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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 10, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden has thrown down the gauntlet on vaccines, announcing wide mandates to get shots into American workers’ arms. The DOJ’s suing Texas over its new restrictive abortion law. And the Ig Nobels, the awards that celebrate weird science, named researchers who flew rhinos upside down and tested the effects of orgasms as a nasal decongestant among this year’s winners.
Republican Fury as Biden Throws Down Gauntlet on Vaccines
He’s fed up. With 80 million eligible Americans still refusing to get vaccinated, President Joe Biden yesterday announced sweeping mandates to get workers inoculated. In the face of rising cases from the delta variant, the president promised to “protect vaccinated workers from the unvaccinated.” Companies that employ more than 100 people must require vaccination or weekly testing, and the vast majority of federal workers and contractors, including health care staff, could face disciplinary measures if they refuse. New infections are up to 150,000 a day but Republicans have slammed Biden’s mandates as overreach, vowing to challenge them. (Sources: NYT, Washington Post, Fox News)
Attorney General Merrick Garland promised to “protect women” after the Lone Star State passed America’s most restrictive abortion law, and he’s sticking to it. The Justice Department yesterday filed suit in an Austin federal court seeking to overrule the law, which bans abortions after six weeks, because the Constitution usually takes precedence over state laws. Garland warned against the “bounty hunter” element of the law, which rewards individuals for reporting anyone who assists in getting an abortion. Whatever the Austin court decides, it won’t be the end of the matter as there are other legal challenges pending. (Sources: Washington Post, Politico)
3 - Taliban Torture
Afghan Journalists Brutalized for Doing Their Job
Worthless promises. That’s what the Committee to Protect Journalists has labeled the Taliban’s vow to allow an independent media under their new regime after shocking pictures emerged of two Afghan reporters, Taqi Daryabi and Nematullah Naqdi, who were arrested and brutally whipped for covering a women’s rights protest Wednesday. “We could hear their screams and cries through the walls,” reporters in a neighboring cell said of the Taliban torture. The two men were so badly beaten they lost consciousness, one colleague said. Meanwhile, a second special flight from Kabul is scheduled for today to evacuate foreigners. (Sources: The Guardian, Al Jazeera, BBC)
4 - An Amazon Offer?
Company Woos Workers With Free Tuition Benefit
Amazon’s seen plenty of negative press recently, including allegations that employees have to urinate in bottles to make deliveries on time. But the e-commerce giant, hoping to entice workers amid a staff shortage in the U.S., announced yesterday that it would cover the cost of some 750,000 employees’ bachelor degrees at universities around the country. Hourly workers employed for more than 90 days will be entitled to the benefit, with Ardine Williams, vice president of workforce development, saying, “Career progression is the new minimum wage.” Walmart and Target also recently said they’ll subsidize workers’ tuition. (Sources: WSJ (sub), Forbes)
5 - Also Important …
President Biden and Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping had their first phone call in seven months yesterday, with both agreeing on the importance of avoiding conflict. San Francisco has topped this year’s list by Time Out magazine of the world’s best cities. And Pope Francis sent prisoners in Rome 15,000 ice creams during a summer heat wave.
Coronavirus Update: A pregnant Australian woman with COVID-19 had to have a C-section so she could be on a ventilator while giving birth. Ten people were killed in a fire at a temporary coronavirus hospital in North Macedonia.
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Orgasms to improve nasal breathing, fat politicians and upside-down rhinos were among the winners at the quirky annual awards from magazine Annals of Improbable Research. Slinging rhinos upside-down below helicopters may seem bizarre, but this year’s transportation prize winners wanted to see if the method, commonly used to transport the massive mammals in Africa, had detrimental health effects — but the rhinos actually did better in that position. The economics Ig Nobel went to a professor who correlated politicians’ obesity to national corruption. And the medicine prize went to researchers who showed orgasms are as good as decongestants at clearing stuffy noses. (Sources: BBC, The Guardian)
2 - Glasses Half Full?
Are Facebook’s New Smart Shades a Privacy Risk?
They used to be the stuff of science fiction. Now the social network has entered the smart glasses market, following Google and Snap, launching their $299 Ray-Ban Stories. Reviews have been mixed, with praise for partner Ray-Ban’s stylishness, but criticism for Facebook over privacy concerns. With built-in cameras, microphones and speakers, the glasses can upload content the wearer captures — and the tech giant says it has put measures in place to protect the privacy of the wearer. But what about passersby? Facebook says an LED light on the frame should be enough to warn people it’s recording. (Sources: Gizmodo, The Verge)
3 - The Mummy
Austrian Man Preserves Mother’s Corpse to Collect Pension
A boy’s best friend is his mummy. Austrian police, tipped off by a suspicious postman, said yesterday that they’d discovered the mummified body of an 89-year-old woman in her son’s cellar. The mother, who reportedly had dementia, died last June, but her son didn’t report her death in order to keep receiving her benefits. The suspect admitted to freezing his mother’s body to prevent any smell, then wrapping her in bandages and covering her in cat litter to mummify the corpse. The son, who was cleared of killing his mother, is being charged with $59,000 worth of benefit fraud. (Sources: AFP, BBC)
4 - Queen So Woke
British Monarch Supports BLM, Black Royal Representative Says
It caused a media whirlwind earlier this year when Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, told Oprah Winfrey that there was racism in the royal family. The couple never said who they were accusing, and Prince William angrily defended the royals. Now, Sir Ken Olisa, the first Black Lord-Lieutenant for London, said in an interview that the family has regularly discussed racism and what can be done to counter it in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. He added that Queen Elizabeth II and her family also support the Black Lives Matter movement. (Sources: The Evening Standard, Daily Express)
5 - NFL Opener
Prescott Returns in Form, but Brady Wins the Day
Tom Brady and his Buccaneers beat the Cowboys 31-29 in last night’s riveting season opener. For much of the game Tampa’s victory wasn’t a foregone conclusion as Dallas’ Dak Prescott, returning after a gruesome injury, completed 42 of 58 passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns. But the Bucs surged late in the game, with Ryan Succop’s field goal winning the game in the final two seconds. As the QBs shook hands afterwards, Prescott warned, “We’ll see y’all again.” Tampa, riding a winning streak that started in November, are the favorites to win the Super Bowl again this year. (Sources: Yahoo Sports, AP, Washington Post)
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Today on The Carlos Watson Show hear family secrets about former President Donald Trump from his niece, Mary L. Trump. The bestselling author and psychologist opens up about her mistrust of her family and delves into the “smoke and mirrors” upbringing that defined the character of the 45th president — and how “cheating” the system and avoiding taxes has long been a family goal. In her new book The Reckoning Trump explores how the nation can heal after her uncle’s impact.
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