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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 09, 2021
The Taliban say they want ex-government officials to return to help run Afghanistan, but skeptics aren’t convinced they’ll keep their promises of amnesty. Los Angeles is poised to adopt the nation’s largest school vaccine mandate. And Robert E. Lee has been unhorsed in Richmond.
To what end? Few can blame former Afghan officials for being skeptical of the Taliban’s appeal for them to return to help govern. This is the same group that dragged former communist President Mohammad Najibullah out of a U.N. compound and hanged him from a traffic light pole in 1996. But in an Al Jazeera interview, acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund pledged “safety and security” for returning officials, foreign diplomats and aid workers. Meanwhile, China seems ready to work with the new regime that ousted the U.S.-backed government last month, pledging $31 million in emergency assistance including food and COVID-19 vaccines. (Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC)
2 - Health Lessons
LA Schools Poised to Lead Vax Mandates
No shot, no seat. That’s the proposal that the Los Angeles Unified School District is expected to adopt today, making it America’s largest public school system to require COVID-19 vaccinations. The policy, which would require children 12 and up to be inoculated to re-enter schools, contrasts with efforts in Republican-led Texas, where officials have legislated to prohibit schools from requiring masks or vaccinations. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden, facing surging cases of the delta variant, plans to announce a new strategy against the virus that includes boosting vaccination rates in areas where many people oppose inoculation and hospitals overflow with cases. (Sources: LA Times, USA Today)
What do you think? Should kids be vaccinated for in-person instruction? Tell us by clicking below.
It wasn’t “Thou shalt not kill.” Rather the U.S. Supreme Court last night stayed the execution of a convicted Texas murderer over another religious issue. John Henry Ramirez, who killed convenience store clerk Pablo Castro while stealing $1.25 in 2004, wanted his pastor to be able to touch him in the execution chamber and audibly pray during his lethal injection, but the state wouldn’t allow it. The conservative court generally doesn’t intervene in executions, but Texas has already loosened its rules because of past court challenges. Now Ramirez will live until at least October or November, when the justices may argue his case. (Sources: Politico, AP)
4 - Caveat Emptor
Lawyers Say Theranos CEO Got Bad Advice
“Failure is not a crime.” That’s the crux of the defense laid out by a lawyer for disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes in the first day of her fraud trial Wednesday. Once the toast of Silicon Valley for seemingly revolutionizing blood testing, federal prosecutors told the San Jose jury that the once-$9 billion startup’s downfall came after the youthful Holmes “decided to lie” to investors in claiming bogus technological breakthroughs. Holmes’ defense team will attempt to convince jurors that she’s not guilty of 11 fraud counts and relied on bad advice that tanked her enterprise. (Sources: WSJ [sub], Yahoo)
5 - Also Important …
U.S. President Biden has threatened to fire 11 military academy advisory board members, appointed by former President Donald Trump, if they don’t resign. The International Olympic Committee has banned North Korea from the Winter Games in Beijing because the country refused to send a delegation to the Summer Games in Tokyo. And alarms went off on the International Space Station as crew members reported smoke and the smell of burning plastic in a Russian habitation module.
Coronavirus Update: The World Health Organization is urging nations to delay administering booster vaccinations at least until 2022 to allow underserved nations a chance to inoculate those with no protection. And CDC data show that the risk of rare breakthrough infections of vaccinated people is much higher for the elderly and patients with underlying conditions.
It’s time for #RealTalkRealChange. OZY and Chevrolet are teaming up for a discussion on racial disparities in America’s education system, taking on one of the most urgent questions we face today. Hosted by OZY co-founder and Emmy Award–winning journalist Carlos Watson, who is joined by key leaders from across the country, we’re having pointed conversations to identify problems and equip you with solutions. Put aside the shouting matches and talking heads and be an ally: Join us now on YouTube for a real conversation you won’t want to miss.
And all the people were singin’. In yet another victory for opponents of racism, the statue of Confederate commanding Gen. Robert E. Lee was removed from its prominent perch in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the 1860s breakaway slavery-supporting states. And then it was cut up and carted away after being seen off by cheering, singing crowds. Gov. Ralph Northam, who ordered the removal, said it was “hopefully a new day, a new era in Virginia.” But the moment also rallied those who celebrate Confederate culture, like former President Donald Trump, who extolled Lee as “the greatest strategist of them all,” whose “genius” could have prevailed in Afghanistan. (Sources: AP, Fox News)
2 - Boxes on the Run
COVID’s Turned Shipping Containers Into Gold
They’re boxed in. So many cargo containers are unable to move that their value has skyrocketed. The pandemic has shuttered ports and a Suez Canal blockage choked global shipping in March, causing computer chip and even fast food shortages. Now CNN reports that with all these steel boxes stuck, the price of renting an empty one has gone from around $2,000 to a whopping $14,000 to get one from East Asia to Europe. One solution is to buy them at double their normal price, which IKEA has done, but that’s prohibitive for smaller concerns.
Yevgeny Zinichev died on the job, preparing for an emergency that turned out to be his own. The emergency situations minister, who was once one of President Vladimir Putin’s bodyguards, was running a preparedness exercise in the Siberian Arctic when he leaped off a cliff, according to a government statement released yesterday. He was reportedly attempting to rescue well-known Russian filmmaker Alexander Melnik, 63, who was interviewing the minister when he slipped off the cliff into water below. Putin, in a rare public statement to Zinichev’s family, said he was shocked by the “immeasurable personal loss” of “a reliable, loyal friend.” (Sources: Moscow Times, BBC)
4 - Britney Release?
Spears’ Lawyer Declares Victory After Dad’s Filing
He gave her a sign. Cloistered 00s pop star Britney Spears’ lawyer has declared a “massive victory” after the “Toxic” singer’s father filed a court document this week asking a California judge to end his daughter’s 13-year conservatorship. The fight has inspired other celebrities to show their support, like Kourtney Kardashian, who ’grammed herself Tuesday in a lacy 2001 Dolce & Gabbana dress that the singer made famous. But it’s not over: On Sept. 29, the case goes back to court, but it’s unclear if that’s when the judge will rule on father Jamie Spears’ request. Even then, sorting out the star’s finances may take years. (Sources: LA Times, E Online)
5 - Soccer Surprise
USA Win Keeps World Cup Bid Alive
The game mirrored their fate. Like Team USA’s embarrassing World Cup qualifying failure four years ago, the team trailed 1-0 after the first half of Wednesday’s cup qualifier against hosts Honduras. Then U.S. star Christian Pulisic hit the bench with a leg issue. But newbie Ricardo Pepi, 18, from FC Dallas, scored to put the team ahead, and second-half substitutions paid off to yield a 4-1 U.S. victory. While that means they have a chance of competing in Qatar next year, a relative shoo-in’s star dimmed yesterday when England played Poland to a draw in Warsaw after winning five Group I games. (Sources: Washington Post, Bleacher Report, ESPN)
More on OZY
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: Get to know Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, one of the hottest young mayors in the country, as he teases a run for president. A conservative with progressive stances on gay rights, climate change and immigration, he could be the Republican answer to Mayor Pete. Plus, he weighs in on his obsession with cryptocurrency and what it could mean for building an inclusive economy. What’s his take on former President Trump? Watch now to find out.
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