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Happy Monday! Let me start with an embarrassing secret. Though I come from India, yoga never excited me … until recently. Today, on International Yoga Day, check out unlikely YouTube channels that make millions — including me — contort their bodies in ways they never thought possible. Meet the Mexican antitrust boss who’s taking on both her president and top soccer clubs. Figure out where democracy might be tested next and learn about the world’s riskiest pride marches.
Million dollar lotteries. Cars. Doughnuts. Nothing’s working. America’s COVID-19 vaccination rate continues to drop, sparking concerns over a divide between those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t, as the dangerous Delta variant from India spreads. Meanwhile, a fully vaccinated Ugandan became the first athlete headed to the Tokyo Olympics to test positive, raising fresh questions about Japan’s plans to go ahead with the games. (Sources: Guardian, Politico, BBC)
2. Berlin Blues on Cold War
Armin Laschet, the leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union and the front-runner to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel in September, has warned Western allies against pursuing a Cold War against China. He’s advocating for cooperation instead. China was a key focus of President Joe Biden’s recent meetings with NATO leaders, including Merkel. (Source: FT)
3. Trans Triumph
Laurel Hubbard, a 43-year-old New Zealand weightlifter, is the first openly transgender athlete to be selected for the Olympics, after she was named to New Zealand’s squad on Monday. It’s a decision with weighty consequences. Read more about Hubbard and the other athletes poised for breakout performances in Tokyo on OZY. Are you comfortable with trans athletes playing elite sports? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: Reuters, NBC)
4. Luxury’s Big Bet: Brazil
The country has now lost 500,000 people to COVID-19. But it’s also emerging as an unlikely boom story for global luxury giants — from Hugo Boss to Balenciaga — amid the pandemic. Unable to travel much, its wealthy are splurging locally on high fashion. (Sources: Vogue, AP)
Millions of spiders in flood-hit Australia spun billowing sheets of webs covering hundreds of feet in order to climb to higher ground. It’s a survival tactic, scientists say. We’re calling them webs of wonder.
Hydration isn’t just about drinking water; it’s about water PLUS electrolytes. When we sweat, we lose water and sodium, so we need to replace both to prevent muscle cramps, headaches and energy dips. But drinking just plain H2O can dilute electrolyte levels. With LMNT, you get a flavorful electrolyte mixed into your water without the sugar or artificial junk found in many so-called sports drinks. Just electrolytes and great taste.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled Germany and led Europe for more than half of her country’s post-reunification lifetime. On Sept. 26, Germans will vote for their next government, with Merkel stepping aside. It’s a contest between a coalition led by Merkel’s party on one side and the Greens led by the youthful Annalena Baerbock on the other. Whoever wins will have some of modern history’s biggest boots to fill. Read more on OZY.
President Daniel Ortega is taking no chances. The 75-year-old is seeking a fourth term in a November election and his government has jailed at least four opposition candidates in just the past two weeks. The Biden administration in the U.S. has described Ortega as a “dictator.” But it’s unclear what the international community can do to break his grip over the nation. Ortega has, for the most part, outlasted American pressure since the time of President Ronald Reagan. Will he change now?
Daring Pride Marches
Cities across the world are celebrating with pride parades this month. But for some, it involves grave risks.
When South Korea witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases linked to clubs popular with the country’s LGBTQ community last summer, it also saw aspike in homophobic speech. That wouldn't have surprised Koreans. Every year, Seoul witnesses a culture clash play out on its streets when LGBTQ activists organize pride parades only for the police and conservative Koreans to try to derail their efforts. Read more on OZY.
2. Entebbe, Uganda
If holding pride marches in South Korea is dangerous, doing so in Uganda means risking your very life. In2016, police blocked the annual pride parade in Entebbe and the following year organizers had tocall it off after a government minister threatened them with arrests and violence. With Ugandapassing a harsh new law in April criminalizing same-sex relationships, hoisting the rainbow flag in public will be even riskier.
It might sound silly for an Indian to learn yoga from an American, yet there’s simply no better YouTube yogi thanTexas-based Adriene Mishler. I’ve been practicing with her for five years now. Her secret sauce, for me at least, is Benji, her scraggly dog who goes into sleep pose when Mishler’s busy in a warrior asana.
2. Shilpa Yoga
Shilpa Shetty was once among Bollywood’s top actresses. Today she’s the biggest face of YouTube yoga in India. She offers specific lessons for conditions like spondylitis or constipation. And years after she moved on from the silver screen, her fashion sense remains intact.
3. Cosmic Kids Yoga
But why wait until you have aches and pains to start yoga? There’s no more fun way to get children started on yoga than through this brilliantchannel that marries animation and fairy tales with asanas. You can do yoga with mermaids, pirates and dinosaurs ... or yoga-act out Beauty and the Beast.
If you missed them the last time around, the sneakers we can’t get enough of are back — the perfect transitional sneaker as summer rolls around! 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 and won’t be here for long.