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Sep 16, 2021
Good morning! The countdown has begun for many intrepid travelers who are already planning their future adventures. But if you need just that little extra push, meet a Canadian adventurer who sleeps without a tent in sub-zero temperatures and — true to his generation — shares the experience on social media. Check out why criminals might be among the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic. And pamper your furry friends with some of the coolest pet gadgets around. Don’t forget to play this week’s spot the difference game!
The U.S., U.K. and Australia have signed a new deal to share advanced defense capabilities – including the development of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia – and technologies, such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The pact aims to counter China’s mounting military power and influence in the Indo-Pacific region, a security hotspot with issues such as terrorism and organized crime on the rise. Could this be the 21st century’s NATO? Answer here or on Twitter (Sources: BBC, Guardian)
2 - Look Up
At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a different trio is coming together to join billionaire Jared Isaacman – founder of payments-processing company Shift4 Payments Inc – in the first SpaceX-sponsored private space trip for civilians. The spacecraft will orbit the earth for three days. “Few have come before, and many are about to follow,” Isaacman said. (Source: WSJ)
3 - Safety Over School
Mass school abductions in northern Nigeria will keep at least 1 million children away from classrooms, according to UNICEF. So far this year, there have been 20 attacks on schools with more than 1,400 children kidnapped, 16 dead and more than 300 missing. Terrorist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, as well as local criminal gangs, are believed to be behind the crimes. (Source: Reuters)
4 - Booster and Bullsh*t
A third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine increases immunity, although two doses also offer strong protection against the most severe variants of the virus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed. Meanwhile, the world continues to battle vaccine misinformation. Authorities in Trinidad and Tobago rebutted an unsubstantiated claim by rapper Nicki Minaj that the friend of a cousin in the Caribbean nation became impotent after receiving the shot. (Sources: NYT, CNBC)
Every community deserves resources for healthy living, but not every community has access to them. With the first-ever Wellness Impact Award, WW is selecting five organizations to receive a $15,000 grant, mentorship, additional fundraising opportunities and more. These champions of wellness are tackling the systemic inequities faced by marginalized communities with everything from fresh food deliveries to nutrition education that embraces culturally relevant foods. Other winners are encouraging young people to connect with the outdoors. It’s a step toward making healthy living a human right.
Where would a 21st-century explorer be without sharing his adventures on social media? To his over 170,000 Youtube subscribers, the 26-year-old Canadian flexes his expertise in the outdoors in ASMR-esque videos that show him doing any number of activities, from camping with no tent in sub-zero winter temperatures to canoe fishing for over a week down a turbulent river.
2 - Kira Salak
There is little that the brave Kira Salak hasn’t done. The award-winning American writer, adventurer and journalist has traveled to every continent, reported on battlefields in the Congo and kayaked 600 miles on the Niger River in Mali … solo. When it comes to adventurers, Salak is giving Indiana Jones a run for his money.
3 - Noami Grevemberg
There’s more to adventuring than on foot or in a kayak. Amid the #Vanlife movement, one shining pioneer has been Noami Grevemberg. Living in her 35-year-old VW van since 2016, while documenting her adventures on social media and in her podcast, the explorer, who grew up in Trinidad, has experienced the kindness of the nomadic community. So much so that she started Diversify Vanlife, a platform to represent and include more people from underrepresented communities in the adventurous lifestyle.
Pandemic Winners: Organized Crime
While millions of small businesses were forced to shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, crime organizations have fared better than ever. Here’s what they’ve been selling, other than drugs.
Illegal fishing is a huge transnational industry, accounting for about 20% of the world’s catches while depleting fish stocks and endangering ecosystems. But the incentives are high: one single bladder from the endangered Totoaba fish can sell on the black market for up to $50,000. What’s more, this illicit industry can also be a mask for other organized crime activities, including the trafficking of humans, drugs, weapons and wildlife.
2 - Art
Although this illicit market is smaller than other transnational crimes, it is still prevalent, including in conflict zones in the Middle East. Traffickers have capitalized on lockdowns to snatch valuable items, often looting artifacts like ceramics and coins from mosques and archeological sites and then brandishing their stolen goods on Facebook groups that can have hundreds of thousands of followers.
3 - People
In a particularly upsetting turn, the pandemic did little to slow the $150 billion human trafficking industry. Traffickers have taken advantage of widespread loss of income and the increased time both adults and children have been spending online to prey on new victims. Lockdowns have made trafficking harder to detect and to stop. Border closures have further endangered migrants, as they face susceptibility to the virus, risk getting stranded en route and are vulnerable to being deceived and exploited by criminals.
Worried that your dog is bored when you’re not at home? You don’t have to be. This gadget might provide more fun than you can. The device can be programmed to dispense treats at designated times and the camera allows you to keep an eye, and ear, on the action!
2 - Dog Anxiety Jacket
Everybody loves a cuddle, right? This wearable weighted blanket applies light pressure on just the right areas and is guaranteed to make your furry friend feel calmer around thunderstorms, fireworks or separation. Does it also come in human sizes?
3 - Lizard Hammock
There is nothing more relaxing than stretching out on a hammock. And you want your pets to be relaxed too, right? Even lizards can get in the action with this cuter-than-life accessory. All they’ll be missing is the piña colada.
Art runs in Condola Rashād’s family, and it shows. The acclaimed star opens up about being raised within the iconic Rashād/Allen clan, shares how she parties with an inclusive theater community and gives behind-the-scenes insight into the Billions cast. What is her surprising take on cancel culture?
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