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Healing the world needs more than a song. Often it needs gritty civil rights-minded lawyers. Meet some of the finest today, then check out the unusual new fuels that could save the world in a different way — by helping combat climate change. It’s Victory Day and we’ve got our favorite lesser-known World War II tales for you. Add fire to your weekend menu with some stunning peppers. And read to the end for this week’s caption contest!
Eugene S. Robinson, Editor-at-Large, and Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor
Texas on Thursday moved toward adopting a law that could dramatically curtail the ability to vote, hours after Florida enacted a similar statute. Major companies like Unilever and Microsoft have criticized the GOP-led initiative in America’s second-most populous state. Should businesses involve themselves more in politics? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, Texas Tribune)
2. Berlin Vs. Biden
Germany has opposed President Joe Biden’s move to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents so doses can reach poorer nations faster. Berlin echoed the pharma industry’s criticism that lifting patent protections could disincentivize innovation. The debate will now move to the World Trade Organization, but any resolution will take time. Meanwhile, India registered a new world record of more than 414,000 fresh infections Thursday. (Sources: Deutsche Welle, WaPo, Reuters)
3. Favela Firefight
Brazilianpolice gunned down 25 people Thursday in Rio de Janeiro’s deadliest favela raid. Law enforcement officials said they were targeting notorious drug traffickers, but the assault has drawn criticism from human rights activists and security experts. (Sources: Guardian, BBC)
4. Brewing Battle
This alcoholic altercation involves big bucks, not a beer budget. China’s post-pandemic appetite for booze is soaring, sending revenues rocketing for global brews like Budweiser and local rivals like Tsingtao and sparking the prospects of a bar fight over a vital market. (Source: WSJ)
Not Set in Stone
A Belgian farmer unknowingly made his country bigger and France smaller by moving a border stone dating back to 1819 because it was obstructing his tractor. No one wants to rock the boat between the neighbors, so the farmer’s been asked to return the stone to where he found it.
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There’s no more recognizable civil rights lawyer in America today than Crump, the attorney for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others. Now meet some of the world’s bravest advocates fighting for equity and justice.
She wanted to become a scientist but we’re glad she chose law instead. Orija and her all-female team of superstar Nigerian attorneys managed to secure the freedom of 100 wrongly imprisoned people within a year of starting their nonprofit. The Headfort Foundation is aimed at ensuring that if the poor and marginalized don’t get justice from the police, they at least don’t face the brunt of injustice.
2. Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei
The advocacy director at the London-based Bahrain Institute of Rights and Democracy threw himself in front of the king of Bahrain’s car when he visited the British prime minister in 2016. But Alwadaei’s symbolic protest against an authoritarian regime drew a backlash. Since he’d fled his country after the Arab Spring, Bahraini authorities arrested his wife and others in her family instead. Yet if they thought they would shut Alwadaei up, they were wrong: He continues to expose human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies, including disappearances, deaths and brutal assaults at Bahrain’s Jau Prison.
3. Joênia Wapixana
Her face painted red in keeping with her community’s traditions, Brazil’s first Indigenous lawyer argued before the country’s Supreme Court for native land rights. She won, securing the largest tract of Indigenous-controlled land in the country. That was 2008. Thirteen years later, she’s emerging as a key challenger to controversial President Jair Bolsonaro’s assault on the Amazon. And this time, she’s doing it from the people’s court: as the first Indigenous member of Brazil’s Congress.
OZY Fest is Back!
TED or Coachella? Why not both?! This May 15-16, join us for a virtual celebration of bold change and big ideas at OZY Fest, aka “the new SXSW.” Spend the weekend with game-changers from Dr. Anthony Fauci and Condoleezza Rice to Sevyn Streeter and Mark Cuban. Register now.
Surprising Green Energy Sources
These innovations could prove vital to stopping climate change.
1. Sun Powering Through Space
As humankind’s footprint beyond our planet’s orbit grows, researchers are developing a new way to reach distant planets and asteroids instead of rockets filled with polluting fuel: using solar power to let interplanetary vehicles sail through space. Read more on OZY.
Japan Airlines plans to use fuel made from household waste on 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.
3. Fossil Fuels
Yes, you read that right. The very enemies of the environment could soon turn into its friends. Scientists in America, India, Germany and Australia have independently shown that nanoparticles can convert carbon dioxide emissions back into fossil fuels, effectively showing a path toward making oil and gas sustainable energy sources. Read more on OZY.
The World War II We Hardly Knew
It’s Victory Day in Europe. Take a moment to soak in some little-known stories — both bizarre and brave.
Odette Sansom, a French mother of three daughters, didn’t think much when the British War Office issued a call for photographs of the French coastline. Next thing she knew she was learning hand-to-hand combat and Morse code, transmitting vital information between spy networks in occupied territory, surviving brutal torture with her wit intact and helping convict Nazi war criminals. The wildest James Bond film isn’t a patch on her true story. Read more on OZY.
2. Saving the World
When the Nazis swept through France, Africa offered a new home for resistance leader Charles de Gaulle. Brazzaville was his base. And Chad became the first French territory in Africa to back de Gaulle, its leader Félix Éboué a central figure in the fight against the Nazis that saw soldiers from the Central African nation liberate Strasbourg from the Germans in 1944. Read more on OZY.
3. Free, Not Free, Free, Not Free
When you’re a strategically located string of islands, everyone has their eyes on you. So it was that imperial Japan grabbed control of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean in 1942, claiming to liberate locals from the British. In 1945, as Japan was losing the war, British troops marched back in, once again insisting they were liberators. It was finally in 1947 that the islands became a part of India, free at last. Read more on OZY.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog shares standout stories from his unique career, speaks to how fearlessness has always driven his ambition, and gives insight into the topic he might tackle in his next film. Watch later today.
Great chile peppers from around the world that you might not know — but you’ll want to.
Also known as the ghost pepper, it’s up to 400 times hotter than a jalapeño and grows in northeast India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It has rugged skin that’s easy to tear. That’s where the easy bit ends.
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OZY is all about investigating the next trends and ideas to watch out for. That’s why we’re giving you a hint of what’s changing the world of fashion from the ground up — these sneakers from Cariuma, with their classic, comfortable fit and sustainable practices. Get these on your feet now! And exclusively for OZY readers, get $15 off when you use code OZY15.