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Is it just us or do the rays of sunshine at the start of spring feel unusually welcoming this year? Maybe it’s because we’re slowly starting to step outside more. In today’s brew, we tease your wanderlust with places that have opened up, introduce you to the world’s bravest dissidents, offer an inside look at countries betting on oil for their future and excite the amateur magician in you. And no, there’s no sleight of hand in the spot the difference game you’ll try.
Joshua Eferighe, Reporter, and Nick Fouriezos, Senior Reporter
SeniorU.S. and Chinese officials will meet next week for the first time since President Joe Biden took office. Their summit in appropriately chilly Anchorage, Alaska, could set the tone for the world’s most vital diplomatic relationship. Will U.S. ties with Beijing improve under Biden? Vote on Twitter or here. (Source: SCMP)
2. Economic Jump-Start
Economists believe the $1.9 trillion stimulus that’s set for a rollout this weekend could push America’s GDP up by nearly 6 percent this year, the highest annual growth in four decades. The package includes checks of up to $1,400 for most Americans and child tax credits among other measures. (Source: WSJ)
The lower house of Mexico’s Parliament has passed a historic law legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, moving the country a step closer to creating one of the world’s largest markets for recreational pot. (Sources: BBC, Reuters)
4. COVID Clot
Five European nations — Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia — have suspended the use of a batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines pending a probe after cases of expected blood clotting in some recipients of the doses. Meanwhile, Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who has underplayed the threat of the virus, has been missing in action for two weeks, sparking speculation that he might be suffering from COVID-19. (Sources: Yahoo News, Guardian)
Dancing in the Dark
The dancers can’t see their audience, and the audience can only catch the performance through tiny letter box-sized slits. It’s the latest Japanese innovation to revive theater performances while keeping everyone safe amid the pandemic.
You’ve heard of Alexei Navalny, but the jailed Kremlin critic isn’t the only dissident battling for their nation’s future against the odds — and often against authoritarian regimes.
1. Ilham Tohti
Few have given up as much. The Uyghur economics professor has served a life sentence in a Chinese prison since 2014 for “fomenting separatism” after repeatedly calling attention to Chinese human rights abuses against the Muslim ethnic minority community. But from behind bars, the global focus he sought has finally resulted in the U.S. declaring China’s treatment of Uyghurs as “genocide.”
2. Sônia Guajajara
“In the flames, they see money.” That’s what the Brazilian Indigenous activist said in October while accepting an award for speaking truth to power. Conservative President Jair Bolsonaro has blamed the burning of the Amazon rainforest on Indigenous groups, even as Guajajara and others have fought deforestation spurred by the congressional ruralistaagribusiness bloc. “The whole world is looking for ways to protect the environment … we’re here dealing with a government who is doing the exact opposite,” she warned recently.
3. Stella Nyanzi
Earlier this month, the 46-year-old fled from Uganda to Kenya to seek asylum, alleging that her partner was abducted and tortured after Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni returned to power following controversial January elections. Among Museveni’s most vocal critics, she has called the president “another pair of buttocks” and has waxed eloquent about wishing that his mother’s vagina had drowned him. Read more on OZY.
And don’t miss former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin’s column on Navalny’s staying power in Russia, only on OZY today.
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When crude oil helps your GDP leapfrog more than 43 percent in a year when most economies shrank, it becomes an irresistible poison. Guyana has emerged as a future capital of the global crude industry since ExxonMobil discovered oil off the country’s shore in 2015. The government’s revenues are expected to balloon 30-fold over the next decade.
2. Russian Risk
Russia’s expanding oil and gas exploration into the ecologically vulnerable Arctic, ironically relying on climate change to improve access to the region. And it’s offering up Arctic oil and gas to others: from western multinationals to energy-guzzlers like India. Read more on OZY.
3. Namibian Novelty
Southern Africa could be the next frontier. Angola is already one of Africa’s largest oil producers. But experts and explorers are eyeing Namibia and South Africa as new playgrounds — even COVID-19 has failed to dim their enthusiasm.
Food That Built America
After suffering bankruptcy and imprisonment in his early 20s, young entrepreneur Henry J. Heinz made his version of a popular sauce that would change Americans’ tastes. Based on the HISTORY channel documentary series, OZY and HISTORY bring you The Food That Built America, your latest podcast fix about the bold visionaries behind some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts.
As U.S. states lift COVID-19 restrictions, here’s a look at countries that are almost entirely open again — and the lessons, good and bad, to be learned.
1. New Zealand
Last fall, as many of us craved live sports and had to settle for the television and empty stadiums instead, New Zealand opened up its arenas for fans to devour rugby games in the flesh. Like other countries, New Zealand has had ups and downs while combating the virus. But for the most part, it’s an example of the best way to stay open: by actually defeating COVID-19.
This island destination is among a growing set of nations wooing visitors with long-term work-from-home visas. If you’re going to be working remotely, why not do so from the beach, sipping a Caribbean cocktail? Read more on OZY.
Whiskey in Your Clubhouse
Join OZY editors and writers today, 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 and follow OZY’s Tracy Moran (@tmoran), Joshua Eferighe (@Eferighe) and Nick Fouriezos (@nick4iezos). Email us below so we can ping you into the room. See you soon!
Hold an egg before your audience and insist it’s unbreakable. They smirk but you know better. If the peaks of the egg are in the dead of your hands, no matter the pressure, the egg won’t break. Nor will the spell you’re casting on your audience.
Appearing to defy gravity is always fun. Try theBalducci levitation technique. Position yourself away some distance from the audience. Then with your feet close together, lift off on the balls of one foot, taking both your heels off the ground. They shouldn’t be able to see the part of the foot on the ground.
3. Cup Through the Table
All you need is a cup, a ball and a sheet of paper. Promise to make the ball go through a hard table but instead use that as a distraction to deftly drop the cup into your lap, with help from the paper. The deception helps you fool them into thinking you’ve actually passed the cup through a rigid surface.
Spot the Difference
There’s no magic here. Can you see the four differences in the two images above? Write in below.