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Happy Thursday! Treasure hunts can be fun. But they can also be deadly dangerous. Read today about the latest gold rush: a manic search by crime lords for … wait for it … sea cucumbers. Meet the first Black samurai, check out the pipeline that’s as critical for China as the Colonial Pipeline system is for the U.S. and listen to Islamic punk. Read to the end for this week’s spot-the-difference game.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a ban on all abortions after the fetal heartbeat can be detected, at around 6 weeks. This at a time when a conservative-leaning Supreme Court is also reviewing abortion rights. Critics plan to legally challenge the new law, which allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps carry out an abortion. Should a court strike down the Texas law? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: CNN, CBS, Fox)
2. Hopes Vax and Wane
America might be able to vaccinate 4- to 6-year-olds against COVID-19 by the end of 2021, top epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. Meanwhile, Malawi has destroyed thousands of AstraZeneca shots after they expired to ensure public confidence in the vaccination program. (Sources: Reuters, AP)
3. Ceasefire Imminent?
Israel is moving toward an Egypt-mediated cease-fire with Hamas and plans to scale down its assault on Gaza after U.S. President Joe Biden sternly told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to de-escalate the crisis. (Sources: Haaretz, Jerusalem Post)
4. What Insurrection?
Senate Republicans appear poised to block a bill initiating a commission to probe the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The House of Representatives approved the bill Wednesday with 35 Republicans backing it. (Sources: WaPo, BBC)
5. Post-COVID Crash
Markets declined globally on Wednesday amid rising concerns over inflation and signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve might reconsider policies aimed at injecting easy cash into the economy. (Source: WSJ)
An Australian woman of Taiwanese descent woke up from surgery after her tonsils were removed … with an Irish accent, even though she has never been to the European nation. Now she’s milking her new accent on TikTok, where she has drawn 20,000 followers.
They invest in art. From the founder of Citadel throwing down $300 million on a de Kooning to the Mets owner’s $91 million purchase of a Jeff Koons steel bunny, the titans of industry play to win and they don’t pull punches.
And it’s not just a hobby: Contemporary art has been one of the best-performing asset classes of the last 25 years, outperforming the S&P 500 by 174% since 1995. The art market is expected to grow by $1 trillion over the next six years. Masterworks is a revolutionary new startup disrupting this centuries-old asset class by making art investing available to all. Get in on the action today: OZY Whiskey In Your Coffee subscribers can skip their 21,700-person waitlist to start investing in art by using this special link.*
The true story of history’s first Black samurai is finally on your screens. Netflix’snew anime series captures the journey of an unlikely hero born in West Africa who impressed Oda Nobunaga, one of Japan’s most important feudal lords. Six feet tall, he is said to have had the strength of 10 men. The series embellishes his story with giant robots and magical beasts but stays true in key moments: Like when Yasuke has to explain that his skin color isn’t because of mud he could wipe off.
Star of the Mexican-American animated cartoonOnyx Equinox, this13- year-oldAztec boy is assigned the task of closing the five gates of the underworld. Behind his turquoise eyes is a cheerful and sensitive boy with the agility to outrun monsters and a knife that absorbs blood. It’s a rare animation success story based on the mythologies of Mesoamerica.
3. Manuel and Greg
They’re Pixar’s first-evergay leads, for the Disney original shortOut. The story follows Greg’s move into the city with his boyfriend, Manuel, and the trepidation he faces telling his parents. It’s not until he temporarily swaps bodies with his dog that he learns that he has no reason to hide his true self.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and Carlosbond over basketball, discuss the difficulties of improving race relations and laugh over stories from past greats. Watch this episode to hear the iconic trumpeter’s picks as the next jazz stars.
The New Gold Rush: Sea Cucumbers
Each sea cucumber costs as much as $3,500 in China, where growing demand for the species that’s mistakenly seen as an aphrodisiac is sparking a global race among crime cartels to secure supplies of the endangered creatures.
But it’s not all bad news. Sea cucumbers act as vacuum cleaners on the ocean floor, recycling key nutrients and supporting other microorganisms. The Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar is now helping the creatures survive. Working with the UN, the government has established a sea cucumber hatchery for farming the species and restocking the seas. They’ve turned it into a profitable operation, holding out lessons for other countries.
Creative fields lack adequate Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) representation. Merriweather’s idea is to create a union of BIPOC creators to amplify their stories. To help, let us know HERE.
After thousands of votes, the top three “People's Choice” OGA winners are Antonia Ginsberg-Klemmt, Joel Baraka and Arleen Lopez.
The 897-mile oil pipeline is expected to transport crude oil from Uganda to Tanzania and is projected to yield a 60% increase in foreign and domestic investments for both countries during its construction. But both governments and the French and Chinese oil giants behind the project are facing criticism over the potential environmental damage the pipeline could cause. Will the pipeline stay a pipe dream?
Punk meets Islam.The cultural cocktail stems from Michael Muhammad Knight's 2004 novel, The Taqwacores. A disaffected Muslim convert, he paints a world where punk rockers could practice Islam on their terms. Today, his fiction has inspired a new musical tradition.
2. German Reggae
Germany has had a surprising history with reggae since the late 1970s. The trend started as a way for white, middle-class youths to create a counterculture for themselves, but took off to another level after the artist Gentleman began releasing albums in the ‘90s. Check out “Send a Prayer” by Gentleman, “Aufstehn” by Seeed and “Perle der Karibik” by D-Flame.
Join OZY editors and writers today at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET for insights into the week's top news and much more. Write to OZY reporter Joshua Eferighe below so we can pull you into the room, and follow him @Eferighe.
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