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Growing up in Georgia, we, of course, had a peach tree. Only this one bore no fruit. Despite that disappointment, I still enjoyed climbing our trees even after they were struck by lightning … twice. As impeachment (that worst sort of “peach”) marches on, let me give you some thoughts on my favorite fuzzy fruit. Plus, enjoy a cameo from “Big Gretch” and visit some of the world’s happiest hospitals — while conveniently ignoring all the ones my mother thinks I should have ended up in after all my arboreal falls.
Senior Reporter Nick Fouriezos, with Senior Editor Charu Sudan Kasturi
After watching footage of the Capitol riot, the U.S. Senate voted 56-44 to continue the impeachment trial of Donald Trump despite concerns over the constitutionality of prosecuting a no-longer-sitting president. But while lawmakers remain divided along mostly partisan lines over convicting Trump, they found one area of bipartisan agreement: that the Trump defense team’s arguments were horrendous. (Sources: Politico, CNN)
2. Chain Shot
After record highs in January, the United States has seen COVID-19 cases drop significantly … and now it’s receiving more good news, as CVS and Walgreens drug stores, among others, announced they will begin administering vaccines. With their experience giving millions of flu shots each year, America’s pharmacy chains are uniquely poised to take over the until-now disappointing vaccine rollout. (Sources: USA Today, ABC NewsForbes)
3. Thinner Blue Line
Police are reportedly defecting in Myanmar, joining students and medics who are protesting afterwalking off the job, wearing red ribbons while leading a civil disobedience campaign against the military regime. Other authorities have gotten more violent, with a young woman critically wounded by police gunfire Tuesday. The shifting loyalties have reportedly inspired more civil servants to take to the streets. (Sources: The Guardian, CBS News)
4. Regulating the Regulators
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Inc. both sued the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, hoping to keep the regulator from publicly releasing supply and demand data that the exchanges currently sell to pros at a premium. The measure is one more missive in the war between the Wall Street establishment and Main Street investors gathering on platforms like Robinhood. (Sources: Reuters, WSJ)
Singing From the Grave
No, it’s not a ghost — just artificial intelligence. A new South Korean A.I.-based system is creating new songs in the voice of iconic folk rock star Kim Kwang-seok a quarter of a century after he passed. Which deceased singer would you want to bring back?
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
For Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, 2020 was quite the year. She was rumored to be under close consideration for the vice presidency and touted for her COVID-19 response, while also facing armed anti-lockdown protests at her own statehouse and a thwarted kidnapping attempt. What could 2021 hold? Whitmer breaks it all down on today's show.
Governors to Follow
Like “Big Gretch,” as one local rapper dubbed her, these governors are among the most powerful leaders in their countries — and their influence is only going to grow.
The Tokyo governor is Japan’s most powerful woman and could be the country’sfirst female prime minister someday. The former television host and translator is the force behind the world's most awaited sporting event, the Tokyo Olympics, set to take place this summer. Political loyalty isn’t her forte — she’s earned the nickname “migratory bird” for changing her parties frequently. But Tokyo’s loyal to her, and last July reelected her. If she can pull off the Olympics successfully, all of Japan could be hers.
2. João Doria
The governor of Brazil’s wealthiest state, Sao Paulo, Doria is opposed to abortion under most circumstances and is against the decriminalization of drugs. But he’s no Jair Bolsonaro. In fact, the always impeccably dressed conservative businessman-turned-politician has marked himself out as the president’s biggest political challenger amid the pandemic. Unlike Bolsonaro, he wears masks and has called for lockdowns. Widely expected to take on the president in the 2022 vote, Doria has so spooked Bolsonaro that the president isaccused of blocking the introduction of a Chinese vaccine so the governor can’t emerge a savior.
3. Theresa Kachindamoto
Where traditional rituals carry greater sanctity than the letter of the law, it takes more than electoral wins to bear authority. In Malawi, where child marriages — while officially illegal — are common,Kachindamoto is a potent agent of change. The traditional chief of Malawi's Dedza district — effectively an extra-legal governor — Kachindamoto has helped undo hundreds of child marriages, doing what the country's legislature and police couldn’t.
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Local politicians, more than most, must address security … but the following constantly evolving threats present elusive, moving targets.
1. Digital Cartels
For decades, Latin America’s organized crime gangs have relied on extortion, abductions and illicit narcotics to mint their fortunes. Now as countries — and the U.S. in particular — step up border security, they’re pivoting to a new model that’ll make any wall inconsequential. Brazilian and Mexican hackers are cooking code specifically aimed at targeting the region’s and America’s ATMs, banks … and your smartphone. Their likely future employers? The big crime gangs. Read more on OZY.
For years, attacks on major shipping routes declined, with 2019 registering the fewest incidents globally since 1994. The pandemic has changed that. With governments preoccupied by the public health crisis, they’ve had fewer resources to devote to combating piracy. And ships have had to stay at sea longer, with countries unwilling to let them dock — making them sitting ducks for pirates. All of that leading to a sharp spike in incidents of piracy. Read more on OZY.
Hospitals can represent hope, and they can also be ominous. These ones will bring a smile to your face.
Whether it’s a hip replacement or a dental filling, Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires has a hospital that’ll do what’s needed … for the city’s famed statues as they suffer from wear and tear. But don’t expect a quick solution: The hospital’s one-of-its-kind expertise means there’s usually a waiting list of sculpted patients.
2. Maternity Waiting Homes
Large parts of rural Africa don’t have quality hospitals and traveling to the best ones found in cities can take days. Now a Zambian maternity waiting home is offering a scalable solution for women giving birth in unideal settings. Located adjacent to a hospital, it’s a hostel where expecting mothers check in a couple of weeks before their delivery date, so when their water breaks, they’re in safe hands.
3. Elephant Hospital
India has more than 27,000 elephants — but many of them are either left orphaned after their parents are poached, or wounded by humans who’ve chained them using hooks that sink into their skin. A new elephant-only hospital in the northern Indian town of Mathura is now treating rescued tuskers for diseases and injuries. The best part? The elephants are finding new friends in each other. Read more on OZY.
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As much as it pains this Georgian to admit it, neighboring South Carolina has legitimate claims to the peach heavyweight title. While the debate has raged for millenia, it only recently erupted in the public eye, after SC announced it had harvested more peaches over Twitter. An argument ensued over taste, but true Southerners knew things were really serious once a “bless your heart” was fired.
2. Papa Don't Peach
Y’all may be in trouble deep, or may be losing sleep, but don’t worry: you can keep your peach. That is, until you decide on a recipe, because there are just too many options to count. Poached peaches over waffles are a breakfast favorite, while grilled peaches with honey make a tasty after-dinner treat. Plus, peach ice cream, white peach crostata and peach-raspberry tequila sunrise mean there is a peach for every occasion.
3. Peachy Parables
This is no mere regional obsession. Chinese mythology says that the Jade Emperor’s wife used to feed the gods peaches to grant them immortality. Korean culture calls it the lucky fruit, signifying spring’s arrival and driving away spirits; and they must be tucked away when honoring one’s ancestors. Meanwhile, the Japanese tell the story of Momotarō, who emerged from the pit of a giant peach to bless a barren couple. Translated as “Peach Boy,” there is a shrine and festival dedicated in his honor.