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Happy Tuesday! If mighty America couldn’t defeat the Taliban, do Afghans stand a chance against the rampaging group? As the U.S. completes its pullout from Afghanistan, meet a woman who has defied the Taliban for a quarter of a century. Learn about the new regional currencies looking to emulate the euro. As the Olympic Games throw up champions barely in their teens, read about the mystery kid who might be the youngest gold medalist ever. And check out some of 2021’s best rock music — coming to you from the deserts of Niger.
That’s what America’s biggest city and state have decided. New York City announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for all government workers while California declared a similar requirement for state employees and health care staff. Federal Veterans Affairs medical workers must get inoculated. Meanwhile, a new study suggests the U.S. might have undercounted its COVID-19 cases — already the highest in the world — by up to 60%. Do you agree with vaccine mandates? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NPR, NYT, Boston Globe)
2. Money Musk
Elon Musk-founded electric car manufacturer Tesla has registered record profits of $1.1 billion in the last quarter, defying supply chain challenges that have forced other companies to hit the brakes. (Sources: WSJ, FT)
3. Curfew or Coup?
Tunisian President Kais Saied has imposed a nationwide month-long curfew and a ban on public gatherings a day after dismissing the prime minister and parliament, strengthening worries that he’s staging a coup in one of the Arab world’s rare functioning democracies. Saied has rejected allegations of a takeover. The ousted government’s mishandling of the pandemic has sparked massive street protests in recent weeks. (Sources: Guardian, Bloomberg)
Gold is great. Love is priceless. Argentine fencer Maria Belen Perez Maurice lost in the competition yesterday, but was surprised with an on-camera proposal from her coach during a post-game interview. Perez said yes.
OZY is all about investigating the next trends and ideas to watch out for. Discerning wine drinkers are eschewing the crowded grocery store or pricey specialty shops for a more personalized experience — take Bright Cellars’ easy 7-question taste quiz and get matched with wines chosen for your unique taste palate. The future of wine is streamlined, tailored and convenient.
The “butcher of Kabul” pounded the Afghan capital with missiles during the 1990s when warring militias were trying to grab control of the country after the fall of its Soviet-backed regime. Three decades later, the 71-year-old Islamist militia leader is back after years in exile, pitching himself as a senior statesman who is at the center of negotiations involving the Taliban and Afghanistan’s government. Could this former Taliban ally emerge as an unlikely consensus candidate to lead the nation after America’s withdrawal … and will the people of Kabul forgive him?
2. Rashid Khan
As a child, he had to flee his country and seek refuge in Pakistan. Now he’s back home, and the heartbeat of Afghanistan’s stunning rise as a cricketing nation. Khan had initially dreamed of becoming a doctor. But perhaps he was always destined for a career in cricket, as the sixth of 11 brothers — a perfect number for a cricket team. And not just any cricketing career: Today he’s a top-ranked bowler and is sought after by leagues the world over. And he’s just 22.
3. Shukria Barakzai
She was once thrashed on the streets of Kabul by the Taliban for not having a man accompanying her. Since then, the pioneering journalist has run a female-focused weekly magazine, helped draft the post-Taliban Afghan constitution and has served in the country’s parliament. Today she’s trying to carve out space for women’s concerns as her nation lurches toward an uncertain future. She feels betrayed by America’s sudden withdrawal but doesn’t think armed civilian militias are the answer to the Taliban, even though its members tried to assassinate Barakzai. But the vocal feminist, who ran a clandestine school for girls when the Taliban were in power, knows the art of survival. More than two decades later, she once again stands in their way.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
The star of Percy Jackson, Baywatch and TrueDetective drops by. Alexandra Daddario — who’s also starring in modern-day Romeo and Juliet story Die in a Gunfight, which was recently released — tells how having two lawyers for parents and a former congressman for a grandfather is a part of her recipe for success. Watch later today.
The Next Euro?
Brexit might have dulled the glitter of the European Union. But the euro, its currency, continues to inspire other regional equivalents.
1. West Africa
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has mulled a single currency for the better part of two decades. Now it has a new roadmap to bring that vision to reality by 2027. The eco, as the currency would be called, would be shared by the bloc’s 15 nations. That’s if they can avoid the infighting that’s delayed past efforts at building a more integrated economy.
Like most of the world, Asia primarily trades in dollars. And that leaves the world’s most populous continent, with three of its largest economies — China, Japan and India — vulnerable to economic shocks in America. That’s why some experts are arguing for a common Asian trading currency while a team of Japanese economists has proposed a pan-Asiatic digital currency.
Could the two South American giants come together to launch a common currency? It’s an idea that has been debated by previous presidents — and then discarded. But in 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro revived the proposal, discussing it with his then Argentine counterpart Mauricio Macri. The idea of a shared currency called the peso real drew swift criticism and mockery, especially since both nations have a history of inflation. But don’t forget: The euro once seemed impossible too.
Lucky 13: Youngest Olympic Champions
Like 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya of Japan, who won the women’s skateboarding gold yesterday, age was just a number for these teenage superstars — some of the youngest Olympic champions in the history of the Games.
So what if you haven’t traveled in a year. Listen to the latest album from Tuareg rockstar Mdou Moctar and you’ll instantly be transported to the deserts of Niger, his homeland, relishing his silky voice, stunning guitar and a mix of romantic songs and tense numbers about imperialism and women’s rights. Listen.
Reggaeton rhythms seamlessly laced with sensual notes mark the bold new album from Colombian singer Karol G. The world’s most popular female Latina singer injects the sounds of bossa nova and bachata into her already rich arsenal for this album. The result is pure gold.
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