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Happy Friday! If you’re dreaming of chilled wine this hot summer weekend, how about something new? Take a sip of Ethiopian chardonnay and visit the unlikely countries that could emerge as the world’s next wine capitals. Meet the Puerto Rican curator who’s reimagining Latin America’s art museums, learn from Sierra Leone how to tax the wealthy without taxing their wealth (directly) and check out the world’s most stunning Olympic stadiums. Don’t forget this week’s caption contest!
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor, and Nick Fouriezos, Contributor
The Supreme Court has upheld controversial Arizona voting restrictions, dismissing concerns that they violate the Civil Rights Act. The restrictions allow officials to reject ballots cast in the wrong precinct or collected by third parties — barriers that Democrats say disproportionately affect Black and Native American voters. Does America need a federal voting rights law? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, ABC)
2. Tax Triumph
President Joe Biden’s pitch for a global minimum corporate tax has won the support of 130 countries, including the G-7 and other big economies like China and India, though nations with low tax rates like Hungary and Ireland continue to hold out. Under the deal, all countries would impose at least a 15% tax on companies to disincentivize the flow of capital to tax havens. (Sources: CBS, WSJ)
3. Branson-Bezos Bragging Battle
It’s the ultimate ego trip … to space. British billionaire Richard Branson has moved his takeoff aboard a Virgin Galactic spaceship to nine days before the date Jeff Bezos had set for his Blue Origin launch. (Sources: CNN, CNBC)
4. Death Row Pause
The Biden administration has reinstated a two-decade pause on federal executions that was lifted under former President Donald Trump. Between July 2020 and January 2021, 13 people on federal death row were executed. (Sources: NBC, NPR)
5. COVID Corruption
You can’t inoculate against greed. Taiwan is probing a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer over suspicions of insider trading. The investigation threatens to hurt President Tsai Ing-wen politically. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters are expected to hit the streets of Brazil on Saturday to seek the resignation of President Jair Bolsonaro over corruption allegations relating to the import of Indian vaccines. (Sources: FT, Guardian)
Bark Worse Than Bite
Sorry, but if that’s the case, they’re going to paw-n you off to a civilian, Fido. A Chinese police academy is auctioning away dogs that it concluded were too “cowardly” or had “weak retrieving abilities.” That’s ruff.
Ballet, books and animals excited her as a child, but they always had to compete with a fourth love that’s today at the center of Hockley’s career: museums. The Zimbabwe-borndaughter of a U.N. employee is reshaping New York’s rich museum landscape as curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art, after roles at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Brooklyn Museum. Identity, protest, race and gender aredominant themes that define Hockley’s work. Growing up, her parents instilled in her the belief that she was at home wherever in the world she was — and there’s no doubt she belongs in the world of curation.
2. Marina Reyes Franco
She thought she wanted to pursue international relations, but the idea of working for America’s diplomatic corps was depressing for the firebrand Puerto Rican, who sees her homeland as a U.S. colony. So she relocated to Argentina, where she founded Buenos Aires’ first contemporary art museum. Now the daughter of a poet is bringing that cutting-edge experience to Puerto Rico’s art scene, where she has joinedSan Juan’s museum of contemporary art.
Lily Rabe joins Carlos to talk about working with George Clooney and how her mother introduced her to her current partner, Hamish Linklater. Stay tuned for a one-of-a-kind look at LA’s most iconic comedy establishment, The Comedy Store. Watch now.
Revenue to Rebuild
President Biden is pitching a wealth tax on the richest Americans. Check out the other interesting ways countries are looking to earn rapid revenue to rebuild out of the pandemic.
1. Fivefold for Freetown
Residents of the Sierra Leone capital received new property tax bills last year, part of a multiyear plan for a more progressive system that would place a higher burden on the rich with promises to quintuple city tax revenue without increasing levies on income. The new scheme uses satellite imagery to measure properties and on-ground assessors to determine property quality.
2. Caribbean Cut
Sometimes the way to earn more revenue is by cutting the obvious tax. The Caribbean paradises of Antigua, Barbados and Bermuda have all launched one-year digital nomad visas in the past few months — offering tax incentives to those who come. They’re taking this route to rebuild their tourism-dependent economies that have been hit by the pandemic. Read more on OZY.
3. Want $500 Billion?
Forget a rising tide: Let’s give the boats a paddle and start rowing already. Some tax policy experts are proposing a financial transaction tax on Wall Street trading that could raise $500 billion over a decade, mostly paid by high earners.
New Wine Countries
Your next great chardonnay could come from unexpected places.
The grape varieties are French, butwine giant Castel has started making some of its famed beverages inEthiopia. The country hastwo major wineries and produces 11 million bottles a year. Its secret advantage? The East African nation's proximity to the equator means it has two harvesting seasons!
For the most part, climate change is destructive. But in Scandinavia, it is also leading to longer, drier summers. The result? Danish farmers have started cultivating grapes and producing wine, a product otherwise associated with the warm Mediterranean.Read more on OZY.
If you love wine, you’ve likely sipped on Chilean cabernet sauvignon. But South America’s big brother is quietly rising in the world of sparkling wines. So much so that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy once complimented Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on his choice of Champagne, without realizing they were sipping on sparkling wine from southern Brazil.
Great Olympic Stadiums
As we get closer to the Tokyo Olympics, check out some of the great arenas from the past.
It’s the venue where Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in the famous Black Power salute of the 1968 Games. But by then the stadium’s place in history had already been secured. It was acanvas for some of legendary artist Diego Rivera’s most ambitious work — a giant mural that would tell the story of Mexican sports from pre-Columbian to modern times — that remained incomplete when he died. Look at it and marvel at what might have been.
2. Olympiastadion, Munich
The Olympic complex is a sobering place to visit, a reminder of the tragic killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Games. But it’s also anarchitectural marvel, a massive series of parks and gardens where you’ll find locals and tourists picnicking, cycling, walking or just chatting. The main stadium itself has a roof designed like the nearby Alps, with peaks and troughs.
3. Water Cube, Beijing
You could call it Michael Phelps’ second home. But the aquatics venue of the 2008 Olympics, where Phelps won a record eight gold medals, is also a stunner in itself. Sea blue, it's actually acuboid that looks like it’s filled with soap bubbles and it glows at night. It’s made of material that weighs just 1% of the weight of glass and is designed in a way that it recycles 80% of the water it uses. Beijingers talk with deep pride about the venue. And justifiably so.
Send us your wittiest caption to the above image. We’ll pick three winners.
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