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Good morning! I’m not a very versatile cook, but I do have a cool Indian twist on guacamole that my friends swear by. Start this week with a series of similar twists: from guac that’s greener than it seems to moving mummies. Meet the “cat” who could soon be president, check out the investment vehicle exciting the sports industry, and let an unlikely new hub of global animation — Africa — thrill you.
Jordan has accused former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein of planning a coup against his half-brother, King Abdullah II. Prince Hamzah is under house arrest, his key aides have been taken into custody and a stunned Middle East is grappling with rare uncertainty in a country known for its stability. (Sources: BBC, Guardian)
2. DMX on Life Support
The iconic rapper is in a “vegetative state,” according to a former manager, after he was hospitalized on Saturday following a heart attack believed to have been triggered by a drug overdose. Fans are planning a vigil today outside the New York hospital where the 50-year-old is receiving treatment. (Sources: BuzzFeed, CBS)
3. Vaccines vs. Variants
India registered more than 100,000 fresh cases on Sunday, its highest since the start of the pandemic, and infections are mounting in the U.S. despite aggressive vaccine rollouts in both nations. Meanwhile, Peru registered its highest single-day deaths from the virus. Will vaccines stop a fourth wave in the U.S.? Vote on Twitter or here. (Sources: Indian Express, NYT, Al Jazeera)
4. America’s Back
The U.S. could replace China as the leading contributor to global economic growth for the first time since 2005. Driven by President Joe Biden’s expansive spending plans, America’s GDP could grow by more than 7 percent this year. (Sources: WaPo, WSJ)
5. Stanford Stands First
Stanford won a tight NCAA women’s finals matchup against Arizona to secure its first national title since 1992. And a Jalen Suggs shot at the buzzer helped Gonzaga beat UCLA and set up a men’s title clash against Baylor. (Sources: NPR, CNN)
Mummies on the Move
Egypt on Saturday moved the mummies and sarcophagi of 39 pharaohs, queens and other ancient royals in a majestic cavalcade from Cairo’s Egyptian Museum — their old home and one of my favorite museums — to the newly built National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
On the Cusp: The Next World Leaders
They’re waiting in the wings to take charge of some of the world’s most important nations.
Hecalls himself “the cat” after surviving a 2015 poisoning attempt. And there’s no doubting the South African deputy president’s feline flexibility in steering clear of the African National Congress’ power tussle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and former President Jacob Zuma. That has earned him distrust from both camps. But Mabuza knows how to maneuver the ruling ANC. In 2017, he got his supporters to swing the party leadership in favor of Ramaphosa, after winning support from Zuma's side by convincing them he was tilting in their direction. Now, as he plots his rise to the top, he’ll need that dexterity once again. Does the cat have any lives left?
2. Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo
She was part of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, the daughter of Lithuanian immigrants is Mexico’s most influential female politician as the mayor of capital Mexico City. An ally of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the scientist-turned-politician has drawn criticism amid the pandemic for her reluctance to enforce lockdowns. But with a popular Obrador set to step aside in 2024 (Mexico allows only a single term), she's emerging as a favorite to succeed him as the country’s first female president.
3. Amit Shah
India's home minister ran a PVC pipes business before earning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trust as a confidant in the state of Gujarat, where Modi used to be a chief minister. Shah was jailed on charges of masterminding illegal police killings that were promptly dropped once Modi became prime minister. Now, he’s Modi’s enforcer nationally and behind everything from the Kashmir crackdown to a controversial citizenship law. He's also Modi’s pick to take the top job after him if their party stays in power.Read more on OZY.
We always share the next big thing with you — from names to trends to ideas. So listen up: These colorful sneakers are ethically made from sustainable materials. Thanks to Cariuma, you can look and feel good while doing good!
The West has in recent years turned Togo into a dump for its electronic waste. Now, a generation of young inventors is taking broken computers, metal frames and dumped refrigerators and turning them into 3D printers, robot teachers and more. They're not just clearing up trash — they're building cheap but effective computers and robots for Togolese who can’t afford many of these devices. Read more on OZY.
2. Flying on Garbage
No sh*t. Japan Airlines plans to use fuel made from household waste on its flights between Japan and the U.S. from 2022. It has invested $8.6 million in a startup that's developing recycled aviation fuel. In effect, the airline hopes to use filth to clean up its act.
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) secure “black check” venture capital investments to put into identified sectors. The concept really took off in 2020 (read more on OZY here). But what’s in store in 2021.
But the real future of SPACs lies not in America, not in Africa or Latin America ... but in China. The country is home to more than half of the world’s unicorns (startups valued at $1 billion or more). So as SPACs look to put smart investor money on startups that could explode, there’s no better market for them to target than China.
3. Game On
If 2020’s SPAC boom was about tech and finance, 2021 is poised to be about sports. Through 2020, a total of 53 sports-related SPACs took off. Just the first two months of 2021saw the birth of 35 sports-focused SPACs.
Africa: The Next Animation Capital
From Hollywood studios to superstar actors, everyone’s flocking to Africa for the next big animation projects.
The word loosely means “the future” in Yoruba — appropriate, given the rising stature of Africa’s animation studios. Being developed by a team from Uganda and Nigeria, this Lagos-based sci-fi film (its script remains under wraps) will mark Disney's foray into the continent. It will broadcast on Disney+ in 2022.
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