The number of multiracial people in the U.S. more than doubled over the past decade, the latest census has found. And the white population declined for the first time in history. People who identify as white account for 58% of the country, down from 69% in 2000. Meanwhile, the part of the population who identify as Hispanic or Asian surged, the Census Bureau reported. Nearly a quarter of Americans identify as Asian or Hispanic, while the Black population rose by 6%. America’s changing demographics look like good news for the Democrats, but the census results are likely to cause nationwide redistricting battles. (Sources: NYT, USA Today, ABC)
Some are comparing it to the fall of Saigon. The U.S. is sending an additional 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to help evacuate its nationals as the Taliban makes rapid gains. Yesterday, the militants seized the country’s third-largest city, Herat. Britain is also evacuating staff and scaling back its embassy in the capital Kabul, which some analysts think could fall within a matter of weeks. Today, the Taliban seized the pivotal city of Lashkar Gah, while Kandahar has also fallen. The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is said to be preparing for the collapse of the Afghan government within a month. (Sources: Washington Post, NYT, Al Jazeera, The Guardian)
Read an analysis of the results of a possible Taliban takeover on OZY.
3. Senior Ministers Pay Respects at Japanese War Shrine
Two senior Japanese cabinet ministers today visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine, where convicted war criminals are interred. The visit by Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi and Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura will likely upset China and South Korea. The countries suffered under Japanese occupation before the axis power was defeated in World War II. “I prayed for those who passed away in the war to rest in peace. Japan’s prosperity was built on their sacrifice,” Nishimura told reporters. Sunday marks the 76th anniversary of Japan’s surrender and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has not yet said whether he will visit the shrine. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Japan Times)
4. An Expensive Cup of Joe: Coffee Prices May Increase
Be prepared for the cost of your morning espresso to go up as rising coffee bean prices and supply chain issues mean cafés and retailers may have to charge more. Bad weather in the world’s largest coffee producer, Brazil, has damaged crops, while political protests in Colombia have slowed exports. Nestlé and Starbucks have already said they could increase prices, but won’t be as affected as smaller roasters. This week the price of coffee futures, usually around $1.20 to $1.40, was at $1.84 a pound. The cold snap in Brazil last month is expected to affect supply into next year. (Sources: WSJ (sub), NYT)
5. Also Important …
There was a rare mass shooting in the U.K. yesterday, during which a man killed five people in what’s believed to have been a domestic incident, before turning the gun on himself. Algeria has arrested 22 people suspected of arson amid devastating fires that killed 69 people. And Lee Jae-yong, a Samsung heir found guilty of embezzlement, has been released on parole despite having only served half his sentence.
Coronavirus Update: The U.S. FDA has authorized COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for people with compromised immune systems. And 27 people onboard a Carnival Cruise ship that arrived in Belize from Texas have tested positive for coronavirus.
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Today on The Carlos Watson Show: You may know iconic actor Sean Penn for his Oscar-winning roles in movies like Mystic River and Milk, but do you know how he’s revolutionizing the world of service? Today, the change-making actor discusses his organization’s involvement in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, why we need a moratorium on technology and how we need to reform our views on citizen service. Watch now.
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.
The #FreeBritney movement is celebrating a major victory. The singer’s father announced yesterday that he will be stepping down as her conservator, a position he has held since she suffered a breakdown in 2008. Jamie Spears has faced increasing pressure to step aside since his daughter appeared in court last month accusing him of controlling every aspect of her life, including contraception. On Thursday, he maintained there were “no actual grounds” for removing him, and refused to give a date when he would step aside. The “I’m a Slave 4 U” singer has said she intends to press charges against her father for abuse. (Sources: Variety, AFP)
2. Treated Like Dogs: McDonald’s Staff Given Diaper Masks
If you don’t like wearing a mask, imagine having to wear a dog’s diaper. You read that right. That’s what employees at a McDonald’s franchise in Oakland, California, said their boss gave them as PPE at the beginning of the pandemic. He also gave them “masks” made of coffee filters, according to the workers, who filed a lawsuit against him. Some 11 workers caught COVID-19 while at work. The company reached a settlement yesterday, agreeing to paid sick leave and social distancing measures. It is not clear whether it included the financial compensation the staff had asked for. (Sources: Insider, Forbes (sub))
3. You’ll Be Long Dead Before Asteroid Bennu Hits, NASA Says
A 1-in-1,750 chance seems like pretty good odds, right? That’s the possibility an asteroid the size of the Empire State Building could hit Earth in the next 200 years. The likelihood of Bennu colliding with our planet has gone up from a 1-in-2,700 chance, NASA said this week. Put the date in your calendar: Sept. 24, 2182. That’s when scientists say we are at particular risk. But don’t worry too much. “I’m not any more concerned about Bennu than I was before. The impact probability remains really small,” NASA scientist Davide Farnocchia said. (Sources: Sky News, NYT, NASA)
4. A Mammoth Trip: Prehistoric Beast Walked Some 44,000 Miles
Hindu elephant god Ganesha is said to ride around the Earth on a mouse, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as such a surprise his prehistoric predecessor walked far enough to circle the globe — twice. Researchers studying the remains of a woolly mammoth found he had walked 70,000 kilometers (about 43,495 miles) in his lifetime, before dying of starvation over 17,000 years ago. The 28-year-old male mammoth named Kik lived in Alaska but traveled a lot, possibly due to climate change. Scientists from the University of Ottawa studied the isotopes in one of Kik’s tusks to work out the mammoth route he’d taken. (Sources: LiveScience,Reuters, The Guardian)
5. Defected Belarus Olympic Sprinter Selling Medal on eBay
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, the Belarusian sprinter who defected during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games, is selling one of her medals to raise funds for repressed athletes from her country. Now in Poland, where she was granted asylum having avoided forced repatriation after criticizing her coaches online, the 24-year old told Al Jazeera why she’d been afraid to return. “I would either be sent to a psychiatric hospital or to jail,” she said. Tsimanouskaya has put a silver medal from the 2019 European Games in Minsk up for auction on eBay, with a starting price of $21,000, and one bid so far. (Sources: Al Jazeera)