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Happy Tuesday! My 12-year-old nephew often tells me he quite likes online classes. What he misses the most about school since it’s been closed is time with his friends. As U.S. schools reopen this week, take tips from other countries where kids are going back to the physical classroom. You’ll meet an Israeli cruise ship magnate who’s also a green tech billionaire. It's nearly a month after Valentine's Day, so if your love life is going south, I've got some fun ways to break up and some great spy thrillers to distract you from the heartache. Enjoy!
President Joe Biden’s administration is offering temporary work permits to 300,000 Venezuelan immigrants. However, it also faces growing scrutiny for spiraling arrests of migrant children at the Mexican border, many of whom are being kept in jail-like conditions. Is Biden deserving of the outrage that former President Donald Trump faced amid a similar crisis? Vote on Twitter or here. (Sources: CBS, NYT, CNN)
2. New Campus Assault Policy?
President Biden has asked his administration to review rules on how university campuses deal with allegations of sexual misconduct, moving toward ending Trump-era policies that added protections for those accused in such cases. (Sources: WSJ, ABC)
3. Lula’s Back
Former President Barack Obama once called him “the most popular politician on Earth.” Now ex-Brazilian President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is back with a bang, his political career revived after a court quashed corruption convictions against him. Lula is expected to challenge President Jair Bolsonaro in the country’s 2022 election. (Sources: Guardian, Al Jazeera, Newsweek)
4. Freedom Jabs
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines, relaxing restrictions on movement of those who’ve taken their vaccine shots. Meanwhile, new research shows that COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and China’s Sinovac are effective against the dangerous Brazilian strain of the virus. And Tunisia will today receive its first vaccines, from Russia. (Sources: WaPo, New York Post, Reuters, Arab News)
Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is the world’s oldest pet graveyard near the Red Sea in Egypt. The 2,000-year-old cemetery housed at least 600 cats, dogs and monkeys, some of them wearing pet collars, according to the researchers.
Being green is good for the planet — but it’s also an increasingly smart way to earn billions.
The Brazilian entrepreneur with neatly cropped hair has fought the government, the threat of big oil companies and his own family to control and build a clean energy empire that has made him the world’s first ethanol billionaire. His company, Cosan, underwent a corporate restructuring last year, but its credit rating remained unaffected. Just like Mello himself, whose readiness to always fight the odds has earned the 71-year-old the nickname “the tractor” — he just keeps rolling.
2. Shari Arison
Cruise ships don’t sound particularly environmentally friendly. But Arison, Israel’s richest woman, has long insisted that her bottom line doesn’t need to come at the cost of society’s well-being. And it’s why the luxury cruise magnate with a net worth of $4.5 billion is also a leading green energy investor, with money in a thermo-solar power plant, biofuels, water preservation and more. But she has faced scrutiny for alleged bribery in Africa. Clean energy and clean business don’t always mix.
3. Zeng Yuqun
Western partners and friends know him as “Robin” but he’s more like the Bruce Wayne of China’s electric vehicle battery industry. His company, CATL, is the world’s largest battery supplier and boasts major auto manufacturers among its clients. The puffy-cheeked Zeng counts Elon Musk as a friend and, like the Tesla chief, doesn’t shy away from bold, futuristic public pronouncements — like a battery he unveiled last year that he says can run for 1.4 million miles.
Back to Schools: Lessons From the World
American schools have started reopening. As parents, students, teachers and administrators grapple with that challenge, they might find useful tips from the experiences of other nations.
It’s tough enough in normal times to ensure that all kids in a class maintain a minimum common level of learning. With remote classes, that learning gulf has likely widened. What if the answer is to regroup students by literacy and numeracy levels rather than by age or grade? It’s a strategy that helped Botswana improve basic math skills by 31 percent in four weeks during the pandemic, when classes were held over smartphones. Now with schools reopened, Botswana’s doubling down on the strategy.
2. Not Just Classes
With a good part of an academic year effectively lost to the pandemic, it’s tempting for schools to focus almost exclusively on formal teaching. But there are consequences to this approach.Japan reopened schools in June. And a survey of students in November and December found that athird of them were suffering from depression because of cuts in extracurricular activities.
3. Keep Windows Open
If your school’s infrastructure and your region’s weather allow it, hold classes outdoors. But if you can’t do that, try to keep classroom windows open. That’ll help mitigate the risks of the infection spreading indoors, German scientists have shown. Perhaps it’s something America could implement.
This Week on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
We're highlighting pioneers who have transformed their fields and are blazing their own path. Today, Bill Gates talks to Carlos about the pandemic, the future of public health, Black Lives Matter and innovative tech companies. Watch now.
Whiskey in Your Clubhouse
Join OZY editors and writers on Thursday, March 11 at 6 p.m. PT/8 p.m. CST/9 p.m. ET for insights on the week’s hot news and sections that’ve tickled your fancy. Sign up for Clubhouse (you must have a sixth generation iOS device) and follow OZY’s Tracy Moran (@tmoran), Joshua Eferighe (@Eferighe) and Nick Fouriezos (@nick4iezos). Then email us below so we know to ping you into the room. See you soon!
Relationships don’t always work out. When things end, here’s how some cultures around the world deal with the heartache.
1. Effigy Burning
Prenups are boring. Ukrainians prepare for a possible breakdown in their marriage by burning an effigy of the person who introduced the couple … during their wedding ceremony itself! You could, of course, just burn an effigy of your partner if you prefer that.
2. Holy Sh*t
Japan’s Mantokuji Temple, where women seeking divorces could once seek refuge, now offers a ritual where you can write down your breakup wishes and flush them down a toilet. I guess a toilet does make sense if you can’t digest your relationship.
3. Throw a Party
When a divorce can mean freedom from the shackles of a marriage between unequals, it’s an occasion to celebrate. Conservative Saudi Arabia is seeing a spike in divorce parties thrown by women once they’ve ended marriages following long legal battles.
I Spy Your Week’s Binge
These great but lesser-known spy series and movies will keep you on the edge of your seat even if the rest of the week gets boring.
What if the spy isn’t tasked with saving a country — but with surveilling a nursing home that might be an epicenter of abuse? Shortlisted for the Oscars, this Chilean movie is part comedy, but amid the scandals over nursing homes erupting in the U.S., it’ll also hit eerily close to home for many.
3. ‘Queen Sono’
She’s an undercover agent racing across Africa battling crime lords while also grappling with the mysterious death of her mother, an anti-apartheid activist. Netflix broke new ground with this South African stunner last year.