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Good morning!!! It’s impossible not to move to the rhythm of Eddy Grant’s “Gimme Hope Jo’Anna.” It is possible to do so without knowing what the song’s really about. Start your day by humming popular tunes … that were banned. But first, meet an Egyptian ship commander who’s shattering gender stereotypes in a male-dominated profession, learn about Costa Rica’s pagan revolution and read about a mythical serpent that swims between New York and Vermont.
Isabelle Lee, Reporter, and Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor
It’s the thumbs-up the social media giant has been desperate for. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint that Facebook is a monopoly and also dismissed a case brought by 48 states against the firm, handing it a major win that could impact broader efforts to rein in Big Tech. Should the federal government appeal the verdict? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, CNBC)
2. Tigray Takeover
Rebels have grabbed hold of Mekelle, the capital city of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, sparking an exodus of officials aligned with the federal government. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration announced an immediate ceasefire. Abiy, a Nobel laureate, has drawn global condemnation after his forces launched a brutal war over Tigray last November. (Sources: Guardian, The East African/AFP)
3. Rubble Riddle
As rescue workers search for the more than 150 people still missing after the collapse of a condo north of Miami Beach last week, engineers and investigators are also hunting for clues in the rubble that could explain why the building crumbled. The death toll has reached 11. (Sources: CNN, ABC)
4. Weed Win
Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that the country should legalize the recreational use of marijuana, bolstering efforts to get Congress to approve a bill that would make cannabis consumption lawful. (Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC)
5. Heat Is On
America’s Pacific Northwest, from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, is experiencing record temperatures for the third day in a row as a blistering heat wave singes the region, while Lytton, British Columbia, recorded Canada’s highest-ever temperature: 116 degrees Fahrenheit. (Source: WaPo)
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When the Suez Canal was blocked by the Ever Given container ship earlier this year, online trolls were quick to blame Elselehdar, Egypt’s first female sea captain. She was actually miles away, in Alexandria, aboard another vessel. It wasn’t her first experience with sexism — and it won’t hold her back. She was the only woman in a class of 1,200 men at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport. Her classmates may have struggled with the idea of a female captain, but Elselehdar was clear about her dream: She had to get special permission to attend the academy from former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
3. Valeria Sorrentini
Uruguay has one of Latin America’s oldest naval fleets. But it’s reinventing its officer cadre — and no one epitomizes that shift more than Sorrentini, the country’s first female captain. After graduating at the top of her naval school class, she became the captain of the minesweeper Audaz in 2020. Sorrentini is part of a broader change in Latin America, with women now holding senior naval positions in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
L.A. Week: ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Our touchdown episode features Rams head coach Sean McVay, who was the youngest head coach in the NFL and within two seasons led the Rams to a Super Bowl. He sheds light on the mentors and mentality behind his success and his plans with Matthew Stafford at quarterback. Don’t miss an exclusive tour of the new SoFi Stadium! Watch now.
Sneak Peek Into ... Costa Rica
It’s a global leader in sustainable living and routinely ranks among Latin America’s most democratic societies. Travel to a nation that’s showing how small can be big.
1. Kindred Irminsul
The Catholic-majority Central American nation is emerging as the unlikely hub of a growing pagan movement. Animism is a centuries-old tradition that colonial and post-colonial Costa Rica has suppressed. Now, a group called Kindred Irminsul is pushing the pagan religious practices into mainstream consciousness. Read more on OZY.
2. Going Green
Just half a century ago, Costa Rica’s biodiversity rates were some of the lowest in the world. Now it’s famous for its lush, green forests filled with wildlife. The secret of the transformation? Agroforestry: growing forests and crops together instead of pitting them against each other. Read more on OZY.
3. Free Rein
What could be better than a gorgeous green mountainside filled with hundreds of adorable dogs? There are shelters and rescues for strays, but none like the Territorio de Zaguate, where dogs get to run free in nature, safe from risks. The shelter also comes up with its own goofy names for the mutts that they house. Ever seen a “freckled terrierhuaua”? This could be your chance.
Cryptids to Know
Some stories are so fascinating that you don’t let facts get in the way.
So you’ve heard of the Loch Ness monster, but did you know that Lake Champlain has its own Nessie? Champ calls the largest lake in the Adirondacks home, and he probably spends his time bopping from Vermont to New York and back. While the giant serpent started as an Abenaki legend, Vermont passed a resolution in 1982 protecting Champ, just in case he really is real.
Moths aren’t scary. But a half-moth, half-man creature? In 1966, gravediggers near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, claimed they spotted a man with moth wings in the trees above them. Later, a creature with 10-foot wings and red, glowing eyes chased some couples, and thus the legend of Mothman was born.
Bigfoot has a cousin, and he lives in China. The creature reportedly calls the mountains of China’s central Hubei province his home. He’s covered in red fur and boasts an impressive height of 6 feet, 5 inches (though if he has a dating profile, he probably lists his height as 6-foot-7). Whether he’s real or not, he’s proving to be a real asset to the Shennongjia forest, drawing impressive numbers of tourists every year hoping to get a glimpse of a yeti.
Banned Classic Songs
We all feel rebellious at times. But we’ll bet you didn’t know that some of the most popular songs you’ve hummed have been banned in different parts of the world.
TheHeart love ballad is about a woman who picks up a hitchhiker and seduces him so that she can become pregnant. It turns out the band didn’t love the song much, even though it became one of their signature hits. Catholic Ireland liked the theme even less, so the song was banned there.
2. “Gimme Hope Jo’Anna”
“She’s got a system they call apartheid; it keeps a brother in subjection. But maybe pressure will make Jo’anna see; how everybody could live as one.” Guyanese-English singer Eddy Grant’speppy ode to Johannesburg (Jo’Anna) is a powerful yet uplifting anti-apartheid anthem you can move to. Little surprise then that it wasbanned by the white supremacist regime that ruled South Africa until 1994.
3. “Walk On”
TheU2 song is a tribute to Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, written in the years she was under house arrest but even more poignant now that she’s once again denied her freedom by the junta that grabbed power through a coup in February. Myanmar’s militarybanned All That You Can't Leave Behind, the album that includes the song, when it came out in 2000.
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