Britain will roll out its first COVID-19 vaccine, found to be 95 percent effective in trials, within the next few days, marking a milestone. The COVID-19 vaccine development has been the fastest for any disease in human history. The two-dose inoculation will first go to the most vulnerable, then roll out to the general population over the next year. Meanwhile, the U.S. CDC recommended that health care workers and those in long-term care be vaccinated first. If the U.S. approves vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna, 40 million doses could be distributed by the end of December.
President Donald Trump has recently discussed preemptively pardoning both Rudy Giuliani and his own children before he leaves office in January. And they’re not the only ones: The Justice Department says it’s investigating a scheme where money was allegedly funneled to the White House in exchange for pardons. Meanwhile, Georgia GOP election official Gabriel Sterling called on President Trump to “stop inspiring” violent threats over November’s election results, warning that “someone is going to get killed.” And Attorney General Bill Barr admitted that he’s seen no evidence of widespread election fraud, despite the president’s continued claims.
Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, three young leaders whose pro-democracy protests galvanized popular support in Hong Kong, were all sentenced to jail time today for illegal assembly. Wong will serve 13 months, Chow 10 and Lam seven, for inciting protests and chanting slogans “that undermine the police force,” according to the official sentence. It’s part of a larger crackdown on the city’s progressive wing that’s escalated dramatically since China imposed a new national security law on the formerly semi-autonomous region.
4. Congress Rolls Out New Bipartisan Stimulus Proposal
After President-elect Joe Biden called for unity on pandemic aid, a bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed a $908 billion package that funds state and local governments while offering a slimmed-down but still substantial boost to unemployment benefits. Some hope it will break the ongoing legislative impasse on aid that's left Americans out to dry during the pandemic and recession. Meanwhile, some lawmakers criticized Biden’s Cabinet picks, calling for more diversity — though OZY’s John McLaughlin points out that the candor of his chosen director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, is expected to be a U-turn from the Trump administration’s approach.
Puerto Rico’s iconic Arecibo radio telescope, already slated to be dismantled, has unexpectedly collapsed in on itself. A data analysis of scented candle online reviews has uncovered a possible connection to COVID-19. And Uganda’s singer-turned-politician Bobi Wine has suspended his presidential campaign after violence against his staff and supporters.
And today on The Carlos Watson Show: With education across much of the country being done remotely, Carlos talks to the leading expert on remote learning. Khan Academy founder Sal Khan dives into his push for accessibility to world-class education, how he plans on working with the Biden administration and how we can use innovation in virtual education to improve political representation.
General Motors is driving change with a goal to become the most inclusive company in the world. A third — and growing — of GM’s top management jobs are held by women (compared to roughly a fifth of C-suite positions held by women nationally), and the automotive giant plans to achieve high levels of multicultural representation across all staffing levels. Similarly, OZY is dedicated to helping #ResetAmerica and fight for racial equality, which is why we are thrilled to team up with GM as it works to foster a work environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion.
After a delay of two years, 27-year-old Zhou Xiaoxuan — who alleged that while she was interning at state broadcaster CCTV, a prominent TV host forcibly kissed and groped her — will get a hearing of her case in court. Such cases are extremely rare in China, which recently expanded legal definitions of sexual harassment but where there are still strong social taboos against speaking out. Zhou says police initially told her that going public would damage CCTV’s reputation and be hurtful to the TV host’s fans. She’s asking for $7,600 in damages and an apology.
They’re still hoping for their 15 seconds of fame. Before India’s government banned TikTok this summer, the country was the Chinese app’s largest market — and home to many creatives and influencers who made their living on the platform. Now, OZY reports, several other video-sharing apps have arisen to try to take TikTok’s place, but they lack their predecessor’s algorithmic sophistication and wide market share. Today’s would-be stars just can’t reach the audience they used to … and may have to rethink their career plans.
3. Singapore Becomes First Country to Approve Lab-Grown Meat
Now you can meat halfway. Cultured chicken bites from Eat Just, grown in a lab from animal stem cells and plant nutrients — and thus involving no killing of live animals — have just been approved to sell in Singapore, giving hope to the dozens of companies developing lab-grown beef, pork and chicken. The product is initially expected to be significantly more expensive than traditional meat, though Eat Just’s CEO promised that it will one day be cheaper after they scale up production. Other countries are expected to follow Singapore’s lead.
“The more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am ... the more I thrive.” So wrote Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, in an open letter on social media informing the world that he’s a non-binary transgender person. Page, 33, came out as gay several years ago and has long advocated for LGBTQ rights. Netflix says it’s already changing the Oscar-nominated Page’s name in the metadata for all his past films, and that he’ll continue to star as cisgender female character Vanya in the ongoing Umbrella Academy series.
5. Sailor Rescued by Rival Boat During Around-the-World Race
So close and yacht so far. French sailor Kevin Escoffier, 40, was 600 nautical miles off the Cape of Good Hope in the middle of the Vendée Globe, a 24,296-mile solo boat race, when a huge wave folded his boat in half. He had time to send just one distress signal. Luckily race organizers got it and notified fellow sailor Jean Le Cam — who himself had to be rescued during the 2009 race — and he managed to rescue Escoffier within 11 hours. Le Cam will have hours deducted from his official race time to reflect the detour.