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Aug 20, 2021
Despite promises not to seek revenge, the Taliban are reportedly going door to door to find their detractors. As well as former soldiers, journalists and women’s groups face retaliation as scores of people at Kabul airport struggle to leave. A Trump supporter who said the Democrats should step down was arrested after a bomb threat in the Capitol. And find out how two bulls named “Feminist” and “Nigerian” got a Spanish festival canceled.
Days after saying they wouldn’t take revenge, the Taliban are now targeting Afghans who worked with the NATO forces, a document prepared for the United Nations says. A relative of a local reporter for German TV has been killed, and the militants were behind the murder of nine ethnic Hazaras last month. Meanwhile, teenage Afghan soccer player Zaki Anwari was among the people who died trying to cling to a U.S. military plane as it left Kabul this week. Some 18,000 people have been flown out of the country so far, according to NATO. U.S. President Joe Biden is set to speak on evacuation efforts later today. (Sources: NYT, BBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera)
Read an analysis on why the fall of Kabul is not comparable to the fall of Saigon.
Arrested Man Railed Against Biden, Supported Trump
A supporter of former President Donald Trump is in custody after he livestreamed a bomb threat in the Capitol yesterday. The North Carolina man, Floyd Roy Roseberry, had parked outside the Library of Congress where he railed against Biden and the Democrats until he was arrested after hours of tense negotiations. The buildings nearby were evacuated after Roseberry said on video he was holding a detonator in his hand. “I think y’all Democrats need to step down,” he said in the livestream, also describing himself as “an American patriot.” The Department of Homeland Security has warned of the potential of violence from Trump supporters.(Sources: Daily Beast, Washington Post)
3 - Texas Dems Return
House Has Quorum for Voter Bills as Democrats Squabble
Texas Democrats are at loggerheads after several lawmakers returned to the floor yesterday, more than month after leaving the state to prevent Republicans from passing restrictive voting laws. Democratic Reps. Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez and Armando Walle explained they returned because they wanted to “continue to fight on the House floor,” but colleagues were quick to criticize them. “Guess what the other defecting Democrats have accomplished by going back — NOTHING!” tweeted Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos. The Democrats’ walk-out prevented the House from passing election overhaul bills, but with the return of a few of them the House now has the two-thirds attendance needed for a quorum. (Sources: CNN, The Texas Tribune)
Elon Musk Developing New Artificial Intelligence Robot
“In the future, physical work will be a choice.” So said Elon Musk yesterday while announcing that his electric car company, Tesla, is building a humanoid robot that would use some of the same technology as the vehicles. Already the cars use artificial intelligence in their driver-assistance features. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said earlier this week it was investigating that system after a series of crashes. The South African-born entrepreneur said his robot could provide a solution to worker shortages but added that it might make a universal income necessary. He expects the prototype to be ready by next year. (Sources: WSJ (sub), Bloomberg, CNN)
5 - Also Important …
A U.S. official said the country’s policy on Taiwan had not changed after President Biden appeared to suggest the U.S. would defend the island should it be attacked. Zimbabwean authorities have arrested the husband and parents of a 15-year-old girl who was forced into marriage and died giving birth last month. And a billion children are at risk from the effects of climate change, according to a new UNICEF report launched on the anniversary of Greta Thunberg’s first school strike.
Coronavirus Update: The U.S. is investigating reports that the Moderna vaccine could be connected to a higher risk of a heart condition. And having initially been hailed as a coronavirus vaccine success story, cases of COVID-19 in Israel are surging .
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Afghan Women and Journalists Likely to be Hunted Seek Escape
Journalists, a female robotics team, female mountaineers, an embassy chef. These are just some of the Afghans who think they’ll be targeted by the Taliban and are desperately trying to leave the country. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post finally managed to get some of their journalists out on Thursday after pressuring the Biden administration to help. Massoud Hossaini, a Pulitzer prize-winning photographer also managed to escape, telling OZY he feared for his life. Meanwhile, the Afghan Dreamers, an all-girls Robotics team is hoping to find safe passage — as are members of Ascend, an organization teaching Afghan women mountaineering. (Sources: NYT,Washington Post, TPR, The Guardian)
How can you help?
Donate to the IWMF’s fund to help female Afghan journalists.
They won’t oust the czar. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has refused Facebook’s request to remove Chairperson Lina Khan from the agency’s new antitrust lawsuit against it. Khan, the company said, has “consistently and very publicly concluded that Facebook is guilty of violating the antitrust laws.” The FTC’s initial complaint that Facebook is abusing a monopoly position was dismissed in June, for lack of evidence. The new lawsuit offers more details, including the main allegation that the company bought Whatsapp and Instagram in an effort to suppress competition. Facebook will now likely move to get the case dismissed again. Otherwise, a years-long legal battle could ensue. (Sources: WSJ (sub), The Verge)
3 - Texas Abortion Wars
Court Rules State Can Ban Common Termination Method
It’s another blow for pro-choice campaigners. A U.S. appeals court has ruled that Texas can ban the most common abortion procedure used in the second trimester. That could see the state becoming the first in the country to enact such a ban. The court upheld the 2017 law, which has never been used but which prohibits the use of forceps without ensuring the fetus is dead. Earlier this year, the Lone Star State passed another law, prohibiting abortions as early as six weeks. The law is being challenged in court but set to come into effect Sept. 1. (Sources: The Texas Tribune, The Guardian)
Read more on the abortion debate in the U.S. and globally.
‘Feminist’ and ‘Nigerian’ Bring Down Bullfighting Festival
The Spanish city of Gijón has banned a century-old bullfighting festival after outrage that bulls named “Feminist” and “Nigerian” were among those included in the blood sport this year. Animal rights campaigners, who reject the practice on cruelty grounds anyway, saw red over the names — and the mayor agreed. “A city that believes in the equality of women and men, that believes in integration ... Cannot allow this sort of thing to happen,” Mayor Ana González said. The bulls’ owner, Daniel Ruiz Jr., denied the names were racist or misogynistic. The conservative People’s Party is considering challenging the Socialist mayor’s decision in court. (Sources: Politico, The Guardian)
5 - Sha’Carri’s On
Richardson to Compete Against Olympic Rivals She Missed
The flame-haired runner is back. Sha’Carri Richardson is set to race against the world’s best after being denied the chance to do so at the Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old made headlines when she was barred from the Games after testing positive for marijuana. Now Richardson gets to run the 100 and 200 meters at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, who won three Olympic gold medals and set a record in the 100 meters, will also participate in the event this weekend, giving Richardson another chance to take her on. “I feel sorry for anybody who lines up against me when I come back,” the sprinter said last month. (Sources: The Washington Post, USA Today)
More on OZY
Watch ‘The Carlos Watson Show’ on Prime Video! In this episode, we are joined by Airbnb CEO and founder Brian Chesky. The billionaire entrepreneur shares his personal path from “lost kid” to powerful CEO and opens up about Airbnb’s “near death” experience during COVID-19. Hear him share how people’s kindness around the world has encouraged him to take on issues of race and what the best advice he’s received from Warren Buffett is. Don’t miss this special episode now on Amazon Prime Video! Watch now.
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