Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Good morning! I sense optimism in the air — strange for a Monday, I know. It could be the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines ... or that 2020 is ending. Even if it’s momentary and just me, I’ve sneaked an extra shot of whiskey into your drink this morning. Meet the 26-year-old Chinese high-flyer building the world’s next fintech giant, watch traditional Mexican wrestling from a boat and truly test your love for your partner (it involves whales!). And read to the end for the answer to Thursday’s question.
Or in Donald Trump? That’s the dilemma the Republicans are facing after Georgia’s elected leaders from the party rebuffed the president’s calls for a special session of the state legislature to overturn election results. Will Trump’s efforts to undermine the election hurt Republican chances in crucial January runoffs for the Senate? Vote on Twitter. (Source: WaPo)
2. First Shot
The U.K. will administer the West’s first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at 50 hospitals starting Tuesday, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to vote on approving inoculations in the country on Thursday. Russia rolled out jabs of its Sputnik V vaccine — which isn’t fully tested yet — to vulnerable Moscow residents Saturday. (Sources: BBC, NPR, Reuters)
3. Caracas of Democracy
Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro strengthened his hold over the country, winning the nation’s legislative election Sunday, after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for a boycott. On a brighter note, Ghana will vote Monday in a violence-free election to choose its next president, setting an example for fledgling democracies in Africa and beyond. (Sources: Deutsche Welle, FT)
4. Height of Accuracy
China and Nepal have settled a long-running dispute — an 11-feet spat over the height of the world’s tallest peak. Beijing says Mount Everest stands at 29,017 feet, while Kathmandu insists the summit lies at 29,028 feet. They’ll announce their consensus Tuesday. (Source: WSJ)
Newton’s Law of … Pyramids?
Unpublished 17th century notes from Isaac Newton, now set to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s, show that the scientist who gave us the laws of motion was trying to decode the secret of the geometry of Egypt’s pyramids. He was convinced it held the key to the Earth’s circumference.
We love you and we love these shoes — so we’re telling you about them. Cariuma is our favorite brand of sneakers. Their handmade shoes look good, feel good and even do good with their ethical and sustainable practices.
The shoes sell out quickly, so be sure to buy them now and get $15 off when you use code OZY. But save some for us too!
She loves watching movies on planes but the 26-year-old’s own high-flying rise could be straight out of a script. She’s the founder of one of the Asia-Pacific region’s fastest growing fintech firms, Airwallex, which last year became the quickest company ever to reach unicorn status ($1 billion valuation) in Australia. Yueting likes to be busy in her kitchen and spend time with her two-year-old these days, dreaming of a Bali vacation. What’s cooking next in her mind?
3. Cheng Wei
The 37-year-old CEO of Didi Chuxing, the transportation giant that’s Uber’s biggest global rival, onceworked at a massage parlor. So it’s only natural that he’s known for hiscool head. He loves polo shirts and is riding a boom that started with his acquisition of Uber’s China business in 2016. Didi has now emerged as a ride-sharing giant inLatin America,Australia and Japan too, with550 million users. The rest of the world is next.
This former Chinese Olympic gold medalist is now also a billionaire businessman competing against Nike and Adidas. Who’s he?
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has a map of Africa proudly tattooed on his chest. “I stamped my chest with my bloodline,” he says. And why not. African-born fighters are fast taking over MMA. Two current champions, Adesanya and welterweight title holder Kamaru Usman are Nigerian-born, and heroes for emerging fighters from Senegal to South Africa. Read more on OZY.
2. Money for Nothing
It took Floyd Mayweather Jr. eight years after winning his first belt to headline a televised, pay-per-view fight. But a new generation of boxers is earning celebrity status and lucrative contracts after just a handful of fights. They’re using social media promotions and a change in the way the sport is now broadcast: increasingly on streaming services targeted at cord-cutters. Read more on OZY.
3. Sail-In Fights
Drive-in pandemic-era gigs are old hat. How about sailing on a boat while watching fighters muscle it out? With the pandemic robbing Mexico’s traditional Lucha Libre wrestlers of their audience, they’ve innovated, setting up fights on a tiny island in the middle of capital Mexico City’s canals. Get a kick out of watching them from your boat.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Actress, host, reality star, model, podcast host … Garcelle Beauvais has the Hollywood royal flush. Today, she joins Carlos to talk about her journey to stardom, secrets from the sets of The Jamie Foxx Show and her ongoing search for a soulmate. Watch later today.
Token of Love
If, like Beauvais, you’re searching for love and have found someone special, here are some unique ways to show you care.
Compose a love letter entirely out of beads, like South Africa’s Zulu people do. Beads of each color on the rectangular flag carry a significance — white means virginity, faithfulness or true love; yellow could mean wealth and fertility or jealousy, for instance. Ready to weave your love?
2. Whale Tooth
In Fiji, your love had better be as deep as the ocean. You’ve got to give your prospective father-in-law a tooth of the sperm whale to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Tourists can buy souvenirs off the street, but for your true love? Nothing less than an undersea duel with a whale will do.
Sound simple? It isn’t. On Valentine’s Day, girls in Japan give chocolates to boys they like. But exactly a month later, on March 14, boys are expected to return the favor. And their chocolates must be of greater value than that of those they received from girls.
What if a virus turns animal meat into poison and cannibalism is our only way to survive? This spooky yet brilliant book by Argentina’s Agustina Bazterrica might well become a modern classic, if you make it past dessert.
2. ‘A Burning’
A Muslim girl’s offhand Facebook comments are taken as evidence of ties to a terrorist attack. Megha Majumdar’s debut novel is a thriller that unfolds as a parable for modern India’s rising chaos and religious intolerance.
3. ‘A Girl is a Body of Water’
What if women hadn’t suffered centuries of oppression at the hands of men? Kirabo, a Ugandan woman who embodies the “original state” of women, has the answer in this new feminist tale by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.
The coolest new streaming platform is finally here. With CuriosityStream you can dive into history and explore nonfiction films and series. Interested in something else? They have thousands of documentaries on topics ranging from food to space exploration to animals. Best of all, for a limited time, OZY readers can spark their curiosity and get a full year of access for only $1.25 per month with an annual plan using code OZY.
We asked you what gives Vietnam’s most prized coffee its distinctive flavor. The answer: The coffee beans are fed to civets and the semi-digested ones are used! Linda K., Carolyn S., Judith O., Thomas R., Prakash, John. J., Steven K., Jessica K., Roberto G., Kathy M., Tejnarine G., Jane H., Chris D., Alec P., Zach M., Carter H., John M. — you all got it right!!!