Seek reform, not retribution. That’s the message from New York Attorney General Letitia James after a grand jury decided Tuesday not to indict seven police officers involved in the March 2020 death of a restrained Black man in their custody. Daniel Prude, 41, was having a mental health episode when Rochester police restrained him with a “spit hood” and pushed him, naked, onto freezing pavement. The city’s mayor encouraged disappointed community members to work toward reform in Prude’s memory. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department has revived its probe of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Warring gangs of inmates reportedly sparked riots in three Ecuadorian prisons that killed at least 75 people, some in gruesome fashion, authorities said. Some 800 additional police officers were deployed to restore order at facilities in Guayaquil, Cuenca and Latacunga after maximum-security inmates, vying for “criminal leadership,” attacked each other with knives and guns Monday. Edmundo Moncayo, the country’s prison director, said the riots were sparked by guards checking for contraband weapons. Social media posts showed images of decapitated and dismembered inmates, while distraught family members waited outside prison walls for news of their loved ones.
Fashion designer Alexander Wang faces new misconduct allegations from 11 men represented by high-profile attorney Lisa Bloom. The 37-year-old star, known for his New York Fashion Week WangFest parties, denied the accusations last month as “baseless and grotesquely false.” However, a 21-year-old student told the BBC Tuesday that he was assaulted by Wang at a New York City club in 2019. Meanwhile, French actor Gérard Depardieu is also in hot water, facing investigations of alleged rape and assault stemming from a 2018 case that's been revived by Parisian authorities.
The lasers work both ways. Bitcoin rocketed to a record $58,354 Sunday before settling back to $47,500 today following crypto naysaying from Janet Yellen, Bill Gates and even, quizzically, Elon Musk. He’s lost his world’s richest person position after his Tesla stock was hurt by its adventure in bitcoin investment. Now Musk has joined the #LaserEyes meme campaign aiming to spike the cryptocurrency to $100,000. But there’s more to chill speculation: Yesterday New York’s attorney general clamped down on alleged “illegal activity” by Tether, a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency underpinning bitcoin transactions, charging that it’s cash-poor.
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5. Also Important …
In the first day of congressional hearings on the Capitol riot, security officials testified that intelligence lapses were responsible for the deadly breach. Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who famously defended the First Amendment in court and launched San Francisco’s iconic City Lights bookstore, died Tuesday at the age of 101. And Pfizer and Moderna have pledged to deliver 140 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. by the end of March.
Who Made You Yearn to Learn? OZY is doing a series on great professors, and we want to hear from you. Tell us about a college educator you know who’s going above and beyond, meeting students’ needs and finding new ways to nurture curiosity. Whether they teach at two- or four-year colleges or top universities, please introduce us to profs who’ve impressed you. Let us know here.
Listen to This: Get through the week with OZY's hump day playlist featuring your old favorites and your soon-to-be favorites!
Identical twin comics The Lucas Brothers give some behind-the-scenes insights into their new movie, Judas and the Black Messiah, based on the life of Black Panther Fred Hampton. Famous from appearances on Jimmy Fallon, their Netflix special and a cameo in 22 Jump Street, the brothers share what it’s like building a career as a twosome, why they quit law school for stand-up comedy, and why they think we’re living through a renaissance in Black art. Subscribe now.
Imagine a group of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and a serious form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease with no approved treatment — all together. That, in a nutshell, is the dysmetabolic state. And it can be deadly. But scientists believe they've figured out a potentially game-changing fix: By targeting specific metabolic pathways, they think they can clean up the fat and cholesterol that increase the risk of these devastating diseases.
The legendary golfer is “awake, responsive and recovering” after a “long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle” in an L.A.-area hospital, according to Woods' Twitter account. He was rescued from what Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva described as a high-speed, single-vehicle accident shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday on a steep, winding road. Villanueva said Woods was wearing his seatbelt or it “otherwise would have been a fatal crash.” The45-year-old, who was visiting California to host the Genesis Invitational tournament, last competed in December before undergoing his fifth back surgery.
North America is back. Pledging to reforge the frayed bond between their nations and work together to fight coronavirus and climate change, President Joe Biden held his first formal White House state visit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The pandemic-conscious leaders met virtually, using big screens and podiums to lend pomp to what might look like a workaday teleconference. Despite the awkward visuals, the meeting was friendly, with Biden declaring “America has no closer friend” while ironically remaining extremely socially distanced. A relieved Trudeau responded, “U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years.”
It’s the end of the line. A new report from 16 conservation groups says nearly one-third of fish species from the world’s lakes, rivers and wetlands are headed for extinction, and migratory populations have already declined by 76 percent since 1970. And it’s not just fish that are in trouble: Some 200 million people in Asia, Africa and South America need freshwater fish for their main source of protein, and many also earn a living harvesting them. To stem the “catastrophic” decline, the groups urge governments to take emergency action to restore habitats and combat overfishing.
4. Katty Kay’s New Book Highlights 2021’s Female Role Models
America finally has a woman as vice president. Female soccer stars have conquered the world, and are fighting for equal pay. The impact of these long-overdue examples is far from trivial, according to ABC correspondent Claire Shipman and the BBC’s Katty Kay, who co-hosts the When Katty Met Carlos podcast with OZY co-founder Carlos Watson. In Living the Confidence Code, the authors circle the globe profiling accomplished women to inspire girls, especially those who fear failure. “We’re trying to normalize failure and struggle,” Kay says, while showing “the inspirational stories of girls who are really changing the world.”
The Feb. 13 earthquake that struck Fukushima, Japan, awakened specters of the devastating March 2011 quake and tsunami that left 16,000 dead and triggered a nuclear plant meltdown. But what of the less figurative spirits? One sociologist studying the phenomenon found taxi drivers who described ghostly passengers vanishing from their cabs, OZY reports. Fire departments have received impossible calls from destroyed homes, leaving responders offering prayers for the departed. Japan’s prevailing Shinto religion requires that spirits be eased on their journey to the afterlife, leaving survivors wondering if lost Fukushima victims may still be restless.