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Good morning! I woke up this morning with Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” playing in my head. But I’ll understand if by the end of today’s newsletter, you’re screaming out Aerosmith’s “Eat the Rich” instead. Meet China’s billionaire healthcare entrepreneurs and the doctor whose drugs left JFK high during negotiations with the Soviet Union. Celebrate a dinosaur that’s back from extinction, take a colorful quiz and check out our hump-day playlist — it doesn’t feature either Armstrong or Aerosmith, but it’s just as powerful as their music.
That’s how much the world’s billionaires are worth, their wealth rising by the equivalent of France’s GDP — $2.5 trillion — during a pandemic that has left millions jobless and more than a million dead. And in Brazil, a company trying to actually fix the corporate world’s racial inequity through a trainee program devoted to Black candidates has been dubbed “racist” by regulators.
2. $1,200 Gamble
President Donald Trump declared late Tuesday on Twitter that he would approve stimulus checks worth $1,200 “IMMEDIATELY” if he received a stand-alone bill with the proposal, hours after blocking coronavirus relief talks with Democrats until after the Nov. 3 election. The markets fell after Trump delayed the negotiations, but the president’s late-night move appears aimed at putting the ball back in the court of the Democrats. Will House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bite? Vote on Twitter.
That’s just in America, according to a new Pew Research Center study that shows China’s international popularity at an all-time low because of the pandemic that started off in that country. But there’s one country that the world thinks did an even worse job of controlling COVID-19: the U.S.
If China or America need tips in regaining their popularity, they could look at a creature that’s just made its way back from extinction — literally!
For almost three decades, the giant green known as “Gunnersaurus” has been the mascot of English soccer team Arsenal, standing by its fans and players through thick and thin. Then 2020 recession cuts made the club fire Jerry Quy, the man behind the mascot. But Arsenal star Mesut Özil has offered to pay Gunnersaurus’ wages. The dinosaur dream lives on!
Unlike Gunnersaurus, the healthcare industry doesn’t need help — it’s booming in 2020 because of the crisis. And it’s not just vaccine companies.
1. China’s Billionaires
The country’s 10 biggest healthcare entrepreneurs have seen their bank accounts swell over the past few months and are now collectively worth more than $130 billion. Topping the list is 59-year-old Zhong Huijuan, one of the world’s richest women, whose firm supplies treatments for cancer and diabetes. Huijuan’s wealth has grown by $5 billion since March.
Global investors and organizations are pumping unprecedented money into African healthcare startups. In May, Nigeria-based Helium Health raised $10 million, while Ghana’s mPharma attracted $17 million. Nigeria’s 54Gene has drawn $15 million, and the World Bank’s investment arm has put $7.5 million into two firms.
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In a racially charged America, it’s important for all of us to hear from diverse voices.
Leading the B-Suite
Rhonda Morris, chief human resources officer at Chevron, and Adam Bryant, a former New York Times writer, interview leading Black entrepreneurs — including OZY CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson, Mellody Hobson, president and CEO of Ariel Investments, and Robert L. Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television.
White House doctor Sean P. Conley has faced criticism for his confusing — even conflicting — statements about President Trump’s health in recent days. But he’s not the first presidential doctor to leave a distinctive mark — for better or for worse.
The German doctor pumped President John F. Kennedy with amphetamines and an array of other drugs. They first met before the 1960 presidential debates with Richard Nixon. Some experts blame his potions — also taken by other celebrities such as Truman Capote, Otto Preminger and Tennessee Williams — for blunting Kennedy’s negotiating skills at a crucial 1961 summit with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. “Kennedy did himself no favors by facing Khrushchev on speed,” his biographer Barbara Leaming said.
The Russian surgeon first shot into prominence when he announced a heart bypass surgery on the country’s first post-Soviet President Boris Yeltsin in 1996, but like Conley, the Kremlin doctor is best known for praising his boss’s health. In 2013, amid rumors about current President Vladimir Putin’s health, Mironov claimed the Russian leader swam, practiced judo, and was a better pilot than professionals — so good that he could sleep while flying a plane!
It’s a Christmas myth, much like Santa himself. Starting in the 1930s, Coke advertisements showed Santa in a flowing beard and red suit. But the soft drink firm wasn’t the one who gave Santa his red hues: He had been depicted in the colour as far back as the mid-19th century.
3. Spilled Blood
From Colombia to Zimbabwe, and Yemen to Austria, the red in the flags of multiple countries represents the sacrifice and bloodshed that helped forge those current nation-states.
Speaking of flags, here’s a quiz. One country’s banner uses the color red to symbolize unity with its former colonizer! Which nation is it?
If there’s one good thing that’s emerged during the pandemic, it’s the flurry of binge-worthy TV shows we have at our disposal. Here are some of my favorites from recent months.
1. Little Fires Everywhere
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington play two mothers — one a wealthy, white journalist; the other a struggling Black artist. When their worlds intersect, casual racism, class prejudices and white privilege combine into an explosive cocktail. It’s based on Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel, and is just as good.
2. Masaba Masaba
A fictional take on the lives of Indian actress Neena Gupta and her daughter, the fashion designer Masaba Gupta, Masaba Masaba is the first show of its kind in the country to depict the struggles of an interracial child growing up in India. Masaba Gupta is the daughter of the iconic West Indian cricketer Viv Richards.