Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Good morning! If you’re a fan of The Crown, you would remember the green gardens of Buckingham Palace depicted in the Netflix show. Now for the first time you can picnic on them. Today, check out some of the world’s greatest royal gardens after joining a pioneering Tanzanian female miner in her search for gold. Meet the next Aretha Franklin (she’s from Cuba!), learn about sharks and their cool sixth sense and read to the end for winners of last week’s caption contest!
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor, and Sohini Das Gupta, Reporter
President Joe Biden asked Republicans trying to enact voter restriction laws across the country if they had “no shame.” But with no clear path toward the passage of federal legislation guarding against such changes, some within the Democratic Party are questioning his silence on the filibuster, which allows the Senate GOP to block voting rights laws. (Sources: NYT, Guardian)
2. $3.5T Budget
Senate Democrats have agreed on a mammoth $3.5 trillion spending plan for the next decade that will focus on climate change, health care, education and social security programs. They’re hoping to use the party’s slender majorities on Capitol Hill to secure funding. (Sources: AP, WaPo)
3. Spy Vs. Spy
South Africa’s intelligence agencies are probing whether former agents loyal to ex-President Jacob Zuma are helping orchestrate the large-scale violence that has killed more than 70 people across the nation since Zuma’s arrest last week. (Sources: FT, Al Jazeera)
4. COVID Cocktails
You shouldn’t mix drinks. You shouldn’t mix COVID-19 vaccines either. The WHO has warned against the practice, insisting that there’s no evidence yet that it works in effectively building immunity against the virus. But Thailand, which is offering citizens one jab of China’s Sinovac vaccine followed by an AstraZeneca shot, has defended its approach. (Sources: Reuters, France24)
5. The Next Babe Ruth?
Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani became the first player to start as both a pitcher and a hitter in the nearly nine-decade history of the All Star Game yesterday. Could Ohtani be as good as Babe Ruth? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: Japan Times, WSJ)
A treasure hunter has found a pile of medieval French silver coins buried in a Polish cornfield, sparking a search for answers to the unlikely discovery. One possibility? The coins were left there by Vikings who had attacked Paris in 845 AD.
No time for food prep? Leave it to the pros at Factor and get fresh, chef-made meals on the table in 2 minutes flat. With 23 dietitian-approved meals and delivery to your door every week, Factor makes it easy to maintain a keto, paleo or plant-based lifestyle. Eating healthy never gets old when it tastes this good.
Growing up, she was fed the superstition that women brought bad luck if they went into mines. Today Samwel is among Tanzania’s first female gold mine owners, breaking a ceiling that for generations barred women from holding leadership positions in East Africa’s massive mining industry. Samwel, in her early 50s, is part of a broader shift across the region, as women — empowered by local and global initiatives — take charge of gold mines across Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.Read more on OZY.
2. Mónica Cantú
A trip to a mountainous part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua at the age of 17 first opened her eyes to the dire living conditions of people in rural areas. Three decades later, she’s trying to change that by improving the environmental safeguards for local communities in mining regions through a revolutionary idea: that mines must gain certification that they follow sustainable practices. A trained psychologist, Cantú’s campaign has gained steam with the first set of companies agreeing to certification. Read more on OZY.
3. Shirley Hayes
When she started out in mining, her work mostly involved using explosives. Now she’s blasting her own path to a self-made success story in South Africa’s copper mining industry. Her company, SHiP Copper, has plans to extract the metal from 10 mines and process them at a single facility to reduce costs and increase efficiency — a bold new model that, if successful, could hold lessons for other mining firms around the world.Read more on OZY.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Hollywood megastar Scarlett Johansson takes us behind the scenes of her latest movie, Black Widow. She shares her tips on avoiding burnout and reveals her dream dinner date. Watch it later today!
Sneak Peek Into ... Cuba
Witnessing some of its biggest protests in decades, this country of 11 million people is in rare ferment. But there’s more to this small powerhouse of a nation than headlines can capture.
1. All That Jazz
Only a few get compared to greats like Aretha Franklin and Julia Cruz. Daymé Arocena is special even among that rarified breed — the 29-year-old Cuban jazz prodigy has been described as across between those two icons. She’s wowing the jazz world in a signature white, flowing dress and turban to emerge as among its brightest young stars.
2. Unlikely Export
For years, Cuba has sent its doctors abroad to help fight diseases and battle natural disasters. But it’s not all altruism. The island’s high quality health care system means that Cuban medical professionals are highly sought after in parts of the world with a shortage of doctors. That demand has exploded further amid the pandemic. But Cuba charges countries — and brings in more than $6 million each year for renting out its doctors.
3. Beef Up
You’ve not really tasted Cuba until you’ve savoredRopa Vieja, its classic take on shredded or pulled beef, stewed together with vegetables in olive oil and red wine, then garnished with fresh parsley.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Shark
It’s Shark Awareness Day and we figured an apology is due to these much-maligned creatures. But first, check out the cuter side to these millennia-old fish.
With all your Spotify scrounge, a baby shark’s playlist might just be cooler. Researchers at Sydney’s Macquarie University Fish Lab have found that Port Jackson sharks appear to like jazz music. But when exposed to classical music, they “under-performed.” So the next time you’re freaking out in the face of a shark, take a chance, play the right number.
2. The Sixth Sense
If a discerning taste in music was not enough sea-cred, it turns out that sharks possess a ‘sixth sense’ of sorts — an ability to detect the electric fields of other animals in surrounding waters. Think about it, it’s more cool than terrifying, as long as it’s not your electric field they’re reading.
3. An Ocean of Talents
With over 500 whimsical varieties of sharks around, it’s natural that some ‘talents’ are unique to singular species. Some, like the sporty Shortfin Mako can jump up to 20 feet above water. The slow-swimming, deep-diving whale shark comes with unique spot patterns that can be used to identify individuals, much like human fingerprints. And although the Pink Lanternshark is named so, Goblin sharks can also be a bright pink colour, making up for the unfortunate christening.
Super Royal Gardens
If you want a dose of urban greenery matched with a sense of timelessness, there are few better places.
Stop to smell roses named after royal family members. And walk along pathways flushed pink-white with camellias, lake waters circled by water birds, a gigantic urn and a sundial — all touched by the romance of vanished times. Starting last Friday, visitors can now for the first time picnic in the giant lawns of Queen Elizabeth II’s London residence.
2. Chapultepec Park, Mexico City
Vast, ancient, and riddled with more enchantments than Alice’s Wonderland, Mexico City’s largest and oldest park is also home to an eponymous castle that has served as a residence for Aztec nobles, foreign emperors and Mexican presidents. For a grab-it-all traveler, the triumph lies in being able to flit between its jade gardens, whimsical forestlands, amusement park, zoo, and nine museums.
3. Summer Palace, Beijing
Once a pleasure isle for royals retreating from seasonal heat, it continues to conjure visions of imperial ecstasy. In a flamboyant display of Chinese garden design, it weaves together landscaped flora, water bodies and airy pavilions. For those who like a touch of drama, boat rides to an island temple, recreations of traditional Chinese shops or even an old-school theatrical performance might be on the cards.
Forget digging for coupon codes that don’t work and searching endlessly for deals without results. The free Capital One Shopping browser add-on instantly searches for available coupons and automatically applies them to your cart across thousands of sites. It’s genius.