Maybe U.S. President Joe Biden’s the one who should have written The Art of the Deal? His $1 trillion infrastructure bill advanced in the Senate yesterday after Republicans and Democrats reached a compromise following weeks of wrangling. Seventeen Republicans voted in favor of the bill, which will provide billions towards water, roads and rail projects. Biden said the deal “will grow the economy, create good-paying jobs, and set America on a path to win the future.” But he’ll still be biden his time, as the final legislation needs to be drafted and then it needs to pass final votes in the house and Senate. (Sources: Washington Post, New York Times)
2. Chinese Pig Farming Tycoon Sentenced to 18 Years
In George Orwell’s allegorical novel Animal Farm, the communists are portrayed as pigs. But in China yesterday, it was a billionaire pig farmer who fell foul of the Communist regime. Sun Dawu, 67, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The chairman of Dawu Agricultural Group was arrested after comments he made in support of lawyers during President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on legal activists last year. The tycoon has long been critical of Beijing’s rural policies and pushed for greater autonomy for farmers. There’s a growing clampdown on entrepreneurs in China who are seen as challenging the state. (Sources: Al Jazeera, The Guardian, CNN)
3. US Sees Record Drop in Poverty After Pandemic Aid
It may seem counterintuitive that poverty levels could decline during a pandemic, but in fact they will almost halve this year in the U.S. Thanks to the huge increase in government aid sparked by the coronavirus, the number of poor Americans will be the lowest on record. A study published yesterday predicts there will be 20 million fewer people in poverty compared to 2018, a 45% drop, thanks largely to expanded unemployment insurance, food stamps and stimulus checks. The Biden administration wants to make an expansion of the child tax credit permanent but conservatives argue pandemic-era spending is unsustainable. (Sources: NYT, Reuters)
4. Robinhood IPO: Take From the Rich, Give to the Poor?
The investing platform that gained fame this year when it disrupted the market, allowing inexperienced investors to trade “meme” stocks, launches its much-anticipated IPO today. Shares are expected to start trading at $38 on the Nasdaq under the symbol HOOD. The company’s valuation is pegged at about $32 billion and the trading app had 21.3 million users at the end of June. Some have called the company a democratizing force, while others have argued it leads to people losing their life’s savings. With many of its IPO shares allocated to individual investors, the IPO should raise about $2 billion. (Sources: Reuters, WSJ (sub), NPR)
Read more about what’s next in the world of IPOs on OZY.
5. Also Important …
A tsunami warning has been issued for parts of the Alaskan coast following a strong 8.2 magnitude earthquake. Pedro Castillo, a left-wing former rural teacher, has been sworn in as Peru’s president. And Germany has charged a Syrian doctor living there with crimes against humanity for allegedly torturing people at a hospital in his home nation.
Coronavirus Update: House SpeakerNancy Pelosi called House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “a moron” yesterday after he criticized the mask mandate in the House. U.S. world champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks has tested positive for coronavirus and is out of the Olympics.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: One of the first Asian American women of prominence on the American stage, Margaret Cho inspired a generation of performers like Awkwafina and Ali Wong. Today, the comedian joins Carlos to speak openly about the struggles she experienced in her rise to fame, from assault to addiction to finding her identity. Watch today.
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.
If you like The Lord of the Rings and the All Blacks rugby team there’s some good news for you. New Zealand has been named the best place in the world to survive a “societal collapse,” according to researchers. In an apocalyptic scenario caused by climate change, financial collapse, or a worse pandemic than coronavirus, head to the temperate islands in the Southern Hemisphere. The researchers assessed that New Zealand would be most resilient in the face of such disasters because of its ability to protect its borders, grow its own food and maintain an electric grid. Billionaires are already starting to buy bunkers there. (Sources: The Guardian, Sky)
2. Want Fries With That? It’ll be $200
Your brain would have to be completely fried. A New York City restaurant has made it into the Guinness World Records for the world’s most expensive french fries. The fast food costs a whopping $200 at Serendipity 3 on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But they’re a cut above your average food-truck fries. In this interpretation, Chipperbec potatoes are blanched in champagne, fried in goose fat, sprinkled with gold leaf, seasoned with truffle and served with an orchid. The restaurant already holds the title for the world’s most expensive burger, $295, and ice cream sundae, $1000. Currently, there’s an eight to 10-week waiting list. (Sources: CNN)
3. The Men Who Cried Wolf: Wisconsin Readies for Next Hunt
Many have called it a wolf massacre. The last wolf hunt in Wisconsin in February killed 83% more animals than the state quota allowed, after the administration of former President Donald Trump removed wolves’ Endangered Species Act protections. Conservationists are urging that the upcoming hunt’s quota be reduced by the same amount. Earlier this year the first state-mandated wolf hunt in years began, with 216 of the animals killed, surpassing the 119 quota. Many of the hunters used tracking dogs, which is only allowed in Wisconsin. A local Indigenous tribe was also allocated a quota but chose to kill none. The next hunt is set for November.(Sources: The Hill, Washington Post, The Guardian)
4. US Returns 17,000 Pilfered Antiquities to Iraq
The U.S. is pulling out — and giving back. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met President Biden at the White House this week for talks on the withdrawal of combat troops after 18 years of war. But another historic agreement was also made: The U.S. is returning thousands of ancient Iraqi treasures looted in recent decades. The pieces include 3,000-year-old clay tablets and seals, mostly looted during years of war and sold illegally.Some 17,000 antiquities, including archaeological artifacts more than 4,000 years old, will travel back with Al-Kadhimi on his plane today. (Sources: AFP, BBC)
5. Jade Carey Replaces Biles in Olympic Individual Finals
The change comes after Simone Biles pulled out of the Olympic Games earlier this week citing mental health reasons. Biles has also said she got the “twisties,” a gymnastics term for becoming disoriented while in the air. Carey, a 21-year-old from Arizona, is a vault and floor specialist who has won four world championship medals and will join Sunisa Lee in today’s competition. Carey is able to land a triple-twisting double layout, the most difficult tumbling pass in women’s gymnastics, which has not been done by Biles. If Carey does it successfully during the competition it will be named after her. (Sources: CBS, Washington Post, BBC)
Read more about athletes’ struggles with mental health on OZY.
Hydration isn’t just about drinking water; it’s about water PLUS electrolytes. When we sweat, we lose water and sodium, so we need to replace both to prevent muscle cramps, headaches and energy dips. But drinking just plain H2O can dilute electrolyte levels. With LMNT, you get a flavorful electrolyte mixed into your water without the sugar or artificial junk found in many so-called sports drinks. Just electrolytes and great taste.