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 18, 2021
The U.S. military has admitted to killing 10 civilians instead of what it thought was an attacker heading for Kabul airport late last month. A U.N. climate report foresees “catastrophic” 2.7-degree Celsius global warming by the end of the century. And learn about the formation of a bicycle militia in New York City.
In what may have been the last such incident in its longest war, the Pentagon conceded Friday that its Aug. 29 drone strike on a vehicle in Kabul killed 10 innocent civilians, not militants about to attack evacuations taking place at the city’s airport. Gen. Frank McKenzie, who heads U.S. Central Command, apologized for the “tragic outcome” whose fatalities included seven children. Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s new Taliban leaders have replaced the Western-backed government’s women’s ministry with one modeled after its 1990s Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which enforced rules that kept women cloistered and under male control. (Sources: CNN, Politico, Axios, AP)
Unlike the frog in the pot, you may actually notice this. Yesterday’s new U.N. scientific assessment says the world is on a “catastrophic pathway” to a 2.7-degree Celsius temperature increase by 2099. That will mean more deadly heat waves, wildfires and coastal cities devastated by storms and flooding. And rather than reducing emissions by what experts call a minimum of 25 percent, the world is on track to increase greenhouse gases by 16 percent this decade. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres is expected to use the findings to pressure world leaders meeting for the G-20 summit in Rome next month, and at November’s climate conference in Scotland. (Sources: NYT, Washington Post)
Will spying cool things off? OZY’s Butterfly Effect explores climate espionage.
Are Canadians Going to Say ‘À bientôt’ to Trudeau?
His pride went before a fall. So far, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s drop has only been in the polls, but his move to call snap elections to be held Monday anticipated that his Liberal Party could gain a majority. Now polls indicate that he could lose backing, and even if the Liberal-led government survives, Trudeau’s risky maneuver may cost him his job. Much of that miscalculation is owed to mild-mannered moderate Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who’s siphoned support from the brash premier. But the Liberals, with a plurality of 32% and New Democratic Party allies, could still retain Trudeau, perhaps with a touch more humility this time. (Sources: Politico, BBC, Bloomberg)
4 - Surprise Cost
France Recalls Envoys Over Aussie Sub Deal
This Cold War’s got two fronts. While initially interpreted as a shot across China’s bellicose bow, this week’s American-British deal to help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines has struck a friend in the crossfire. France on Friday recalled its ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia in an unheard-of row among normally close allies. Why? Because Australia had been relying on a $66 billion arrangement with France to construct its subs, a betrayal of “exceptional gravity,” explained Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris. In Washington, President Joe Biden expressed “regret” over the dispute, and said the longtime partners would “continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve our differences.” (Sources: WSJ, Washington Post)
5 - Also Important …
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s president for 20 years before being ousted amid protests against his rule two years ago, has died at age 84. A Southern California jury yesterday convicted real estate heir Robert Durst, 78, of murdering friend Susan Berman, who reportedly threatened to expose his involvement in his wife’s disappearance and a neighbors’ killing. And American immigration authorities are arranging to deport thousands of Haitian immigrants gathered at Texas’ southern border.
The intersection between art and science can be dazzling — but also educational. Pfizer’s Design for Science contest called upon creatives to represent scientific innovations or the patient experience in artistic design. Six artists were selected for their artistic interpretations of everything from immunology and oncology to vaccines and anti-infective drugs. The goal: to improve health literacy and make health decisions more accessible through engaging, visual language. Because science will only win if it wins for everyone.
A rider is nothing without a bike. That's in part why, after repeated thefts from delivery riders crossing New York’s Willis Avenue Bridge over the Harlem River, victims formed their own protection force. They owe much of that safety to Latin American immigrants, who organized riders and even started an online news site for comrades. A pandemic lifeline, the Big Apple’s 65,000 delivery people face muggers, along with performance pressure from “phantom bosses” — delivery apps that punish delays but don’t pay for stolen bikes or stitching up knife wounds. And while banding together protects them, thefts of their expensive electric bikes continue to rise, unlike authorities’ response to it. (Collaborating sources: Curbed and The Verge)
2 - Chronic Ills
Facebook Comments Negated Its Pro-Vax Messages
The cure may be worse than the malady. A Wall Street Journal investigation has found that Facebook’s own staff worried that the platform helped spread misinformation that undermined founder Mark Zuckerberg’s own stated effort to encourage worldwide COVID-19 inoculation. While the social network promoted pages that provided reliable information on the pandemic and vaccines, comments on those very pages had the effect of counteracting those messages. The Journal also reported that the tech giant’s research details how its algorithms have other negative effects, like harming teen psyches, fueling conflict and allowing drug and human traffickers to exploit the site. (Source: WSJ [sub])
3 - Abandon All Hope
The Worst Way to Break Into Nursing
She became a registered nurse in July 2020. That meant Kathryn Ivey has never seen what “normal” nursing is like. “The ICU felt like purgatory, like a punishment,” she writes in Scientific American. It was only this spring that “my actions actually saved lives” in a Nashville hospital that wasn’t overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. But now, despite available vaccinations, it’s worse than ever, and Ivey, voice shaking from traumas of the crisis, has “gotten very good at telling people that someone they love is about to die.” American individualism can be costly, she observes, “and the pandemic illustrates this in the most brutal way.” (Source: Scientific American)
4 - ‘Queen’s Gambit’
Did Fictional TV Defame a Chess Grandmaster?
Will Beth Harmon be called to testify? Sort of. The fictional main character, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, of Netflix’s hit series The Queen’s Gambit in some ways resembles Nona Gaprindashvili, who’s suing the streaming platform. So if the $5 million suit filed this week ever goes to trial, she’ll presumably be called to explain why she feels harmed by an inaccurate line in the 1960s-set drama that says the international women's champion from Soviet Georgia “never faced men.” Netflix contends that the action is baseless. It is, after all, not a documentary. But perhaps with a settlement, Gaprindashvili might cash in on her pioneering success. (Sources: LA Times, E News)
5 - Unfriendly Matches
England May Follow NZ Cricketers Out of Pakistan
Was it a brilliant defense? Pakistan cricket star–turned–prime minister Imran Khan begged to differ after New Zealand’s visiting national team skipped Friday’s one-day international match in Rawalpindi over security concerns. And instead of playing its seven other matches in the city and Lahore, the Black Caps will fly home. New Zealand’s government cited heightened threat levels in the decision, and now England is reevaluating its visit as well. But Pakistan claims its security arrangements have been “foolproof,” and the head of the country’s Cricket Board called the move “very frustrating” and said he’d complain to the International Cricket Council. (Sources: The Guardian, AFP)
More on OZY
Today on The Carlos Watson Show: From Dumb and Dumber to The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels has become an unmissable figure in Hollywood. But today, he shares how he has found that success reluctantly and despite his family-first mentality. The legendary actor opens up about today’s progressive politics, the lessons he has learned from Jim Carrey and Aaron Sorkin and his new Showtime hit American Rust in this can’t-miss episode.
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