Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Happy Wednesday! Few officials wield as much influence in Washington today as President Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klein. Today you’ll meet a man who wields as much behind-the-scenes power … in Beijing. Learn about Kosovo’s unlikely judo success story, buy El Chapo’s mansion for as little as $12, and laugh with some of the wittiest blogs around. Check out the winners of last week’s caption contest.
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor, and Josefina Salomon, Senior Writer
News in a Minute
1. Time Up for Cuomo?
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, including a state trooper, an investigation ordered by state Attorney General Letitia James has concluded. That’s prompted calls from President Joe Biden and other Democrats for him to step down. Cuomo has so far refused to resign, describing the probe as “biased.” Meanwhile, state lawmakers are planning impeachment proceedings against Cuomo. Should Cuomo quit? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, WaPo)
2. Deadly Delta Dominates
Africa’s death rate from COVID-19 has spiked by nearly 90% over the past four weeks, the WHO said, blaming the delta variant of the virus. China is now vaccinating schoolchildren as it battles its biggest surge in cases since January. And New York City has made vaccination mandatory for several indoor activities, including dining and visits to gyms. (Sources: CNN, BBC, WSJ)
3. Crypto Caution
Nations should avoid using cryptocurrencies as their legal tender, the IMF has warned, citing the use of digital tokens for illegal activities. The alert comes a month before El Salvador is scheduled to become the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as an officially recognized currency. (Source: FT)
We’re always telling you the next big thing in names, trends and ideas, so listen up: These colorful kicks are the next big thing. Sustainable fashion is all the rage, and thanks to Cariuma, you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort. You can look good while doing good!
Best of all, we’ve gotten OZY readers an exclusive $15 off when you use code OZY15. Get your pair today!
A former parachutist, Ramos is an old friend of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro from their days in military school. Now the retired four-star general is Bolsonaro’s latest pick for chief of staff, chosen to calm the tumultuous waters of controversy and scandal that are swirling around the president. Ramos is known to exaggerate his importance but there’s no denying his influence with Bolsonaro: He’s one of the few members of the president’s team who call him “Jair.” Can he ensure a safe landing for Bolsonaro amid the storm the president finds himself in?
The secret of this young nation’s unlikely judo success can be traced back to a single neighbourhood, and a coach determined to help children traumatized by a bloody war. In Tokyo, judoka Distria Krasniqi won gold, defeating Funa Tonaki of Japan, home of the martial art. Two days later, fellow judoka Nora Gjakova won the Balkan country’s second gold, doubling the tally from Kosovo’s debut Olympics in 2016 — when it also won a gold in judo.
As the host, Japan was expected to do well in the Tokyo Games. But no one could have predicted just how well. The country’s best-ever Olympics haul previously was in Athens in 2004, when Japan won 16 golds and 37 medals in total. With three days of competition still left, the country has already won 20 golds (behind only sporting superpowers China and the U.S.) and 39 total medals.
Future of Farming
Ever look down at your plate of food and wonder where the ingredients came from? OZY’s hit podcast franchise The Future of X is back. This season we’re investigating the Future of Farming with our friends at Vital Farms, from how data will revolutionize farming to possible solutions to food insecurity and climate change. Binge onApple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts!
How to Win a Crime Lord’s Mansion:
Ever wondered what happens with the money and properties of high-profile criminals once they are caught? These Latin American countries have come up with some original ways to put dirty money to good use.
1. El Chapo’s Mansion … for $12
On Sept. 15, Mexico’s National Lottery will raffle the properties of 22 convicted politicians and drug traffickers. A ticket costs just $12.50. Up for grabs is Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman’s most infamous house (the one with the tunnel connected to the sewer system) and a $4 million Mexico City mansion that belonged to the late Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the leader of the bloody Juárez Cartel. Believe in ghosts?
But not everybody is doing great. Colombia, the world’s top cocaine producer, also holds the record of the country with themost assets seized from drug trafficking organizations: 64,000 houses, cars and landestimated to be worth millions of dollars. Great news, right? Not really as authorities do not know what to do with these assets, inaction that’s widely blamed on entrenched corruption. What would you do? Tell us.
Drop the shame. Pick up your game. From offering tips to busting myths, this blog by writer Zoe Mendelson is the coolest place to visit to learn more about the vagina. It's now been turned into a book. If Roxanne Gay finds it “hilarious, ridiculously informative and absolutely necessary,” you know it’s fun. Read more on OZY.
2. Ask the Past
Johns Hopkins historian Elizabeth Archibald quotes medieval era books on everything from how to keep your hair black to cures for lethargy and melancholy. No, the idea is not to follow this advice — but to get a laugh out of it while you worry about your real problems.