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Sep 20, 2021
Women and girls have been told not return to work or high school as the Taliban resume their old ways. The U.S. has started deporting thousands of Haitian migrants who recently crossed the border into Texas. And a slacklining French daredevil “looks down” on Paris.
So much for a new and improved Taliban. Afghanistan’s rulers have told female government employees they must stay at home and that most will be replaced by men. That’s after the militants told female high school students they couldn’t return to class yet, despite school restarting for boys. University lectures are going to be divided by gender and women have to wear black niqabs. The Women’s Ministry has also been shuttered. But despite the dangers, Afghan women are not staying silent, with a small group staging a protest in Kabul yesterday. The Taliban said some government jobs will remain for women, like attendants for the female public toilets. (Sources: The Guardian, Reuters)
2 - Haiti Homecoming?
US Begins Mass Deportation of Migrants from Texas
The tired, the poor and the huddled masses are being sent back home. Over the weekend the U.S. deported hundreds of Haitian migrants who’d camped under a Texas bridge since crossing the Rio Grande. Haitian officials are begging the flights to stop, saying the country is in crisis and can’t handle the arrival of thousands of homeless deportees. The administration of President Joe Biden is under pressure to address the situation amid the highest levels of border crossing in years and used a Trump-era order to swiftly begin deporting them. Some 14,000 Haitians are expected to be sent back over the coming weeks. What do you think? Do you agree with the U.S. government’s approach? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, Washington Post)
3 - ‘Van Life’ Case
Remains Believed to Be Missing Woman’s Found
It’s the case that gripped the nation. “Van life” YouTuber Gabrielle Petito, 22, set off on a cross-country roadtrip with her fiancé in July, but earlier this month he returned home to Florida without her. The couple seemed happy, documenting their trip on Instagram, but in Utah the police recorded a “domestic problem,” though they reported financé Brian Laundrie as the victim. Yesterday, the FBI said they believed they had found Petito’s remains in a national park in Wyoming, though the cause of death has not been determined. In a twist Laundrie has now also disappeared, and police are continuing to search for the missing man. (Sources: NYT, CNN)
4 - French Fury
Fallout from AUKUS Deal Continues
It’s a vicious business. France has pulled out of a defence ministers summit with Britain after Australia reneged on a multi-billion dollar contract with Paris, choosing to enter a new security deal with London and Washington instead. Instead of France supplying Australia with submarines, the AUKUS deal will see Canberra receive nuclear subs. France’s $38.6 billion loss has frayed diplomatic relations, with Paris recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia. China is also fuming and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un has warned the agreement could trigger a nuclear arms race. President Biden is expected to call French counterpart Emmanuel Macron this week to try smooth things over (Sources: WSJ (sub), BBC)
5 - Also Important …
A gunman has killed at least eight people in an attack at a university in Russia. Also in Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s party has won a parliamentary majority in elections that saw a massive crackdown on the opposition. And Canadians head to the polls today, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s job in the balance.
Coronavirus Update: More than 600,000 small white flags have been placed in the National Mall in Washington D.C., symbolizing Americans who have died of COVID-19. And American Samoa, one of the last places unaffected by the pandemic, has reported its first case of coronavirus.
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It’s a pretty radical way to recover from vertigo. Over the weekend Frenchman Nathan Paulin, who used to suffer from the condition, walked 600 meters from the Eiffel Tower to the Chaillot theater — 70 meters above Paris and on a slackline. If you haven’t heard of slacklining, it’s similar to tightrope-walking but instead of a line pulled taut, it moves with the acrobat. The 27-year-old daredevil said the skill has helped him find “true inner peace.” Paulin holds several world records and his longest ever walk was a 1662-meter slackline suspended at 300 meters in France’s Massif Central mountain range. (Sources: CNN, Reuters (sub))
2 - Bathroom Buffoonery
US Schools Battle Destructive Social Media Trend
Move over “milk crate challenge.” High Schoolers are known to enjoy the odd prank, but a new TikTok trend is leaving principals at their wits’ end. Known as “devious licks” it has students making off with soap dispensers and even urinals and posting boastful videos of their crimes on the social media platform. The trend has become such a problem since schools reopened that TikTok last week said it’s banning such prank videos from the site. “Please be kind to your schools and teachers,” the company said in a statement. Two Minneapolis schools told CBS they were even posting staff as guards outside bathrooms. (Sources: The Guardian, CBS)
3 - Everyone’s Mutti
How Refugees Paid Homage to Germany’s Angela Merkel
Parents often name their children after their heroes, so it’s a testament to Germany’s chancellor that as she leaves office, she also leaves behind a raft of Angelas, Angies and even Merkels — a rather austere name for any newborn. Merkel will be remembered for many things from her 16 years in power, not least her 2015 decision, both praised and criticized, to take in more than a million Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees. One Syrian mom told the New York Times she hopes her daughter Angie, 5, will “grow up to be like Ms. Merkel: a strong woman with a big heart.” Germans go to the polls on Sept. 26. (Sources: NYT)
4 - Netflix’s Big Night
Streamers Dominate Emmys, Michaela Coel Makes History
Video killed the radio star, is Netflix doing the same to TV? The streaming service was the clear winner at last night’s Emmys, winning a record-breaking 44 awards. Nexflix’s The Crown won outstanding drama series, among others, while chess drama The Queen’s Gambit also scooped multiple awards. Other streamers like Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max also won big. Meanwhile, Britain’s Michaela Coel made history as the first Black woman to win for outstanding writing in a limited series for I May Destroy You. The ceremony was hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, who spoke to OZY’s own Emmy Award-winner Carlos Watson just last week. Watch the episode below. (Sources: Deadline, Variety, THR)
Philippines’ Pacquiao to Fight it Out in Presidential Election
Does he pack enough punch to win? He certainly does in the ring, but anyone who’s ever been in politics would argue that it’s the more brutal arena. Philippine boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has announced he intends to run for the impoverished Southeast Asian nation’s presidency next year. “PacMan,” as he’s known, has long been involved in politics and is currently a senator in the parliament. Controversial outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte is barred from another term, but the man sometimes labeled “Asia’s Trump” plans to get round that by running as vice president. Pacquiao, who’s hugely popular, says he’ll campaign on an anti-corruption platform. (Sources: BBC, Al Jazeera)
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