U.S. President Joe Biden says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, amid mounting evidence of serial sexual misconduct, should resign. Biden weighed in after yesterday’s report by New York State’s attorney general found the Democratic governor and presidential ally had sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo is accused of groping, making suggestive comments and other improper behavior, including toward a state trooper on his security detail. The governor, 63, denies he’s touched anyone inappropriately. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the party have echoed Biden’s call for Cuomo to step down or he could face impeachment. (Sources: NYT, Washington Post)
Remember at the beginning of the pandemic last year when people in lockdown in Rome, London and other cities came out onto their balconies in the evening to show their appreciation for health workers by singing or banging pots and pans? Something similar is now happening in Afghanistan, as locals turn out at night to shout “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in support of the country’s troops and in a sign of defiance against the Taliban. The militant group is making gains in several regions and is believed to be responsible for yesterday’s attack on the Kabul home of the defense minister that killed four people. Clashes are also intensifying in the western city of Herat. (Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC, Twitter)
Read an analysis about the future of Afghanistan on OZY.
3. Biden Backs Down, Extends Eviction Moratorium
After progressives in the Democratic party slammed the White House for allowing a moratorium on evictions to expire, the administration reintroduced a temporary ban, although President Biden acknowledged it might not prove constitutional. Biden had previously said his hands were tied on the matter, causing a rift with House Democrats including Speaker Pelosi. Then yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put a new eviction ban in place for areas with “substantial and high” viral transmission until Oct. 3, citing a surge in delta variant infections. The president said it will likely face a court challenge, with Republicans and moderate Democrats expected to oppose the move. (Sources: WSJ (sub), Washington Post)
4. No Vaccine, No Work, Tyson Food Tells Employees
Will more companies do this? Tyson Foods announced yesterday that its workers must have COVID-19 vaccinations, prompting some union leaders’ misgivings. The Arkansas-based firm will make shots mandatory for both plant and office workers in its 120,000-strong workforce. While meat processing lines have been especially hard-hit by the virus, some labor leaders expressed concern that vaccines weren’t fully FDA-approved. Despite having encouraged employees to get vaccinated, less than half of staff have done so, Tyson Chief Executive Donnie King said. Other companies, including Morgan Stanley, Google and Facebook require staffers to be inoculated before returning to the workplace. All Tyson employees are now expected to be vaccinated by November 1. (Sources: WSJ (sub), CNBC)
5. Also Important …
A police officer was killed in a shooting outside the Pentagon yesterday. Hijackers, suspected to be Iranian, who seized a ship in the Gulf of Oman have left the vessel intact and its crew unharmed. And Missouri’s governor has pardoned a couple who pointed guns at racial justice activists.
Coronavirus Update: The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Florida’s hospitals has hit a record high of more than 11,500. And Wuhan, the Chinese city first hit by coronavirus, has seen its first local infections in more than a year, spurred by the delta variant.
As we cheer on our favorite teams and athletes in Tokyo, this week on The Carlos Watson Show we celebrate our Olympian guests! Today, check out the basketball legend, 1996 gold medalist and Hawks co-owner Grant Hill sharing with Carlos the injury that stopped his career in its tracks — as well as the surprising impact both Hillary Clinton and Anita Baker have had on his life. Watch on YouTube.
The flowers are blooming and the world is reopened, so you’ll want to make sure you enjoy the season in style. We have just the thing: our favorite sneakers from Cariuma. These colorful kicks are crazy-comfy and sustainably made. Get an OZY-exclusive $15 off with code OZY15 to step out in style this spring.
Watching Happy Feet might be as close as future generations come to seeing a real emperor penguin. That’s if climate change isn’t tackled in time to prevent their demise, scientists said today. The iconic black and white bird is threatened by Antarctica's melting sea ice, which would increase the risk of chicks drowning. If global warming continues unchecked, by 2100 their colonies could be reduced to the point of quasi-extinction, which is why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday proposed listing the bird as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, which could help curb immediate impacts like fishing, and make species protection an issue in regulating greenhouse gas emissions. (Sources: The Conversation, NYT)
With ransomware paralyzing everything from fuel pipelines to supermarkets, it seems greed is driving these disruptions. But after hackers blocked vaccination scheduling for Italy’s most populous region this week, prosecutors there said yesterday they’re considering terrorism as a possible motive. The unnamed attackers encrypted the COVID-19 immunization booking system in Lazio, which includes Rome, in “the most serious cyber-attack ever carried out on an Italian public administration,” a health official declared. He also reassured 500,000 people with bookings that they could still be inoculated, although the system remained blocked on Tuesday. It’s not clear who’s behind the attack, but prosecutors told Reuters that attackers were communicating with regional authorities and may demand payment (Sources: CNN, Gizmodo, Reuters)
3. Let Them Drink Cognac: North Korea Wants Sanctions Eased
Forget ping pong diplomacy, it’s Pinotage diplomacy that Kim Jong Un reportedly wants. According to South Korean intel, North Korea won’t rejoin nuclear talks until sanctions are relaxed, but rice for the hungry amid a severe food shortage doesn’t seem to top the list. Rather the Hermit State is prioritizing fine suits and high-class liquor for the ruling elite, according to a South Korean lawmaker briefed by Seoul’s spy agency. Intelligence briefers also dismissed speculation that Kim is ailing after he appeared to have a bandage on his head in recent photos. The U.S. says it’s ready to talk, but doesn’t seem willing to lift sanctions. (Sources: The Guardian, WSJ (sub) )
4. Vaccine Barbie Seeks to Inspire Girls in STEM
Never mind wedding dresses, pink convertibles and beach houses. Barbie’s too busy saving the world for such fripperies. The latest version of the iconic doll by Mattel has been modeled after Sarah Gilbert, the Oxford University professor who designed the AstraZeneca vaccine. Gilbert’s Barbie is one of a range honoring women working in STEM disciplines and the scientist said she hopes “my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.” Mattel’s dolls have often been criticized for the negative effects they may have on young girls, but in recent years the company has widened its range, including adding astronaut and firefighter Barbies. (Sources: BBC, AAP)
Japanese-born teenage girls are continuing to wow on their skateboards at the Tokyo Olympics. Today, 12-year-old Kokona Hiraki won the silver medal in the women’s park competition, while 13-year-old Japanese British Sky Brown, born and raised in Japan, claimed the bronze. Brown’s win makes her history’s youngest Team G.B. athlete to win an Olympic medal. The two youngsters were beaten to the gold by Sakura Yosozumi, 19. All three gold medals in skateboarding, a new Olympic sport along with surfing and karate, have gone to Japanese competitors. The last skateboarding event, the men's park competition, is set for Thursday. (Sources: Sky News, Time)
Ever look down at your plate of food and wonder where the ingredients came from? OZY’s hit podcast franchise The Future of X is back, and this season we’re investigating The Future of Farming with our friends at Vital Farms. Each episode will take a look at the critically important sector, from how data will revolutionize farming to the impact of Big Agriculture. Plus, explore possible solutions to food insecurity and climate change, such as regenerative agriculture. Ready to dig in? Binge the series now onApple,Spotify,Stitcher orwherever you get your podcasts!