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Sep 11, 2021
Americans are remembering nearly 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 terror attacks 20 years ago while grappling with that day’s legacy. California’s governor seems poised to prevail in Tuesday’s recall election. And Shanksville, Pennsylvania, is struggling to survive two decades after hijackers crashed Flight 93 nearby.
Many know exactly where they were when the news came in. But exactly 20 years after hijackers slammed four jetliners into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, there are firefighters, police and soldiers who weren’t even born on 9/11. Now the nation and world continue to wrestle with a legacy that includes an ongoing global war on terror and a controversially concluded conflict in Afghanistan, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is believed to have plotted the attacks. But today’s anniversary will, many hope, focus on flowers and remembrances dedicated to the 2,977 people killed that day, and how that loss continues to shape the nation. (Sources: BBC, NYT, Fox News, CBS)
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His chances aren’t terrible. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is likely to keep his job in Tuesday's recall election, and Republicans, notably former President Donald Trump, are already saying that Tuesday’s recall election is rigged in favor of the Democrat. One poll says voters are running 60% to 39% against Newsom's removal after splitting evenly a month earlier. The recall petition was brought by opponents decrying the governor’s aggressive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Now, they’re facing the prospect of an electorate that favors that response and will vote accordingly. (Sources: Politico, The Hill, Fox News)
3 - Safety Dance
With 80% Vaccinated, Denmark Opens Up
Too soon? No, Søren Riis Paludan tells The Guardian. He’s a virologist at Aarhus University, and supports Denmark officials’ decision to remove nearly all pandemic restrictions. “We have opened the door but we also said that we can close it if needed,” Riis Paludan says. Now that 80% of everyone over age 12 is vaccinated, masks are no longer mandatory on public transit and no one has to show a vaccination pass to eat indoors or even to enter nightclubs. But the virus is still out there. Masks are still required in airports and doctors’ offices and the country’s health minister has said restrictions could snap back if needed. (Sources: The Guardian, France 24)
They’re lighting a candle. Harvard University has said it will no longer allow any of its $42 billion endowment to be invested in the fossil fuel industry. The largest U.S. university nest egg, which has already sold off its direct stakes in such environmentally damaging businesses, will instead limit its energy investments to sustainable sources like wind and solar, university President Larry Bacow wrote in an announcement on Harvard’s website. The move follows years of student divestment demands as well as growing moves by other institutions to move toward greener investments. (Sources: NPR, Bloomberg, AP)
5 - Also Important …
A New York Times investigation suggests that a U.S. drone strike aimed at thwarting an attack on last month’s evacuations from Kabul airport was likely a mistake that killed 10 civilians. The West Point military academy yesterday unveiled a statue dedicated to expert Black horsemen known as the Buffalo Soldiers. And satellite images indicate that the U.S. has removed its missile systems from Saudi Arabia, the AP reports.
In the Week Ahead: On Sunday, MTV will hand out its Video Music Awards in New York. Apple is expected to introduce its iPhone 13 at its launch event Tuesday. And Yom Kippur, considered the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown on Wednesday.
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They were there first. After al-Qaida hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 93 into a reclaimed Pennsylvania strip mine, firefighters from nearby Shanksville responded. And once the investigators, media and politicians left, residents were the ones who built a memorial and guided visitors. Today, there’s a professionally designed memorial with its own road, but the town’s schools and churches are mostly empty, writes columnist Christopher Maag. Like so many rural U.S. communities, it’s dying, but before each Sept. 11, reporters and the elected officials at least come to ask how they’re doing. (Source: NorthJersey.com)
Read OZY’s look back at 14 key moments during the War on Terror.
The Crypto-libertarian Utopia That Couldn’t Stay Afloat
They dreamed of a sea change. But a group of Silicon Valley libertarians encountered rough sailing when they tried to create a floating “seasteading” community off of Panama last fall, The Guardian reports. The pandemic yielded a cruise ship for a tenth of its erstwhile value, and they sailed across the Atlantic to begin a tax-free, cryptocurrency-fueled utopia free of government intrusion. But there are international maritime rules, and no insurer would cover the vessel for this novel use. So they sold the ship, settling for offshore living pods where they’ll attempt a laissez-faire lifestyle on a more modest scale. (Source: The Guardian)
This boss still has some hit points. Epic Games has won a federal court ruling that forces Apple to allow apps on its platforms to direct users to non-App Store payment methods. But while the Fortnite maker convinced District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that the payment restriction assuring Apple its 30% cut was anticompetitive, she ruled that the iPhone maker wasn’t overall monopolistic. That means Epic will have to fork over $3.65 million in commissions to Apple along with other damages. And Apple doesn’t even have to let Fortnite, which it booted a year ago, back into its store — a result that may discourage others from taking on the tech titan. (Sources: Ars Technica, THR)
4 - Red Sense
Hollywood’s Beijing Capitulation Isn’t New
Regulators allow only 34 foreign films onto China’s 75,500 screens each year. Yet Hollywood does backflips to please the country’s officials, The Atlantic’s Shirley Li writes. In an environment where celebrated Nomadland director Chloé Zhao has been blacklisted, it makes sense that films like Iron Man 3 allowed Chinese authorities on their sets. It’s happened before, with postwar West Germany showing a Nazi-free Casablanca and other countries eliciting similar censorship. But today, China’s market, along with its investors, can decide a film’s success or failure. While few filmmakers are looking for one, the solution, one analyst says, would be to “make a product that is profitable” even without China. (Source: The Atlantic)
5 - Grandest of Slams
Djokovic, Teens Making History at US Open
He didn’t make it look easy. Novak Djokovic’s five-set victory over Alexander Zverev yesterday included the longest U.S. Open semifinals rally ever: 53 shots and a point for Zverev. But now the Serbian superstar is poised to make more history in New York: A win in Sunday’s final against second seed Daniil Medvedev would be a record 21st Grand Slam title and the first time anyone’s won all four major tournaments in one year since 1969. Today Britain's Emma Raducanu, 18, and Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 19, will compete in the first all-teen women’s U.S. Open final since 1999, when a 17-year-old Serena Williams burst onto the scene. (Sources: CBS, ESPN, NPR)
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