Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Good morning. I remember how the sheer size of distant Himalayan peaks stunned me as a 15-year-old hiking in Nepal. Today you’ll meet a master climber who doesn’t just summit those mountains … he then skis down their slopes. Also figure out why the next international alliance might be about lithium, read about the world’s boldest local news publications and watch distant planets in nature’s largest mirror.
Miami Beach has extended its COVID-19 curfew for another three weeks, unable to control crowds of spring break tourists. Police fired pepper balls and arrested at least a dozen people. But the clashes have sparked suggestions of racism — many of the young revelers who visit are Black. Does America need stricter restrictions to curb the spread of the virus? Vote on Twitter or here. (Sources: NYT, CNN, Miami Herald)
2. Vaccine Wait
Britain’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout could be delayed by two months because of the European Union’s reluctance to share AstraZeneca doses made within the EU, while a surge in cases in India means the country could slow down its export of shots to Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. (Sources: Daily Mail, Times of India)
3. ‘Border is Closed’
The message from President Joe Biden’s administration is unambiguous, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday, adding that America was expelling most single adults trying to enter through the Mexico border. The growing border crisis has fanned criticism of Biden’s approach both from conservatives who argue Biden rolled back President Donald Trump’s policies too hastily and from liberals unhappy with the jail-like conditions in which children at the border are being kept. (Sources: WaPo, Bloomberg, Reuters)
4. Turkish Troubles
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has fired the country’s central bank governor for raising interest rates amid the pandemic. The ouster sent the Turkish Lira crashing to near all-time lows. (Source: FT, Nikkei Asia)
Wurst Case Scenario
German police officers have cracked a nine-year-old burglary case by matching the DNA on a half-eaten sausage left by the thief with that of a man arrested in France. Now there’s one more reason to always finish your food.
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“Bosso ke wena!” South Africa's government wrote to her on Twitter. In Sesotho, that’s“You're the Boss.” And she is. Khumalo, an e-commerce executive, is the first Black African woman to summit Mt. Everest. Frostbite, a landslide and a deadly earthquake had foiled three previous attempts. But the eldest of seven daughters decided she would “never give up.” She uses sponsorship earnings to fund libraries in Africa, and is now hoping to climb the tallest peaks on all seven continents.
2. Nirmal Purja
One in every three mountaineers who attempts to climb Mt. Annapurna doesn’t make it alive. But Purja didn’t just summit the world’s deadliest mountain. He used that to kickstart a dramatic race to the peak of mountaineering records. The Nepalese climber and former British special forces soldier in 2019climbed all 14 of the world's over-8,000 meter peaks in little more than six months. Before him, eight years was the minimum anyone had taken. And he saved a life while at it, going back up Annapurna to rescue a Malaysian climber previously thought dead.
3. Andrzej Bargiel
Most of us would never even dream of attempting to climb 8,000-meter peaks. Skiing down them? That’s this Polish climber’s death-defying specialty. He hasskied down four of those peaks without removing his skis.Watch him on top of Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, and follow him as he skis down its steep and snowy slopes.
Do Black people distrust the medical system? Do white doctors believe racist myths? Should there be all-Black hospitals? The racial inequities in America’s health care system have been laid bare over the past year, and they are crying out for creative solutions. Hear policymakers, medical professionals and patients on what needs to change today.
We also want to hear any innovative ideas you might have to end racism in health care.
ThePhilippines andSingapore, traditionally two of the West’s closest partners in Asia, are opening themselves up as Russia’s gateways to Southeast Asia at a time sanctions have limited Moscow’s trade options. For the Philippines, Russian weapons are a hedge against Western pressure over the poor human rights record of its own President Rodrigo Duterte. And for Singapore, Russia offers a large market relatively untapped because of Western sanctions.
3. China’s Baltic Bazaar
China’s own neighbors are increasingly wary of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, but Beijing is investing billions of dollars in partnerships in the distant Baltics and Scandinavia. China is funding an undersea tunnel that would connect Helsinki and Tallinn, the capitals of Finland and Estonia, across the Gulf of Finland. And it’s investing heavily in Sweden and Norway, chipping away at the suspicion with which they’ve traditionally viewed Beijing.Read more on OZY.
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South Africa’s Eastern Cape province often makes the country’s biggest headlines for corruption. And the local newspaper,The Daily Dispatch, is often the publication behind exposés there. As more and more South Africans move to social media apps, the newspaper has built an unusual newsroom — one dedicated to delivering news and analysis first via WhatsApp.
2. Sin Embargo
When 43 Mexican students were abducted in 2014, plunging the government of then President Enrique Peña Nieto into a crisis,much of the breaking news andrevelations came not from the country's major publications, but from an upstart platform, Sin Embargo. Its reputation forged in that crisis,thepublication has emerged as a vital part of Mexico’s independent media landscape,withstanding threats and a hacking effort that pulled its website down for a while.
Sometimes it takes a scrappy publication of teenage journalists to outsmart an authoritarian regime. Using drones to monitor corrupt activities and artificial intelligence to rapidly spot discrepancies in government documents, this Kyrgyz outfit has already helped dethrone a president. Could it fuel the hunger for democracy in Central Asia? Read more on OZY.
Start the week by reflecting — or let these wonders of nature do it for you.
Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flat is the world's largest salt plain. And when it rains, Uyuni turns into the planet's biggest mirror — spanning 80 miles and reflecting galaxies of distant stars and planets like Jupiter. You might as well turn your telescope downwards for the best view of the night sky.
2. Lithium Lake
Chinese locals call the Chaerhan Salt Lake a“mirror of the sky” because of the way the water and the sky seemingly merge, the horizon hard to find. But it holds other secrets too: At its bottom lie vast resources of lithium, which — you know by now — is a key ingredient of electric vehicle batteries.
3. Mirror, Mirror on the Water
So you’ve seen the sky with the clarity of a telescope and hunted in vain for the horizon. Now gaze at snow-capped mountains and a national park in the still waters of the aptly namedMirror Lakes in New Zealand.