Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Happy Wednesday! With the delta variant of COVID-19 spreading as fast as the wildfires in California, most of us will hunker down where we are. But if you’re a billionaire, you could build yourself a remote haven. Today, read about Fiji’s emergence as the next preferred bolt hole for the world’s wealthy, meet a Maryland native who’s helping Japan get vaccinated, read about the TV war that’s erupting between Britain and the European Union and take a dip in a uniquely pink Senegalese lake. Check out the winners of last week’s caption contest!
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned Tuesday. This ends his defiance in the face of a probe report by Attorney General Letitia James that concluded he had sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo will leave office in 14 days and will be replaced — appropriately — by current Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will become the state’s first female governor. What will Cuomo be remembered for most? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, BBC)
2. Trillion-Dollar Infra-Baby
It’s born. The Senate on Tuesday passed a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill that could aid President Joe Biden’s hopes of rebuilding the country’s highways, bridges and internet systems. It marked a rare occasion when the two sides of the aisle worked together in Congress. (Sources: WaPo, CNN)
3. Algeria Ablaze
Raging wildfires east of capital Algiers have killed at least 42 people, including 25 soldiers. Algeria now joins California, Greece, Turkey and Siberia in battling frightening flames driven by extreme heat. (Sources: Reuters, Al Jazeera)
4. Bolsonaro Blues
Brazil’s Congress has rejected amendments to the country’s voting system sought by President Jair Bolsonaro. Without evidence, Bolsonaro has alleged fraud and has controversially refused to commit to holding planned presidential elections next year. The thumbs-down from Congress came after a bizarre military parade that included tanks rolling past the presidential palace in a divisive show of strength by the leader. (Sources: Deutsche Welle, FT)
5. Huawei to Hell
China has sentenced Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor to 11 years in jail on charges of spying. The move is widely seen as retaliation against the arrest and continuing imprisonment of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions. (Sources: Guardian, AP)
Discover automatically matches all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. You could turn $150 cash back to $300.*
She’s providing the spark for a tech revolution in the slums of Lagos. Stunned by the lack of representation of women in Nigeria’s tech economy, she launched Pearls Africa, a nonprofit that runs the Girls Coding initiative. It’s aimed at training girls from ages 10-17 in programming and firing up their innovative instincts. Students are in turn using their training to serve their communities: One group has developed an e-commerce platform to help local fisherfolk sell their catch. Read more on OZY.
2. LaShawn Toyoda
The Maryland native moved to Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake there. A decade later, she’s helping her adopted home deal with one of its biggest challenges: a low rate of COVID-19 vaccination. She learned to code during the pandemic and has created an open source database of clinics in Japan with waitlists for citizens to get vaccines. Her database, with help from volunteers, now covers 50 clinics and had been accessed by 60,000 people by late June.
3. Audrey Cheng
There’s something about Maryland. Like Toyoda, Cheng was raised there. But now Kenya is home for the Taiwanese American, a coding innovator who doesn’t know how to code herself — yet has built one of Africa’s most stunning tech institutes. Moringa School teaches students to code in a country that’s a cutting-edge star in tech. The school’s graduates earn 350% more on average than they did before joining the program. Such is the school’s success that it’s now also offering courses thousands of miles away from its home base, from Pakistan to Ghana. Read more on OZY.
Sneak Peek Into ... Fiji
From climate change to the coronavirus crisis, Fiji is gaining the world’s attention despite its remote location in the Pacific Ocean.
The Fijian innovator and sustainability activist has sailed around the world twice on his 72-foot wooden boat, the Uto ni Yalo — which means the “heart of the spirit.” And he’s showing the world a new way of shipping, away from the polluting, fossil fuel-guzzling vessels that crowd the oceans. Instead, he’s reviving traditional, environment-friendly design practices that allow the construction of stunning ships that are modern in every way … and run on solar and wind energy. Read more on OZY.
2. New Pandemic Bolt Hole?
Its tourism industry was devastated by global pandemic travel restrictions. So since last summer, Fiji has prepared a fresh pitch: as an idyllic, oceanic, socially remote safe haven for the world’s billionaires. Their private jets mean they don’t depend on canceled flights from bleeding airlines. They have the cash to spend wherever they are. And Fiji hopes they’ll love the Pacific islands enough to invest millions there.
3. Surf’s Up
You don’t need to be a billionaire … but you do need to be a really good surfer to ride one of the world’s most famed waves, Cloudbreak, off Tavarua, a tiny heart-shaped Fijian island. It’s routinely ranked among the most challenging waves in the world. Though drinking kava just before surfing might help overcome any jitters. Sounds like a trippy ride to us.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
An Oscar-winner at age 23, R&B wunderkind H.E.R. joins Carlos to talk about her early success. She reveals how Kehlani, Zendaya and she almost formed a band and speaks about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement in her music. Watch now.
Missiles and cybercrime aren’t the only ways countries combat each other. Propaganda matters just as much. Watch out for the TV wars exploding on … and off ... your screens.
1. Brexit Effect
Britain chose to break from the European Union. Now the EU wants a break from British television. It’s preparing to dial back the number of British shows on European networks, worried that their dominance is a threat to cultural diversity. The U.K. is the largest TV producer in Europe.
In response to U.S. regulation of Russian media sources, Moscow has labeled Voice of America and Radio Free Europe — both are funded by the federal American government — as foreign agents since 2017. It’s a tit-for-tat moment in the ongoing Ping-Pong match between Russia and the United States.
Unique Water Bodies
If reading about Fiji leaves you craving the watery outdoors, check out these other unique, spectacular spots.
The largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park is quite the sight to behold. Heat-loving bacteria form a spectrum of brilliant colors from red to green to aquamarine blue at the center. The center of the spring reaches the scalding temperature of 188 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Lake Retba, Senegal
The Dead Sea is usually the first place that comes to mind when you think “super-salty lake,” but I raise you Lake Retba. The lake is a rosy pink color thanks to algae called Dunaliella salina. Yes, you can float in it — just watch out for the people harvesting salt!
*Cashback Match: Only from Discover as of April 2021. We’ll match all the cash back rewards you’ve earned on your credit card from the day your new account is approved through your first 12 consecutive billing periods or 365 days, whichever is longer, and add it to your rewards account within two billing periods. You’ve earned cash back rewards only when they’re processed, which may be after the transaction date. We will not match: rewards that are processed after your match period ends; statement credits; rewards transfers from Discover checking or other deposit accounts; or rewards for accounts that are closed. This promotional offer may not be available in the future and is exclusively for new cardmembers. No purchase minimums.