“A dystopian hellscape on a staggering scale.” That’s how a new Amnesty International report describes China’s Xinjiang region where it says Uyghurs are being subjected to crimes against humanity. The report has dozens of accounts from former detainees of systematic torture in the government’s internment camps, which Beijing says are vocational training centers to counter “extremism” among the Muslim minority. The government denies allegations of genocide, but the witnesses who spoke to Amnesty detailed beatings, shackling and electric shocks. The U.S. Senate held a hearing yesterday on the report and lawmakers are considering import bans on products alleged to be made with forced labor.
2. Biden and Boris Try to Build Back Better Alliance
A “special relationship” for a new era. When former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt first signed the Atlantic Charter it was to secure the alliance between the two nations in the face of a Nazi threat. When current Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden signed a renewed version of the 80-year-old treaty yesterday, the threats were autocratic China and Russia as well as cyberattacks, the climate crisis and coronavirus. The new charter calls for both countries to respect “the rules-based international order,” a phrase former President Donald Trump tried to remove.
What do you think? Are the best days of U.S-U.K. relations over? Vote here or on Twitter.
3. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Israel Comments Spark Ire in the House
“False equivalencies.” That’s what six Democratic House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called Omar’s remarks on Israel yesterday. Omar, a Muslim, asked where victims of war crimes in Israel and Afghanistan should go when the U.S. opposed the International Criminal Court’s inquiry into the issue. The comments appeared to compare the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, prompting an angry response from other Democrats. Omar in turn accused them of “Islamophobic tropes.” The incident exposed the rift within the party, which Pelosi cannot afford as the Democrats look to push through their agenda in the face of Republican opposition.
4. Stock Market Readies for Robinhood and Didi IPOs
China’s version of Uber, ride-sharing company Didi, has filed to go public in what could be one of the largest tech IPOs of 2021. The company, which reported over $21.6 billion in revenue last year, could fetch a value upward of $70 billion. Uber and SoftBank are both large shareholders in the company. Meanwhile, Robinhood, the app that sparked a meme-stock revolution earlier this year, is also preparing to list and could see its IPO valued at about $40 billion. Both companies look set to start stock market trading in July.
Former President Trump secretly subpoenaed Apple in 2018 for the data of two House Intelligence Committee Democrats, their staff and families. More than 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s conflict-wracked Tigray region are suffering from famine, according to the UN. And U.S. First Lady Jill Biden wore a jacket emblazoned with the word “love” at the G-7 summit yesterday, which some media speculate was a dig at her predecessor Melania Trump’s coat that read “I Really Don't Care, Do U?”
Coronavirus Update: The U.K. has pledged to donate 100 million spare COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries. More than 9,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded in South Africa over the past 24 hours, as the country battles a third wave.
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It’s Mac Day! Today Rob McElhenney, creator and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Apple+’s new hit Mythic Quest joins The Carlos Watson Show. Tune in to hear the quick-witted Mac actor talk about his intense love of Philly — one that led to him waiting two innings at the Phillies’ game before rushing his wife and co-star to the hospital to give birth — and how his diverse writers rooms have opened his eyes to racial privilege. Do you know the story of how It’s Always Sunny started? Watch to hear him share.
It’s time for #RealTalkRealChange. OZY and Chevrolet are teaming up for a discussion on racial disparities in America’s health care system, taking on one of the most urgent questions we face today. Hosted by OZY co-founder and Emmy Award–winning journalist Carlos Watson, who is joined by key leaders from across the country, we’re having pointed conversations to identify problems and equip you with solutions. Put aside the shouting matches and talking heads and be an ally: Join us now on YouTube for a real conversation you won’t want to miss.
What are the world’s most important people having for dinner? Toasted marshmallows and rum apparently. That’s what President Biden will be fed at an informal beach barbecue hosted by the U.K.’s Prime Minister Johnson after the G-7 summit in Cornwall, England, on Saturday. Other treats on the menu in the seaside town include scallops, mackerel and lobster. But will the British grub be haute cuisine enough for French President Emmanuel Macron, who hosted the 2019 G-7 dinner in glitzy Biarritz? Tonight will be somewhat more formal, with Biden and other leaders meeting the Queen at an evening reception.
2. Maoris, not Europeans, May Have Discovered Antarctica First
History books, written by Americans and Europeans, often laud the “discovery” of foreign lands by ... Americans and Europeans. But new research appears to show they weren’t always the first. It’s long been thought Westerners first discovered Antarctica in the 19th century. But it’s possible, based on oral traditions and Maori carvings, that the southernmost continent was in fact known to New Zealand’s Maori people as far back as the 7th century. “We find Polynesian narratives of voyaging between the islands include voyaging into Antarctic waters … likely in the early 7th century,” said Priscilla Wehi, a lead researcher on the study published this week.
3. Making a Point: Medieval Men’s Shoes Gave Them Bunions
Women have long suffered from fashionable footwear, teetering on high heels and pushing their toes into pointy Jimmy Choos, but in medieval Britain it was men who were the fashion victims. Archaeologists have found about 27% of 14th and 15th-century skeletons in a Cambridge dig had bunions, caused by the fashion for pointy-toed men’s shoes known as poulaines. Sufferers were likely to be members of the clergy, whose foppery was satirized in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. At one point, King Edward IV even made a point of passing a law prohibiting shoe points of more than two inches in toe length.
4. Worth Every Penny: Teen Donates ‘Child Support’ to Shelter
He turned up like a bad penny. Eighteen-year-old Virginia high school student Avery Sanford was at first dismayed when her estranged father turned up and emptied a trailer of 80,000 pennies onto the front lawn as “child support payment.” But Sanford turned the aggressive act into something positive: She donated the $800 in coins to a domestic abuse shelter. After local media reported the story, the shelter, Safe Harbor, was flooded with donations from people inspired by Sanford’s actions. The teenager, who’s headed to Virginia Tech, said she was pleased to be able to turn a “hurtful” situation around.
A poll of 4,500 soccer fans in Europe has found more people are backing players taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement than are against it. In England, 54% of the soccer fans asked said they support it, while 79% of Portugese fans supported the gesture, as did 73% of Italians. The Netherlands was the only country that had more people opposed to it than in favor. Taking a knee was started as an anti-racist guesture by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, but has become widely adopted across sports. England players plan to take a knee before Euro 2020 matches, which start today.
We Asked, You Answered! Last week in the PDB we asked if the government should evacuate Afghan interpreters who worked with US forces during the war. We had an overwhelming response from readers and wanted to include a few of them in today’s newsletter, edited for brevity.
I am a Vietnam veteran and this is an ethical and moral imperative. There were atrocities performed when we left Vietnam and many Vietnamese civilian employees of our government were murdered after the war. — Dennis Sloan, Scottsdale, Arizona
We do have a strong obligation to protect those Afghans who worked with our forces. We need to admit them into the US on an emergency basis as resident green card holders with a path to citizenship. Otherwise, no one will work with us again anywhere. — Peter Schaar, Dallas, Texas
We have a moral obligation to get those who helped us in Afghanistan out. America has a bad history of abandoning those who have helped us. — Ken Colson, San Jose, California