It’s being called a litmus test for the country’s young democracy. There were chaotic scenes outside former President Jacob Zuma’s rural homestead over the weekend as hundreds of supporters, including traditional Zulu warriors, gathered to defend the embattled politician. Sunday was the deadline for Zuma to surrender himself to police to serve 15 months in jail for contempt of court, after failing to appear for a corruption hearing. However, he got a last-minute stay after the Constitutional Court agreed to hear his application for rescission on July 12. Zuma loyalists have vowed to unleash violence if he is sent to prison.
A resurgent Taliban has captured several districts in the north of the country from fleeing Afghan forces, just days after U.S. troops pulled out of Bagram Airfield. Concern is now growing about the future of Kabul, but the group’s spokesman Suhail Shaheen said taking the capital militarily was “not Taliban policy.” Asked about Bagram, President Joe Biden told reporters it was a holiday weekend, adding “I want to talk about happy things, man.” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the last U.S. troops should be out by the end of August, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to tell parliament tomorrow about his own nation’s withdrawal plans.
Read more about what’s at stake in Afghanistan on OZY.
3. Biden Celebrates Vaccinations but Urges Caution
He might have been loath to talk about Afghanistan over the weekend, but President Biden was keen to celebrate his administration’s progress in combating the pandemic. Hosting a July 4 celebration at the White House yesterday, he compared the fight against coronavirus with the nation’s battle for independence. Though his goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by the holiday fell short, Biden stressed the need for Americans still stalling to get their shots, saying: “It’s the most patriotic thing you can do.” There are fears that, with the spread of the delta variant, new outbreaks could occur in regions with low vaccination rates.
4. China Puts the Brakes on Ride-Sharing App Didi and Others
As the U.S. administration debates how to deal with Big Tech at home, China has continued with its clampdown on internet giants. After removing ride-hailing app Didi from app stores in the country Sunday, Beijing announced probes into two more companies: Full Truck Alliance, a merger between truck-sharing platforms, and Kanzhun, which owns an online recruitment platform. All three companies are U.S.-listed with Didi’s New York IPO last week raising a whopping $4.4 billion. The Cyberspace Administration of China said all three are being investigated for potential data collection breaches and must stop new user registration in the meantime.
The remainder of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside was demolished last night for safety purposes, with 121 people remaining missing in the condo collapse. More than 100 people are missing after a mudslide at a hotspring resort in central Japan. And at least 50 people were killed in a military plane crash in the Philippines over the weekend.
Coronavirus Update: Want a shot of espresso with your shot? That’s what people who took part in a mass vaccination drive in Rome on Saturday night received, while also being serenaded by a jazz pianist. Hundreds of health workers in Sydney have been forced to isolate themselves, and hospitals in the Australian city have been put on “red alert.”
Cat Contest! Some of our readers had their claws out after our hugely popular “Dog of the Day” photo contest last month, pointing out that if one animal rules the internet, it’s cats. We don’t want readers feline hurt, so send a photo of your meow with their name, city and state to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll run the winners in the newsletter.
On this special episode of The Carlos Watson Show Carlos sits down with some of YouTube’s most successful content creators Rhett & Link. Hear the Ear Biscuits hosts and childhood friends talk about their origin story, share tips on what helped them stand-out on this content-filled platform and how they’ve managed to stay friends for more than 35 years. Why do these YouTube pioneers say content creators are leading the next revolution? Tune in for more.
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
It was an apocalyptic scene: The sea was on fire. An underwater gas pipeline leak in the Gulf of Mexico created a hellish “eye of fire” Friday, with netizens comparing it to Mordor in Lord of the Rings and to Godzilla. Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly, managed to extinguish the fire after about five hours. The state environmental agency said the leak hadn’t generated a spill. Chris Robbins at nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, however, said researchers must now be allowed to assess the damage, adding: “As long as we’re drilling for oil and natural gas, these kind of accidents, unfortunately, are going to continue to occur.”
2. Barbershop Shots: Black-Owned Salons to Offer Vaccinations
In an attempt to encourage more African Americans to get vaccinated, the Biden administration is enlisting barbershops and hair salons to combat vaccine hesitancy. While the pandemic has hit African Americans particularly hard, with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing they are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people, there are also high levels of vaccine skepticism in Black communities. The barbershop program “shots at the shop” aims to help 1,000 Black-Owned salon businesses nationwide to not only provide educational material but also offer vaccination clinics onsite.
3. Swimming Federation Reviewing Soul Cap Ban After Outcry
There has been outrage and disappointment among Black swimmers after the International Swimming Federation (FINA) banned swim caps designed for natural Black hair from the Olympics. The brand SOUL CAP had applied to be certified, but was rejected because its caps don’t follow “the natural form of the head.” Many critics said the decision would stop young Black swimmers from pursuing the sport, just weeks after Alice Dearing was picked as the first female Black swimmer to represent Britain at the Olympics, this year in Tokyo. Because of the outpouring of anger, FINA has since agreed to review its decision.
4. Appetite for Greatness: ‘Joey Jaws’ Wins Hotdog Challenge
What’s July 4 without Nathan’s famous hotdog-eating contest? The world record-holder in the skill broke his own personal best yesterday, wolfing down 76 dogs in 10 minutes, and winning the annual event on Coney Island for the 14th time. Joey Chestnut, dubbed “Joey Jaws,” managed to beat his previous record by one frankfurter and bun, devouring 26 more of America’s favorite food than the runner up. Numerous Twitter users joked that Chestnut should be tested for weed because it’s a performance-enhancing drug when it comes to competitive eating, referencing the Sha’Carri Richardson controversy.
5. Sha’Carri Richardson Ban Manages to Unite Washington
The controversial barring of flame-haired U.S. sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson from running the 100 meters at this month’s Olympics after she tested positive for marijuana has proved to be an unlikely bipartisan issue. It’s a rare thing to find Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Donald Trump Jr. in agreement, but both think Richardson should be allowed to compete. Ocasio-Cortez called for the suspension of the ban, while the former president’s son tweeted: “I’m pretty damn sure weed has never made anyone faster.” President Biden has also weighed in on it, saying “the rules are the rules.” Richardson could still compete in the 4x100m relay in Tokyo.