Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Happy Friday! It’s easy to share during the good times. But after 18 months of death and tragedy, here’s a dollop of hope for you: America became more giving amid its crises. Read about that pleasant surprise and meet an inspirational athlete who earlier today defied the sporting gods to win an Olympic gold in an event he’d only completed once before. Check out some of the world’s deadliest borders, suck on some bizarre and bold candies and start your weekend with our caption contest.
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor, and Liam Jamieson, Reporter
Apple plans to scour through the iPhones of American customers to try and identify pedophiles and child sex predators, a move that’s sparked a heated debate over the tech giant’s privacy safeguards and the potential for misuse by governments. Are you comfortable with Apple going through your photos? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: FT, WaPo)
2. $256B Hole
The nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill pushed by President Joe Biden that’s now before Congress will add $256 billion to the federal deficit, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has concluded. Proponents of the plan had insisted that new revenue and savings would cover its cost. (Sources: WSJ, NYT)
3. Catastrophic Current
Scientists have found hints of the coming collapse of the Gulf Stream, an event that could disrupt the rains that billions of people across India, West Africa and South America depend on for food and sustenance. (Sources: Guardian, Al Jazeera)
We all need a go-to shoe: the one we wear for a trip to the grocery store and then slip on again to head out to a dinner party and step into once more for a calming weekend walk. Thanks to Cariuma, your go-to shoe is here. Pairing style with practicality, Cariuma offers the versatility you need. Get $15 off using the code OZY15.
Not since 1968 has America won an 800 meter gold. But 2021 is the year of Athing Mu. The 19-year-old middle-distance track prodigy from New Jersey had a record-breaking freshman season at Texas A&M, signed a pro contract with Nike in June and went on to win the U.S. Olympic trials in her specialty event, the 800 meters, setting a world-leading time in the process. And on Tuesday, the daughter of South Sudanese immigrants broke America’s drought in the event with a commanding performance that set a new national record.
2. Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu
China has dominated women’s badminton doubles since the sport’s Olympic debut nearly three decades ago, but was stunned in the final this week by the underdog Indonesian duo of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu. Polii, 33, was on the verge of retirement following the 2016 Rio Games. But teaming up with the young Rahayu, 23, kept her going for one more Olympic cycle, resulting in the nation’s first Tokyo gold.
3. Dawid Tomala
Not bad for a beginner. The 32-year-old Polish athlete is a regular in the 20 kilometer walk, in which he represented his nation at the 2012 London Games too. But before today, he had only once completed the 50 kilometer walk. On Friday, he shocked the sporting world by winning the event in Tokyo. “It is crazy, right?” he wondered aloud after the race. It’s also inspirational.
A Time to Give
When the pandemic started, there were fears that — like the 2008 recession — charities and non-profits would see donations fall. A year later, there’s some surprising news.
1. Philanthropic America
Despite the country’s economic downturn, charitable giving in 2020 hit a record of $471 billion according to a report by the Giving USA Foundation. A part of that surge is likely because of the racial justice movement that spread across the U.S. last summer following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
2. Work to be Done
About 90% of affluent Americans gave to charitable causes in 2020, earning generous tax breaks in the bargain. But decades-old philanthropy laws have caused increasing delays in the distribution of these donations, with billions of donated dollars sitting for years in the endowments of private foundations and donor-advised funds. In June, the bipartisan Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act was introduced in the Senate to combat the problem.
3. Most Generous Nation
America’s donations are up, but the most generous country in the world, according to a report by the Charities Aid Foundation, is Indonesia, with 80% of Indonesians donating and triple the worldwide average volunteering in 2020. The country’s top ranking can be attributed to Zakat, the traditional form of Islamic charity practiced widely in Indonesia. Read more on OZY.
4. And Continent?
Despite widespread poverty, Africa is the world’s most generous continent, with four countries — Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda — in the top ten globally. And it’s been that way for a while: Donations in Africa have gone up even in years when they’ve gone down globally.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Get inspired by Chaunté Lowe, the four-time Olympian mother of three who’s survived both cancer and COVID-19. As the Tokyo Olympics finish off, discover what makes this high jumper tick — and how she came back from giving birth, a double mastectomy and chemo to return to world-beating physical condition. Watch now.
The U.S.-Mexico border has witnessed some of the greatest migration crises the world has seen in recent years. But these other borders are no less deadly — even if they don’t get the same spotlight.
With Europe clamping down on migration from Africa and Libyan militias working with Brussels to implement that deal, human smugglers in the city of Bani Walid near Libya’s coast have turned to brutal extortion. Passing migrants are captured and tortured until their friends and family cough up enough cash. In 2018, Doctors Without Borders recovered close to 50 dead bodies of migrants, many with signs of torture, every month in Bani Walid.Read more on OZY.
The subcontinental neighbors share an 1,800 mile border that’s so well lit that it’s visible from space. But it’s through this cleavage in what used to be an undivided nation that Pakistan-sponsored terrorists frequently cross over to launch attacks in India, including in the disputed region of Kashmir. That means that any human that tries to cross over, except at formal checkpoints, is target practice. Birds that fly across are treated as potential spies. Yep, it’s best looked at from space. You don’t want to get too close to it.
Spaghetti with salsa? No, this concoction — wildly popular in Mexico — only looks like long and winding spaghetti noodles. What you actually have are watermelon-flavored gummy strands with sugar and tamarind powder giving you aunique sweet-and-sour kick.
It’s not for everyone. But it is for pretty much everyone in Northern Europe. Thissalty licorice candy is a favorite across Finland, the Netherlands and Scandinavian nations. Kids are introduced to it early, and you’ll see expatriates from the region settled across the world suck on salmiakki when they’re homesick.
3. Genghis Khan Candy
There was little cutesy about the great — and brutal — Mongol conqueror. You wouldn’t know that in Hokkaido, Japan, though. It’s home to a lamb-flavored caramel candy that shares its name with the medieval marauder. How sweet.
Share your wittiest captions for the above image. We’ll pick three winners.