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Sep 16, 2021
In a clear signal to China, the U.S. and Britain are helping Australia deploy a fleet of nuclear-powered, but not nuclear-armed, submarines. Washington, D.C., is fencing in the Capitol again. And a crew of amateurs is floating in space today.
They’ve crossed a red line. In a clear signal to an increasingly belligerent China, U.S. President Joe Biden yesterday announced a new pact between his nation and Britain to help Australia deploy a fleet of nuclear-powered, but not nuclear-armed, submarines. China criticized the deal and urged nations to “shake off their Cold-War mentality and ideological prejudice.” France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the deal, which preempts a $50 billion French shipbuilding deal with Canberra, “a stab in the back” that betrays “a trusting relationship with Australia.” New Zealand also wasn’t impressed, saying its waters would be off-limits to the new vessels. (Sources: CNN, Reuters, Politico)
2 - Fences Back Up
DC Girds for Backers of Capitol Rioters
Nothing to see here folks. At least that’s what the organizer of Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally seems to be suggesting. Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign worker, envisions “a largely peaceful crowd” at the rally in support of Capitol rioters jailed or facing prosecution, whom he calls “political prisoners.” He also maintains that none of the 700 people anticipated by the demonstration permit will be armed, no “Trump” clothing or paraphernalia will be allowed and fellow organizers with Look Ahead America have cooperated with local authorities. Still, work crews began fencing in the Capitol again last night, and Capitol Police have requested National Guard backup. (Sources: CNN, Fox 5 DC)
3 - The War Goes On
France Says It Has ‘Neutralized’ IS Leader
It was a “major success.” President Emmanuel Macron says French troops have killed Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, leader of the Islamic State group in the Greater Sahara. Militants under al-Sahrawi’s command are believed to have carried out attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in West Africa, including a 2017 assault that killed four U.S. service members. Meanwhile, Salah Abdeslam, the surviving suspect in the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, told a Paris courtroom that he was attacking France, and it was “nothing personal” against the 130 individuals killed. Tweeted Macron after the al-Sahrawi announcement, “with our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight.” (Sources: Euronews, Sky News, AP)
4 - Red Flags
Didi’s Users Throttle Back Amid China Crackdown
They’re driving a hard bargain. China’s biggest ride-hailing app lost 30% of its daily users in just a few months amid damaging restrictions imposed by Beijing. Since the company launched its initial public offering in New York in June, Chinese authorities have prohibited it from adding new customers, barred its apps from app stores and probed its data security. Now its users have fallen from 15.6 million to 10.9 million. Meanwhile, China’s moves to curb a burgeoning real estate market are costing Shenzhen-based China Evergrande Group, leading Chinese property companies’ shares in a 5.4% drop today. (Sources: FT, WSJ [sub])
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.
They’re venturing where no newbies have gone before. SpaceX set a new milestone in extraterrestrial travel yesterday, launching four non-astronauts into space. Inspiration4’s evening Falcon 9 rocket liftoff was financed by billionaire Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman. But the crew wasn’t totally unprepared: Isaacman’s a pilot and geoscientist Sian Proctor was a NASA astronaut candidate. Cancer Survivor Hayley Arceneaux, 29, and data engineer Christopher Sembroski will also orbit 80 miles higher than the International Space Station. They’re enjoying three days of views from a glass dome that’s being tested in space for the first time, while doing research on how space travel affects the body. (Sources: National Geographic, CNet)
What do you think? Do you want to go into orbit? Answer this PDB poll.
In a day of gut-wrenching testimony, America’s top female gymnasts, including Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney, yesterday told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI failed to act on their molestation reports, then lied about them when the case blew up 17 months later in 2016. That allowed now-imprisoned USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar access to at least 40 additional victims — of the 150 he reportedly assaulted for years. FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized to the gymnasts for what he called “individuals” who betrayed their duty, vowing to “make damn sure that everybody at the FBI remembers” how the case was mishandled. (Sources: The Hill, CNN, AP)
Read OZY’s profile of Aly Raisman, a key figure in holding USA Gymnastics to account who also testified Wednesday.
The message wasn’t cryptic. Thousands of Salvadorans yesterday demanded that their government reverse its recent adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, some setting fire to a Bitcoin ATM. They believe President Nayib Bukele, who argues the digital money will help compatriots working abroad send money home, is destabilizing their economy with the move. Their grievances also include Bukele’s remaking of courts, which have allowed him to run for reelection despite term limits. Bitcoin’s future looks bright, having quadrupled in value in 12 months, but hedge fund founder Ray Dalio predicts that too much success will prompt regulators to “kill it.” (Sources: Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC)
4 - Tress Passing
Hair-Skipping Among New Guinness Records
You can’t skip this. But 25-year-old Ivorian Laetitia Ky can play jump rope with her own braided hair for 30 seconds — a feat unequaled in the Guinness Book of World Records that’s being published today. Ky actually does a variety of unique things with her hair, inspired by traditional African coiffure. The 2021 book also includes American Zion Clark, who hand-walked 20 meters in a record 4.78 seconds. If you’re more into furry feats, the volume also features Lollipop and Sashimi, a Canadian team that’s set the dog-and-cat scooter-riding record at 4.37 seconds — no doubt inspiring copycats for next year. (Sources: Reuters, Guinness World Records)
5 - Paper Chase
UK Court Agrees to Deliver Lawsuit to Andrew
Time’s up. Virginia Giuffre claims Queen Elizabeth’s second son sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager — something he strongly denies — and is suing Prince Andrew in New York. But the Duke of York’s lawyers argued Monday that he’d not been formally served with notice of the action. Now the High Court in London is closing that loophole, agreeing to notify Andrew, 61. Giuffre’s representatives left the papers last month with police at the entrance of the prince’s residence in Windsor, and the High Court said it would repeat the process unless the lawsuit’s target agrees to accept the documents by other means. (Sources: Sky News, BBC)
More on OZY
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: Do you feel like art is in your blood? That’s certainly the case for Condola Rashād, daughter of Phylicia Rashād, and part of the famous Rashād/Allen clan. Today, the acclaimed Billions star opens up about being raised in this iconic family, shares how she parties with an inclusive theater community and gives behind-the-scenes insight into the Billions cast. What is her surprising take on cancel culture? Click below to find out.
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