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Good morning! From our parents to finance gurus, everyone tells us to invest in our future. Read on to see how Norway is investing in the future for all of us, meet the Black Trumpian looking to carry the former president’s baton, learn about the ancient roots of gender fluidity and prep for the awards season by watching fantasy films everyone’s raving about.
Isabelle Lee, Reporter, and Nick Fouriezos, Associate Editor
That’s how President Joe Biden described gun control measures he’ll push in the aftermath of mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado, and Atlanta, Georgia, that killed 18 people over the last week. The proposals include stricter background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Will these steps win approval from a divided Senate? Vote on Twitter or here. (Sources: NYT, CNN)
2. Dodgy Data?
U.S. health officials have suggested that pharma giant AstraZeneca cited old data on the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, which it claimed on Monday was 79 percent successful against the disease. The firm said it would issue updated trial data. (Sources: WSJ, Bloomberg)
3. Comeback Chance
Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled that a judge who convicted former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges was biased, paving the way for da Silva to challenge incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro in 2022 elections. Over in Israel meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory in the country’s fourth election in two years, but faces tough negotiations with other parties needed to form a governing coalition. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Jerusalem Post)
4. Suez Crisis
A 1,300-foot container ship headed for the Netherlands has run aground in the Suez Canal, blocking one of the world’s busiest maritime arteries that connects Europe and Asia and causing a huge cargo vessel backup. (Source: BBC)
Ezell Holley, a 91-year-old Texas resident, had to move with his family to a budget hotel during the state’s recent freakish winter storm. To keep their spirits up, the family hung a sign outside their room door calling it the “Waldorf Astoria.” Now a real Waldorf Astoria hotel in Rome has invited Holley, who once visited the city as a GI in 1957, for a free stay after seeing his granddaughter’s Twitter posts.
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The Black Republican from Maryland seemed destined for a Candace Owens-type rise after shooting a viral ad walking through a dilapidated Baltimore district and complaining about the city’s Democratic leadership. The attention earned her a spot speaking at Trump’s RNC Convention and more than $8 million in campaign contributions. While she eventually lost that race by 43.6 percent, Klacik sure knows how to draw eyeballs if she wants to mount a similar suicide mission on the presidential stage.
3. Dave Portnoy
The trolling founder of media company Barstool Sports has survived attempts to cancel him, plus landed a rare one-on-one with Trump. Portnoy also showed his populist appeal by switching to stock market hobbyism, leading what Bloomberg calls “an army of day traders” and giving him some cachet with the anti-Wall Street crowd that fueled the Gamestop stock surge. Ideologically inconsistent while consistently outrageous, perhaps nobody is more like Trump than the millionaire business bro. In March, Portnoy announced his candidacy in typically impulsive fashion, tweeting after seeing a poll that showed him with 0 percent support.
Karaoke: Streeter Vs. Sparks
You're at the bar (in a post-COVID world) and Don't Go Breaking My Heart comes on. For today's March Matchup from The Carlos Watson Show, which of these singing superstars are you pulling in to be your karaoke duet partner:Sevyn Streeter orJordin Sparks? Watch both on the show and cast your vote.
Economic Secrets of Saving Forests
Devastating floods in Australia have once again underscored the mounting dangers of climate change. Can these economic attempts to save the planet’s lungs — our forests — work?
1. Pay Countries for It
Norway pays developing nations that save their tropical forests $10 per ton of carbon dioxide avoided. And that’s double its earlier payments, as it tries to incentivize countries and communities to move away from income sources that encourage deforestation.
2. Cash Handouts Save Forests
Green shoots for the economy can go hand in hand with literal green shoots. Researchers have found that a cash payment program targeted at the rural poor in Indonesia also led to a 30 percent reduction in deforestation, as struggling communities tend to clear more farmland.
3. Solving the Forest-Food Conflict
But you don’t need to pay communities to prevent deforestation. Gambia is increasing agricultural productivity and growing forests. It’s doing so by transferring the stewardship of forests to local communities. Deforestation rates are two to three times lower when indigenous people and local communities own forests.Read more on OZY.
The revolution in sexual identities isn’t a recent phenomenon. In fact, traditional societies around the world have long accepted that gender is anything but binary.
They’re born male,dress like women and have relationships with men. From Mexico's Oaxaca region, they’re a centuries-old third gender. Discriminated against heavily in a conservative nation where homosexuality is frowned upon, a young generation of the Muxe — pronounced as “mu-shay” — is carving out a new identity. Read more on OZY.
India's community of hijras (transgender women and intersex people) once enjoyed respect as Hindu devotees of Lord Rama. But in a postcolonial nation influenced almost subconsciously by Victorian mores and a prudish reading of India’s past, today many are forced to survive off of sex work, and have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.
3. Yan Daudu
“Men who act like women” … that’s what yan daudu means in Nigeria’s Hausa language. For years, they were tolerated, even celebrated in some communities. Now, as the religious right gains strength across Nigeria, yan daudu are being pushed to the fringes of society, vulnerable to persecution.
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The legend of La Llorona — the weeping woman who killed her children to be with her lover — might well haunt you on big screens this year. A former Guatemalan military leader stands trial for the genocide of the Mayan people. But justice can take many forms, and the courtroom is only one of them. Marrying horror and fantasy with themes of social justice, this Guatemalan film is a powerful commentary about Latin American politics.
2. ‘Night of the Kings’
Deep inside an Ivory Coast forest sits a unique jail run by a prisoner. To survive there, a man called the “Roman” must weave fantastical stories for fellow inmates. It’s an allegory for the power of stories to help escape reality. Will this brilliant tale end in survival?
Two women fail to make it in the big city and return home to the promise of an inheritance — but back in their village, they get much more than they bargained for. Impetigorehasn’t won an Oscar nomination, but it could still propel Indonesian cinema to global attention the way Parasite did for South Korea’s film industry.