Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Every few years we hear claims — ostensibly rooted in myriad religious faiths — that the world is about to end. This might seem like the ideal year for such warnings, but instead, forward-looking religious leaders are offering a path to the future. Meet some of the boldest ones today, learn about the pharaoh who had a passport and kick off your weekend with a dose of some of the coolest country music from around the world.
A much-mellowed President Donald Trump attacked Democratic opponent Joe Biden on alleged links with China and Ukraine in their final debate Thursday night, even as he struggled to defend his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden, meanwhile, tried to distance himself from the Obama administration’s record on immigration — and from progressives in his party — in a final push to convince voters that he’s both moderate and the change they need. Is he? Vote on Twitter.
Some of the country’s biggest bondholders are warning of major government mismanagement in Argentina’s landmark debt restructuring deal earlier this year, which had sparked hopes of an economic turnaround. Meanwhile, Walmart is suing the U.S. government, beating them to the punch after catching word that the company would be held accountable for pharmacists not refusing to fill opioid prescriptions. There’s good news for Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, though: His financial services firm Ant Group has received final approval for a potentially record-setting IPO.
The drug from pharma firm Gilead has become the first to receive full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of COVID-19 after trials showed it reduces hospitalization times. It received emergency authorization in May. Daily deaths from the virus have topped 1,200 in the U.S. for the first time since August.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari alleged that demonstrations against police violence had been taken over by those keen to undermine his government, in a statement broadcast yesterday. But he did not directly mention the killing of peaceful protesters by security forces on Tuesday, sparking criticism from a nation on the boil.
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She’s a lonely female mosque leader in the Indian city of Lucknow, a nerve center for Muslim politics. Yet she led a women’s movement in 2017 that made the country’s Supreme Court curtail the use of a decades-old law that let Muslim men end their marriages simply by saying the word “talaq” three times. That’s not all: Her mosque is the first in India powered by solar panels, making the place of worship a source of clean energy too. Read and watch more.
2. Sergio Bergman
For days after the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, the recently ordained rabbi was mostly at a morgue, identifying those killed in the massacre. That attack shaped Bergman’s faith toward social change. Today he’s a leader in the Reform Judaism movement — which emphasizes the faith’s ethics rather than its ceremonial practices, and tries to proactively build bridges with other faiths — and the president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, with 1.8 million members globally. The Argentine rabbi was also former President Mauricio Macri’s environment minister.
3. Fridolin Ambongo Besungu
The Archbishop of Kinshasa isn’t scared to speak his mind. In 2015, when he headed smaller sees, Besungu publicly opposed then-President Joseph Kabila’s attempts to amend Congo’s Constitution to allow him to run again in 2016. Besungu appealed to France for backup, and after he assumed his current role in 2018, the Congolese church played a key role in finally pushing Kabila out. Read more about the church’s role in Congolese democracy.
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Meet the Blue-Collar Billionaire
Carlos connects with the ultimate hustler, Mark Cuban, on how he out-worked, out-learned and out-hustled his way to the top in the latest episode of The Carlos Watson Show. The Mavs owner shares his surprising reaction to team losses, how he raises self-sufficient children, and gives his ultimate advice to young entrepreneurs. This is a can't-miss episode for those hoping to make it big.
Speaking of hustles, the European Union has asked Cyprus and Malta to stop their so-called "golden passports" that effectively allow people to buy citizenship by investing a certain amount in those countries. But they’re hardly the only weird passports around.
Ramses II was one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs — but it was more than 3,000 years after his death that he finally got a passport. That’s when his mummy had to be sent to France for restoration in 1974. As occupation, Egyptian authorities simply listed “King (deceased).”
2. Boom Boom’s Fake Passport
At least the pharaoh’s travel document was real — unlike the diplomatic passport former German tennis legend Boris “Boom Boom” Becker claimed he’d been issued by the Central African Republic, which he’d used to try to claim immunity from debts worth $4.3 million. It was a “clumsy fake,” and Becker, who won his first Grand Slam at age 17, had to auction off most of his trophies.
3. Quiz: The Rarest One
Holding this very real passport doesn't make you the citizen of any country. What am I talking about?
There are several different elements that make this a great find. Firstly, Chicken Little — hello! Then, it’s a handbag made of film. Also, who has a copy of the 2005 animated movie on film in 2020? And who would fashion it into a bag? In any case, the person who found it sure isn’t complaining.
2. Jimi Hendrix Attire
What happens when one legend wears the clothes of another? Ask Lenny Kravitz. Watch the music icon tell Carlos about the Hendrix outfit he owns. I mean, I'd brag about owning it too.
3. Boot of Cortez
No, it’s not actually a shoe. It’s the largest gold nugget in the Western Hemisphere, weighing over 26 pounds. It was found with the help of a metal detector in Caborca, Mexico, in 1989.
Country music celebrated its biggest night Wednesday as the CMT Country Awards honored the best in the genre. Whether or not you like country music, you’ll be humming these songs in no time.