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Happy Thursday! We live in deeply divisive times, with climate change threatening our very survival. What if a tarantula could teach us how to coexist with those who aren’t like us, and a bird could offer lessons on how to stay cool? Today’s brew introduces you to some of nature’s most magnificent creatures, robotic colleagues who aren’t trying to steal your job and a cheesecake-loving model who’s Asia’s freshest fashion face. And you’ll get to test just how well you know some of sports’ greatest names.
President Donald Trump knew about the deadly threat of the coronavirus as early as February, but deliberately downplayed it, he admitted to veteran journalist Bob Woodward in a series of interviews. Trump has publicly said — repeatedly — that COVID-19, which has now killed 190,000 Americans, would disappear “like a miracle.” On Wednesday, Trump described himself as a “cheerleader for this country” who didn’t “want to create panic.” Are his pom poms now stained with blood? Tell us on Twitter.
2. Pass for Putin, Smack at Xi
A Department of Homeland Security whistleblower has alleged the agency’s leadership told him to stop sharing intelligence on Russian interference in the November U.S. election because it “made the president look bad.” The administration’s showing no such restraint with China, Trump’s current punching bag, though. The DHS said Wednesday it had revoked more than 1,000 visas of Chinese students and researchers in recent weeks to stop the theft of trade secrets.
3. No Breakfast at Tiffany's
Not for French luxury giant LVMH at least, after it pulled out of a $16 billion deal to take over iconic American jeweler Tiffany, citing pressure from the French government. Tiffany struck back with a lawsuit that underscores how heated trade tensions between the U.S. and Europe are robbing even jewelry of its value. Meanwhile, Shoprite, Africa’s largest retailer, is exiting Kenya a month after deciding to reduce its footprint in Nigeria amid global economic decline.
If the Moscow meeting doesn’t bring temperatures down between China and India, the two countries could look all the way to South America for unlikely inspiration.
To Chill a Hummingbird
It’s the coolest bird in the world — literally. Scientists studying hummingbirds high in the Andes have now found that the creatures dramatically drop their body temperatures, at times to as low as 3.3 degrees Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit), to survive cold nights. No other bird or non-hibernating animal can lower its body temperature as much.
The pandemic and recession aren’t likely to disappear like a miracle. But they’re already fueling some lasting shifts in different parts of the world that could shape the future — from how we bank to whom we’ll call our colleagues.
1. Grounding Lossmakers
South African public sector behemoths South African Airways and electricity producer Eskom have bled billions of dollars in losses. Now the government of President Cyril Ramaphosa is using the pandemic and recession to privatize electricity and sell off stakes in SAA. It’s an approach that might well inspire other governments around the world similarly struggling to earn revenue amid the crises.
2. Chinese Cobots
These robots won’t steal your jobs and they’re designed to not hurt you. In fact, they’ll make you more efficient at work. That’s the philosophy behind collaborative robots or cobots, the fastest growing market within the robotics industry as countries and companies look to balance the desire for automation with the need to preserve jobs. China’s leading the race. Read more.
3. FinTech Future
A handful of banks have controlled Latin America’s financial system for decades. Now a rising tide of fintech startups led by Brazil’s Nubank is challenging that monopoly, and the pandemic is bolstering their attempts to rewrite the region’s rules. Read more.
Business and economics aren’t the only areas where a new generation is setting its own rules. Meet some of the world’s next big models who are redefining success in the fashion industry.
The 19-year-old from China started her runway career two years ago, with shows forTom Ford and Dior. Since then thecheesecake-loving teenager whose mother once worried about her grades has quickly emerged as one of Asia's most sought-after models. She misses her mother's food when she's traveling, but she has her own post-modeling career planned out already: she wants to become a baker.
2. Adut Akech
ASouth Sudanese refugee, Akech spent the first few years of her life in a refugee camp in Kenya before her family moved to Adelaide, Australia. Her teachers there couldn't pronounce her name, and called her "Mary." Today, she's one of their most famous former students. One of six siblings, she wasencouraged by her aunt to take up modeling. It was a risky career choice, but it sure has worked. Just 20, she has already starred in campaigns for Fendi, Saint Laurent, Valentino and Versace among others.
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I don’t know if I’ve told you before, but I’m super scared of reptiles. But despite the bad publicity they’ve received — thanks in good measure to Hollywood — tarantulas don’t scare me. Sure, these eight-legged creatures can be dangerous, but there’s a saucier, friendlier and tastier side to them too.
I hope you’ve never been bitten by a tarantula, but if you have, you’ll recognize this taste. A British innovator has created a hot chili sauce that mimics the sting of a tarantula on your tongue. It’s not venomous, but the burning sensation is no less potent. Ready for a trial by fire?
2. Friends With Benefits
They’ve got each other’s back — tarantulas and … frogs. In Peru, India, Sri Lanka and other countries, tarantulas happily coexist with the smaller creatures, affording them protection, while frogs gobble up ants that eat spider eggs.
3. Fried Delicacy
If you really want to get over that fear of being eaten by a tarantula, how about eating one yourself? Deep fried tarantulas are a delicacy in Cambodia, though they’re slowly disappearing because of deforestation and excessive harvesting. Watch celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay stuff his mouth with a spider.
You don’t need eight limbs to be multi-talented though. Some of the world’s greatest sports stars had more than one skill set. Test how well you know them.
They’re among the greatest their sports have seen. But which of the following icons can also claim to have tried tried all three of these: comedy, art and music?