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 23, 2021
Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden seem to have patched up Franco-American relations in the wake of the Australian submarine crisis. America is planning to immunize 70% of the world against COVID-19. And what do you do when your swimming pool is filled with lava?
Maybe it’s not the beginning of a beautiful friendship. But it could be a new chapter in an otherwise tight two-century relationship. French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. counterpart Joe Biden spoke yesterday, following France’s fury over a new U.S. pact to provide nuclear submarines to Australia — instead of French subs. They issued a cordial statement afterwards saying the nations were “creating the conditions of ensuring confidence.” After being recalled last week, Paris’ envoy is returning to America and the two leaders plan to meet in person next month. Now Macron can continue campaigning for reelection having defended the republic’s honor. (Sources: AP, Al Jazeera)
Read OZY’s Butterfly Effect on Macron’s Trump-style tantrum.
President Biden yesterday announced that America will double the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses it’s donating overseas. The goal is to inoculate 70% of the world’s population, or 5.6 billion people, over the next year. The plan came during a virtual pandemic summit Biden convened on the same day the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer booster shots for Americans over 65. People with other vulnerabilities, such as frontline workers, will also be eligible. What it doesn’t do is allow widespread boosters, which the World Health Organization has criticized as unjust while many people haven’t had a first shot. (Sources: Washington Post, NYT)
The world “is not some indestructible toy.” That was U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s warning to the United Nations General Assembly last night. Instead, it’s a fragile “precious blue sphere” in the hands of a reckless youth. While nations have made major new climate protection pledges this week, Johnson warned that more are necessary before November’s COP26 summit on global warming in Scotland. While China has pledged to stop funding new coal power plants in other countries, Johnson said it needs to follow the example of Britain, which has cut its domestic coal-fired power from 25% to 2% and will reach zero in three years. (Sources: The Guardian, BBC)
What do you think? Can governments prevent a climate catastrophe?
He’s got all the right moves. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell knew just what to tell investors Wednesday in announcing that pandemic-inspired economic stimuli would start tapering off. That means it’ll be slowing regular market-propping bond buy-ups “soon” if the economy keeps recovering — something that’s powered inflation higher than it’s been in three decades. That cautious approach was enough to encourage investors, who drove the Dow stock index up 1.3% in its best boost since July. Markets have been dragged down this month over concerns that Evergrande, China’s biggest real estate company, might collapse with no government help. If it fails to make a debt payment today, it could further discourage investors. (Sources: PBS, WSJ)
5 - Also Important …
Progressive Democrats are urging the Biden administration to stop deporting Haitians in the wake of border authorities’ “racist treatment” of migrants at the U.S. border. The World Health Organization warns that air pollution is more deadly than previously believed, killing some 7 million people annually. And the remains of a hunter, who went missing in 1968, have been found by another hunter in Idaho.
Coronavirus Update: Canadian authorities are seeking a man suspected to have punched a nurse in the face after she vaccinated his wife. And the International Monetary Fund reports that 100 nations are facing health care and other budget cuts brought on by the pandemic’s economic crisis.
Ford Motor Company has helped Americans hit the open road for 118 years, creating some of the most iconic vehicles ever made. Next up? Electrification! Whether it’s the adrenaline-charged Mustang Mach-E or America’s workhorse, the F-150 Lightning, Ford is taking electric vehicles mainstream.
Next on House Hunters International: It’s the perfect location, apart from the magma. For four days, the Cumbre Vieja volcano has ejected molten rock on La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Three lava flows on what’s normally a vacation haven have wiped out 200 buildings, including a school, while sending 6,000 residents fleeing and generating spectacular videos of swimming pools filling up with lava under columns of steam. That’s just the sort of reaction that authorities fear as the flows reach the ocean, where the lava hitting the water will trigger explosive discharges of toxic gas. (Sources: NBC, ITV)
2 - Poison Pen
UK Emails Put Afghan Refugees in Peril
Sometimes a mistaken “reply all” is more than awkward. For the second time this week, the U.K.’s Defense Ministry is apologizing to Afghans it endangered with a careless email. It showed email addresses of 55 people trying to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. So if the Taliban can access any of the accounts, they can identify the others on the list. On Monday the ministry said it was investigating another such breach that exposed 250 addresses of interpreters for the British military. Now the department is advising recipients on how to minimize risks and a MoD spokesperson said “steps have been taken” to prevent future mishaps — including one employee’s dismissal. (Sources: The Guardian, Reuters)
3 - Adriatic Mystery
Croatians ID Woman Roaming Bear-Inhabited Island
She spoke perfect English. But that’s about all authorities could determine about a 57-year-old woman with no memory found last week roaming Krk, an Adriatic island. She faced danger from jagged rocks where she was discovered, as well as bears that frequent the area. But Croatian authorities said Wednesday they got a break after they posted a photo of her face, bloodied with cuts and bruises. Tipsters said she’s Slovakian Daniela Adamcova, a one-time Los Angeles jeweler who provided bling for stars including Barbara Streisand and Brigitte Bardot before somehow becoming homeless. It’s unclear how she got to Krk, but she’s now recovering in a Croatian hospital. (Sources: Insider, USA Today)
4 - Badass Auteur
Indie Film Pioneer Melvin Van Peebles Dies
He was one of a kind. With hardly any successful midcentury Black filmmakers, Melvin Van Peebles, who died late Monday at age 89, stood out with films like 1970’s racial parody Watermelon Man, about a bigot who turns Black. His success helped launch that decade’s “Blacksploitation” films, along with a new generation of independent Black auteurs like John Singleton. Director Spike Lee mourned on Instagram: “Damn We Have Lost Another Giant!” Van Peebles’ actor son, Mario, will attend the New York Film Festival this weekend, paying tribute on the 50th anniversary of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which many consider to be his father’s signature work. (Sources: NPR, Variety, THR, Deadline)
5 - Mean Pitch
Did a Piece of Paper Trigger Rays-Jays Brawl?
Will he need a lawyer? No doubt Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ryan Borucki chalks it up to poor aim, but the league-leading Tampa Bay Rays thought otherwise when Borucki beaned Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier yesterday. Teammates initiated a bench-clearing brawl, apparently believing the ferocious fastball was retribution for Kiermaier’s discovery of an index card, dropped by Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk, with the Jays pitching strategy during the clubs’ Monday matchup. The offending pitcher and his pitching coach were ejected, and the Rays not only won, 7-1, but became the American League’s first team to punch its playoff ticket. (Sources: SI, Yahoo)
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