The future of the country is at stake. That’s what former President Barack Obama said yesterday, breaking his usual silence on politics on the Hill to weigh in on the bill before the Senate today. The Democrats’ For the People Act, which would see a broad federal elections overhaul making it easier to vote, passed the House in February but is set to stall in the Senate amid widespread Republican opposition. In recent days lone Democratic holdout, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, introduced a list of compromises he would support. But even if Democrats vote unanimously, the bill is unlikely to pass a GOP filibuster.
2. Cambodia Clamps Down on Environmental Activists
They’re taking a leaf out of Thailand’s book. A court in Cambodia has charged three environmental activists with “insulting the king,” in what rights groups say is a crackdown on dissent by the increasingly authoritarian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Such charges in Cambodia are relatively new. Sun Ratha, 26, Ly Chandaravuth, 22, and Yim Leanghy, 32, are all members of NGO Mother Nature, and were detained while documenting pollution in Phnom Penh’s Tonlé Sap River. U.S. ambassador Patrick Murphy criticized the charges, saying: “Documenting pollution is a public service.” If convicted the activists face up to 10 years in prison.
3. Crack in the System: Biden Looks to Overhaul Cocaine Laws
Light sentences for Wall Street bankers, hefty penalties for impoverished people of color. That’s basically how America’s drug laws work. But U.S. President Joe Biden intends to fix the disparity in punishments for crack and powder cocaine offenses, despite helping to create it decades ago. The substances are chemically the same, but the sentence for selling about 0.18 oz. of crack was the same as for selling about 18 oz. of powder cocaine, though that was later reduced. More than 87% of people currently in jail for crack offenses are Black. A Senate Judiciary hearing today will hear plans to eliminate such laws.
4. Bitcoin Blues as China Closes Down Crypto Mines
China is cracking down on cryptocurrency mining, prompting Bitcoin’s value to fall as much as 8% Monday. Over the weekend, authorities in southwest Sichuan province shuttered numerous bitcoin mines, accounting for some 90% of China’s mining capacity. Globally, about 65% of bitcoin mining is done in China. The cryptocurrency’s value sank as low as $31,760 Monday morning, with Charles Hayter, CEO of cryptodata firm CryptoCompare, explaining: “When China sneezes, Bitcoin catches a cold.” The bullish contention is that in the long run, Bitcoin will benefit as its environmental credentials will be boosted with fewer miners in coal-dependent China.
A Singaporean woman found guilty of torturing and killing her maid from Myanmar has been sentenced to 30 years, in a case that highlights the abuse of domestic workers in the city-state. The Spanish government is set to pardon nine jailed Catalan independence leaders from their failed secession attempt in 2017. And dating can be tiring, but apparently so can working for a dating app. That’s why Bumble has given its 700 staff worldwide the week off to combat burnout.
Coronavirus Update: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail people who refuse to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Former President Donald Trump floated the idea of sending COVID-positive Americans to Guantanamo, according to a new book.
Read on below the ads to find out which is the world’s most expensive city for expats!
What is the issue that Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, progressive representative Katie Porter, Trump Adviser Mica Mosbacher and BLM activist Chi Ossé can agree on? The need for a more just education system. For the next episode of Real Talk, Real Change from The Carlos Watson Show and Chevrolet, we take a unique look at education in America. After a pandemic year that forced us to rethink our education systems, is this the perfect time to build back greater education justice, from policing in schools to equity in funding? Along with hearing from celebrities and policy experts, we sit down with those most impacted — students, teachers and parents to hear their thoughts on how we reset American education. Tune in now for a one-of-a-kind conversation!
In 2019, JPMorgan Chase launched Advancing Black Pathways to strengthen the economic foundation of Black communities. The global pandemic and heightened social challenges have focused the world’s attention on racial inequality. That’s why Advancing Black Pathways is continuing in its mission to address the systemic challenges facing the Black community head on and deliver on JPMorgan Chase’s efforts to build a more inclusive economy for all.
We’re taking on this challenge by:
Providing an ecosystem of support for Black students and entrepreneurs
Leveraging business, policy and data
Driving sustainable change
Helping navigate the road to home ownership
Improving the financial health of individuals and families
And creating access to capital opportunities for business owners
A lot of people think New York is the most expensive city in the world. It’s nowhere near. At least not on this year’s Mercer list measuring the most costly places to live for expats. You may not fancy working remotely from Ashgabat, but if you do, start saving. Turkmenistan’s capital tops the list as a financial crisis has sent inflation skyrocketing. Don’t expect any democracy for your greenbacks though, Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most restrictive states, with an eccentric leader who loves horses so much he wrote a rap about them. Behind Ashgabat is Hong Kong, followed by Beirut, Tokyo and Zurich.
2. California Police Crack the Case of the Pistachio Thief
He must have been nuts. A contractor for a Californian pistachio company has been arrested after pulling off a heist of 42,000 pounds of the delicious green gold. Alberto Montemayor, 34, has been charged with grand theft after surveillance footage from the Touchstone Pistachio Company in Fresno showed him squirreling away the produce worth $170,760. Central California produces almost all of America’s pistachios as well as a lot of almonds and walnuts, an industry worth some $5 billion. Thefts by nut-burglars posing as truckers are not uncommon with $7 million worth of the tasty snacks stolen between 2014 and 2017.
3. Controversy as UNESCO Says Great Barrier Reef ‘In Danger’
The Aussies are angry. That’s after UNESCO moved to list the Great Barrier Reef as a heritage site “in danger.” The Environment Ministry and reef tourism operators hit back, saying the famous diving spot is “healthy” and “beautiful.” The listing, which UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will consider at a July meeting in China, would impact the tourism industry, which has already been hard hit by closed borders due to the pandemic. Scientists backed UNESCO’s move, saying that climate change is to blame and criticized the Australian government for lack of action. Government officials, however, blame Chinese lobbying for the U.N. body’s decision.
What do you think? Should individual countries be held responsible for climate change? Vote here.
4. WHO’s The Boss: Springsteen Show Changes Vaccine Rules
If you were Born In the USA, and therefore a recipient of an FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, you could be Dancing In the Dark at rock legend Bruce Springsteen’s New York concert this weekend. However, if, like millions of people around the world, especially in Canada and Europe, you had the AstraZeneca shot, you’d have to stay Out In the Street. At least those were the initial rules for the Boss’ new gig on broadway, but after an outcry over vaccine discrimination, the organizers backtracked and now anyone inoculated with an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine can buy tickets.
The Las Vegas Raiders defensive end is the first active player in the NFL to come out, which he did in an Instagram post yesterday, saying: “I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay … I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.” Nassib, who made the announcement during Pride month, also said he was donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, an organization that offers suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was “proud” of Nassib, who was also praised by his team and other athletes.