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Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Aug 26, 2021
The U.S., U.K. and Australia have issued an alert over the threat of a possible terror attack at Kabul airport. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has given his first interview from prison, saying he’s forced to watch hours of state propaganda. And in a touching ewe-logy for his aunt, an Australian sheep farmer created a viral video.
Kabul Bombing Kills 13 Americans, Biden Vows Retribution
Thirteen U.S. service members and more than 60 Afghans were killed in two explosions outside Kabul airport Thursday, the Pentagon said, one of the single deadliest attacks in America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan. President Joe Biden addressed the nation, vowing to find those responsible. "We will hunt you down and make you pay," he said. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blasts, which wounded several others. The attacks came after the U.S. and other allies warned people to stay away from the airport, citing a threat. With just days to go before the August 31 deadline for foreign troops to leave, some 1,500 Americans are still believed to be in the country. (Sources: NYT, AP, Al Jazeera, BBC)
‘Putin’s Regime’ Will Collapse, Opposition Leader Predicts
Reading letters, eating porridge, cleaning his cell and being forced to watch hour after hour of state TV and propaganda. That’s how jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny said he spends his days, in his first interview since his arrest in January. Despite these hard conditions, the opposition leader was reportedly “upbeat” in the handwritten interview exchange with The New York Times, saying the government of President Vladimir Putin is bound to collapse. “Sooner or later this mistake will be fixed, and Russia will move on to a democratic, European path of development,” said Navalny, who survived a poisoning by Russian agents last year. (Sources: NYT)
3 - Michigan Kidnap Plot
Man Sentenced to Six Years for Threat Against Governor
The first person has been sentenced for his involvement in an extremist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. Ty G. Garbin, 25, was given six years in prison yesterday after he pleaded guilty. He was among 14 men arrested in October over the domestic terrorism plot, many of them members of the Wolverine Watchmen, an antigovernment paramilitary group. Garbin has since apologized to Whitmer who has said such plots “endanger not just individuals, but democracy itself.” Prosecutors had requested a nine-year jail term. The other defendants are still to face judgment. (Sources: NYT, CBS)
4 - Shots on a Plane
Delta Will Charge Employees Who Refuse to Get Vaccinated
The airline says unvaccinated staff will have to pay a $200-a-month health insurance surcharge and lose pay protection for missing work due to COVID-19 if they decline to get vaccinated against the disease. The surcharge “will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company,” said Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian. After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the Pfizer vaccine full approval earlier this week, more companies look likely to introduce vaccine mandates, and President Biden has encouraged them to do so. (Sources: WSJ (sub), VOA)
5 - Also Important …
Hundreds of Californians are being evacuated due to new fires, along with the huge Caldor fire, which was only 12% contained yesterday. Serena Williams has withdrawn from the U.S. Open due to a hamstring injury. And the U.K. has said a former Royal Marine who now runs an animal shelter in Afghanistan can come to the airport with his staff to get their evacuation flights, and if he arrived with his animals too authorities would “seek a slot for his plane.”
Coronavirus Update: COVID-19 hospitalizations have hit more than 100,000 in the U.S. for the first time since January. And Japan has suspended more than 1.6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine over contamination fears.
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It’s mesmerizing to watch. Unable to travel to his aunt’s funeral due to COVID-19 restrictions Ben Jackson, an Australian farmer, devised a unique tribute to her instead. He got hundreds of his sheep to form a heart shape in a field by sprinkling grain in a pattern and letting them roam. Jackson just planned to send the drone video footage to relatives at the funeral, but it’s also gone viral. The New South Wales farmer thinks his Aunt Debby would have been pleased, saying: “She would be proud as punch to see so many people smiling and enjoying the heart I’ve made for her.” (Sources: BBC, 9News)
2 - Facebook Poll Plans
Company to Tackle Misinformation With Election Committee?
Will it be a cure or is it simply putting a Band-Aid on a wound? After long facing criticism for undermining democracy, Facebook is reportedly considering creating an election commission to help advise it on how to handle election-related content. The tech giant already has an Independent Oversight Board, though it’s not clear whether the new committee would operate the same way. The body could decide on things like political advertising and voting-related misinformation. The Silicon Valley company is expected to unveil the commission in the fall before next year’s U.S. midterm elections. (Sources: The Verge, NYT)
3 - Malaria Solution?
Vaccine and Drugs Before Mosquito Season Highly Effective
Despite COVID-19, the fight against another disease can’t be overlooked. Malaria causes more than 400,000 deaths annually, mostly among young children and many of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Now a new trial shows malaria sickness could be cut by 70% in African children if they are given vaccines before mosquito season along with preventative drugs. The trial was done on 6,000 children under 17 months old in Mali and Burkina Faso over three years. Among children who were treated with a combination of drugs and vaccines there were only 3 deaths. The World Health Organization has welcomed the results as a potential game-changer.(Sources: BBC, New England Journal of Medicine, Reuters)
4 - ‘Nevermind’ Baby Does Mind
Man Sues Over Famous Nirvana Album Cover
It’s one of the most iconic album covers of all time. A naked baby boy swimming underwater, his eyes fixed on a dollar bill on the end of a hook. That was the image on Nirvana’s 1991 groundbreaking grunge album Nevermind. Now that baby, Spencer Elden, is all grown up and he’s suing the band for “sexual exploitation,” saying his parents never signed a release form for the photo. It’s believed his parents were paid around $200 for the shoot at the time. Representatives for the band have not responded, but Elden is asking for $150,000 from each of the 15 people involved. (Sources: AFP, The Guardian)
British Paralympic Cyclist Wins Gold at Tokyo Games
British cyclist Sarah Storey won her 15th gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics yesterday, saying her latest achievement felt “pretty surreal.” The 43-year-old first competed in the Paralympics aged 14, but in a different category entirely: swimming. She won five gold medals in that sport before switching to cycling in 2005. The athlete was born without a functioning left hand and has spoken about her struggles with an eating disorder and being bullied at school. The mom of two was the first para-cyclist to compete in the Commonwealth Games against nondisabled cyclists. If she wins her two remaining events she could become Britain’s greatest Paralympian. (Sources: CNN, Sky)
More on OZY
‘The Carlos Watson Show’: Dr. Anthony Fauci is back and now on Amazon! The man who needs no introduction and the subject of the most-viewed episode of the show yet joins us for another candid conversation on everything from coping with working round-the-clock at the age of 80 to what COVID-19 taught him about racial disparities in health care. Plus, his bold prediction for the next scientific breakthrough that could result from the COVID-19 vaccine race: an HIV vaccine. Watch now on Amazon Prime Video.
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