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Good morning! I woke up to the pitter patter of drizzle outside my window and a distant rainbow, ideal ingredients for this hope-filled Friday drink. Sure, the news — for the most part — isn’t uplifting. But you’ll get to enroll in a bizarre German research program, learn about a stoplight that’s helping fix poverty, meet some of the world’s most brilliant ballet dancers and dream about post-pandemic vacations. And like the most delicious meals, we’re saving the best for the last — OZY’s first mini-crossword.
The city of Rochester has suspended seven police officers involved in the March death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude, a Black man struggling with mental health challenges, after the release of body camera footage showed them putting a hood on Prude’s head and pushing his face into the pavement. A medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. And in Portland, police shot dead a man suspected of killing a supporter of President Trump during protests last weekend. In Hong Kong, meanwhile, police have charged a 14-year-old they had shot during protests last year with rioting. For all their differences, the U.S. and China have more in common than you might imagine or wish for.
2. Maduro Masterstroke?
Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s decision this week to pardon political prisoners and invite foreign observers for December’s legislative elections is now splitting the opposition against his embattled regime. U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó has called for a boycott of the elections that he argues won’t be free and fair, but some of his allies are now urging people to show their dissent through their votes.
The WHO is working with African nations to ensure that 20 percent of the continent’s population receives shots from the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines that could become available in a few months. Americans remain divided over whether vaccines will first go to those who need them the most or to those with the fattest wallets.
Here’s one German experiment all of us could use amid the global economic crisis that has robbed millions of their jobs and left the rest of us wondering if we’re next.
money for nothing
Literally. The University of Fine Arts Hamburg is offering three scholarships, each approximately $1,900, to applicants who can convince it that they'll best use the money to do ... nothing. The idea of the research project — which will be showcased in an exhibition aptly called the School of Inconsequentiality — is to study the impact on the environment, society, and on us, when we stop doing what we regularly do.
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Ok, the truth is that the Hamburg university paying people to do nothing — while lovely to think about — won’t fix poverty. Here are some initiatives and approaches that are actually working.
1. Poverty Stoplight
What if a simple color-coded self-assessment project could help families prioritize limited resources to fight poverty? That’s the idea behind the Poverty Stoplight program that launched in Paraguay but has spread to some 30 nations, helping families gain agency to lift themselves out of poverty. Read more.
2. Bangladesh Miracle
Henry Kissinger once described the South Asian nation as an economic “basket case.” Today, the country is a global model for pulling millions of people out of extreme poverty. And central to that success have been microcredit loans as small as $10 to the very poor, a concept that earned a Nobel Prize for Bangladeshi entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus.
3. Earn as You Learn
One retailer’s trash can be another person’s treasure. The Clothing Bank, a South African initiative, is training thousands of poor women to become microentrepreneurs, taking surplus clothes cast off by giant retailers and selling them at taxi stands, flea markets and offices on payday. Read more.
You’ve likely heard about the brilliant Misty Copeland, the first African American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater (ABT). But she’s far from alone in the top league in her field. Meet some of the other stunning stars of ballet — you might want to keep those ballet slippers handy in case you feel the urge to plié.
A recent viral video of the 11-year-old Nigerian boy dancing barefoot in the rain brought global attention to his dance studio, the three-year-old Leap of Dance on the outskirts of Lagos where a self-taught dance fanatic teaches kids to pirouette. The video landed Madu a scholarship to the ABT and earned him a legion of fans including actors Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo.
We promise we won’t make you dance to win a date on our latest show.
science of dating
Wanted: Single Men. OZY’s new show, The Science of Dating, will use scientific methods to match compatible couples. We’re looking for people who live in the Chicago area and are ready to get serious about settling down and finding their perfect match. Fill out the application here.
You need no application to dream of these hidden vacation spots.
It might as well be called paradise. Located 160 miles south of the capital, Lima, thisquiet fishing village-turned beach town is a boat ride away from the uninhabited Ballestas Islands, where you can watch sea lions, penguins and pelicans.