Gun violence has a new name: Samuel Cassidy, 57, a reportedly aggrieved California transit employee whose ex-girlfriend accused him of rape. But the M.O. is all too familiar: He came to his workplace, a tram rail yard in San Jose, and fatally shot nine colleagues before killing himself. Authorities also found explosives there. Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke of “a numbness” after 7,700 U.S. gun deaths and 231 mass shootings in 2021. President Joe Biden said simply, “Enough,” and urged immediate action to curb untraceable “ghost gun” kits and pass state “red flag” laws disarming unstable individuals.
After long-running skepticism that treated it as a Trumpian conspiracy theory, the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic started in a Chinese lab is now mainstream. That’s because President Biden yesterday ordered a 90-day probe of that theory. Why now? Intelligence reports say the Wuhan Institute of Virology, based amid the first reported outbreaks in December 2019, saw ailing staff hospitalized a month earlier. That’s prompted the U.S. Senate to unanimously block funding for the lab, while Beijing, which has been criticized for withholding data, warned against “politicizing” research, while supporting a “comprehensive” study of early COVID-19 cases.
Should the lab be probed? Or is this politics? Answer our PDB poll here.
3. Tigrayan Survivors Facing Starvation
“We’ll see if America will save you now!” That was one of the taunts from Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers who encircled internally displaced persons camps in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, according to CNN. Meanwhile, a humanitarian affairs official has notified the U.N. Security Council that the area’s 5 million inhabitants face famine after drought and locusts have combined with Ethiopian forces’ barring aid groups. Yesterday, U.S. President Biden demanded “immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access.” Until recently one of America’s closest partners in the region, Ethiopia now faces a U.S. travel ban for officials, as well as direct aid cutbacks.
They’re facing heat of their own making. Yesterday two major oil companies stared down realities internal and external that point to a more climate-conscious future for the fossil fuel industry. While that seems a paradox, it nonetheless motivated environmentally concerned shareholders at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting Wednesday. For the first time ever, a tiny activist fund, Engine No. 1, succeeded in electing two of its candidates to the board of directors, aiming for the company to invest more in clean energy. Meanwhile, a Netherlands court ruled that Europe’s largest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, was “obliged” to cut its considerable carbon footprint by 45% by 2030.
Gruesome video showing dissident Witold Ashurok staggering in his Belarusian jail cell, then falling into a toilet before dying has raised fears that hijacked fellow activist Roman Protasevich faces a similar fate. A major new study finds that there’s a 40% chance that the average global temperature will have reached 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2025. And Manchester United’s failure to score on the game’s 22nd tie-breaking penalty shot gave Spain’s Villarreal the Europa League trophy and its first continental championship yesterday.
Coronavirus Update: Two new studies indicate that many people who were infected or immunized against the virus may retain immunity long term — perhaps for a lifetime. And nearly 7 million residents of Australia’s Victoria state face a snap lockdown tonight in an effort to stop a 26-case outbreak in the otherwise virus-free nation.
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Need a little laugh? Be sure to check out The Late Show with Stephen Colbert TONIGHT and you might see a familiar face! OZY CEO Carlos Watson will be stopping by to give Stephen an update on all the great things we’re up to. Be sure to check it out.
That’s Bezos: Jeff Bezos. The multibillionaire’s world-conquering Amazon has agreed to buy James Bond and the studio that owns his 26 films, MGM. That brings filmmaking prowess and a hefty streaming catalog to compete with entertainment giants like Netflix and Disney, attracting both eyeballs and shoppers to the online retailer. In Washington, where Bezos’ company is already facing antitrust litigation and congressional scrutiny, lawmakers cast a jaundiced eye on the deal, with GOP Sen. Josh Hawley saying the “sale should not go through,” while Democratic colleague Sen. Amy Klobuchar called for “a thorough investigation to ensure that this deal won’t risk harming competition.”
One of mankind’s proudest building projects is now threatened by another, less auspicious construction effort, the Mexican government acknowledged this week. Teotihuacán, as old as classical Rome and featuring the Mesoamerican Temples of the Sun and Moon near Mexico City, may be damaged by an adjacent project believed to be an amusement park. And while Mexico’s Culture Department has ordered the unauthorized work to stop, workers with stones and pipes reportedly threatened investigators. The trouble has raised questions about the country’s ability to protect such treasures, while concerned citizens have launched a petition to save the site that brings in 2.6 million annual visitors.
3. Pentagon UFO Expert IG Complaint: He’s Not ‘Crazy’
More probing is required. Lue Elizondo started investigating “unmanned aerial phenomena” for the U.S. Defense Department in 2008, and says, shockingly, he hasn’t been taken seriously. So this month he’s filed a 64-page complaint with the Pentagon’s inspector general, which is reportedly looking into it. Besides alleging that officials seek to discredit him, in one instance threatening to denounce him as “crazy,” Elizondo also wants the military to disclose what it knows about UFOs. The IG’s office says it’s investigating the subject generally, and top intel types are expected to report to Congress on close encounters within weeks.
4. Beloved Children’s Author Eric Carle Dies at 91
He brought the bugs to bedtime. The author of 1969’s bestselling The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle, died this weekend at age 91 at his home in Massachusetts. The Syracuse, New York, native was inspired by childhood walks and his father’s explanations of natural wonders. After a harrowing family homecoming to Nazi Germany, Carle returned Stateside and found work as an artist, and later illustrated 70 children’s books including his signature work, which teaches days of the week and numbers as the caterpillar chews through various delicacies on the path to becoming a butterfly. “A painter of rainbows,” said tribute on his website, “is now traveling across the night sky.”
It’s out of the pandemic and into the fire. Already under mounting pressure to cancel the Olympics over COVID-19’s spread, Japan faces another threat. The British Association for Sustainable Sport yesterday reported scientists’ concerns that the country’s climate, warming three times faster than the world’s average, poses a risk for athletes. “We’re certainly approaching a danger zone,” U.K. rower Melissa Wilson says in the report. Running events have already been moved 500 miles north from sweltering Tokyo to Sapporo, but the Olympic torch relay there may be taken off main roads amid a spike in infections.
Today on 'The Carlos Watson Show': Get to know the real Jillian Michaels. From lessons on race learned from raising a Haitian daughter, to insights into the grind required to break into the big time, there’s a lot more to the famed fitness guru and Biggest Loser star than meets the eye. Don’t miss a fascinating conversation on cancel culture with the woman who was slammed for ‘body-shaming’ Lizzo. Plus, discover the next big health trend — and get the skinny on her new relationship. Could marriage soon be on the cards? Watch now to find out.