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.
Dec 09, 2021
In Covid-19 news today, promising tests show the Pfizer booster may protect against omicron, and Singapore announced it will require the unvaccinated to pay for any Covid-19 treatment. Opening statements were heard in the trial of police officer Kim Potter over the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. And Germany swore in its first new chancellor in 16 years. All this and more in today’s Presidential Daily Brief.
1 - Omicron Update
Booster promising in fighting omicron; Singapore penalizes unvaccinated
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced Wednesday that a booster dose increased omicron-fighting antibodies by 25-fold in early lab tests. Though the findings have yet to undergo peer review, blood samples taken from patients a month after they received booster shots have shown high levels of omicron-neutralizing antibodies. Meanwhile, Singapore instituted its most stringent Covid-related rules yet. Unvaccinated people who contract Covid-19 will be required to pay for their own medical treatment out of pocket. The new rules follow reports showing that the unvaccinated account for a disproportionate strain on healthcare resources. (Sources: AP, WSJ)
2 - Polarizing Trial Begins
Police officer on trial for killing Daunte Wright
Opening statements concluded yesterday in the controversial Minnesota case against police officer Kim Potter. Potter, 49, claims she accidentally drew her gun instead of her Taser, fatally shooting 20-year-old Wright. Body camera footage showed Wright attempting to flee after police informed him of outstanding warrants on two previous misdemeanor charges. Potter is heard repeating the word “Taser” multiple times before shooting Wright. Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge said Potter should "know the difference" after 26 years on the force. Potter’s lawyers argue that she fired to “prevent the death of a fellow officer.” She is charged with both first- and second-degree manslaughter. (Source: BBC)
3 - Goodbye Angela
It’s the end of an era as Germany swears in new chancellor
Germany welcomed its first new leader in 16 years yesterday as Olaf Scholz, a lifelong Social Democrat, was sworn in to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel. The 63-year-old career politician, widely popular in his seven years as mayor of Hamburg, has held top positions in Merkel’s coalition government. Scholz’s vision for Germany includes phasing out coal, electrifying the vehicle fleet, legalizing cannabis and making it easier to gain citizenship. Merkel, a driver in EU policy and a close ally of France, will be a tough act to follow. For the last 10 years Forbes has named her “The World’s Most Powerful Woman.” (Sources: CNN, The Hill)
4 - Insta-Grill
Social media giant in the hot seat over teen well-being
Instagram chief AdamMosseri was questioned by the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection yesterday over allegations that social media harms teenagers. The interview comes after internal research leaked from Instagram suggested the platform negatively impacts body image for one in three female teen users. Mosseri insisted the platform can be a “positive force” for young people, pointing to recent updates aimed at protecting youngsters as proof. Panel chair Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, told reporters he expects future hearings to include other executives and former employees from Meta, the parent company of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. (Source: TheHill)
5 - Briefly
Here are some things you should know about today:
President Joe Biden requires federal government to go carbon neutral by 2050. The president signed a far-reaching executive order to run carbon-free by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. (Source: Axios)Jury heads to deliberation in the trial of Elizabeth Holmes. The CEO of blood-testing startup Theranos concluded seven days of testimony yesterday in her fraud trial. (Source: NPR) Biden nominates former Hewlett-Packard CEO as ambassador to Kenya. Former Republican Meg Whitman will take on the post, a key position in fighting terrorism. (Source: Reuters) Mark Meadows sues Jan. 6 investigation committee and Nancy Pelosi. The White House chief of staff to former President Donald Trump asked a federal court to block subpoenas issued by the committee. (Source: CNN)
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Watch Swizz Beatz and Timbaland
As They Reveal Their Dream ‘Verzuz’ Matchup
1 - Pot Tourism
West Hollywood sets out to become ‘Amsterdam of the Far West’
Jay-Z, Patricia Arquette, Woody Harrelson and other A-list celebrities are backing a plan to turn West Hollywood into the Amsterdam of the Far West. The goal is to promote the city, under the moniker Emerald Village, as a global destination for pot tourism using celebrities as a draw. The city says it will approve plans to build up to 40 new dispensaries over the next year, fusing California’s recreational weed culture with the city’s own creative vibe. With just 35,000 residents in fewer than 2 square miles, West Hollywood will boast some of the highest numbers of cannabis businesses per capita in the world. (Source: MSN)
2 - Shaking It Up Out West
50 earthquakes in a day spur fears over The Big One
The Blanco Transform Fault Zone, a famously active fault line just off the Oregon coast, released up to 50 quakes on Wednesday, at least two reaching nearly 6.0 in magnitude. Geologists were quick to reassure locals, noting that Blanco's tremors are benign and usually end up crumbling the plate around them instead of sparking powerful seismic waves to hit shore. The Blanco zone is not to be confused with the much more ominous Cascadia subduction zone, which scientists say is due for a catastrophic earthquake anytime between now and 500 years — an alarmingly short window in geologic time. (Sources: Coast Mountain News, NPR)
3 - Pay Day, Big Raise
A survey of 240 companies says base pay should increase in 2022
Employers asked to estimate projected wage costs for 2022 gave encouraging responses for employed people countrywide. According to The Conference Board's latest wage survey of 240 companies, employee base pay could increase by an average of 3.9% next year in the biggest jump since 2008. Chalk gains up to recent labor shortages, which are forcing companies to attract new hires with higher salaries. Current employees will also benefit as wage increases drive up salaries in order to keep skilled workers. Sky-high inflation is another factor, meaning stagnant wages will feel more like a pay cut. (Source: CNN)
4 - Say What?
Lust takes a backseat to other deadly sins
Pride and hatred top lust as the worst of the seven deadly sins, confirmed Pope Francis yesterday in response to Paris archbishop Michel Aupetit's resignation last week over his alleged relationship with a woman. The pope has accepted the bishop's resignation not because he sinned but because the gossip and rumors were too damaging. “It was a failing against the sixth commandment" prohibiting adultery, said the pope, but demurred over condemning the archbishop. “Sins of the flesh are not the most serious,” the 84-year-old religious leader said in a statement that will surely comfort those in intimate relationships outside marriage. (Source: NY Post)
5 - Just Plain Wrong
Cartels are hiring young kids as their hitmen
At least 21,000 children were murdered in Mexico between 2009 and 2019, according to the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico, but often they’re the ones pulling the trigger — for organized crime. The organization estimates that in 2019 up to 30,000 children were working for drug cartels … the major offenders … as lookouts and street-level drug dealers, and another 250,000 were at risk of being recruited. The Mexican government has had little effect over the years in stopping impoverished kids from being lured into organized crime. Enlisting children and teens to kill is nothing new in Mexico and the government is unsure how to stop it. (Source: Vice)
1 - PLEASE WEIGH IN
If you were putting together the OZY 100, who would you say most shaped 2021?
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