“The world champion of malicious cyberattacks.” That’s what Beijing labeled the U.S. today, after Washington said China was responsible for a massive attack on Microsoft Exchange earlier this year. “The Chinese government ... is not doing this themselves, but are protecting those who are doing it, and maybe even accommodating them being able to do it,” President Joe Biden said yesterday, as four Chinese nationals were charged with separate hacking offenses. The EU, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and NATO joined the U.S. in its condemnation of China. Biden says authorities need to complete an investigation before he takes any countermeasures. (Sources: AFP, BBC, NYT)
2. First Capital Rioter Convicted of Felony Gets Eight Months
Paul Hodgkins, 38, yesterday became the first Capitol rioter to receive a felony sentence over the January 6 insurrection attempt in Washington D.C. The Tampa native was given eight months in prison after pleading guilty to obstructing an official proceeding when he and others entered the Senate chamber. Hodgkins apologized for his “foolish decision” but the judge said the riots had threatened “democracy itself.” Some said the sentence was too lenient, pointing to how a Black woman in Texas was given five years for voting illegally, not knowing she was ineligible. Hodgkins’ sentence could influence how other Capitol rioters are punished. (Sources: The Guardian, CNN, Al Jazeera)
3. New Prime Minister to Take Over in Haiti After Assassination
Claude Joseph, the prime minister in charge of Haiti’s government since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, has agreed to step down after foreign pressure, ending a power struggle that threatened the country’s stability. He will be replaced by Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon who Moïse appointed as prime minister just before he was killed on July 7, but who was not yet sworn in. In the chaos following the murder, both men claimed to be the troubled country’s legitimate leader. Police have arrested more than 20 people over the killing but are still seeking additional suspects.(Sources: NYT, Washington Post, NPR)
4. US Markets Stabilize After Terrible Day on Wall Street
The Dow Jones saw its worst one-day decline of 2021 yesterday, down 700 points, after global markets plummeted on fears of a spike in coronavirus cases of the delta variant. There has been an uptick of the more contagious form of the virus around the world, including in countries with high vaccination rates. Infections in the U.S. rose 70% last week. Shares in Carnival Cruises and United Airlines dropped over concerns restrictions will be brought back. Asian markets closed in the red and oil prices also tanked. However, markets stabilized today with U.S. stock futures indicating a rebound. (Sources: WSJ (sub), Washington Post )
5. Also Important …
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and others continued with Eid prayers yesterday, even after rockets landed near the presidential palace in Kabul. India’s opposition has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of treason after prominent opposition figures’ phone numbers were mentioned in the Pegasus Project spyware revelations. And billionaire Jeff Bezos is set to blast into space today.
Coronavirus Update: Excess deaths from COVID-19 in India could be more than 4 million, a study shows, 10 times the official figure. The U.S. State Department has changed its travel advisory for the U.K. to the highest level as coronavirus cases rise there.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: Meet who Carlos describes as perhaps the most impressive person he’s ever met … yes, ever (and that’s including five presidents and countless CEOs, athletes and celebrities)! Ursula Burns, the first Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, shares her journey from a New York City housing project to leading Xerox, and becoming the most influential African American woman in corporate America. How many other talk show interviews get interrupted by a phone call from former President Barack Obama? Because this one does. Tune in to learn, to be inspired, and for powerful insights into America’s “soul-crushingly disturbing” race problem. Watch now.
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Life was dope in China 12,000 years ago, apparently. Neolithic peoples in the East Asian country were the first to grow cannabis, new research has found, making it one of the world’s oldest cultivated plants. By studying cannabis genomes molecular ecologists from the University of Lausanne determined “that all current hemp and drug cultivars diverged from an ancestral gene pool … in China.” And it seems our ancient ancestors didn’t just grow the wacky-baccy for food, medicine and hemp, but also to get high. The scientists’ research will now help modern growers optimize strains for the burgeoning market in medical marijuana and other areas. (Sources: Daily Mail, NYT)
2. Congresswoman’s Twitter Suspended After COVID Tweets
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and former President Donald Trump were often on the same page … now neither of them has a Twitter page. At least temporarily. The tech giant suspended Greene for 12 hours yesterday after she posted COVID-related tweets the company said broke its misinformation policy. While the offending tweets, which claimed COVID-19 isn’t a threat to healthy people under 65, are still visible on her page, they have been tagged with a warning. The far-right conspiracy theorist apologized recently for comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust. Under Twitter’s new rules, anyone suspended more than four times is banned. (Sources: BBC, NBC)
3. Sail Like an Egyptian: Archaeologists Discover Sunken Boat
The ancient Egyptians believed a boat was needed to reach the afterlife, while the Greeks buried their dead with coins for the ferryman to transport them to the underworld. So it seems fitting archaeologists have found a Greek/Egyptian vessel and fourth-century Greek funerary complex in a sunken Egyptian city. The discovery, in the submerged port city of Thonis-Heracleion, shows the presence of Greek merchants in the area, researchers said, and how the civilizations were interconnected. The vessel is believed to have sunk when the temple it was moored next to in the second century B.C. collapsed. (Sources: AFP, Reuters, EgyptToday)
4. Ethical Questions After Bourdain Film Uses Deepfake Voice
A voice from beyond the grave? A new documentary about renowned chef, writer and TV host Anthony Bourdain is at the center of a controversy about the ethics surrounding the use of deepfakes. Bourdain died by suicide in 2018 and the film, Roadrunner, uses AI to make it seem like he is speaking words that in fact he’d only written. After people online expressed objections, the film’s director Morgan Neville, responded, saying: “With the blessing of his estate and literary agent we used AI technology.” But Bourdain’s widow Ottavia Busia denied she’d given her permission. The film is out in U.S. cinemas now (Sources: New Yorker, AP, Washington Post)
5. Tokyo Olympic Athletes' Village is No Bed of Roses
A New York Post article has caused bedlam at the Tokyo Olympic Village after claiming athletes were given cardboard beds to avoid any … nocturnal sports. Organizers responded that in fact the beds are “sturdy,” and Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan posted a video of himself jumping on the bed to debunk the theory that they were meant to discourage sex. Social media users are enjoying the controversy with one person quipping, “The official pickup line of Tokyo 2020: “Hey, wanna break down some cardboard with me?” Tokyo officials say the beds were created to be sustainable and will be recycled after the event (Sources: USA Today, AFP)
Cat Contest! Send a photo of your meow with their name and location to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll run the winners in our Cat-alogue.
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.
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