Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Happy Wednesday. Game of Thrones was detailed, fantastical, suspenseful, but ultimately, fiction. Now some of its scariest parts might come true, if Russia has its way. Read about the bold and bizarre future of cloning, meet the unlikely Argentine from a family of Holocaust survivors who could be the next Rafael Nadal, gape at a walking fish and let your ears relish revolutionary podcasts. Read to the end for winners of last week’s caption contest.
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor, and Isabelle Lee, Reporter
President Joe Biden committed to getting a police reform bill passed by Congress, the family of George Floyd said after meeting him at the White House on Tuesday, the anniversary of Floyd’s killing by a police officer. But the president might have already lost some trust. Floyd’s sister Bridgett boycotted the meeting with Biden and attended a rally in Minneapolis instead, accusing the president of breaking his vow to get the law enacted faster. (Sources: NYT, NBC, BBC)
2. Wuhan Whodunnit Alive Again?
The U.S. has lent its support to growing calls for a fresh and independent probe into the origins of COVID-19 after reports suggested that workers at a Wuhan coronavirus lab fell sick and went to hospital in November 2019. China has rejected the suggestions that the virus emerged from the lab and a WHO investigation earlier this year was inconclusive. Do you believe the virus leaked from a lab? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, Guardian)
3. Blinken Balm
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken promised to reopen a consulate in Jerusalem to serve as a diplomatic mission to Palestinians on Tuesday, committing fresh aid to Gaza after a short, brutal military conflict between Israel and Hamas. Former President Donald Trump had merged the Jerusalem consulate with the new U.S. embassy in the city, effectively weakening America’s recognition of Palestinian statehood aspirations. But it’s unclear if Israel, which controls Jerusalem, will approve the reopening of the consulate. (Sources: Times of Israel, Reuters)
4. Slippery Slope
There’s nothing clean about this boardroom drama. ExxonMobil will Wednesday try to fend off attempts by activist investors to grab four board seats that could give them greater say in getting the oil giant to drop its climate-unfriendly practices and move toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. (Source: WSJ)
5. Katty Kay
Washington-based veteran BBC presenter and journalist Katty Kay, who also co-hosts the BBC-OZY podcast When Katty Met Carlos, will soon be joining OZY’s leadership team. (Source: Axios)
If you missed them the last time around, the sneakers we can’t get enough of are back — and just in time for spring! These all-season low-tops are OZY’s favorite look for dressing up or down. But don’t wait around — these comfy kicks fly off the shelves.
The French Open qualifiers are on, and the main event starts on the weekend. The competition is almost synonymous with the dominance of Rafael Nadal. Now meet the next generation of unlikely clay court champions.
The 28-year-old Jewish Argentine might never have been bornbut for an accident of history. The coupling between two sets of wagons in a train carrying his Polish great-grandfather to a Nazi concentration camp came undone, allowing him to survive and then sail on a boat all the way from Europe to Argentina. Today Schwartzman, named after soccer legend Diego Maradona, is rising above antisemitic cat calls and an unusually short height — he stands at 5-foot-6 — to emerge as Latin America’s top tennis star.Ranked 10 in the world, the clay court specialistbeat Nadal in straight sets last year at the Italian Open in September. Is the French Open next?
2. Iga Świątek
Thefirst ever Polish singles winner at any Grand Slam is also the youngest female French Open champion since Monica Seles in 1992. And the 19-year-old’s win at Roland Garros last year was no fluke. In 2019, her debut year on the WTA Tour, she was awarded for the single best stroke of the year: aprecise drop shot that left her opponent stranded and the commentator stunned, able only to say “outrageous.”
3. Ons Jabeur
She doesn’t play the odds — in fact, the 26-year-old Tunisian enjoys trying “crazy shots.” Which makes sense since her rise to the leagues of tennis’ elite has meant defying the odds. Africa’s top female player is also the highest-ranked woman ever from the Arab world, making her an icon of two regions that have historically been underrepresented in the sport. Like Nadal, she isn’t shy to show emotion on the court. A decade after she won the juniors at the French Open in 2011, is the World No. 25 ready to conquer the big stage?
Future of Cloning
It’s bold … so bold you might want Jon Snow on your side.
Scientists in December for the first time cloned a black-footed ferret using DNA from a weasel that died three decades earlier. The black-footed ferret is endangered, and the cloning could set the template for a new way to revive dying species. But Harvard scientists want to go further, using DNA to bring a mix between the extinct wooly mammoth and the Asian elephant. It would — literally — be a big deal.
3. Pet Paws
Yet cloning is no more just the stuff of ivory tower laboratories. Private companies in multiple countries, including the U.S., are nowoffering clones of your pet: $35,000 for a cat, $50,000 for a dog and $85,000 for a horse.
Surprising Sea Creatures
You likely didn’t know they existed. You likely won’t be able to stop thinking about them.
Have you ever seen a fish with hands? The red handfish is one of three of the handfish species, and it calls the waters off the coast of Tasmania home. It uses its “hands” or long extended front flippers to walk along the ocean floor. Move over, bear crawl, here comes the handfish swim.
2. Tasseled Wobbegong
It has the coolest name of all the sharks … and its predatory strategy is just as savvy. If you’re in Indonesia's eastern seas, watch out below for this carpet shark that nestles into the sand, waiting for an unlucky fish to swim by. It gets its name from whiskers that resemble coral, helping to lure unsuspecting fish into its clutches.
Meet famed fitness guru and Biggest Loser star Jillian Michaels for lessons on race learned from raising a Haitian daughter, a fascinating conversation on cancel culture and the next big health trend. Watch later today.
Listen. Laugh. Learn.
The wildly popular podcast tackles issues of gender and sexuality in the Arab world that are often taboo in the mainstream media — from drag queens to justice for women in societies where they’re told they’re wrong more often than they’re given rights.
2. Self Evident
What better way to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month than to listen to a podcast dedicated to sharing the rich and varied experiences of Asian Americans? Hosted by Cathy Erway, it’s a loving tribute to a vibrant section of the country that’s currently battling growing hate crimes.
3. The Midnight Miracle
It’s what you get when you combine the genius of Dave Chappelle, Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey. Recorded at the infamous Dave Chapelle Summer Camp of 2020, the podcast is a look at how Chapelle and his friends “process the world around them.” It’s filled with laughter and surprisingly heartfelt moments too.
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