1. AstraZeneca Puts COVID-19 Vaccine Trial on Pause
Final phase trials of the vaccine in development from AstraZeneca and Oxford University have been suspended — it’s unclear for how long — after one of the participants developed what may be a serious adverse reaction. While such holds aren’t unheard of, this vaccine is being closely watched, as it’s a contender to be the first inoculation for COVID-19 on the market. About 60 percent of early trial subjects experienced mild side effects. While the serious illness may be unrelated to the vaccine, other trials will now have to comb their databases looking for similar or related reactions.
2. Justice Dept. Takes Over Trump Defense in Defamation Suit
After columnist E. Jean Carroll accused President Donald Trump of raping her in the ‘90s, he insisted they’d never met (despite photographic evidence) and argued “she’s not my type.” So she sued for defamation. As the deadline approached for Trump to either appeal or provide a deposition and DNA sample, the Justice Department intervened to move the suit to federal court and treat it as a case against the government, arguing that Trump was acting in an official capacity when denying the crime. It’s an extraordinary use of the department, and if the move is approved by a federal judge it will likely shut down Carroll’s case altogether.
Scores of fires are burning across the western United States, with hundreds flown to safety and small towns like Malden, Washington, almost completely destroyed. Though wildfires have become a yearly occurrence, high temperatures and wild winds have brought this year’s season weeks early. Reports indicate this is the biggest wildfire season in California’s modern history, measured by acres burned. Meanwhile, a fire completely destroyed Greece’s largest migrant camp, and extreme wildfires in the Arctic Circle — potentially stemming from “zombie fires” that burn underground over the winter — have caused a massive spike in the region’s carbon emissions.
Can’t wait to see their dances. Epic Games, which makes Fortnite, sued Apple and Google last month, claiming that they’d retaliated for its attempt to challenge anti-competitive practices in their respective app stores. Now Apple has sued Epic right back, alleging breach of contract and attempting to paint a counternarrative of a greedy upstart company ungrateful for the value Apple has brought to its business. Apple is currently also dealing with antitrust probes from the U.S. and European Union. A court hearing for Apple and Epic is scheduled for Sept. 28.
A Manhattan dentist says pandemic-related anxiety has engendered an unusual number of cracked teeth. Rochester’s police chief has resigned over a probe into the death of Daniel Prude in police custody. And British politicians are urging a U-turn on a Brexit policy that the secretary of state for Northern Ireland openly acknowledged will break international law “in a very specific and limited way.”
Listen Up: Need a little beat to get you through the week? OZY presents your curated Hump Day Playlist, featuring the game-changing artists you love and rising stars you'll soon love. Check out this week's mix on OZY's Spotify.
6. And Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Carlos gets deep with former South Bend mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, who discusses the missteps of his presidential campaign, his unique story of coming out and what really went down during the 24-hour consolidation of Democrats behind now-nominee Joe Biden. Be sure to subscribe to the OZY YouTube channel to be notified when it's live — and remember, new subscribers will be entered for a chance to win an invitation to a Zoom taping with a celebrity guest!
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1. Motorcycle Rally Linked to a Quarter-Million COVID-19 Cases
They went hog wild. An estimated 460,000 people attended the annual 10-day motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, in early August — and despite warnings from health officials, most eschewed masks and social distancing. Now a not-yet-peer-reviewed study has found the superspreader event could be linked to 266,796 COVID-19 cases, or 1 in 5 of those diagnosed nationwide from Aug. 2 to Sept. 2 — and $12.2 billion in health costs. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called the report, which found Sturgis responsible for a 35 percent jump in her state’s cases, “fiction.”
2. Turning the Lens of Race Toward Corporate America
Former New York Times columnist Adam Bryant spent his career interviewing execs — but with the advent of the George Floyd protests, he and collaborator Rhonda Morris saw an opportunity to make their work more urgent. “Leading in the B-Suite,” a LinkedIn interview series of profiles of Black executives, aims to make the notoriously undiverse top levels of business more accessible by discussing race with Black CEOs (like OZY’s Carlos Watson). Bryant and Morris are hopeful that the series can raise awareness of systemic racism in the corporate world and offer road maps for up-and-coming execs of color.
Blame the neighbors. A new study in scientific journal Science Advances has found that hematite, a type of iron oxide, has formed on the moon. To create rust, you need both water and oxygen, and while the moon is known to have small quantities of the former, there’s very little of the latter. But the study found that oxygen is likely hopping from Earth’s upper atmosphere to the moon, raising questions about whether this could happen to nearby asteroids. Shuai Li, the lead author on the study, believes this process has been happening on the moon for billions of years.
4. Oscars Announce New Diversity Standards for Nominees
#OscarsStillSoWhiteButMaybeSlightlyBetterInFourYears. The Academy has unveiled new rules for films hoping to be nominated for best picture to “better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience." To qualify, films will have to demonstrate significant diverse representation in at least two of four areas: the cast, the creative team, the publicity and development side, or via paid apprenticeships and increased opportunities. The standards will only be required beginning in 2024. Next year’s Oscars are scheduled for April, a two-month delay due to the pandemic.
Switzerland’s supreme court has denied the South African champion runner’s appeal that she be allowed to defend her 800-meter title at the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021. The Court of Arbitration for Sport previously decided that Semenya, 29, naturally produces too much testosterone — which some maintain offers an unfair advantage — to compete against other women, and that she must medically suppress her hormone levels to be allowed on the field. Semenya’s lawyers indicated that they’ll keep pursuing other legal avenues ahead of the Olympics, where most running events (though not the 1,500-meter race) will be affected by the ruling.