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I feel like the Mad Hatter, with a sudden urge to dance while declaring a “very merry Unpresident Day to you!” Our greatest leaders should be celebrated, but they’ve already won the prize by getting the job. Becoming president and also getting a special day is like eating your cake and asking for another cake on top of it — a bit gratuitous, no? Today we reflect on some social justice leaders who could receive our praise instead, plus history that doesn’t get nearly enough attention … and, if that’s not enough to chew on, some hot dogs well worth biting into.
Former President Donald Trump survived his second impeachment Saturday in a 57-43 vote — 10 votes short of the 67 needed to convict. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit but said Trump was “morally responsible” for the Capitol riot and vowed to steer the GOP into a post-Trump future. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are moving on to President Joe Biden’s agenda, including a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. (Sources: The Hill, Politico, NYT, Guardian)
2. Ebola Returns
Guinea is battling a new outbreak with at least three fatalities, the first since 2016 when the world’s worst Ebola epidemic saw 11,000 dead across Guinea and in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. But officials say they’re more prepared this time, with a vaccine that helped quell an outbreak in Congo last summer providing hope. (Sources: NPR, BBC)
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Japan Saturday near Fukushima, the site of a 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that killed more than 18,000 people. Operators of the now-defunct plant, already facing a decades-long path to a safe shutdown, said no “abnormalities” were detected. More than 100 people were injured and nearly 850,000 households were left without power. (Sources: BBC, CNN, Bloomberg)
4. Well-Oiled Chaos
The Syrian army said it thwarted “Israeli aggression” over Damascus today as Israel has increased strikes against suspected Iranian targets there, while yesterday the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said it intercepted an explosive drone from the Iran-backed Houthis. And on those fresh fears of Middle Eastern unrest, oil neared its highest price in more than a year, bolstered by hopes that vaccine rollouts and a U.S. stimulus will increase demand. (Sources: Reuters, Al Jazeera, Business Insider)
These men aren’t off the hook after yesterday’s romantic celebrations — their responsibilities are just getting started. Korean women typically give men presents on Valentine’s Day, with their partners responding a month later with gifts like chocolates, flowers or, more originally, marshmallows inspiring the “White Day” moniker. Which makes me wonder how one should interpret receiving a lump of coal instead …
Stick to acting? Never. The 48-year-old trans superstar from Mobile, Alabama broke out on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and has used her platform to advocate for equal rights with flair. From sounding off at OZY Fest on the controversy over Scarlett Johansson being cast to play a trans role to falling in love while in quarantine, Cox is one of the most recognizable faces of the transgender movement today.
2. Licypriya Kangujam
She hasn’t hit double-digits yet, but that hasn’t stopped the 9-year-old Indian climate activist from challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enact a law punishing climate polluters, leading marches on the Indian Parliament, and addressing United Nations platforms alongside Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg. She wants the world to recognize climate change as a social justice issue, particularly when it comes to the looming water crisis that’s threatening our future access to clean water. The only thing that ticks her off as much as climate change? Being called the “Indian Greta.” Read more on OZY.
3. Assa Traoré
Justice for all. That’s what the Parisian special education teacher has demanded for five years, while fighting to do right by the spirit of her younger brother, Adama, who was “asphyxiated to death” following a “stop and frisk” episode involving French police in 2016. Her activism is especially noteworthy in France, a nation sometimes so infatuated with universalism that critics say it fails to recognize racism within its ranks. Read more on OZY.
How is Generation Z shaping your world? As the oldest members are turning 24, they’re already shaking things up in the workplace and at the ballot box. Their demands that companies take a stand on social justice and other political issues are causing a debate in the workplace. Today's episode of When Katty Met Carlos speaks to this question in conversations with 20-year-old Deja Foxx, the youngest staffer on Vice President Kamala Harris’ election campaign, and Maya Penn, who started her own sustainable fashion brand at only 8 years old. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, the iHeart Radio app or wherever else you get your podcasts.
Bless the Stocks Down in Africa
Investors often overlook public companies in Africa, but the continent's youth, developing middle class and improved infrastructure make it one of the most fertile grounds for market yields.
