It’s the end of an era, but it was never going to be a new dawn. Two days after Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted after 12 years at Israel’s helm, its new coalition government under right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. It was the first violence since last month’s 11-day conflict, and came after Israel said Hamas sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel. Tensions were already high yesterday over an Israeli far-right procession in east Jerusalem where marchers shouted “death to Arabs.” The U.N. is warning both sides against “another round of confrontation.”
2. Foot on the Gas: Judge Deals Biden Blow on Climate
President Joe Biden’s environmental agenda just hit a major stumbling block as a federal judge ruled against his suspension of new oil and gas leases on public lands, saying only Congress has that authority and Biden “exceeded his powers.” It’s a blow to the president’s attempts to conserve public land and cut fossil fuel pollution, though he’s made inroads on his climate change agenda in recent months by suspending drilling leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit. Oil industry groups are calling on the government to restart leases immediately.
3. South Korean Women Battle Digital Sex Crime Surge
Secretly filming women and sharing explicit images online is so prevalent in South Korea there’s even a name for it: molka. A new report by Human Rights Watch found many women and girls are traumatized and some contemplate suicide over digital sex crimes like “upskirting,” which police take lightly because there’s no physical contact. Report author Heather Barr said many “avoided using public toilets and felt anxious about hidden cameras in public.” Activists say there was an 11-fold increase in molka prosecutions from 2008 to 2017, arguing that Seoul must do more to address rampant gender inequality in the country.
4. Biden Appoints Tech Critic as Trade Commission Head
Bad news for Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. President Biden yesterday installed Lina Khan, an outspoken critic of Big Tech, as Federal Trade Commission chief. The legal scholar from Columbia University Law School has made tech antitrust concerns and fighting monopolies a priority and was confirmed by the Senate in a rare show of bipartisanship. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect the public from corporate abuse,” Khan said. As chair of the commission she’ll also deal with whether companies have effectively secured their customers’ data and vote on whether to bring antitrust cases against them.
The U.S. Senate has passed a bill making June 19, or Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery, a national holiday. Southern Baptists, a powerful conservative evangelical group, have elected a moderate pastor from Alabama as their president, avoiding a right-wing takeover. And President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to hold talks in Geneva today.
Coronavirus Update: New York and California are lifting almost all remaining coronavirus restrictions as large numbers of people in both states have now been vaccinated. The number of Americans who have died from COVID-19 has passed the 600,000 mark, the most deaths of any nation during the pandemic so far.
Today on The Carlos Watson Show: It’s possible that no one has shaped the music industry more than Tommy Mottola. If names like Hall & Oates, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Shakira, or Mariah Carey ring a bell, Mottola is to credit. The music legend gives unparalleled insight into his career, his focus on bringing diversity into management and his regrets as a father. Do you know what iconic music video he plays an integral role in? Watch now to find out.
Black stories are often portrayed in extremes — as struggles or triumphs — but these stories do not represent the full richness of the Black experience. What about the inside jokes, hard conversations, honest gestures, family struggles and celebrations? To understand the Black experience, we need to see the whole truth. By enabling Black creators, P&G aims to widen the screen to widen our view to combat systemic bias in advertising and media. Our “Widen the Screen” initiative is an expansive content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables and advocates for increased inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and television industries.
We all had travel problems during lockdown, with borders blocked and flights grounded. But imagine if your only way to see your neighbors was a precarious rope bridge over a steep gorge. The Incas built the Q’eswachaka bridge in Peru 500 years ago to connect communities divided by the Apurimac river, and it’s maintained by locals with traditional weaving techniques. But during the pandemic, the crossing collapsed. Villagers from the Huinchiri community are undertaking the perilous task of repairing the 100-foot-long bridge. The local governor described reconnecting the villages as a symbol of the world emerging from the pandemic.
2. Georgia Cashier Killed in Fight Over Customer’s Mask
America’s culture war over masks has claimed another victim. A customer shot and killed a supermarket worker in Decatur Monday after a dispute about face coverings. DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said, “There was some confrontation, argument ... in reference to the wearing of masks, at which time the subject pulled out a weapon and shot the cashier.” The suspect, 30-year-old Victor Lee Tucker Jr., also allegedly shot and wounded a security guard before being arrested. Masks have become an even more sensitive topic since authorities have relaxed rules, leaving retailers to enforce their own mask policies.
3. Arctic Scientist Has Chilling Warning on Global Warming
We may be past the point of no return. That’s what Markus Rex, who led the biggest-ever expedition to the North Pole, reports after his team of 300 researchers from 20 countries discovered that ocean ice retreated faster in spring 2020 than ever before. The researchers, who spent 389 days collecting 150 terabytes of data, say summer sea ice is also disappearing. Rex said, “Only evaluation in the coming years will allow us to determine if we can still save the year-round Arctic sea ice ... or whether we have already passed this important tipping point in the climate system.”
4. Jon Stewart Under Fire for Saying COVID Is Lab-Made
“Maybe a bat flew into the cloaca of a turkey, and then it sneezed into my chili, and now we all have coronavirus.” So joked the former Daily Show host when he joined Stephen Colbert on The Late Show Monday night. Stewart explained that he thinks it originated in a Wuhan lab, prompting Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman to say the public shouldn’t rely on celebrities for COVID-19 information. While the theory, promoted by former President Donald Trump, was widely rejected at the beginning of the pandemic, President Biden has since called for an investigation into the virus’s origin.
5. MLB Sticks It to Pitchers Over Foreign Substances
They’re seeing what sticks. Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that it’s cracking down on pitchers adding tacky substances to balls to improve their grip. In a season that’s seen record strikeouts and the lowest league batting average in 50 years, commissioner Rob Manfred said the practice has become an “unfair competitive advantage that is creating a lack of action and an uneven playing field.” Though the sticky stuff was already technically banned, it’s estimated that at least 75% of pitchers use it. Beginning June 21, umpires will conduct spot-checks and offenders will be ejected and suspended for 10 games.