Crushed to death. At least 44 people were killed in a stampede at a religious festival in Israel today, and some 150 injured. Ultra-Orthodox Jews had been participating in an annual pilgrimage to a rabbi’s tomb in the country’s North when many tried to exit through a narrow passage at once. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “heavy disaster.” At least 30,000 people were at the site, although authorities had only authorized a gathering of 10,000. Police are investigating what happened amid claims they could have done more to prevent the crush.
2. #UncleTim Trending After Black GOP Senator’s Race Remark
“America is not a racist country.” Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican senator, made that remark in response to President Joe Biden’s speech to Congress, suggesting Democrats are shunning those who disagree with them by labeling them racists. The GOP has rallied around Scott since the speech, while Black activists have slammed him for being an apologist for white racists, with the hashtag #UncleTim — a play on Uncle Tom — trending online. Scott is the lead Republican negotiator on the new criminal justice bill, which Biden is urging Congress to pass before the May anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
3. Rising Anger at Modi as India’s Cases Shoot Up Again
As the first U.S. emergency aid touched down in India Friday, the country set a grim new milestone in daily new Coronavirus case numbers, with 386,452 recorded. Washington has sent 400 oxygen cylinders for the devastated countrythat’s literally gasping for air as well as tests and other supplies. Meanwhile, a spokesman for President Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party said the government took responsibility for the disaster, arguing however that the surge could not have been predicted. There is growing anger at Modi, who continued to hold huge election rallies even as cases soared.
The pandemic has proved a boon for America’s tech giants. Hot on the heels of Apple and Alphabet’s massive first quarter profits, Amazon announced a record quarterly profit Thursday of $26 billion. People flocked to the online retailer as countries locked down and shops closed, with the company’s stock price rising 76 percent in 2020. After criticism of its working conditions, the Seattle-based firm announced this week it was raising wages for its hourly workers. The company said it expects to hold its yearly Prime Day shopping extravaganza, usually held in July, in June.
Alexei Navalny’s lawyer was arrested today, a day after the Russian dissident appeared in court looking incredibly thin and calling President Vladimir Putin a “naked king,” clinging to power. A Guantanamo Bay inmate, who has been held for 19 years, is filing a complaint with the United Nations over his indefinite imprisonment. And five people have been arrested for dognapping popstar Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs in New York earlier this year.
Coronavirus Update: Latin America is still one of the world’s major hotspots, accounting for some 35 percent of all COVID-19 deaths. Japan’s Nippon Airways is installing the first “hands-free” toilet doors on its planes to limit the spread of disease.
Last Day to Apply! Ten summer grants will be awarded to students anywhere in the United States, with the aim of backing genius ideas. What’s your big idea? Apply today to win an OZY Genius Award. #OZYGenius
What do you know? Feeling worldly and wise after a week of briefings? Prove it with the OZY News Quiz.
It’s been a long week. Need a good laugh this weekend? Check out these comedy legends on The Carlos Watson Show. Our latest episode features SNL and Curb Your Enthusiasm great J.B. Smoove. Hear his behind-the-scenes secrets on working with Larry David. And don’t miss our episodes with Kathy Griffin, who shares why she’s the comedy zombie, and Billy Crystal’s touching Muhammad Ali story.
Did you know contemporary art prices outperformed S&P 500 returns by 155 percent from 1995 to 2020? With the global art market expected to balloon to $2.6 trillion by 2026, now’s the time to get in the art game. Don’t have $10,000,000 to buy a Monet yourself? Masterworks lets you invest in paintings by artists like Basquiat and Warhol at a fraction of the price. And now OZY readers can skip their waitlist of 25,000 — so do yourself a favor and sign up today!
It’s an amazing tail. One hundred divers in artificial tails glided through the water at a resort on the Chinese island of Hainan this week. It might sound fishy, but they were competing to break the Guinness World Record for largest underwater “mermaid” show. And it’s not as easy as it looks — it's similar to free diving, plus a tail. “We need to use our belly and waist to move like a dolphin. It requires practice to make this movement smooth and elegant like a real mermaid,” says diver Dada Li.Mermaid diving has gained followers worldwide, and in China in particular, with dedicated schools opening for enthusiasts.
Talk about growing up in the digital age! As a child she became a meme, now as a young adult she’s an NFT — or non-fungible token. Zoë Roth, aka “Disaster Girl” for the photo her father took of her smirking as a house burns in the background, sold the picture for $500,000 to Dubai-based 3F Music. It wasn’t actually dollars she got for it, but the equivalent in cryptocurrency Ether, challenger to Bitcoin, which yesterday hit an all-time high. Roth says she’ll use the money to pay her student loans and also donate some to charity. Not such a disaster after all.
They’ve found the smoking gun. The U.S. FDA said yesterday that it plans to seek a ban on menthol cigarettes. Why menthols and not cancer sticks in general? The agency says the minty flavor makes it easier for first-time smokers to become addicted, with African Americans disproportionately affected. Since the 1950s, the FDA says menthol smokes have been aggressively targeted towards Black Americans, with some 85 percent of Black smokers using Newport, Kool and other cigarettes. The agency believes the ban could save as many as 633,000 lives by 2050, but will face legal challenges and could take many years to come into effect.
4. Polish Archaeologists Discover a Mother of a Mystery
She was going to be a mother, but ended up a mummy. Scientists were amazed to discover that an Egyptian mummy believed to have been a priest was actually a pregnant woman. Scans of the relic at a Warsaw museum revealed fetal foot bones. “Our mummy is the only one identified so far in the world with a fetus in the womb,” said archaeologist Wojciech Ejsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The fact that the woman was mummified along with precious amulets suggests she was someone important. Scientists now hope analysis of the preserved soft tissues may reveal how she died.
5. NFL Draft: Surprise Pick for San Francisco 49ers
The first choice of last night’s NFL draft in Cleveland was as foretold: The Jacksonville Jaguars picked Clemson’s long-anointed quarterback,Trevor Lawrence. The New York Jets’ second pick was also predictable: QB Zach Wilson from BYU. But then came the quarterback shuffle, with expected third pick Mac Jones skipped over for North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, snapped up by the San Francisco 49ers. Alabama’s Jones went to the New England Patriots as 15th overall pick in a bid to fill the gaping void left by Tom Brady. Thirty-two picks are now recorded, but there are six more rounds to go through Saturday.
We’re always telling you the next big thing in names, trends and ideas, so listen up: These colorful kicks are the next big thing. Sustainable fashion is all the rage, and thanks to Cariuma, you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort. You can look good while doing good!