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Good morning! I’ve always wanted to visit Antarctica. Now I have a new dream destination: an Alaska-size patch of Antarctica that’s actually a “country” no one has ever visited! Travel today to bizarre nations that no one else recognizes, meet a cancer specialist who gets her best ideas underwater, check out the culture wars shaping the world’s schools and soak in some forgotten Oscar-winning classics.
Under mounting pressure, the U.S. on Sunday decided to lift a ban on the supply of vaccine raw materials to India, which recorded more than 350,000 fresh infections and over 2,800 deaths yesterday from an exploding COVID-19 crisis. Britain, Germany, Russia and Singapore are among the nations also helping India overcome its shortage of oxygen and other medical essentials. (Sources: WaPo, Hindustan Times, Nikkei Asia)
2. Time to Travel
Packed your bags and ready to go? The European Union is poised to open its borders for fully vaccinated American tourists this summer. But given Europe’s slow pace of vaccination, would you get on a trans-Atlantic flight just yet? Vote on Twitter or here. (Sources: NYT)
3. Tehran Tussle
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif conceded in a leaked video that he had little influence compared to Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guards until he was assassinated by the U.S. in January 2020. The leak could undermine Zarif’s credibility as Tehran races to salvage a nuclear deal with Washington ahead of Iran’s presidential election in June. (Sources: Guardian, FT)
4. Sunken Hopes
Indonesia has declared all 53 sailors on board a missing submarine dead after it found remains of the vessel at the bottom of the ocean, cracked into three. (Source: WSJ)
5. Nomad Lands Win
Beijing-born Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to win the Oscar for best director, as her film Nomadland also won the academy’s top award for best picture. The movie’s lead star Frances McDormand won best actress while Daniel Kaluuya (for Judas and the Black Messiah) and South Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn (for Minari) won the awards for supporting roles on a night that attempted to send a message of diversity. (Sources: LA Times, CNBC)
A variety of French bunny has long puzzled researchers by the way it runs — legs raised as if performing a headstand. Now they’ve found that the rabbits aren’t showing off, but that deficient genes force them to run on their front two feet.
By now, you’ve probably heard us talking about our favorite sneakers from Cariuma, but if there’s a time to take the leap and buy them, it's during Earth Month! Not only will you look great and feel great in these colorful and crazy comfy kicks, but until the end of the month, Cariuma will plant ten trees in the Brazillian rainforest for every pair sold. And exclusively for OZY readers: Get $15 off these awesome shoes when you use code OZY15!
If you don’t find thiscancer-hunting geneticist in her Singapore lab, you’ll find the diving enthusiast seeking inspiration underwater. She’s leading a rare approach to predicting breast cancer by combining genetic markers, lifestyle factors, such as obesity, and mammogram scans. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in Singapore, yet a social taboo discourages them from speaking openly about it. Li wants to prepare women to defend themselves if the disease comes calling.
2. Catherine Nyongesa
Watching her sister suffer from uterine cancer convinced Nyongesa that she wanted a career fighting cancer. So she turned down a marriage proposal after high school to pursue her studies. Today, the U.S.-educatedNyongesa is Kenya's first female radiation oncologist. She runs a cutting-edge cancer treatment facility in Nairobi that she keeps affordable through donations from celebrities like American rapper Rick Ross and Jamaican dancehall artist Demarco.
3. Marina Simian
How far would you go for cancer research? Amid the pandemic and a cutback in research funding, the Argentine researcher shed her lab coat for a television appearance on the country's equivalent of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. She won $11,000 and managed to keep her lab running. “I am not a hero. I used a strategy that was a bit creative or different to get financing for my work group.” she says.
OZY Genius Awards
It’s the final week: Ten summer grants will be awarded to students with genius ideas anywhere in the United States. What’s your big idea? Apply today. #OZYGenius
Another Brick in the Wall: School Culture Wars
If children are our future, their battles in schools today will shape the ones we’ll all be fighting for generations.
1. Black Students Matter
Nearly three decadesafter the end of apartheid, many of South Africa’s top private schools remain hubs of systemic racism against students of color, exhibiting everything from hate speech to discriminatory hair policies. Teachers and administrators are still disproportionately white. Now an unprecedented Black Students Matter movement is raging across the country, with students across races demanding — and forcing — change. Read more on OZY.
2. Hair-Raising Bias
But it’s not just in South Africa that hair is a cultural flashpoint in schools. More than half of Tokyo’s schools demand that studentshave straight black hair. Those rigid rules are now being challenged in court by a girl who was expelled from her school for refusing to obey. Is this a moment of reckoning for Japan’s schools?
It’s the size of Alaska but its ruler, the self-proclaimed Grand Duke Travis McHenry (who actually lives in Los Angeles) hasn’t actually ever been there. Nor have the 1,400 other“citizens” of Westarctica, which claims a swath of Antarctica between regions that belong to New Zealand and Chile. The pandemic spawned a national crisis for the Grand Duke, with ashipment of the “country's” flags getting delayed. Its anthem? “God Save Westarctica” (set to the tune of “God Save the Queen”).
The self-proclaimed principality on anabandoned anti-aircraft platform in the North Sea was originally “conquered” in 1966 by former British army Maj. Roy Bates as a gift for his wife Joan. It has its own currency (the Sealand dollar) and bank notes (with Joan's image). The Bates family still lives there and fires guns and bombs at anyone approaching whom it deems a threat. Britain, which once ruled half the Earth, has been unable to get them off it.
Forgotten Oscars Classics
If, like me, you’re struggling with an Oscars hangover, we’ve got just the fix for you with these golden oldies.
A carpenter in Nazi-occupied Slovakia is asked to take “ownership” of a shop owned by an old Jewish woman who doesn't understand what's happening around her. That sparks a bond of warmth and friendship that forces the carpenter to confront the racism he's supposed to support. If it’s possible to smile and cry at the same time,The Shop on Main Street will evoke those emotions in you.
An out-and-out political thriller set in Cold War-era 1960s Greece, this Algerian-French stunner will leave you feeling like you’re watching a Bond film one moment and a classy House of Cards version another.
3. ‘The Official Story’
What if your adopted child is the daughter of one of the many who disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983? This is astory of parental love unlike any you’ve seen.
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