents. Countrywide all teachers and students should wear masks, the CDC said, as schools prepare to reopen for the fall. President Joe Biden’s administration is now weighing whether to require all federal employees to get shots. (Sources: NYT, NPR)
What do you think? Will you be following the CDC advice to wear a mask in public places again? Tell us here.
3. Hungary’s Opposition Hungry for Answers About Pegasus Leaks
Are they listening? Opposition politicians are calling for ministers of Hungary’s far-right government to resign following reports that they sought to target journalists and activists with Pegasus spyware. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s likely election challenger, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, called for the justice minister to resign. The numbers of at least five journalists and an opposition politician appeared on the leaked list made public by the Pegasus Project, a consortium of journalists, prompting hundreds of Hungarians to protest this week over alleged government spying. Orbán, who has brought in anti-LGBTQ legislation, is aiming for a fourth term next spring. (Sources: The Guardian, AP)
4. Google, Apple Post Incredible Profits for Q2
Apple saw record profits in the spring quarter, the iPhone maker announced yesterday, with Google and Microsoft also reporting soaring profits as pandemic-era life remains largely online. Apple posted profits of $21.7 billion in the three months ending June, while Alphabet, which owns Google, doubled its profits, netting $18.5 billion over the same period, and Microsoft racked up $16.5 billion. Altogether the three tech giants saw nearly $57 billion in profits. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the rising delta variant meant “the road to recovery will be a winding one.” (Sources: Fortune, WSJ (sub), Washington Post)
Coronavirus Update: Britain could reopen its borders for fully-vaccinated Americans and Europeans as early as next month without quarantines. The Himalayan country of Bhutan reports an incredibly successful vaccination drive, inoculating over 90% of its nearly 800,000 citizens in seven days.
It’s time for #RealTalkRealChange. OZY and Chevrolet are teaming up for a discussion on racial disparities in America’s education system, taking on one of the most urgent questions we face today. Hosted by OZY co-founder and Emmy Award–winning journalist Carlos Watson, who is joined by key leaders from across the country, we’re having pointed conversations to identify problems and equip you with solutions. Put aside the shouting matches and talking heads and be an ally: Join us now on YouTube for a real conversation you won’t want to miss.
Sorry, bro. The U.S. government yesterday sold the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album to an undisclosed bidder at an undisclosed price after taking it from hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli. The “pharma bro” gained notoriety with a 5,000% hike of prescription medication needed by HIV patients and for reportedly paying $2 million to keep the hip-hop supergroup’s work to himself. His unrelated 2018 fraud sentencing seized assets, also including a Picasso sketch, to cover a $7.36 million penalty. Stripped of those treasures, Shkreli must still complete a prison term of up to seven years. (Sources: Pitchfork, CNBC, DOJ)
2. Are Black Women’s Hair Products Causing Cancer?
Lye-based hair relaxers used by many Black women cause serious health problems, suggests a new study published by Oxford University. Women who use the products at least seven times a year for 15 years have 30% more risk of breast cancer, the research found. Black women under 40 already have the highest breast cancer rates and are 40% more likely to die from it than white women regardless of age. One in 12 beauty products marketed to African American women reportedly exposes them to hazardous ingredients like lye or formaldehyde — without prominent warnings — something health advocates want to change. (Sources: The Root, The Guardian, Oxford Study)
Learn more about racial disparities in health care in this special edition of The Carlos Watson Show. Watch now.
3. UNESCO Adds Ancient Peruvian Observatory to World Heritage List
They’re getting a new day in the sun. The 2,300-year-old observatory of 13 stone towers on a Peruvian hill was yesterday named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Chankillo observatory, 250 miles north of Lima, was used by a mysterious ancient civilization to mark the passage of time and make incredibly accurate astronomical predictions, according to studies. “Chankillo is a masterpiece of ancient Peruvians … It is the cradle of astronomy in America,” said local archaeologist Ivan Ghezzi. UNESCO, which is currently holding its annual session, added another 12 cultural sites to the list yesterday and will announce more today. (Sources: AFP, UNESCO)
4. Grief in Greece After Beloved Seal Harpooned
A $21,000-reward has been offered for a fugitive killer in Greece — a seal killer. The nation is aghast that the endangered monk seal named Kostis, Alonissos island’s adopted mascot, was “executed at close range with a spear gun,” conservation group MOm announced. There are only 750 Mediterranean monk seals left, mostly in the Aegean Sea and waters off Northwest Africa. Three-year-old Kostis had become a popular island symbol, often playing with swimmers and climbing aboard fishing boats. MOm, dedicated to monk seals, has offered the reward and local authorities are investigating. (Sources: The Guardian, Euronews)
The American gymnastics sensation said her mental state prompted her to exit the women’s team final yesterday, along with tomorrow’s individual all-around competition. Biles is the second female athlete to recently address psychological stress, after Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka said she suffered from anxiety. On Sunday, Biles stumbled on landing during a qualification vault. The 24-year-old, arguably history’s greatest gymnast, later said only her “pride” was injured. Competing without Biles, Team U.S.A. came second in yesterday’s event to the Russian Olympic Committee team. It’s unclear whether Biles will compete in next week’s individual event finals.(Sources: NYT, Sky Sports, OZY)