Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Good morning. Change can be slow, whether it’s in preventing mass shootings (more on that in a bit) or — as you’ll read today — in how America under President Joe Biden deals with complex crises he’s inherited. But there’s reason for hope too: from an ISIS-beating female commander and new technologies combating oil spills to the greatest train rides in the world. We’ve also got a game for you. Ready to start?
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor, and Nick Fouriezos, Associate Editor
Eight people were shot dead in attacks at multiple Atlanta spas last night, many of the victims of Asian origin, sparking concerns at a time when crime against Asian Americans is on the rise. A suspect is under arrest and the police are investigating potential motives. (Sources: CNN, OZY)
2. Teflon Cuomo?
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if sexual harassment allegations against him are proven, President Joe Biden said in his first comments on the calls for the governor to quit. But fresh polling suggests grassroots Democrats mostly remain supportive of Cuomo. (Sources: ABC, NYT)
3. Gig Gain
Uber will treat its British drivers as employees eligible for benefits including vacations and pensions after a court ruling, the first country where the ridesharing giant will implement these measures. Should gig workers around the world enjoy these rights? Vote on Twitter or here. (Source: WSJ)
4. Vaccine Visas?
The European Union is poised to propose a COVID-19 certificate that’ll allow those who’ve been vaccinated, have recovered from the disease or have tested negative to travel in the bloc. And China is opening up travel — to visitors who’ve taken a Chinese coronavirus vaccine. (Sources: FT, WaPo)
5. Historic Marriage Mandate
A Japanese court has ruled the government’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages as unconstitutional, marking a major win for gay rights in the country. (Source: Japan Times)
Smell the Coffee
But don’t spill it. A 2,000-year-old Italian mosaic was being unknowingly used as a coffee table by a Manhattan antiquities dealer. Now it’s finally in a museum.
Do you want gorgeous eyelashes without the hassle or high cost of normal lash extensions? Are you tired of using damaging lash glue? Thrive Causemetics’ Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara™️ is an award-winning mascara that delivers a phenomenal look with a nontoxic formula that creates longer, stronger and healthier eyelashes over time. Plus, it was made with a busy person like you in mind, so that it lasts all day without clumping, flaking or smearing. You can get astonishing volume and length for only $24 — a fraction of the cost of most other eyelash extensions. Try Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara™️ and see for yourself why it has nearly 12,000 five-star reviews! Get 15 percent off Thrive Causemetics’ entire website today.
In pre-pandemic times, Deena Abdelwahed was the only Arab woman in a lineup celebrating the launch of British live music broadcasting platform Boiler Room in Tunisia — and the Qatari DJ killed it, with a 50-minute techno performance that had the crowd chanting her name. She is one of a fresh wave of women changing the Middle East through musical innovation, recently talking about decolonizing music while exchanging Western scales for Arabic ones. Read more on OZY.
2. Start Me Up
Adwa Al Dakheel flies planes, plays guitars and wins squash championships … all while heading Falak, one of the most promising investment hubs in Saudi Arabia. “I am a loner,” says the innovator. Surprising, given she was named one of the Middle East’s top three social media influencers in 2019. Read more on OZY.
3. On the Offensive
Rojda Felat is a top commander for the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mostly Kurdish militia that helped retake Raqqa, the then de facto “capital” of ISIS, in November 2017. She has led nearly 60,000 soldiers of both sexes into battle and has been known to yank selfie-taking soldiers aside, telling them that the perfect shot may just land them a land mine. “Then your photo will go to the sky,” she’d remind them.
OZY Genius Awards
Before you witnessed Amanda Gorman’s brilliance onstage at the 2021 presidential inauguration, she was an OZY Genius Award winner. Now it's your turn! Apply today for your chance to win a grant of up to $10,000 or nominate a genius college student.
Biden Agrees With Trump
Even the greatest enemies can make strange bedfellows … and on some issues, Biden is following in the footsteps of Trump.
Biden’s racing against the clock to fulfill his predecessor’s promise to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1. Complicating things? Trump struck that deal with the Taliban — not the democratically elected Afghan government — which has ramped up terrorist attacks since. Biden’s team is pressuring the Afghan government to agree to a power-sharing deal with the unelected Taliban, undermining that country’s fledgling democracy. Read more on OZY.
Microorganisms need food too, and a team of Indian scientists has isolated bacteria that love to feed on hydrocarbons. These microbes can metabolize the oil, and could potentially clean up the ocean after disastrous spills like the ones off the coast of Mauritius last year and in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, scientists have shown.
2. Wood Chips
If you find the idea of microbes yucky, German researchers have developed an alternative fix:wood chips drizzled over an oil spill from small planes. The chips soak up the oil, yet still float, so they can be filtered out.
3. Magnetic Sponges
What if we could deal with an oil spill the way we treat spilled milk or water — using a simple mop? Scientists at Northwestern University have designedsponges coated with magnetic nanoparticles that selectively suck oil from water. Attracted to the idea yet?
Desert Island: Van Zeller Vs. Ling
Ahead of March Madness starting tomorrow, OZY is putting The Carlos Watson Show guests up against each other for our own March Matchups. Journalists Mariana van Zeller and Lisa Ling have traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots. If you were stranded on a desert island, which of them would you turn to for help? Vote now.
Game On: Caption Contest
Send us the most fun captions you can think of for the image above — our editors will pick their favorite!
As the train pulls out of Beijing, you’ll see the ramparts of the Great Wall of China in the distance. Bookending the journey, you’ve got the Moskva River. But this trip is about the six nights and five days you'll spend traveling between Beijing and Moscow, riding through Mongolia's massive, green steppes and past Lake Baikal — the deepest in the world.
2. Devil’s Nose Train
Imagine a scenic roller coaster that’s slow enough that you don't get sick, yet steep enough to make it one of railway engineering's greatest feats. That’s the aptly named train ride that curves along the near-vertical face ofEcuador’s Devil’s Nose mountain, a narrow gorge on the other side, and the majesty of the Andes all around you.
3. TAZARA Railway
When you board at sweaty Dar es Salaam, know that no one — not even the train driver — has any clue how long this journey will take. It's meant to be 40 hours, but could take much longer. Yet if you have the time, there's no better way to travel through the heart of East Africa, from Tanzania to Zambia over 1,160 miles, with frequent free safaris, as you wave at elephants and giraffes along the way.
What’s the most picturesque train ride you’ve taken?
In times like these, no one wants to spend time picking an outfit for a 30-minute Zoom meeting or deciding if grocery stores require “real pants.” Our friends at Outerknown found a solution that solves all these problems: the Station Jumpsuit. With just one zip you’ll have a complete, fashionable look. An effortless, go-to outfit so comfortable that you’ll never want to take it off. Could it get any better? With code OKOZY, you can get Outerknown’s Station Jumpsuit with an extra 20 percent off!