The American gymnastics sensation has pulled out of the Tokyo Games. USA Gymnastics issued a statement saying: “Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.” Earlier today, Biles stumbled on landing during a vault. The 24-year-old, believed to be the greatest gymnast in history, consulted with a doctor and returned with a bandaged leg. The U.S. gymnastics team will now have to go on without her, raising doubts about whether they’ll win their third consecutive Olympic title. (Sources: AP, NYT)
A Hong Kong pro-democracy protester could be sentenced to life in prison after a court found him guilty today of “terrorism” and “inciting secession.” Tong Ying-Kit, 24, is the first person to be tried in a landmark case under the tough new security law imposed by China last year. Tong was accused of driving his motorcycle around a city neighborhood with a banner that read: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” He then crashed into police officers who tried to stop him, injuring three. His sentence will be announced at a later date. More than 60 other Hong Kongers are awaiting trial under the new law.(Sources: NYT, The Guardian)
The U.S. is ending yet another “forever war.” As troops withdraw from Afghanistan after 20 years, President Joe Biden has announced he will also pull all remaining soldiers out of Iraq after being there for 18 years. Both wars began under former President George W. Bush. Biden met Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the Oval Office yesterday and the two formally agreed to end the combat mission. However, Biden promised “to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises.” He said the combat mission will wrap up by the end of the year.(Sources: Al Jazeera, Washington Post)
4. Capitol Riot Hearings to Kick Off Despite GOP Rejection
Four police officers will testify this morning on the first day of the hearing to investigate the January 6 Capitol Riot. New footage of the event will also be shown. Most of the GOP is against the committee investigating why a pro-Trump mob attacked the seat of America’s democracy, but rebel Republicans Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger are still participating. Hundreds of people arrested during the event are facing legal proceedings, and fringe Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, are planning to hold a counter-event this afternoon opposing the treatment of “Jan. 6 prisoners.” (Sources: NYT, CNN, The Independent)
What do you think? Do you support the select committee investigating the Capitol riots? Tell us here.
5. Tesla Quarterly Profits Up Despite Semiconductor Shortage
The chips may be down, but the profits are up for Elon Musk’s electric car maker Tesla. The Silicon Valley company posted a record quarterly profit of $1.1 billion as demand for battery-powered vehicles grows, despite also having been affected by the global semiconductor shortage. Tesla’s revenue almost doubled by the end of June to $12 billion, compared to the same period last year. It also doubled its output to more than 200,000 vehicles. “Chip supply is fundamentally the governing factor on our output,” said Musk, whose plans for the first Tesla pickup truck have been pushed back two years until 2022. (Sources: WSJ (Sub), Reuters)
Read more about the growing trend for electric cars on OZY.
6. Also Important …
The Tunisian president has imposed a month-long curfew and a ban on public gatherings, a day after dismissing the prime minister. North and South Korea have restarted a hotline, restoring cross-border communications, after it was shut off a year ago. And the 98th and final victim of the Florida condo collapse, Estelle Hedaya, has been identified, ending the weeks-long search for bodies.
Coronavirus Update: New York City and California will require vaccines or weekly tests for government workers, while the Department of Veteran Affairs is making shots mandatory for frontline health care workers. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called his country’s slow vaccine rollout “the biggest failure of public administration I can recall.”
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: The star of Percy Jackson, Baywatch and True Detective drops by to share the secret to how she’s become one of Hollywood’s hottest new talents. Alexandra Daddario — who’s also starring in the recently-released modern-day Romeo and Juliet story Die in a Gunfight — tells how her unusual pedigree of having two lawyers for parents and a former Member of Congress for a grandfather was the perfect recipe for bringing up not just one great actor, but her two actor siblings as well. Remember this name — this actor also has a flair for writing. Watch now.
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It’s been a hard few months for Japanese tennis champ Naomi Osaka. First there was the furore over her refusal to do press conferences, then she revealed she experiences mental health issues and dropped out of Wimbledon. Now the 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam-winner is out of the Olympics after losing 6-1, 6-4 to CzechMarkéta Vondroušová in the third round. Osaka, whose mother is Japanese, lit the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony and did well in her first few matches. On Sunday, she said she felt “refreshed and happy.” Vondroušová will go on to face Paula Badosa of Spain or Nadia Podoroska of Argentina.(Sources: AFP, AP)
2. Jeff Bezos Still Mooning Over Lost NASA Contract
Not content with having rocketed to the edge of space last week, days after fellow rich-lister Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos is taking the billionaire space race up a notch. The Amazon founder has offered to cover $2 billion of NASA’s costs if they ditch SpaceX’s Elon Musk and award his Blue Origin the major contract to build a moon landing vehicle instead. The South Africa native beat Bezos to be awarded the $2.9 billion contract in April, but in a letter to NASA released yesterday, Bezos asked that it reconsider. NASA’s first mission to the surface of the moon since 1972 is set for as early as 2024. (Sources: BBC, Sky)
3. Time is Tik ...Tocking for Harmful Vaping Ads
Social media influencers are contributing to a rise in young people vaping, new research shows. While vaping and electronic cigarettes have been touted as being less harmful than smoking, there is growing evidence that they do have negative health effects. A researcher at The University of Queensland, Australia, examined more than 800 TikTok videos with vaping-related hashtags that had each got over a million views, and found that two-thirds of the videos portrayed the activity positively. The researchers found many of the influencers are young, and are now suggesting the platform restrict such videos to over-18s. (Sources: Cosmos, Tobacco Control)
4. Pink Sees Red Over Norwegian Handball Team’s ‘Sexist’ fine
She doesn’t want to be Missundaztood, Pink is making it clear she supports the rights of female athletes to wear what they want. The pop star has offered to pay the Norwegian women’s handball team’s fines after the members were penalized for refusing to wear the prescribed bikini bottoms in a game last week. Pink slammed the “sexist” uniform rules in a Tweet and added: “The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.” Each member of the Scandinavian team owes about $177.(Sources: US Magazine, Twitter)
5. Endangered Greek Turtles at Loggerheads with Tourists
For many species around the world, the retreat of humans from nature due to COVID-19 has proved a boon. Researchers have found endangered loggerhead sea turtles on the Greek holiday island of Zakynthos, usually popular with British tourists, have changed their behavior since the beaches emptied during the pandemic. In 2020, instead of moving away from the beaches to colder waters during breeding season, they stayed put despite the warmer temperatures. And breed they did. Last year a record number of nests was found on Zakynthos. But now that tourism is back, the turtles’ respite looks to be short-lived.(Sources: The Guardian)
Catalogue: We’re delighted with the hundreds of purr-fect cat photos readers have sent in and are running one more a day until the end of the week. Watch this space, the “Best in Show” contests — pups and meows — will be back at a later date!
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