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Happy Friday! With empty streets, little celebration and no spectators, Tokyo will today inaugurate the most bizarre Olympics ever. But even just on TV, there’s plenty to be excited about. Today, meet the stars of the newest sports to debut at the Olympics, including a 12-year-old gold medal hopeful. Check out how tech is invading your cocktails, learn about how former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn November’s election are inspiring others, and grab some popcorn to go with some great short movies. Don’t forget the caption contest!
Liam Jamieson, Reporter, and Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor
The Spanish island is certainly not going to have a party, as its plans to resume pre-pandemic tourism have been upended by a surge in COVID-19 cases. Across the Mediterranean, Tunisia has handed over its pandemic response to its military as it battles a deepening crisis. In Japan, Tokyo will host the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics today, even as cases linked to the Games have crossed 100. And back in the U.S., federal health officials are warning that the country stands at a “pivotal moment” as infections and hospitalizations rise sharply, especially in regions with low vaccination rates. (Sources: FT, Reuters, Japan Times, WaPo)
2. Tibet Trip
Chinese President Xi Jinping made an unannounced trip to Tibet yesterday, his first since taking office, which Beijing’s state media only confirmed after citizens posted videos showing the leader in Lhasa. China is marking the 70th anniversary of its takeover of Tibet and trying to dictate the choice of the successor to the 86-year-old Dalai Lama. (Sources: South China Morning Post, Bloomberg)
3. Havana Headache
The CIA has tasked a former officer who led the hunt for Osama bin Laden to uncover the origins of “Havana Syndrome” — a mysterious illness that manifests as severe headaches, dizziness and memory loss. It has afflicted more than 200 U.S. officials and their families, including more than 100 from the CIA, in Cuba, Russia, China, Central Asia and most recently, Austria. Who do you think is responsible? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NPR, NYT, Reuters)
4. Not Chipper
There’s little to smile about if you belong to the myriad industries — from cars to electronics — that rely on semiconductor chips. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said Thursday that he expects a global shortage of chips to continue until 2023, even as the gap between supply and demand drives up consumer prices. (Source: WSJ)
Ford Motor Company has helped Americans hit the open road for 118 years, creating some of the most iconic vehicles ever made. Next up? Electrification! Whether it’s the adrenaline-charged Mustang Mach-E or America's workhorse, the F-150 Lightning, Ford is taking electric vehicles mainstream.
Since the 2015 announcement that surfing would be included in the Tokyo Games, Japan has set its eyes on Hiroto Ohhara to drive it to medals. Despite a large surfing community and history within the sport, few Japanese surfers have made a splash in surfing’s biggest competitions. But as the first Japanese surfer ever to win the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, the 24-year-old Chiba native will have home advantage and the crowd cheering for him as he rides the waves toward an Olympic gold.
Mark the start of the biggest sporting show on the planet by watching former figure skater and Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon reveal how a tip from Beyoncé helped him perform at his best and why he’s hanging up the skates to try his hand at writing a comedy TV series. Watch now.
The Big Lie ... Beyond Trump
It’s spreading globally.
Pedro Castillo, a Marxist rural teacher, beat Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, by a slender margin of 44,000 votes in June’s presidential election runoff. But though international observers concluded that the election was clean, Fujimori refused to concede, instead demanding a recount using what prosecutors believe was faked evidence of voter fraud. Earlier this week, electoral authorities finally declared Castillo president-elect.
Similar claims formed the basis for a military coup in February. The country’s generalsfalsely alleged large-scale fraud in the November election that returned Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s party to power. They reversed years of democratic gains to reinstate military rule and placed Suu Kyi under arrest, shackling Myanmar’s democracy in chains again. Read more on OZY on how Trump’s example is inspiring others to try and upend democracy.
Science and tech are revolutionizing the alcohol industry in stunning, even weird ways.
Scientist Martin Janousek and entrepreneur Stu Aaron have found a way to turn the decades-long process of aging whiskey, rum and brandy into a mere three-to-five day ordeal by exposing alcohol to “micro staves” of different woods under pressure. Their process, which they’ve likened to a boozy Nespresso machine, has won them awards in blind tastings for their drinks. Read more on OZY.
2. Beer Goggles to VR Goggles
Your wine bottle’s speaking to you. And no, you’re not drunk. From Australia and New Zealand to Argentina and South Africa, winemakers are now offering virtual reality and augmented reality experiences through their bottles. You can meet some of history’s most enterprising women, watch zombies and criminals in action or visualize dramatic natural disasters while sipping on your glass, just by hovering your smartphone camera over the bottle’s label. Read more on OZY.
3. Pick Your (Level of) Poison
Craft beers are all the craze, with seemingly endless opportunities to try different flavors — yet nonalcoholic options remain limited. So BrewVo is pioneering a system dubbed Alcohol By Choice, combining a base nonalcoholic beer with any amount of flavorless alcohol, allowing world-class brews to be accessible at a range of booziness that you can choose.
Great New Short Movies
They’ll stay with you a lot longer than the films themselves.
The debut film from director/writer Alisha Tejpal and co-writer Mireya Martinez premiered at Sundance earlier this year, depicting the daily routine of protagonist Lata, a young domestic worker in a wealthy Mumbai home. It’s a powerful commentary on the complexities of classism and casteism in India.
“Já” or “yes” is the only word used throughout the Oscar-nominated animated short Yes-People, which uses design, facial expressions, sound effects and score to tell the story of Icelandic characters navigating the everyday annoyances of life.
3. ‘If Anything Happens I Love You’
The Academy Award-winning animated short directed by Will McCormack and Michael Govier reached No. 2 in popularity on Netflix worldwide just a week after its release last November. It tells the haunting story of a couple that lost their child in a school shooting. Keep tissues handy.
Share your wittiest captions! We’ll pick three winners.