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 21, 2021
Some members of Congress have said they were shocked by images that showed horse-riding Border Patrol agents chasing migrants in Texas; the DHS says it is investigating. A Texas doctor who wrote an article about purposefully breaking the state’s new abortion law is being sued by two members of the public. And in an unusual example of “the survival of the fittest,” a goat has killed a grizzly bear.
US Continues Deportations as DHS Investigates Treatment of Migrants
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating after footage emerged of Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing down terrified migrants in Texas. The DHS called the footage “extremely troubling” and said it is “committed to processing migrants in a safe, orderly and humane way.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the images captured by photojournalists as “a stain on our country.” The administration of President Joe Biden began sending some of the thousands of migrants, mainly Haitians, who crossed into Texas in recent days, back to Port-au-Prince over the weekend. But some of the deportees say they lived elsewhere in Latin America for decades and hardly know their birth country. (Sources: Washington Post, NYT)
2 - Abortion Bounty Hunters?
Texas Doctor First to be Sued Under Controversial New Law
It’s the first test of Texas’ abortion law. Two out-of-state men have filed a lawsuit against Texan Dr. Alan Braid from San Antonio, who wrote publicly about performing an abortion on a woman who, while still in her first trimester, was beyond the new six-week legal limit. The legislation, among the most restrictive in the country, has been dubbed the “vigilante law,” giving any citizen the right to file a suit. One of the men suing Braid has been described as a “disgraced lawyer,” while the other spent a decade in jail on tax evasion and other charges. If successful they could win $10,000. (Sources: NYT,WSJ (sub))
Man Who Saved Hundreds of Lives Sentenced to 25 Years
Next time the West praises Rwanda as a model African country, they should remember Paul Rusesabagina, the hero portrayed by Don Cheadle in the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda. The 67-year-old was jailed for 25 years yesterday after a Kigali court found him guilty of being part of a group responsible for terrorist attacks. Rusesabagina, a former hotelier, came to international renown for saving some 1,200 lives during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Based for years in the U.S. he became a prominent critic of President Paul Kagame. Rusesabagina’s supporters say he was kidnapped from Dubai last year. His family is considering an appeal. (Sources: Al Jazeera, WSJ (sub), NYT)
4 - Vax Visas
Vaccinated Foreign Travelers Can Enter US
The U.S. is open again — but only to the vaccinated. The Biden administration announced yesterday that Trump-era pandemic rules that placed a blanket ban on many foreigners traveling to America will be eased come November. It’s good news for foreign nationals with families or partners in the U.S. who have been unable to see their loved ones because of an EU and other travel bans. The news has been announced now so that travel agencies and airlines will have time to prepare. As well as showing proof of vaccination, foreign tourists must present a PCR test, but will not be made to quarantine. (Sources: CNN, BBC) What do you think? Vote here or on Twitter.
5 - Also Important …
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has won a third term in office, with preliminary results giving him a “clear mandate.” The European court of human rights has ruled that Russia was responsible for the death of critic Alexander Litvinenko, who died of polonium poisoning in 2006. And President Biden will address the U.N. General Assembly today amid a spat with France and revelations that a U.S. drone strike in Kabul killed 10 innocent civilians.
Coronavirus Update: Pfizer-BioNTech says its vaccines are safe for use in children over 5 and prompt a strong immune response. And American deaths from COVID-19 have now exceeded those who died during the Spanish flu pandemic in the early 20th century.
It’s like something out of Aesop’s Fables: The mountain goat and the grizzly bear. The winner may surprise you. The bear’s carcass was discovered in a Canadian national park. Wildlife officials said his injuries were consistent with a mountain goat’s defense attack. While hardy little animals, mountain goats are usually the victims of much larger grizzly bears, not the other way around. However, “all they need is a good horn jab well placed,” said Quebec Laval University professor Steeve Côté. There are almost 15,000 grizzlies living in British Columbia but they are under threat from human development — and now, apparently, goats.(Sources: Newsweek)
2 - Green Gold
Multibillionaire Bezos Makes Philanthropic Pledge
He’s fascinated with space but he’s also interested in saving the Earth. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos yesterday pledged to give $1 billion towards conservation efforts. The money is part of his $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund, which he plans to spend by 2030 to fight climate change. The multibillionaire space travel enthusiast said the money would go to scientists, activists and others working in the area, with a focus on landscape restoration and food system transportation. The initial focus will be on the Congo basin in Central Africa, the tropical Andes region and the tropical Pacific Ocean, all of which have large carbon stocks (Sources: CNBC, Washington Post)
3 - Racism Row
Family Sues School After Biracial Daughter’s Hair Cut
Hands off her hair. A Michigan father is suing his daughter’s school for $1 million after an employee cut her hair without permission. Jimmy Hoffmeyer, whose daughter Jurnee is mixed race, alleges ethnic intimidation, racism and says the 7-year-old’s constitutional rights were violated. The teacher who cut Jurnee’s hair is white. The school, however, said that another student first cut Jurnee’s hair on one side and she asked a school library employee to help her fix it. The school apologized and said that regardless of good intentions the employee’s actions were “unacceptable.” However, it denies racial bias and plans to fight the charges in court. (Sources: People, AP)
4 - Ugly-Chic?
China Votes For Country’s Worst Architectural Eyesore
Pity the architects behind China’s “ugliest buildings.” A Chinese website holds an annual vote to choose the 10 most hideous structures in the country as a way of sparking “discussion about the beauty and ugliness of architecture and promote architects’ social responsibility.” Since China’s rapid rise to the world’s second-largest economy, all kinds of architectural eyesores have popped up across the country. A violin-shaped church and a hotel shaped like a matryoshka doll are among this year's contenders for top spot, as is the National Broadcaster building in Beijing, which, due to its leg-like design, locals call “Big Pants.” Results are due in December. (Sources: SCMP (sub), The Guardian, Intellasia)
5 - No Mansplainer
Tennis’ Murray Says he Won’t Advise Raducanu What to Do
He’ll always be on the end of the phone. That’s what Scottish tennis champ Andy Murray said when asked if he’ll give advice to fellow Brit and this year’s women’s U.S. Open-winner Emma Raducanu, 18. However, only if the teen asks for it. “I never really liked it when all of the ex-British tennis players were always wading in after every win and loss about what you should be doing,” Murray said. “A lot of them also (give) advice when you haven't asked for it.” Meanwhile, Murray has asked the Lawn Tennis Association to lobby the government to try and make tennis more inclusive and less elite. (Sources: BBC, The Guardian)
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