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Happy Tuesday!! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always finished my greens first and saved the tastiest parts of my meal for the last. I make it a point to keep your daily cocktail delicious throughout. Today’s no different, but if you want to know what’s making me salivate the most, read on until the end. Along the way, you’ll sip on the latest ways in which tech is influencing love, meet some of the world’s boldest young revolutionaries and unravel the dark secret behind Libya’s tobacco obsession.
The FBI has warned of protests next week by armed supporters of President Donald Trump at all 50 state capitols and Washington, D.C., ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. This comes even as the House of Representatives prepared to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump for inciting last week’s mob assault on the U.S. Capitol. Should next week’s armed protests be allowed? Vote on Twitter or here. (Sources: AP, NYT)
2. Cutting Off Cash
Top American companies, including Amazon and General Electric, are suspending political donations to the Republican Party and groups that tried to block the certification of Biden’s win last week in Congress. (Source: WSJ)
3. WHO Dunnit
The World Health Organization has managed to gain access to Wuhan in China to investigate the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, days after being barred by Beijing. Egypt expects to soon receive 40 million shots of a COVID-19 vaccine, largely from AstraZeneca, to inoculate 20 percent of its population. Sources: (Bloomberg, Reuters)
4. Terror Tags
The Trump administration has labeled Cuba and the Houthi rebels of Yemen as terrorists, complicating any potential outreach from a Biden team to Havana and Tehran (Iran backs the Houthis). Meanwhile, Canada might add far-right group Proud Boys to its terror list. (Sources: FT, Al Jazeera, Guardian)
Meat of the Matter
Dutch officials are confiscating ham sandwiches from British drivers because they’re not allowed to bring meat and other food products into Europe since Brexit — not even their own lunches. One driver pleaded that he at least be allowed to keep the bread. “No, everything will be confiscated,” the officer responded. “Welcome to Brexit, sir, I’m sorry.”
As the largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase & Co. is stepping up to foster economic opportunity and inclusion for historically marginalized communities. “Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history,” writes Brian Lamb, global head of diversity and inclusion at JPMorgan Chase. “It’s our responsibility to do something about it, given the role of banks in the financial health of the communities we serve.” Learn more about JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion commitment to providing economic opportunities in underserved communities.
One of the most prominent faces of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, the 24-year-old might be behind bars at the moment under China’s controversial new sedition law — but no jail can hold back her ideas. The fan of contemporary Japanese songs has shown, with her colleagues, how young people can make even the world’s most powerful regimes tremble, laying the ground for waves of ongoing protests. Read more on OZY.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Award-winning investigative journalist Mariana Van Zeller may have the world’s scariest job. The host of National Geographic's new show, Trafficked, joins Carlos today to discuss her investigations into the world’s biggest black markets and why they’ve boomed during COVID-19, and how she chooses curiosity over fear. Watch later today.
Hidden Black Markets
They’re dangerous, lucrative and not always what you might imagine.
1. Smoke With Fire
It takes a lot of money to fund a civil war that's been going on as long as the post-Arab Spring conflict in Libya. Enter cigarettes. The North African nation — divided between battling militias — is now a leading importer of unrolled tobacco, more than 90 percent of which is then used to produce contraband cigarettes. Militias smuggle these across the country’s porous borders with nations like Niger, earning cash that keeps their campaigns going. So what if Libya’s future is going up in smoke. Read more on OZY.
2. Staying Alive, Through Crime
Across the world, migrants often fall victim to human trafficking and sex trafficking. In Colombia, criminal gangs are doing things differently: They’re trapping illegal Venezuelan migrants into joining their private criminal force in exchange for protection and an income. Read more on OZY.
3. Oily Mess
What do Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia and Iraq have in common? They’re all crude oil-producing nations. But more surprisingly perhaps, they’re also the countries most responsible for oil trafficking. Nigeria alone loses $1.5 billion every month to crude stolen from its pipelines or produced illegally in the country.
Tinder was only the kindling that sparked these latest tech innovations reshaping the dating landscape.
That’s Japan’s latest idea to help drive up its birth rates, among the lowest in the world. Starting this year, the Japanese federal government will fund local artificial intelligence-based matchmaking programs. As things stand, Japan's aging population is expected to crash from 128 million in 2017 to just 53 million by the end of the century.
2. Black Love
It knows no borders. Nor should it. At least two dating apps — Afridate and CultureCrush — both co-founded by serial entrepreneur Amanda Spann, cater specifically to the African and African-origin diaspora around the world. You can use the filters to select specific nationalities or regions, then connect with people the way you would on Tinder.
3. Freedom From Stereotypes
People with disabilities often struggle to find partners on regular dating and marriage platforms. In India, 42 percent of people with disabilities never marry. Now, apps like Inclov are disrupting decades of prejudice and isolation by serving the targeted dating needs of people with disabilities. It’s gaining momentum in Australia and the U.K. too. Read more on OZY.
And now for what I promised you earlier. Museums can be like greens — important yet not always flavorful. But these brilliant food-themed museums are guaranteed to leave you hungering for more.
In the early 20th century, coffee was Brazil’s principal currency of commerce, and this majestic building with a glass-stained ceiling in the coastal city of Santos was where traders bought and sold beans. Today, it’s a unique homage to the country’s coffee traditions. Don’t forget to sip on Brazil’s different coffees in the museum’s cafe.
My wife jokes that I eat burgers for the accompanying fries — that’s how much I love them. So you won’t be surprised that my favorite food museum is located in Bruges, Belgium — the home of potato fries. From Inca-era art depicting Peruvian farmers to cones of sizzling hot pommes frites, learn and drool at the same time.
Ok, I need to ravage the fridge for something decadent to eat, or my hunger is going to explode. What’s the best form of potato fries that you’ve ever had and where?