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Good morning! It’s hard enough to predict what the future holds for each of us. Guessing what’s next for an entire nation needs a special soothsayer. Today meet the clairvoyant cartoonist who foretold Sudan’s 2019 revolution, catch Taiwan’s top acrobat contorting his body in seemingly impossible ways, pack your bag for a trip to Mars and taste a mango salad from the remote island of Vanuatu. Read to the end for this week’s spot the difference contest.
Josefina Salomon, Senior Writer, and Nick Fouriezos, Contributor
That’s what Gen. Mark A. Milley, then America’s top military leader, feared in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a new book by two Washington Post journalists. Milley reportedly told confidants that he worried the outgoing president might copy from the playbook of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who in 1933 used the burning of the German parliament to cement his power grab. Were Milley’s fears justified? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, CNN)
2. Carbon Cut Commitments
China and the European Union have unveiled bold new plans to reduce carbon emissions. Beijing is introducing a carbon trading network while Brussels plans to launch an import tax on nations with high emissions — an idea the U.S. is also considering. Meanwhile, new research shows that parts of the Amazon are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they’re absorbing. (Sources: WSJ, Nature)
3. Hiccup Hassle
Sometimes a metaphor can turn real. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose rule has faced multiple hiccups over allegations of corruption and pandemic mismanagement, is now battling a relentless bout of actual hiccups. He’s been hospitalized with a diagnosis of intestinal obstruction, though doctors say they won’t operate on him immediately. (Sources: AP, BBC)
4. Scary Singing
Singapore is witnessing its highest COVID-19 caseload in 10 months after the discovery of a cluster of patients who visited a karaoke bar. Indonesia is now registering more daily cases than India. And Rwanda has placed capital Kigali under a complete lockdown amid rising infections. (Sources: Reuters, Straits Times, East African)
5. Is the Worst Over?
South Africa will deploy five times more troops on the country’s streets in a bid to stamp out widespread looting and lawlessness in the wake of last week’s arrest of former President Jacob Zuma. The army has already quelled much of the violence, the country’s defense minister said Wednesday. Read more on the crisis in South Africa in this special dispatch from OZY’s Johannesburg-based Senior Editor Kate Bartlett. (Source: Bloomberg)
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The Taiwanese acrobat is an expert in Cyr wheel performance, a slow-motion form of acrobatics that involves contorting his frame in perfect balance within a 35-pound aluminum ring. While it has existed for decades, Yang’s art form has only become popular in the circus world in the last two decades — and his mesmerizing performance to classical music on Asia’s Got Talent in 2019 brought the art form to a new generation of disciples.
2. Sandou Trio
Leapingblindfolded from a thin rod, dropping and flipping midair from deadly heights — on one occasion with fire underneath. Those tantalizing acts helped Cassie Sandou, a mid-thirties Mormon mother of two, reach the semifinals on America’s Got Talent, supported by her husband, Konstantin, and her brother-in-law, Sergei. They were even asked back for a Champions season. They’ve done a world tour with Britney Spears, were featured in The Greatest Showman and have performed with Cirque du Soleil.
3. Phelelani Ndakrokra
He grew up in a homeless family in a rough neighborhood of Cape Town battered by gang violence. Then he came across ZipZap, a “social circus” and an iconic South African institution that performs in difficult neighborhoods precisely to offer a constructive cultural and creative outlet to disadvantaged children. Fast forward to today and Ndakrokra isn’t just one of ZipZap’s star acts, performing acrobatics in midair. He’s also a trainer, teaching the next generation of South African kids how stunning stunts can change their lives.
Sneak Peek Into ... Sudan
Sanctioned by the U.S. for years for its support to terrorists, Sudan is now trying to reinvent its place in the world, two years after the ouster of authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir.
In late March, the Sudanese government signed an agreement with a major Nuba Mountains rebel group guaranteeing freedom of worship and the separation of religion from state affairs. Could the concession pave the way for minority Christian and African belief groups to find common ground with Khartoum’s leadership? Around the same time, the U.S. confirmed that Sudan has paid $335 million as a settlement for American victims of terror carried out from Sudanese soil in exchange for its removal from Washington’s list of terrorist-supporting nations.
2. The Cartoon Revolutionary
The change in Sudan hasn’t come about all of a sudden. Inspired by the start of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, the Sudanese cartoonist Khalid al Baih first broke through in 2010 with a powerful drawing, “The Rest Will Follow,” that showed Tunisia giving the middle finger. The finger next to it, curled up, poised for a revolt of its own? Sudan, which, nine years later, fulfilled that prophecy. Now in his 40s, al Baih is among a band of revolutionaries working on their second act: building a secular democracy.
3. Sipping on Sharbot
A popular fermented drink in a Muslim-majority nation that outlaws alcohol, sharbot walks the thin line between fizzy fruit drink and alcoholic beverage. Read more on OZY.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Metta Sandiford-Artest opens up about his tumultuous NBA career, his struggles with mental health and alcohol, and the coaches who helped him. Hear about his top five starters. Watch later today.
Your Mars Kit Bag
Elon Musk wants to send us there, but we won’t want to go without these products in hand.
1. Lettuce Grown Sustainably
The self-watering, self-fertilizing farm stand uses minimal electricity and only takes five minutes per week to care for, which is partly why NASA researchers are testing it in the ongoing Mars simulation site at the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. The mini farm provided enough salad ingredients for a two-week crew’s last supper together last December.
2. Spotless in Space
It’s a dirty secret. It turns out astronauts typically change their underwear only once a week, since they can’t wash them in zero gravity. Now Tide has developed the first detergent specifically for astronauts and will test it in space soon.
3. Love Dolls
Artfully crafted dolls made of silicone and rubber could make perfect companions for lonely colonists of Mars, where risking pregnancy could be an especially fraught affair. One entrepreneur has already offered Elon Musk a deal to provide SpaceX with dolled up robot lovers.
If space is a leap too far for you, how about some delicious delicacies from the pristine Pacific Islands?
Think of the Pacific Islands and it’s impossible not to think of fish. This soup from Tonga combines tasty fish and beans, with coconut oil, ginger, garlic and lemongrass adding to the flavor. Serve it with as much chile as you like (or can take!).
The outcome of the unique culinary fusion that’s resulted from generations of Indian migrants in Fiji, this chicken curry is tomato-based with plantains for its Pacific signature, plus the unmistakable taste of Indian spices. Serve it alongside rice and garnished with cilantro, then sit back and transport yourself to Fiji’s white, sandy beaches!
Spot the Difference
Can you identify the four differences between the above images? Check here for last week’s answers and winners.
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