1. AEL Mining Services
As the leading supplier of bulk explosives emulsion — a rocky mix used for underground and surface pit mining — the company serves as a crucial component in central Africa’s engineering industry. With a headquarters in Johannesburg, it distributes products to countries like Malawi, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name but a few.
2. Academy Press
Based out of Nigeria, the printing company offers labels, calendars, company annual reports, marketing material and more. They also provide typesetting, artwork and other publication offerings with clients ranging from religious texts and biographies to maps, diaries and pay slips. Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company’s industrial value makes them as safe an investment you can make.
TheSouth African internet company — one of the largest technology investors in the world — may pique your interest as it's trading at a record discount. Operating in more than 120 countries, its holdings in video games, cloud computing, e-commerce and food delivery sectors (including Delivery Hero, eMAG, Ibibo, iFood, and others) gives it plenty of extra potential value.
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For centuries, historians explained away the mass slaughter of Jews and Muslims in the 1099 siege of Jerusalem as a case of pent-up religious fervor from Christian crusaders. However, medieval scholar Dr. Alan V. Murray suggests an alternative explanation: that this "ethnic cleansing" was done in cold blood, executed as a strategic choice with the moral justification applied post-massacre. Given the three days of brutality, from mass beheadings to fiery torture, it certainly takes faith to believe such monstrosities were done for the love of God.
2. Holocaust of Thessaloniki
Just as Tulsa forever transformed Black Wall Street demographically, the Nazi occupation turned this decadent northern port from a majority Jewish city into a Greek one. Previously boasting around 50,000 Jewish residents, the largest Jewish community in Greece saw its cultural, artistic and religious treasures plundered. Just 2,000 Jews of what was an ancient and vibrant community remained after World War II.
3. Blood and Oil
Carlos Andrés Pérez became so reliant on oil that the Venezuelan president was dubbed the “Saudi Venezuelan” — before reneging on a promise to never seek austerity measures after barrel prices fell in the mid-1980s. Overnight in 1989, Pérez announced changes that closed grocery stores and doubled bus fares, which led people to the streets. Pérez drafted troops that slaughtered more than 2,000 Venezuelans. Historians say the country has never been the same since. Read more on OZY.
Holy Hot Dogs, Batman!
From Mexico to Japan, South Africa and, yes, the United States, these are some dogs worth celebrating.
The best hot dog ever is actually found south of the border, in the Mexican port city of La Paz. It’s the jate — appropriately, how you might pronounce "hot dog" if you spoke it fast in Baja California, and ate up a few syllables. Take a sausage, wrap it in bacon, fry it on a griddle and cradle it in a bun. Finely sliced tomatoes and crema — mayonnaise diluted with milk — constitute the topping. Read more on OZY.
2. Johny Hot Dog
The most popular takeout dish in all of the Asia-Pacific region — from South Asia to Japan — isn't the dim sum or chicken tikka or sushi or the pho. It's Johny Hot Dog, a vegetarian sandwich in the central Indian city of Indore that doesn't even look like a hot dog, but more like a patty stuffed inside a bun. In 2019 it was named Uber Eats' Most Popular Menu Item in Asia Pacific, and 4.3 billion people can't be wrong.
3. Boerewors Roll
Hot dogs are often meant to be eaten on the go. Not this loaded South African piece of brilliance. You need to relish it, ideally while gulping beer. The sausage — called the Boerewors — is made of minced beef and pork fat spiced together. The topping is a thick tomato-onion paste, with mustard and chillies adding a kick. Grill the sausage slowly: You want the juices to ooze out in your mouth, not on the fire.
4. Steve's Hot Dogs
Former rock singer Steve Ewing started a hot dog stand as a side gig, and it grew into a St. Louis community pillar. His community rallied around him in return during the pandemic and nominated the business for a $25,000 reward from Discover's Eat It Forward program. It became one of 200 Black-owned restaurants around the country to be honored. Watch Steve's story on The Carlos Watson Show.