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Good morning! Long before COVID-19, I had lost most of my sense of smell. Which is good when I’m in a fish market — but not as good as some folks have it around unpleasant odors, it turns out. Today you’ll decode the latest stunning science of smells, meet the spy-turned-lobbyist who helps bloodthirsty regimes whitewash their image, unravel why Russia is offering tax breaks to mothers and taste the little-known mango that royals (and I) love.
The FDA has approved its first drug for Alzheimer’s in almost two decades, overriding criticism over the effectiveness of the treatment developed by pharma firm Biogen. The drug slows down memory loss in patients. (Sources: WSJ, CNBC)
2. ‘Do Not Come’
Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a direct and blunt message to Guatemalans looking to come to the U.S. illegally on a trip to the Central American nation. Though she promised American aid, she made it clear that Washington was discouraging migration. Do you agree with the Biden administration’s migration policy? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, NBC)
3. Terror Chief ‘Dead’
If true,that’s good news.The bad news? Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau reportedly died during a clash with rival terrorist group Islamic State of West Africa Province that’s competing to capture the terror market in Nigeria and the Sahel. ISWAP has released a recording claiming that Shekau killed himself after being cornered. Neither Boko Haram nor Nigeria’s government has confirmed or denied the ISWAP assertion. (Sources: BBC, Reuters)
4. Ransom Retrieved
American investigators digitally pickpocketed the hackers who attacked the Colonial Pipeline system, retrieving $2.3 million of the ransom the cyber criminals had secured from the energy distribution company. (Sources: NYT, CNN)
5. Space Oddity
For 11 minutes on July 20, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos won’t be the richest man on earth. That’s because he won’t be on Earth, but will instead be rocketing around in outer space with his brother Mark onboard a spacecraft built by his firm Blue Origin. (Source: CNN)
The Vatican’s stamp of approval isn’t enough. An Italian street artist is suing the Vatican after she discovered the institution had reprinted her graffiti on a postage stamp without her approval. “I honestly thought it was a joke,” Alessia Babrow said. It wasn’t.
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When the West imposed sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime after its February coup, the junta knew whom to dial. For a $2 million purse, the69-year-old Menashe is now leading efforts to get those sanctions reversed in the United States. It’s hardly the first such assignment for theIran-born lobbyist, who once worked for Israel’s military intelligence. His clients have included Zimbabwe’s former authoritarian President Robert Mugabe, Libya’s rebel leader Khalifa Haftar and the“butcher of Darfur” Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is now the deputy leader of Sudan. But he’s also on the speed dial of top editors: He helped AP and the BBC secure the release of journalists arrested after the coup in Myanmar.
2. Princess Reema bint Bandar
She doesn’t run a lobbying firm — she’s Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador to Washington. Yet of all of the House of Saud’s lobbyists, the princess, who has lived in the U.S. for 22 years, is arguably the most influential. Amid strained relations with Washington over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the princess is instead focused on cultivating American state and local officials and businesses. She’s projecting herself as the face of a changing Saudi Arabia, where women are winning rights and prominence. The truth is more complex. But then, lobbying is rarely about the truth.
3. Robert Stryk
You could call him Venezuela’s Menashe. As the country’s embattled and authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro tries to yank his nation out of a devastating economic crisis, he has turned to Washington-based Stryk to fight U.S. sanctions that are crippling Venezuela. Like Menashe, Stryk is no stranger to tainted regimes. Sonoran Policy Group, his lobbying firm, has represented Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola’s Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, who is accused of robbing her country’s oil treasury to build her personal fortune.
No Kidding: Fixes for an Aging Population
Last week, China announced that it would allow couples — previously allowed to have only two kids — to have three children. But Beijing isn’t alone in dealing with aging. Check out how other nations are adapting.
Want bigger tax breaks? Have more kids. Don’t worry — the government will subsidise their welfare benefits and pay for their school lunches for four years. That’s not all. Since last year, Russia has also started paying cold cash to all new mothers. It previously paid money only to mothers with two or more children. The steps are a part of efforts to boost the country’s fertility rate, which is below the European Union average.
The country is hungry for more kids. Since early 2019, it has introduced loans for women under the age of 40 who get married, which they don’t need to pay back if they have three or more children. Bigger families get mortgage assistance and cash subsidies, and mothers with four children are completely exempt from income tax.
Hold your breath … there’s some stunning science of smells coming your way.
1. Nothing Fishy About It
You’re smelling stinking fish. Your friend’s savoring the pleasant aroma of roses. What’s going on? It turns out your friend has a superpower: Agenetic mutation that gives a tiny fraction of the human populationimmunity from the odor of fish, scientists in Iceland have found.
2. Smell Savior?
Wild elephants in the African savannah follow the scent of dung and urine left by others of their species, scientists have found through research in Botswana, which suggests it’s possible for researchers to build a database of such odors. That could thenallow conservationists to create artificial trails to lead elephants away from human settlements, minimizing the risk of future conflict.
When you’re as blessed with riches as India is with mango varieties, it’s easy for gems to stay hidden. So it is withImam Pasand. I had never heard of it until a few years ago. Now, like the royalty that is believed to have loved it, it’s my favorite too, with its buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a sweetness that’s just right.
Sweet and rich, this Egyptian mango isideal for export. With a longer shelf life than many other varieties, you can buy it in bulk and binge for days at a stretch.
It looks like a kidney. It’s aliases? Honey mango and champagne mango. But it’s thisMexican mango’s creamy texture that makes it perfect for shakes, smoothies or mango lassi. That’s if you can get past the temptation to just eat it as is.
What’s the tastiest mango variety you've tried — and where?
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