Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Good morning! Most of us are really good at only one profession. But a select few are especially gifted. Meet one of history’s greatest gymnasts … who is now a billionaire entrepreneur plotting Wall Street success. As America debates whether to increase its intake of refugees, visit the surprising countries that welcome those who others won’t. Learn from ants how to live to 400 and start this Oscars week with some of our favorite films from Africa.
Charu Sudan Kasturi and Kate Bartlett, Senior Editors
News in a Minute
1. Tense Wait
Smoke, tear gas and protest slogans hang in the air over America, with one question at the center of it all: Will Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing George Floyd last May, be convicted? Closing arguments in Chauvin’s trial are expected today, and multiple cities are bracing for possible violence, even as fresh mass shootings in Austin, Texas, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, left six people dead. (Sources: WaPo, NBC, Reuters)
2. Welcome Bubble
Australia and New Zealand launched a travel bubble promising quarantine-free flying today. Are air bubbles the future of the travel industry? Vote here or on Twitter. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca said it was working on a new vaccine targeted at the dangerous South African variant of the virus. (Sources: BBC, Al Jazeera, FT, Daily Mail)
3. Soccer War
The world’s most popular sport was thrown into unprecedented churn last night after 12 of Europe’s top clubs from Britain, Spain and Italy announced a breakaway league, prompting threats of bans at national and even World Cup games from soccer’s governing authorities. Sources: (Guardian, NYT)
4. Fly Me Over Mars
Frank Sinatra wanted to see what “spring looks like on Jupiter and Mars.” NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter will get a maiden glimpse, at least on Mars, as it attempts the first flight on another planet today. (Source: CBS)
Ware did it all go? Canada’s likely to run out of warehouse space amid a boom in e-commerce sales during the pandemic, even as the nation battles a fresh surge in cases.
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A three-time Olympian, the Brazilian swimmer never liked the suits she had to wear during competitions. So Molina, who is also fond of fashion, decided to design her own swimsuits, developing the now-popular two-piece Brazilian “sunkini.” Today, she runs a popular swimwear brand with customers in 12 other countries across the world.
3. Haile Gebrselassie
When he takes something on, you know he’s in it for the long run. Theiconic Ethiopian long-distance runner with two Olympic golds and four World Championships has built a post-retirement business empire spanning hotels, coffee plantations, car dealerships and a cinema hall. But he still finds time for a run every morning at 5 a.m. He knows the key to success often lies in pacing oneself.
Living Until 150
Science is developing tricks for just that. Here's what it'll look like.
1. Print New Body Parts
The wear and tear our bodies endure is a major factor in limiting our life spans. But 3D printing brand-new organs could — at least in theory — eliminate that challenge. Researchers in China and the U.S. are already implanting 3D-printed body parts in lab animals to test the technology. If the approach works, we could go in for an overhaul once we reach 70 and get organs that give us the body of a 20-year-old once again, allowing us to live decades longer than we can now.
2. The Right Job
Scientists at Germany’s University of Regensburg are studying black ants from Central America that have displayed a remarkable trait: Siblings can live twice as long as each other depending on their role in the ant colony. Those involved in reproduction live the longest. The scientists are hoping to glean lessons that might give some future employers the perfect incentive to offer prospective workers: the bonus of a longer life.
3. Why Just 150?
But it’s not just ants. Scientists have discovered cellular pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans, an elegantly named worm with similar genes as humans, that could elongate its life fivefold. Pharma firms are now developing drugs aimed at manipulating those pathways. If they work, you could — in theory at least — live up to 400 years.
‘When Katty Met Carlos’
Last year, 1,127 people were killed by the American police. People of color were disproportionately the victims. Katty and Carlos speak to civil rights attorney John Burris, who famously represented Rodney King, and community advocacy worker Mecole Jordan-McBride. Listen now onApple Podcasts,Stitcher, the iHeart Radio app or OZY.
Unlikely Safe Havens
They’re not the migrant hubs you’d expect and they’re far from perfect. But when the world shuns them, refugees go to these nations.
One of the world’s poorest nations might not sound like the most natural home for refugees. Yet for all its other problems — including anauthoritarian regime — the country has long kept its doors open when wealthier nations have shut them. It offers refugees — more than1.45 million of them — theright to education and health, allows them to start private businesses and gives them land to farm and build a home.
When country after country in the Americas started closing borders this past decade, this small South American nation went the other way, introducing a refugee law giving extensive rights to those seeking shelter in the country. Aninflux of Venezuelan refugees and concerns over thespread of COVID-19 have made Ecuador tighten some rules. But its policies — including a visa that’s relatively easy to obtain — have made it the latest gateway to the Americas for refugees from as far away as Africa.Read more on OZY.
Palestinians. Iraqis. And now Syrians. An oasis of peace amid conflicts all around it, the Middle Eastern nation is home to nearly 3 million refugees, a number second only to Turkey. The waves of nationalism that have struck the shores of other countries have landed here too. But for many refugees in the war-torn region, it’s their last hope, as you’ll find everywhere in this nation, from the streets of Amman to the banks of the Jordan river.
Hidden African Film Gems
Looking for great movies to watch while you wait for the Oscars next weekend? We’ve got you covered.
1. ‘This Is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection’
Tiny Lesotho is best known for its quality weed, less so for its cinema, but this award-winning film from Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is dope in a whole other sense. It focuses on a quintessential southern African topic — land and dispossession — and follows an elderly widow as she opposes the relocation of her village to make way for a dam.
The Kenyan government banned Wanuri Kahiu’s lesbian love story. Homosexuality is illegal in the East African nation. But a court temporarily lifted the ban, allowing for a few well-attended screenings in Nairobi, with woke moviegoers praising the bittersweet tale of romance between a pink-dreadlocked rich girl and a skateboarding tomboy from a broken home.
3. ‘My Octopus Teacher’
Imagine you make a stunning movie, shot mostly underwater, about how free-diving helped save you from depression, and how you formed a friendship with an otherworldly octopus. Now imagine that on its release all of social media blows up in smutty speculation that you had sex with the cephalopod. That’s what happened to Cape Town filmmaker Craig Foster, and no — spoiler alert — he did not. Stop watching so much Japanese porn! But Foster gets the last laugh: His strange, earnest film is now up for an Oscar.
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