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It’s Friday! If you’ve been following the Tokyo Olympics as obsessively as we have, you know that it’s been a competition littered with upsets. Today, as the Games reach their halfway mark, we introduce you to some of Tokyo’s most surprising winners, apart from our news updates from the Olympics. Amid growing divisiveness in society, check out how Suriname could offer valuable lessons in coexistence. Read to see how advertisements can save lives and start your weekend with a decadent Albanian cake dripping in honey. Don’t forget our latest caption contest!
Greece is sending police officers to the tourist-friendly party islands of Mykonos and Ios to enforce COVID-19 restrictions amid a surge in cases of the Delta variant. In Asia, Japan and China are witnessing a worrying resurgence of infections. And in America, President Joe Biden asked states and local governments to offer $100 to those who take the vaccine, underscoring concerns over stalling inoculation efforts, even as he declared that federal workers must be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. (Sources: Guardian, Japan Times, Reuters, CNBC, NYT)
2. Calm Before the Storm
The U.S. economy grew 6.5% in the year’s second quarter, taking the country’s GDP beyond pre-pandemic levels. But the rapid spread of the Delta variant is expected to slow down growth in coming months. (Sources: WSJ, AP)
3. Avenging Her Loss
There’s a reason she’s a key character in the Avengers series. Top Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney over its decision to release her latest film, Black Widow, simultaneously in theaters and for streaming, alleging that the move resulted in her losing income. Watch Johansson on The Carlos Watson Show. Who do you think is right? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, BBC)
Bethany Shriever of Great Britain won the women’s BMX racing final this morning, beating Colombia’s defending champion Mariana Pajon. In the men’s race, Dutchman Niek Kimmann won despite an injured knee, with defending champion Connor Fields of the U.S. out injured.
2. Record Race
South Africa’s Tatjana Shoenmaker smashed the world record in the 200 meter breaststroke final, beating America’s Lilly King. Friday’s other pool champions include Russia’s Evgeny Rylov, who added the men’s 200 meter backstroke gold to his win in the 100 meter version of the race; Australia’s Emma McKeon in the women’s 100 meter freestyle; and China’s Wang Shun in the men’s 200 meter individual medley. The U.S. continues to lead in the overall medal tally, ahead of China and the Russian Olympic Committee.
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The 18-year-old Tunisian only just scraped into the 400 meter freestyle final. No one expected anything from him. But he had saved something special for the final. Racing from the outer Lane 1, he scythed through the water, overcoming big names like Australia’s Jack McLoughlin and America’s Kieran Smith to nab gold. Just three years ago he finished eighth at the Youth Olympics. Now he’s top dog at the senior Games.
2. Rayssa Leal
She became an internet sensation at age 7 when she landed a jump flipping her skateboard over stairs, all in a fairy costume. And her fairy tale turned true this week, as the now 13-year-old Brazilian won silver in women’s street skateboarding — one of six new Olympic sports in Tokyo — on Monday. Her big thrill? “Now I can convince all my friends to skateboard everywhere with me,” Leal said.
3. Lydia Jacoby
Steward, Alaska, is a tiny town of 2,733 residents. On Tuesday, one of them yanked it into the global spotlight of the Tokyo Olympics. Jacoby, 17, defeated the reigning 100 meter breaststroke Olympic champion and world record holder: her teammate Lilly King. In Steward, the joke used to be that Jacoby trained with whales, since such a small place couldn’t afford better facilities. The first Alaskan swimmer to even qualify for the Olympics, Jacoby has shown that no place is too small to aim for — and achieve — glory.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Olympic speed skating legend Apolo Ohno tells Carlos how the pandemic forced him to slow down and find his “true north,” the lessons he learned from his immigrant father, and his relationship with his own identity. Now working on his new book, Hard Pivot, Ohno reflects on the mental health of Olympians. Watch today.
Sneak Peak Into… Suriname
It’s easy to overlook this small nation on the northeast coast of South America. It’s also a mistake.
Once a guerrilla leader, wanted bank robber, international drug trafficker and gold-mining baron, Ronnie Brunswijk is now — believe it or not — the country’s vice president. Brunswijk has brought resources and money to his historically marginalized community, the Maroons. And his promise to equitably distribute the wealth of the country’s newfound oil reserves garnered the father of at least 50 children enough popularity to secure the VP position last year.
2. Model of Tolerance
Dutch colonists brought Christianity. Enslaved plantation workers practiced Winti, which combines Jewish, Christian and Indigenous influences, and indentured workers from China, India and Java brought Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. All of these religions are still practiced — and with virtually no religious conflict, South America’s smallest country sure knows how to coexist. Read more on OZY.
3. Coded Clothing
Before emancipation in 1863, free Creole Surinamese women wore traditional Koto garments to carry hidden messages that only other women understood, determined by the pattern of the fabric and the folds of the headscarf. The scarves communicate messages from “let them talk” to “meet me around the corner.” That’s literally a fashion statement. Read more on OZY.
Advertisements can sell products. Sometimes, they can also save lives.
1. Cries for Refuge
Under the impending doom of the Nazi regime in 1938, Viennese Jewish families took to advertising in the Manchester Guardian as a last-chance effort to save their children, calling for English families to foster, educate or hire them as domestic helpers. “I seek a kind person who will educate my intelligent boy, aged 11, Viennese of good family,” read one. With 60 Viennese children appearing in the ads throughout the year, the Guardian’s coverage of the Jewish plight and support of Jewish refugees is one of the proudest moments in the newspaper’s history.
2. Google Ads for the Glum
After seeing his father struggle with mental health, Sandersan Onie made it his mission to help others waging similar battles. Studies reveal a correlation between suicide-related web searches and suicide rates themselves, so Onie is taking an innovative approach to solving the problem in Indonesia, a country plagued by suicide. Onie’s project displays ads for digital interventions when someone searches for suicide-related terms on Google, saving lives in the process.
3. Saving Sharks
But ads don’t save just human lives. The World Wildlife Fund has run powerful ad campaigns against climate change, habitat loss and species extinction. Simple in design, the ads show an image of a predatory animal in nature: a shark, for example, and next to it the same image without the animal.
These oh-so-good dishes will make you want to drip honey onto everything sweet you want to make.
The most popular dessert in the former Soviet republic of Georgia is a nougat made of nuts and boiled honey. It is traditionally served on Christmas and New Year’s Eve and is a symbol of wealth and a promise of success. It’s also just delicious.
A cake made of walnuts and honey and soaked in sugar syrup, its name comes from the word shëndet, which means “health” in Albanian. The problem? It’s so good it’s tough to stick to healthy portions.
3. Shibuya Honey Toast
Popular in tea shops in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, this treat also known as brick toast is an elegant, architectural dessert meant to be shared with a friend. Now, if you’re getting the drift … just let us know when.
Send us your wittiest caption for the image above. We’ll pick three winners.
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