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Happy Friday! Every great thriller depends on a brilliant villain. As you plan your weekend streaming menu, meet the Iranian American who’s one of television’s favorite terrorists. Amid the real-world drama that is Haiti’s current political crisis, read about a food revolution that’s also taking off in the Caribbean nation. Learn why planting trees isn’t always great for the planet, taste a truly bizarre doughnut and don’t miss this week’s caption contest!
“How many thousands more Americans, daughters and sons, are you willing to risk?” President Joe Biden asked critics of his plan to withdraw from Afghanistan, as he moved up the deadline for the completion of the pullout to Aug. 31. Biden committed to providing sanctuary to Afghan interpreters who have worked with American troops. But with the Taliban gaining fresh territory every day, the answer — for Afghanistan at least — is blowing in the wind. (Sources: WaPo, BBC)
2. Haiti Whodunnit
The Caribbean nation has arrested 17 people, including two Americans and 15 Colombians, as it tries to pinpoint the “intellectual authors” of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse early Wednesday. Some of the arrested Colombian nationals are former soldiers. Read on for a deep dive on Haiti later in this newsletter. (Sources: WaPo, NBC)
3. Delta Dose
Pfizer is developing a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine specifically for the dangerous Delta variant first found in India that’s now spread across the world. The mutant strain is behind a dramatic surge in cases in 16 African nations, including most recently Malawi and Senegal, and in Asian nations like Indonesia. The variant could also undermine the recovery of the global economy, a top Fed official has warned. (Sources: NYT, CNBC, Nikkei Asia, FT)
4. Avant-Garde Queen Bee
It’s in her name. Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old from Harvey, Louisiana, on Thursday became the first African American to win the Scripps Spelling Bee in the 90-year history of the contest. She also holds three Guinness records in basketball dribbling. Could Avant-garde inspire a generation of Black American spelling champions? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: Guardian, CNN)
Raise a Tea Toast
South Africa’s rooibos tea has won the European Union’s “protected designation of origin” status, making it the first African food product to gain an intellectual property status akin to that enjoyed by Champagne and other items tied to specific geographies.
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When the actor left Iran in 1985, he had no way of knowing he would find Hollywood fame at the end of his difficult journey. Negahban found theater while in Germany, which sparked his love of acting. While he’s known for his villainous roles in Homeland and Legion, the actor is building an artists’ haven in Los Angeles, hoping to help others from unlikely backgrounds find their way to the silver screen. Watch him on The Carlos Watson Show.
2. Sayed Badreya
He’s been offed by Tony Stark himself, and that’s just the beginning. The Egypt-born Badreya has been directed by some of Hollywood’s elite filmmakers. But the New York University film graduate wants Hollywood to move beyond the Arab terrorist trope. So he’s built his own production company, Zoom in Focus, that’s dedicated to telling other Arab stories where Muslim characters don’t have to be perpetrators or victims of terrorism.
When the son of an Arab Israeli tailor told his family he wanted to be an actor, they were convinced he would never make it in a country that in recent years has turned increasingly hostile toward their community. Today, Suliman is among Israel’s best-known actors, his fame rising with his role as Abu Ahmed, aka The Panther, a top Hamas terrorist, in the hit series Fauda. He also runs a theater in Nazareth, where he lives.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Joel Kinnaman, Swedish American star of The Killing and House of Cards, opens up about his severe struggles with stage fright and panic attacks as a young actor. Get a sneak peek into next month’s new Suicide Squad movie in which he co-stars alongside Margot Robbie, Idris Elba and John Cena.Watch later today.
Sneak Peek Into … Haiti
The stunning assassination of PresidentMoïse has ripped open the Caribbean nation’s barely bandaged crises. But look closely and you’ll find a country that’s in churn in more ways than one.
In the 1990s, the U.S. flooded the country with low-quality food products after pressuring Haiti to lower tariffs — which then-President Bill Clinton eventually apologized for in 2010. Now Haitians are rebuilding their agriculture industry by adopting the slow food movement that focuses on reviving dying food cultures. From traditional artisanal rum to the country’s first fair trade cocoa business, Haiti’s building a new farm future rooted in its traditions. Read more on OZY.
3. Unlikely Gallery
You’d never guess it, but Iowa’s Waterloo Center for the Arts, 2,000 miles away from the tropical Caribbean country, is home to the largest public collection of Haitian art, with 1,800 works. Now all the art is being photographed and digitized for researchers and scholars to study. Read more on OZY.
Science updates its conclusions — remember, Earth was once thought to be flat. Ready to rethink some other assumptions?
Planting trees en masse has become one of the most popular ways to combat climate change and offset carbon emissions. Though beneficial when done properly, the practice is shrouded in bad science. Planting millions of trees requires a lot of land, which can disrupt existing ecosystems, raising temperatures. Often, nonnative or even invasive trees are planted, exacerbating fire risks and demand for water.
Research shows that opioids might not actually be superior to non-opioid medication for treating chronic lower back pain. Will this discovery turn the tide for a nation plagued with opioid addiction and abuse?
Bizarre Caviar Concoctions
Caviar is a delicacy. That doesn’t mean it’s always used as one. Want to experiment? You’re most welcome.
Joining the list of food spots hopping on the “everything” seasoning trend, New York City’s Flex Mussels seafood restaurant is flexing its culinary muscles by topping its Everything Doughnuts with caviar. “I love experimenting with caviar because it can elevate any food,” says restaurant owner Alex Shapiro.
2. Caviar and White Chocolate
This peculiar pairing may make you question the sanity of whoever was its pioneer. But the fishy-sweet snack has science on its side. Following the “food pairing” hypothesis, caviar and white chocolate share some of the same chemical compounds, which explains why the two taste surprisingly good together.
This ancient Aztec dish is a must-try for bolder foodies. Though known as “Mexican caviar,” it isn’t fish eggs that you’ll be munching on. Instead, escamol is the larvae and pupae of ants. Known for its nutty, buttery flavor, escamol can only be found for about 10-12 weeks of the year, which has made it a delicacy for centuries.
Send us your smartest caption for the above image and we’ll pick three winners.
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