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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.
Sep 01, 2021
It's the end of an era, not just for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden announced yesterday, but for U.S. nation-building attempts abroad. A Texas abortion law that is the most restrictive in the country went into effect today, barring women from terminations after six weeks. And the rush is on again for toilet paper, as manufacturers ramp up production.
Biden Says Afghan Pullout Means End of Overseas Interventions
Not only did Tuesday mark the end of America’s longest war, it also signaled the end of U.S. intervention and democracy-building. “It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” said President Joe Biden. Today the Taliban said they were near forming a government, which would be announced in the coming days. Now the challenge for the U.S. and other nations is how to treat that regime. Meanwhile, an Afghan interpreter who helped rescue Biden when he visited the country in 2008 is begging the president to help him and his family escape. (Sources: Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Washington Post)
What do you think?Will the U.S.stop getting into wars abroad? Vote here.
2 - Abortion Acrimony
Texas Law Banning Most Pregnancy Terminations Takes Effect
Despite reproductive rights groups’ pleas for the Supreme Court to intervene, America’s most restrictive abortion law went into effect this morning. The Texas legislation prohibits most abortions after six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant, and makes no exceptions for rape or incest. It’s unusual in that it bars state officials from enforcing the ban, but lets citizens sue anyone who performs or helps with the procedure. Supreme Court precedents forbid abortion bans before a fetus can survive outside the womb — about 22 weeks. The court is expected to rule soon on the request to block the law. (Sources: NYT, Politico)
Read more about abortion laws in the U.S. and around the world.
Louisiana Struggles in Hot Temperatures After Hurricane Ida
Schools and businesses are closed, water and electricity are off and hospitals are under pressure, Gov. John Bel Edwards said yesterday, begging residents who’d evacuated not to return yet. With increasingly hot temperatures in the state and reports that electricity could take weeks to restore, there are concerns of possible heat-related deaths. Hospitals, which are already packed with COVID-19 patients, are operating on generators. And New Orleans has imposed an 8 p.m. curfew. Ida, now a tropical depression, is shifting north and east, expected to bring heavy rains to West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York City. (Sources: Washington Post, NYT, NBC News)
4 - Toilet Paper Trouble
Manufacturers Increase Production as Demand Surges
Remember the madness early in the pandemic when people around the globe stockpiled toilet paper because of lockdowns? Apparently the restroom rush is back, because Procter & Gamble, America’s biggest toilet paper maker, is ramping up production at its factories to 24/7, while several retailers said P&G is limiting shipments. The company noted that rising COVID-19 cases and the start of the school term are two reasons behind the surge in demand. However, market research data shows paper product stock levels are still at 86%, a far cry from the 40% during the buying frenzy last year. (Sources: WSJ (sub))
5 - Also Important …
Republican lawmakers in Texas have sent a voting bill to the governor to sign into law after state Democrats tried for months to block it. Hong Kong has sentenced seven pro-democracy activists to up to 16 months in prison. And a study has found that 1 in 3 of the world's tree species face extinction.
Coronavirus Update: The World Health Organization is monitoring a new coronavirus variant named Mu, or B.1.621, discovered in Colombia. Japan found black particles in a batch of the Moderna vaccine and has put that batch on hold.
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Hossain Rasouli’s disability came from war: He lost his left hand in a mine explosion. And it looked like war would also keep the Afghan athlete from the Paralympics. When the Taliban retook the country last month, Rasouli was prevented from flying to Tokyo, but against the odds he managed to find a flight last week and yesterday the sprinter, who’d missed his original event, competed in the long jump. He didn’t win, but just being there was a victory. Afghanistan’s other Paralympian, and its first-ever female one, Zakia Khudadadi, will be competing in taekwondo tomorrow. (Sources: CBS, AFP)
2 - Zooming Down?
Video Conferencing App Shares Drop After Offices Return
If any company has benefited from the pandemic’s working-from-home boom, it’s Zoom. Think about all those calls that could have been emails over the last year. But with children returning to schools and workers to offices, the company’s stock took a 15% hit yesterday after its second-quarter results showed a sharp slowdown in sales growth. Although Zoom reported quarterly sales of more than $1 billion and revenue was actually up 54%, it wasn’t near the company’s astonishing 355% growth this time last year at COVID-19’s height. The slowdown is forecast to continue into the third quarter. (Sources: CNN, Yahoo Finance)
3 - Death Penalty Penance
Virginia Governor Pardons 7 Black Men Executed for Rape
They were known as the Martinsville Seven. Yesterday, 70 years after they were executed for the rape of a white woman, they were posthumously pardoned by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Though he did not say the men were innocent, Northam said they were denied due process, tried before all-white juries and sent to the electric chair in 1951 because they were Black. Their relatives have long maintained the men were forced to sign confessions they couldn’t read. Virginia abolished capital punishment five months ago and President Biden has indicated he seeks to eliminate the federal death penalty. (Sources: NYT, NPR, Washington Post)
4 - Box Office First
‘Candyman’ Director Becomes First Black Woman to Reach No. 1
Nia DaCosta is the first Black female director to debut in the top spot of the U.S. weekend box officeafter her horror remake earned $20.4 million in its opening weekend. Unlike the 1992 original, this Candyman — about the vengeful ghost of a slave’s murdered son — had a Black creative team. While DaCosta’s ranking is a first, a few other Black female directors have come close, like Ava DuVernay, whose Selma and A Wrinkle in Time both opened in second place. Now DaCosta is working on The Marvels, the sequel to comic book blockbuster Captain Marvel. (Sources: Deadline, IndieWire)
5 - Djokovic Looks to Make History
Tennis World No. 1 Wins First Round at US Open
He could be set for history. Novak Djokovic yesterday beat Denmark’s Holger Rune 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-1, as the Serbian superstar chases his fourth Flushing Meadows title. The 34-year-old missed out on bronze at the Olympics, but a win at the U.S. Open would give him a career record of 21 titles and make him the first man since 1969 to complete the calendar-year Grand Slam. Djokovic addressed the pressure he feels, saying he has “tons of expectations and pressure from just the whole tennis community, including myself." He’ll face Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands in round two. (Sources: SkySport, AFP, USAToday)
More on OZY
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: Discover the truly extraordinary story of Elizabeth Nyamayaro, the award-winning humanitarian who has served as adviser to U.N. Women and the World Food Program, and headed up the U.N.’s HeForShe campaign to advocate for gender equality. After being saved from malnourishment by a UNICEF aid worker while growing up in rural Zimbabwe, Nyamayaro dedicated her life to service and activism. Discover how the Shona-language greeting from her small African village is inspiring her global development advocacy.
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