Accountability can come at a cost. Furious over the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma for defying a corruption probe, his supporters and looters clashed with police for a fifth day. More than 70 people have been killed, and authorities have detained more than 1,200 people. The unrest in the populous Gauteng province and Zuma’s home base of KwaZulu-Natal has shut down a radio station and the country’s largest oil refinery. It's also shuttered some vaccination centers — at a time when COVID-19, which claimed 633 South Africans Tuesday, threatens to kill far more. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Bloomberg)
2. Democrats Fly Solo With $3.5 Trillion Bill
It’ll fill in the gaps — very big ones. Democratic senators yesterday agreed on a $3.5 trillion price tag for a spending bill that would fund “every major program” specified by President Joe Biden “in a robust way,” explained Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The bill, which includes health, social and environmental initiatives, is separate from the eight-year, $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. But both could face roadblocks: Republicans worry that the smaller one will help the other, which they argue is too costly, while the larger package needs all 50 Democratic senators to sign on. (Sources: Politico, Washington Post, The Hill)
3. Biden on GOP Voting Bills: ‘Have You No Shame?’
The voting rights battle reached a new rhetorical level in Philadelphia Tuesday, with President Biden asking “Republican friends” at all levels “to stand up, for God’s sake” against red states’ voting restrictions. He was especially critical of removing power from local officials, which he said would enable election-rigging. The speech came as Texas Democrats were in Washington to deprive Republican legislators of a quorum back home, preventing them from passing restrictions that critics insist will disenfranchise voters of color. But the Dems can’t stay forever, and Republicans in the Senate are united against new federal voting protections. (Sources: WSJ [sub], NYT)
4. Iranians Charged in NYC Kidnap Plot
Journalist Masih Alinejad knew Iran’s government might kidnap her, as they had done to other journalists abroad. On Tuesday U.S. authorities charged four Iranian intelligence operatives with conspiring to kidnap an unnamed journalist before New York-based Alinejad revealed she was the target. “This is the first time such an audacious plot has been hatched and foiled,” she wrote. Court documents say the men charged researched a speedboat service with the intent of transporting the victim to Venezuela. A fifth individual, charged with financing the effort, was arrested in California and may be the only person to face prosecution. (Sources: NBC, NY Post)
5. Also Important …
Rescuers in China have found 17 bodies and six survivors in the rubble of a collapsed hotel in the eastern city of Suzhou. Cuban officials say a man has been killed in anti-government unrest over short supplies of medicine and food. And after a year when many top-rated shows paused for the pandemic, Emmy nominations announced Tuesday included plenty of surprises, including an outstanding comedy nod for Netflix’s critically skewered Emily in Paris.
Today on The Carlos Watson Show we’re joined by Hollywood megastar Scarlett Johansson. The multi-Oscar nominee takes us behind the scenes of Black Widow and reveals how she physically prepares for the intense action. As one of Hollywood’s busiest actors, she shares how she overcomes burnout and whom she’d love to invite for dinner. Don’t miss this special episode with the one and only ScarJo!
If you missed them the last time around, the sneakers we can’t get enough of are back — the perfect transitional sneaker as summer rolls around! These all-season low-tops are OZY’s favorite look for dressing up or down. But don’t wait around — these comfy kicks fly off the shelves and won’t be here for long.
À votre santé! Drinking “to your health” was never more apropos. Faced with the horreur of no access to cafés, restaurants and other public spaces, a record 1.3 million French residents booked vaccination appointments in less than a day. Why? After nearly 60% of the country has put off immunization, President Emmanuel Macron warned Monday that by August, café culture will require a pass verifying vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, which won’t be free anymore. Despite their grumbling, some people showed up for shots because, as one put it, “I want to have a social life.” (Sources: AP, NPR)
What do you think? Does freedom to socialize mitigate your immunization qualms? Tell us here.
2. Russian Hacking Group Vanishes From Web
And just like that, they were gone. REvil, the Russian-speaking hacking group that’s extorted tens of millions of dollars from businesses whose data it’s hacked and encrypted, has vanished from the dark web, and that includes conduits for paying ransom. At this point, there’s no explanation but plenty of theories — such as a digital counterattack by U.S. Cyber Command, which hasn’t commented, in the wake of President Biden’s retaliation threats. The more innocuous explanation is that such groups periodically shut down and resurface later under a new name. (Sources: Reuters, NBC)
3. Norwegian Sues Over Florida’s Cruise Taboos
They’ve restricted the restriction. Florida has outlawed cruise companies from requiring passengers to be vaccinated, so one of the biggest carriers is going to court. Norwegian Cruise Line is suing the state’s surgeon general and sticking with its rule that unvaccinated travelers must stay ashore. The Sunshine State charges that the operator “prefers the shackles of the CDC to the freedom offered by Florida.” Meanwhile, Italy’s just announced that it’s banning big ships from Venice’s lagoon, anticipating that UNESCO will soon designate the city an endangered heritage site over concerns that cruise ships undermine the city’s foundations and ecosystem. (Sources: WSJ (sub), DW)
4. Popular Film Gets Joyful IRL Conclusion
In a country of 1.4 billion, he never gave up. So inspiring and tragic was Guo Gangtang's motorcycle trek looking for his son, kidnapped and sold to a family in a nearby province at age 2, that it was made into the 2015 film Lost and Love. Thanks to DNA matching, the 51-year-old dad was reunited with son Guo Xinzhen, now a 26-year-old teacher, on Sunday. Two suspects have been arrested for the kidnapping. Over the years, Guo’s information helped recover more than 100 trafficked kids, authorities said. Now state media reports that netizens are demanding a cinematic sequel. (Sources: SCMP, Daily Mail, Global Times)
5. It’s an All-American (League) All-Star Game
Call them the “Mudville League.” Emulating the doomed team in “Casey at the Bat,” the National League lost its eighth consecutive All-Star Game to the American League last night. The AL cemented its 5-2 victory with homers from Tampa Bay’s Mike Zunino and Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., named the contest’s MVP after his 468-footer knocked in two runs in the third inning. And the AL’s season MVP favorite, Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, was terrible at the plate but took out batters 1-2-3 in his first-inning cameo, earning him the win. As for the NL, there’s always next year. (Sources: CBS, USA Today, ESPN)
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