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Good morning! I’ve been thinking of buying an iPhone later this year, but it looks like I might struggle to find one. Join me today on a deep dive into the global chip crisis and how that could hurt your wallet. Meet Nigeria’s Mercedez-loving Melinda Gates, read about some of the world’s deadliest hit squads from the safety of this newsletter and start planning for your beach vacation with the latest in bikini fashion.
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor
News in a Minute
1. NATO’s New Target: China
The trans-Atlantic alliance formed during the Cold War to counter the Soviet Union and its partners has for the first time sharply identified China as a security threat, signaling a shift that could fundamentally impact the West’s relations with the world’s second-largest economy. Beijing hit back at NATO, saying it won’t “sit back” if challenged by the alliance. (Sources: NYT, Bloomberg)
2. Hollow Holocaust Apology?
Controversial Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene apologized for comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust, but is sticking by her description of the Democratic Party as modern Nazis. Her apology came ahead of a planned move by Democrats to censure her in the House of Representatives. Do you find Greene’s apology sincere or should she be penalized? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, CNBC)
3. Too Little, Too Late
The G-7’s promise to share 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, while a welcome step, won’t be nearly enough to combat the pandemic, the WHO and public health experts are saying. Large parts of Africa remain vaccine deserts and some countries, like Uganda, are already almost out of doses and oxygen amid a fresh wave of the virus. The good news? British researchers have concluded that the current set of vaccines is effective against the deadly Delta variant, first identified in India. (Sources: France 24, Guardian, WSJ)
4. Finally Fit to Fly
The U.S. and the European Union are close to a deal that would resolve their 17-year-long spat rooted in a trade dispute involving their jet giants Boeing and Airbus. Any settlement could eliminate the threat of hefty tariffs. (Source: FT)
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Bill and Melinda Gates — when they were together and now when they’re not — are the world’s biggest philanthropists. Meet some other billionaires who are just as charitable, though you might not have heard of them.
A scary shortage of semiconductor chips is threatening the global economy and might not be fixed until 2023. What’s behind this crisis and how does it affect you?
1. Cars, Phones and Gaming Consoles
It’s called thebullwhip effect — when companies fail to account for sudden surges in demand that ripple along the supply chain. That’s what happened during the pandemic. With work, schooling and entertainment all happening on personal devices at home, the demand for smartphones, gaming consoles and modems spiked. All of these devices need semiconductor chips. Adramatic rise in demand for cars — which also use chips — followed.
A lot more. A General MotorsSUV will cost you 20% more than last year, while the price of Ford cars increased $1,900 more than the industry average in 2019. Big companies are bleeding too.Apple could take a $4 billion hit in Q3 this year because it simply cannot produce enough iPhones and Macs to meet the demand for those devices.
Dangerous Hit Squads
You want to know about them. You don’t want them to know about you.
1. Los Ántrax
You don’t cross swords with Mexico’s deadly Sinaloa cartel, which was previously led by El Chapo. If you do, death will come to you, courtesy ofLos Ántrax, the cartel’s brutal death squad that’s notorious for hunting down rivals, moles and anyone else viewed as a danger. The squad’s own ex-leaders often die mysteriously once they’ve beenoutedorarrested.
2. Recce Squad
This elite Kenyan commando force was originally set up in the 1960s with help from the British to protect then-President Jomo Kenyatta. Today it’s a feared extrajudicial unit accused by critics and human rights activists of political assassinations. Case in point: a series of radical Muslim clerics who weren’t convicted by the courts but were found dead soon after.
Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, stood no chance. A remote-controlled machine gun peppered his car in Tehran in broad daylight last November. The operation was over in three minutes. It was just the latest in a series of stunningly bold assassinations that experts believe is the work of Kidon, the Mossad’s clinical kill unit whose Hebrew name translates as “tip of the spear.” David Barnea, the incoming chief of Israel’s spy agency, has already made clear that the country will continue to plot assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. Kidon won’t be kidding around.
Depending on where you hit the beach this summer, here’s the fashion code you should expect.
1. Upside-Down Bikini
Kendall Jenner kicked off the trend. Now it’sthe flavor of the season. Designed in a way that the top looks like it’s been worn the wrong way around, the upside-down bikini allows you toflaunt more than you cover. Originally created by an Australian swimwear brand, it’s now the bikini of 2021, so you know what to expect when you head to the beach.
But it’s not all about going itsy-bitsy. As culture wars over gender play out in Egypt, more and more women are adopting a form of the burkini that’s extra long and comes with a burqa. There’s no evidence it's dangerous. And while some have criticized the new swimwear as capitulating to male prejudice, others point out that in a conservative society like Egypt, the extra long burkini at least allows women to hit the beaches.Read more on OZY.
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