Is it the calm before the quiet? The weapons on both sides of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza were mostly idled this morning, after 11 days of increasing violence that’s claimed 228 Palestinian and 12 Israeli lives. There’s been no announcement of a cease-fire, but U.S. President Joe Biden, after his second call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he expected “significant de-escalation” from Israel, and Hamas officials said they believed a truce was within reach. European diplomacy added to the pressure to halt the fighting, although it’s still unclear if the current lull will lead to an agreement.
2. Bodycams Show Troopers Caused Fatal ‘Crash’ Injuries
The images don’t lie. And they show that Louisiana state troopers did just that. After a 2019 death of a Black man following a car chase, police said Ronald Greene, 49, died when he crashed into a tree. But after the state withheld bodycam videos for two years, the AP acquired footage (via undisclosed means) showing officers punching, dragging and tasering Greene, who said, “I’m sorry!” and, “I’m scared,” before wiping blood from their hands. Gov. Bel Edwards has said he’d officially release the video after federal authorities, including the FBI, completed a federal civil rights investigation of the death.
They’ve made their choice. Yesterday Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat is evident. That comes at about six weeks’ gestation, which can be before people realize they’re pregnant. Texas is at the forefront of GOP-controlled states opposing abortion rights granted by the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The new 6-3 conservative majority has agreed to consider a Mississippi ban that starts at 15 weeks. Texas’ law uniquely makes it a civil offense, allowing citizens to sue anyone involved in the procedure — even if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
4. Bitcoin Plummets as China Forbids Crypto Banking
Do you have “diamond hands”? Elon Musk’s emojis suggest Tesla won’t sell its bitcoin hoard, despite countless crypto investors with twitchy fingers who watched Bitcoin swoon Wednesday as the People’s Bank of China banned financial institutions — including payment services — from using digital currencies. Most major virtual denominations also plummeted as Bitcoin, already in decline from this year’s high above $60,000, flirted with half that before bouncing back above $39,000 early today. Stocks also dipped some after reading April Federal Reserve meeting minutes, in which officials suggested rethinking economy-boosting bond buying and near-zero interest rates.
Thirty-five Republicans joined House Democrats in passing a measure to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol riot, but GOP leaders’ opposition could block it in the Senate. The Biden administration has lifted sanctions aimed at the builders of a gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany. And Colonial Pipeline has admitted paying a $4.4 million ransom to hackers to reopen a fuel pipeline, the closure of which caused East Coast shortages last week.
Coronavirus Update: In Congressional testimony, Emergent BioSolutions’ CEO admitted that over 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine his company produced aren’t being shipped pending testing for contamination in the company’s poorly maintained Baltimore factory.
Whiskey in Your Clubhouse: Join OZY editors and writers today at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET for insights into the week's top news and much more. Write to OZY reporter Joshua Eferighe at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can pull you into the room, and follow him @Eferighe.
Today’s OZY Genius Award winner: Brandy Merriweather, Clark Atlanta University: Given the recent racial reckoning in the U.S., there’s been an increased awareness of the lack of BIPOC representation in front of and behind the camera. Brandy’s idea is to create a union of BIPOC creators and their teams to help foster an environment where more BIPOC stories can be heard and amplified. To help, please let us know HERE.
What’s your favorite wine? We’re pretty sure you haven’t found it yet, but Bright Cellars will pair you with a wine match made in heaven. How do they do it? Take an easy seven-question taste quiz and their sophisticated algorithm matches you with wines from around the world you’re sure to love. Try it out to find your next favorite.
It’s so big, it was spotted from space. Iceberg A-76 now floats freely, covering 1,668 square miles — bigger than Hawaii’s Oahu — of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea, the European Space Agency reported Wednesday. Surprisingly, this particular event wasn’t caused by global warming. The iceberg’s parent, the Ronne Ice Shelf, isn’t beset by rising water temperatures and re-freezes as fast as it calves, scientists say. There’s still warming news: NASA’s orbiting Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) has recorded the Earth’s hottest ground temperatures: The Lut Desert in Iran and Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexican border both recently measured 177.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Diana Duped: BBC to Publish Ethics Probe Results
It was the interview that blew up a royal marriage. In 1995, the BBC’s Martin Bashir got Princess Diana to admit to an affair, her feeling that “three of us,” including Prince Charles’ future wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, were sharing the marriage and that she was harming herself. The network launched an independent probe of how Bashir admittedly used forged financial documents, purporting to show the princess’ staff was colluding with the press, to gain Diana’s confidence and score the interview. Bashir cited health issues in resigning this month, and the report is to be released this week.
It’s not what you’d expect from the world’s hottest social network. But Zhang Yiming, who co-founded TikTok’s parent, ByteDance, yesterday listed being “not very social” among reasons someone else should run his company. Instead of “managing people,” he’ll focus on strategy in his new corporate role. With Zhang at the helm, the short video sharing app has avoided former U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort, shelved by his successor, to Americanize its ownership, while Zhang has accumulated $36 billion in wealth. He’ll be replaced as CEO by human resources head Rubo Liang by the end of 2021.
It allows them to feel “most authentic and true.” That was singer Demi Lovato’s “very personal” announcement yesterday that they’re nonbinary, going by the pronouns they/them. “Over the past year and a half, I’ve been doing some healing and self-reflective work,” Lovato said of the revelation, during the inaugural installment of the 4D with Demi Lovato podcast. Meanwhile, Tennessee became the second U.S. state to ban gender-confirming treatment for prepubescent children — something advocates argue that doctors in the state aren’t doing anyway, but the legislation is opposed by medical professional groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics.
It’s an indelible image: Black medalists in the 200-meter sprint on the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, fists raised. Record-breaking sprinter Lee Evans, who died Wednesday in Nigeria after suffering a stroke at the age of 74, was among Black American athletes who protested U.S. racism at the games, while collecting his record-breaking 400-meter gold medal, sporting the beret favored by the Black Panthers. Fellow activist Harry Edwards said Evans, a founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, enabled today’s athletes to “reach higher in pursuit of achievement and change.”
In perhaps Carlos’ favorite episode yet, sit down with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis. Carlos and the iconic trumpeter bond over basketball, discuss the difficulties of improving race relations and laugh over stories from the jazz greats. Plus, hear him discuss the next generation of jazz stars in this can’t miss episode.
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