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Good morning! What’s the most brilliant excuse you’ve come up with to get out of a boring meeting or sleep-inducing class? Here’s a bet: It’s not a patch on the stunning escape from Hong Kong you’ll read about today. Meet Africa’s most inspiring self-made female entrepreneur, figure out why postage stamps might be a great investment, learn how to whistle a rare language, and freshen up for the week with some of the world’s most breathtaking waterfalls.
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor and Isabelle Lee, Reporter
Health authorities in Northern California are investigating the death of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in late December, was vaccinated on Thursday and died hours later. Such incidents promise to further complicate efforts to accelerate inoculations in the U.S., where infections surpassed 25 million on Sunday and President Joe Biden’s nominee for health secretary pledged to improve sputtering vaccination efforts. (Sources: Sacramento Bee, USA Today, CNBC)
2. National Insecurity
It’s looking increasingly improbable that 17 GOP senators will vote with Democrats to convict former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, arguing it’s tantamount to adding gasoline to a blaze of Trump supporters’ anger. This comes as authorities investigate far-right extremists’ threats to assassinate legislators. National Guard troops will reportedly continue guarding the Capitol through the proceedings, which are set to begin Feb. 8. (Sources: Fox News, AP, Politico)
3. Meddling, You Say?
After this weekend’s protests across Russia demanding the release of poisoned dissident Alexei Navalny — and the resulting police crackdown and arrests — Moscow is accusing the U.S. of interference. But even though Washington decried “harsh tactics against protesters and journalists” across Russia, a Kremlin spokesperson says President Vladimir Putin is still willing to talk to President Biden. (Sources: Al Jazeera, NPR)
4. Hidden Dragon
For the first time, China eclipsed the U.S. in foreign direct investment, according to a U.N. report. In an American economy battered by the pandemic, FDI dropped 49 percent to $134 billion — while growing 4 percent in China, thanks to aggressive lockdowns. Developing nations also fared better than the U.S., dropping only 12 percent. (Sources: WSJ (sub), CNBC)
It’s time for #RealTalk. What does the American dream mean, and how can we positively reset it? OZY and Chevrolet are teaming up for an innovative discussion, taking on the toughest questions in our society today. Hosted by OZY co-founder and multi-Emmy Award-winning journalist Carlos Watson and joined by key leaders from across the country, we’re having pointed conversations to identify problems and arm you with solutions. Put aside the shouting matches and talking heads, and be an ally: Join us now on YouTube for a real conversation you won’t want to miss.
Pakistan’s only Black legislator, the 41-year-old’s battle against racism started in school, where children from her Sheedi community — descendants of East Africans who settled across India and Pakistan — faced bullying from students and teachers. Today she’s the leading voice of a community with an estimated population between 50,000 and 250,000. Read more.
If the topsy-turvy ride of stock markets these past few months has left you confused about where to put your money, here are some totally bizarre options that people are seriously investing in.
If you’re looking for a pastime with high money-making potential, then look no further than stamp collecting. It might seem odd in an era when snail mail is almost dead, but that’s precisely the point. A growing interest in philately makes hard-to-source stamps valuable. Stamps are the third-most traded commodity on eBay, and experts say their worth will only increase with time.
2. It’s a Disaster
If you’re bored of sports betting, there’s always its sinister cousin: hurricane betting. Traders can place bets on whether they anticipate storms making landfall on sites like Weather Risk Solutions, which can mean a pretty payout for betting on disaster. The hobby is less about luck and more about tracking complicated weather patterns and statistics.
3. Activist Collectors
A new wave of “activist collectors” is making it cooler than ever to invest in contemporary work by artists of color. Companies like Masterworks and Artsy are making it easy to share in the excitement of art dealing. This trend is only going to grow, so it might be time to learn the art of art collection.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Carlos tries to twerk. Meet the Queen Diva, Big Freedia. You may know her voice from her famous Beyoncé sample, but Freedia is credited with popularizing bounce music, a New Orleans subgenre of hip-hop known for its booty-popping beats — a far cry from her church upbringing. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind episode.
I’ve always dreamed of a code language only I and a few others would understand. I’ve finally found some candidates. The challenge? Finding a teacher.
1. Silbo Gomero
The hills are alive with the sound of … whistling? Indeed, if you’re on the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands. Silbo Gomero, a local tongue, is a whistling language designed to carry long distances. Its future was threatened by the telephone, but it’s now taught in schools.
The Juizhaigou nature reserve in China's Sichuan Province is an often-overlooked UNESCO site. Once you’re there, do not overlook the spectacular Pearl Shoal Waterfall as it cascades down 533 feet, tripping and bumbling over rocky outcroppings. Set against the backdrop of a lush, green forest, it’s an experience you will never forget.
2. Loose Cannon
When this one shoots, it’s a spectacle to behold. Just above Lake Albert in Uganda, the White Nile narrows to a width of only around 20 feet. The force with which it pushes through the gorge results in the Murchison Falls and — when the light is right — a rainbow cloud of mist. The rocks lining the falls contain mineral crystals that sparkle in sunlight, creating a dazzling view.
3. Paint by Numbers
A 30-minute hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park in Costa Rica rewards you with the sky blue Rio Celeste waterfall. It gets its color because the water’s pH level changes when two rivers meet, but the legend goes that the Arctic blue shade came from the gods washing their brushes after painting the sky. Trust us, it is an otherworldly experience.
What’s the most stunning waterfall you’ve seen up close?