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.
Oct 22, 2021
Breakthrough transplant of pig's kidney into human is optimistic sign that we will one day solve organ donor shortage. In Northern Ireland, a self-proclaimed poetry pharmacist cures anxiety and depression with inspiring words of life. Markets respond with cautious optimism as the largest real estate developer in the world, China’s Evergrande, makes it’s last minute payment of $83.5 million to bondholders, narrowly missing a default that could have resulted in global financial fallout.
1 - Eureka!
US surgeons test pig kidney transplant in a human
A medical breakthrough with far-reaching repercussions happened asUS surgeons successfully transplanted a pig's kidney to a person during a two-hour operation at the New York University Langone Health medical centre. The ultimate hope is to solve donor organ shortages. The recipient was brain-dead, meaning they were already on artificial life support with no prospect of recovering. Experts say it is the most advanced experiment in the field so far. Dr Montgomery believes that within a decade, other pig organs - hearts, lung and livers - could be given to humans needing transplants. Regarding ethics, she said: "Just because we can doesn't mean we should. I think the community at large needs to answer these questions." (Sources:BBC, NYT)
2 - Poetry Gives Life
Poetry doctor in N. Ireland recites poems to cure our ails
Who couldn’t use some light and love? In N. Ireland, a self proclaimed Poetry Pharmacist meets with audiences to exchange their depression and anxiety for words of love and inspiration. The live sessions are the brainchild of philanthropist and author William Sieghart. “I’m like a pharmacist, you come to me and tell me your troubles and I’ll try to find a poem that is going to work for you,” he told BBC News NI. He added: “There is a poem for everything, people tell me they’re lonely, they’re anxious, they can’t sleep, they have family problems and I try to relate poems to these problems.” (Source: BBC)
3 - Last-Minute Save
China’s Evergrande narrowly misses default
China Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted real estate developer, succeeded in making it’s $83 million bondholder interest payment one day before it was due, narrowly avoiding default.The Chinese property developer’s cash crisis sparked fears about global financial fallout from its imminent collapse. The news was received with cautious optimism by the market, with Evergrande’s longer-term prospects unclear. Contagion has begun in China’s property sector as cash-strapped developers find themselves unable to secure new loans. Several smaller developers have defaulted this month, including Fantasia Holdings and Sinic Holdings, which defaulted on $250 million in bonds due for repayment on Monday. (Sources: WaPo, BBC)
4 - Memes for Good
Memes helped Americans cope with stress during the pandemic
Who would have guessed that scrolling on social media could be productive? A new study published this week by the American Psychological Association, concluded that it did, especially when it came to viewing cute memes. Respondents reported that viewing funny or cute memes helped lower their stress levels and made them feel more confident in their ability to face the global health crisis. Although a small study, it's a notable exception amid research highlighting the negative mental health effects of social media like Facebook and other platforms. It’s evidence that viewing memes may be a healthy way to help some people avoid feeling overwhelmed, provided the content is humorous and upbeat. (Sources: WaPo, NPR)
5 - Briefly
Here are other stories you should know about
Alec Baldwin’s fatal miscalculation. On Wednesday, Balwin fatally shot 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins, a “rising star” and director of photography on a New Mexico movie set with a prop gun, and hurt another man, currently being treated. Police are still investigating the incident. (Sources: BBC,WaPo). FBI confirms human remains belong to missing fiancé of Gabby Petito. The search is over for the person of interest in the case of the murdered vlogger. On Wednesday, after over a month, the body of Brian Laundrie was identified using dental records. (Sources: BBC, WaPo)
Meet CEO, Dr. Danielle Moss
1 - Pandemic Violence
Study finds spike in gun violence during the pandemic
According to a study published by Scientific Reports, the amount of gun violence in the United States rose by 30% in comparison to the period before the pandemic took hold. The data showed twenty-eight states showed a significantly higher risk of gun violence during the pandemic compared with the year before the pandemic, with only Alaska showing a decrease. Coinciding with the rise in the violence, reports have also shown an increase in gun sales nationally. Researchers also suggest heightened stress and upticks in domestic violence as reasons for the spike. (Source: TheHill)
2 - Replacing the Queen
Barbados elects first president
With close to a month to go before becoming a republic, Barbados elects its first president. As it prepares to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state, the island’s governor general, Dame Sandra Mason, was elected by the parliament with one member declining to vote. Mason was the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals and has been the country’s governor-general since 2018. (Source: BBC, Al Jazeera)
3 - A Hairy Situation
Students sue Texas school district over ban of long hair on boys
Seven students are suing a Texas school district over its ruling that boys must have short hair, with violators potentially being suspended or kicked off campus. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU Women's Rights Project filed a lawsuit on behalf of the students citing gender-bias. The complaint says a 9-year old boy was kept in-school suspensions and removed from campus before eventually dropping out as a consequence of the ban. This comes at a time when children are increasingly suffering with challenges to their mental health while coping with the pandemic. “It feels dehumanizing to have school, a government entity, force me to cut my hair and meet their expectations of appearances,” Daniel Hoosier, a student who reluctantly cut their hair after one day of in-school suspension, told the Houston Chronicle. (Source: Independent, WaPo)
4 - Sick Love
Former Massachusetts professor sentenced for attempted murder
A professor from Roanoke College in Massachusetts nearly killed her colleague and unrequited love interest by torturing her for nearly four hours with a rock, garden shears and a fire poker. Rie Hachyanagi was sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison for breaking into her former colleague’s home and confessing her love to the victim as she beat her. Survivor Lauret Savoy’s quick thinking saved her life. She told Hachyanagi she returned her feelings and convinced her assailant to call the police. The judge commended Savoy’s bravery saying, "Professor Savoy is certainly a victim of a horrific crime, but that’s not what I’m going to remember. I’m going to remember that she had the presence of mind and the courage to convince her attacker not to kill her”. (Source: People)
5 - Celtics China Shut-Out
Celtics games banned after player’s anti-China remarks
The NBA is in hot water with China once again after Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter took to Twitter to criticize China’s treatment of Tibet. The Celtic’s games were pulled from Chinese media after the player tweeted a video of himself expressing support for the nation’s people and wearing shoes with “Free Tibet” during Wednesday night’s game. Relations are tense with China, as other world organizations call on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and others to boycott the winter games in China due to its alleged human-rights violations. Turkish born Kanter is no stranger to activism. He has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erodgan. (Sources: CNN, WaPo)
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