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Happy Monday! With buntings and barbeques, yesterday’s July Fourth celebrations across America were the closest the nation has seen to normalcy in more than a year. But the COVID-19 threat hasn’t vanished. Check out surprising vaccination incentives that could help America get over the line, meet the Israeli Arab legislator who wields a Joe Manchin-like veto in the Knesset, figure out why Latin America is a hotbed for insurance innovations and plan walks along some stunning promenades.
Toyloy Brown III, Reporter, and Nick Fouriezos, Contributor
President Joe Biden struck a triumphant tone over the July Fourth weekend, asserting that the U.S. was largely out of the COVID-19 woods. And across the pond, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the lifting of restrictions from July 19. But with deadly variants like the Delta mutation increasingly rampant and countries like Indonesia and South Africa struggling, is the White House celebrating too soon? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, FT, Reuters, Guardian)
2. Didi Doomed?
China has banned fresh downloads of ridesharing giant Didi Chuxing’s app days after the company’s blockbuster IPO launch on the New York Stock Exchange, signaling the latest crackdown by Beijing on Chinese Big Tech. Regulators have accused Didi of compromising the privacy of user data. (Sources: WSJ, CNBC)
3. Hungry Hackers
They weren’t satiated by the $11 million they extracted from meat giant JBS earlier this year. Now Russia-based cyber crooks REvil have asked for $70 million in ransom after infecting the systems of thousands of companies across 17 nations. (Sources: AP, Bloomberg)
4. Storm Without the Calm
Officials have pulled down the remainder of the Miami condo that had collapsed in June, killing 24 people and leaving 121 missing, worried that the building might not have been able to survive the approaching Tropical Storm Elsa. Cuba has evacuated 180,000 people because of the storm. (Sources: CNN, NYT, Al Jazeera)
The Last Straw
You’ve tried holding your breath, drinking water ... you’ve even had someone startle you. Nothing works, and you’re still hiccuping. Scientists now say what you really need is a rigid L-shaped straw with a pressure valve to sip water through and get over your hiccups.
We all have busy schedules, which makes it hard to create healthy habits that stick. Noom’s behavior change innovation leverages psychology and science to help people live the healthy, fulfilling lifestyle they deserve. Noom focuses on you, your brain, and why you make the decisions you do, so it’s not a temporary fix but a new way of life. Noom will be there every step of the way, with a personal goal specialist to keep you accountable and group chat support whenever you need it.
With a stroke of a pen, the Palestinian dentist ended the famously hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu’s 15-year stint as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. In June, the 47-year-old son of Arab chickpea farmers signed an unlikely agreement with two Zionist groups to form Israel’s controversial new governing coalition. Far-right critics call him a “terror supporter” and many fellow Palestinians believe he’s sold out their cause. But Abbas also secured concessions, including doubled economic investment in Israel’s Arab community and a promise not to pass pro-LGBTQ legislation in the next year. If his unlikely new partners renege on their commitments, he holds the decisive votes in parliament to do to them what he did to Netanyahu.
From Roman nightclub bartender to fanfared political trailblazer, Meloni would have an AOC-like narrative if the voters she’s inspiring weren’t Italy’s post-fascist Christian right. The League, led by her rival Matteo Salvini, is still Italy’s biggest conservative party. But unlike Salvini, Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party has stayed outside the unity government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi. That opposition perch has helped Meloni’s party close the popularity gap with the League. Could her shadow scare Salvini into quitting the Draghi government? And could she lead a future right-wing coalition — as Italy’s first female prime minister?
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Carlos sits down with two of YouTube’s most successful content creators, Rhett & Link. Hear them talk about their friendship of over 35 years and share tips on what helped them stand out. Watch later today.
Future of Insurance
In a world where we seem to run from one crisis to another, what’s the future of a sector that’s supposed to be the vaccine that protects our money?
1. Running to the Fire
Those in the insurance industry have repeatedly listed climate change as a top risk to their bottom line — which is why many insurers are pulling out of hot spots like California’s wildfire regions and Florida’s hurricane flood zones. But more adventurous startups are seeing opportunity. The Chicago-based insurtech company Kin expanded its offices and coverage plans to at-risk states in recent years, while others such as FloodFlash and Universal Property and Casualty have shored up their offerings to address a warming world. Read more on OZY.
2. Back to the Sandbox
Innovations are risky — yet also vital. Latin America is leading the way in creating regulatory “sandboxes” that allow insurtech startups to experiment free from restrictions that can often snuff out innovation. Brazil and Colombia are at the forefront of this shift.
3. Next Frontier
Nipping at Latin America’s heels is Africa, the second-fastest-growing insurance market in the world. Pre-pandemic estimates expected the continent’s insurance industry to grow by 7% annually between 2020 and 2025, and although COVID-19 is expected to slow down discretionary spending on insurance, experts say that blip will be temporary.
Overcoming Vax Hesitancy: What's Worked Before
From lotteries to luxury apartments, governments and others around the world are offering a range of allurements to get people to take their COVID-19 shots. But just how well do such incentives really work? The past holds the answer.
How do you get those who gamble on their health to practice safe sex? The answer: a lottery. In the southern African country of Lesotho, the World Bank sponsored a 2010 lottery that handed winners up to $100 if they tested negative for sexually transmitted infections. After two years, researchers found a 21.4% reduction in HIV incidence in the study’s participants. “The lottery program really made the risk-loving people behave like risk-averse people,” said economist Martina Björkman Nyqvist, a co-author of the study.
2. Get People Invested
As America battled polio in the mid-20th century, one charitable organization helped turn the corner. Volunteers with the March of Dimes — originally launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, himself a polio patient — went door-to-door providing important information and seeking donations as little as a dime. Coupled with campaigns featuring high-profile advocates such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong, this helped build universal buy-in for the polio vaccine from Americans.
3. Tax Rebates
Under Australia’s “no jab, no pay” plan, low-income families receive additional tax rebates if their children remain up-to-date with the necessary vaccinations. Since the policy started in January 2016, more than 210,000 families have made efforts to meet those requirements, according to Australia’s Department of Social Services.
There’s something magical about a walk along the waterfront. And it doesn’t get better than these perfect promenades.
La Corniche in Casablanca is perfect for a jog or walk along the beach. You’re at the northwest tip of Africa, the vast Atlantic beside you. And you get a great view of the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest Islamic shrines in the world.
2. Shanghai, China
After a day spent in the hustle and bustle of China’s commercial capital, take a cab to the Riverside Promenade and enjoy a soothing side to the city. Sit by the fountain square at the center of the promenade and soak in the evening breeze.
3. Paprocany, Poland
Who doesn’t love lazing in a hammock? But what if you’re hanging over water? That’s what you can do along the boardwalk next to Poland’s Paprocany Lake, where hammocks stretched over the water let you feel like you’re on a yacht when you’re actually on the shore.
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