President Joe Biden said yesterday he plans to release an intelligence report on the origins of the coronavirus, as China slammed Washington for “political manipulation and blame shifting.” This comes after the U.S. ordered a new probe into whether the disease could have come from a Wuhan lab, which had previously been dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Beijing hit back yesterday by suggesting, without evidence, that COVID-19 could actually have come from an American military lab. In March the World Health Organization stressed it was “extremely unlikely” the virus leaked from a lab. Now it’s urging the U.S. to share any intelligence it may have.
2. Fairweather Friend? US Urged to Aid Afghan Interpreters
With the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan expected before September 11, there are fears that a resurgent Taliban could take revenge on the local Afghans, including many interpreters, who aided American troops. “Their safety could be at risk,” Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged this week, adding plans are being put in place to protect them. But a National Security Council spokesperson said there were no plans yet for evacuations. Rep. Mike Waltz and other members of Congress have urged the government to “show the world we reward those who help us against the enemy rather than leave them behind.”
What do you think? Does the U.S. have a moral obligation to evacuate and resettle Afghan interpreters in America? Tell us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Germany Acknowledges Committing Genocide in Namibia
Two days, two major mea culpas from Europe to Africa. First, French President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to Rwanda, said he “recognized” France’s role in the 1994 genocide, though he denied the country was “an accomplice.” And today, the German government admitted it had committed genocide in its former colony of Namibia, when settlers killed tens of thousands of Indigenous people in the early 1900s. “We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who also promised $1 billion in financial support for the Southern African nation.
But can you pee in them? Amazon has fueled much mirth on social media after introducing “AmaZen,” small booths in the tech giant’s warehouses where employees can go for a mental health “timeout.” Not for the claustrophobic, the small, enclosed boxes have videos on mindfulness, though one writer quipped they’re more like “a mobile despair closet.” The company has garnered lots of negative attention this year after workers disclosed they had to urinate in bottles due to lack of bathroom access. Amazon’s outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos is set to be replaced by Andy Jassy on July 5.
Russia has blocked some flights from the EU in a tit-for-tat move after the EU banned its planes from flying over Moscow-ally Belarus. Microsoft says Russian hackers launched an attack on U.S. government agencies using an email marketing account of the U.S. Agency for International Development. And Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, already serving a separate sentence, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for attending pro-democracy protests.
Coronavirus Update: Germany is launching a $2.5 billion package to help revive the pandemic-hit cultural sector. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to push back the UK’s June 21 reopening date.
What do WWE wrestler CJ Perry and Princeton Professor of African American Studies Eddie Glaude Jr. have in common? More than you might expect. And nowhere but on The Carlos Watson Show would you hear from both. Check out both of their episodes this weekend and hear from Perry about her path from a Soviet ballet school to backup dancing for Rihanna to slaying in the WWE as “Lana.” Meanwhile, hear Glaude explain how he works to keep the legacies of Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson and James Baldwin alive.
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Before he was a Harvard alum and an Emmy award-winning journalist, OZY co-founder and CEO Carlos Watson had “the rare distinction of being kicked out of kindergarten.” In his debut appearance on The Late ShowWith Stephen Colbert last night, Watson described being a “rambunctious and rebellious” kid and also explained that he named his media company after the poem “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, who he called one of “the rappers” of the early 1800s. Colbert congratulated Watson on how OZY has a knack for reporting on people before they’re widely known, including Trevor Noah, Amanda Gorman and AOC when she was still a New York bartender.
Didn’t catch Carlos on 'The Late Show' last night? Watch here.
2. BLM Co-Founder Resigns Amid Controversy
Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, stepped down as executive director of the movement’s foundation yesterday, but denied that either right-wing trolls or splinters within the organization were behind her resignation. The BLM Foundation made more than $90 million last year in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and there has been some contention about whether more of that should have gone to families of victims of police brutality. Cullors and the foundation have countered that they do support families, without making public announcements. Cullors, 37, will now focus on other projects, including the release of her second book, An Abolitionist’s Handbook, on October 5.
3. Immodest Proposal: Anger Over Florida Yearbook Censorship
The “completely wrong message to give to young teenage girls who are already going through the body-shaming era and trying to understand themselves and then be comfortable with themselves.” That’s what one incensed mom said after a Florida school censored “immodest” yearbook pictures of some 80 girls, digitally altering photos to cover the students’ chests, even when what they were wearing was by no means revealing. Bartram Trail High School has offered refunds to those parents who want them, but others are demanding an apology for what they say is inequality in dress codes for boys and girls.
If you watched the highly anticipated return of Friends in China, you might be forgiven for not knowing there were cameos by BTS, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. That’s because the appearances by those stars were cut by all three streaming platforms with the rights to broadcast the show, apparently due to the fact they’ve all offended Beijing in some way in the past. Gaga is out of favor after meeting with the Dalai Lama, while BTS offended in remarks about the Korean War and Justin Beiber ran afoul of Beijing after he visited the controversial Yasukuni War Shrine in Tokyo.
5. Man U Striker and Obama Bond on Candid Video Call
“Quite surreal.” That’s how Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford described his recent video call with former U.S. President Barack Obama, who praised the 23-year-old for his charity work. The British footballer and 44th president also discussed the importance of reading and their experiences being raised by single mothers. During the pandemic last year, Rashford ran a successful campaign to tackle child food poverty. He has also been a prominent figure in speaking out against racist abuse in football.
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