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Happy Friday! Well, the news, as you’ll read in just a bit, is not very happy. But if you need a pick-me-up before the weekend starts, we’ve got it. Meet the champion Chinese mixologist whose crafty cocktails carry the flavors of your favorite dishes and watch some of the 21st century’s great sporting icons … in documentaries. Don’t fight with anyone over water — as you’ll read later, there are enough battles brewing over the life-giving liquid as it is. But do compete in our caption contest. You’re guaranteed a smile.
There was a time — not long ago — when the U.S. would demand that the Taliban accept democracy, give up war and respect Afghanistan’s constitution. Now America has a new red line: Please don’t target our embassy in Kabul. That’s what Washington has asked as the Taliban march toward the capital after grabbing control of Kandahar and Herat, two of Afghanistan’s biggest cities. The Pentagon is sending 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to help evacuate all but core diplomatic staff. Is this Vietnam all over again? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, AP, NBC)
2. A New America
Data from the 2020 census shows that America’s white population shrank for the first time over the past decade, even as growth in Black, Latino and Asian populations has made the country more diverse than ever before. Despite the demographic losses for Republicans, Democrats fear their Trumpian red-state rivals are more willing to “crack” blue voting blocs during upcoming congressional redistricting. (Sources: WSJ, NBC)
3. Third Shot
The FDA has approved a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people who’ve undergone organ transplants or cancer treatment or have other conditions that weaken immune systems. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Senate has passed a bill that could allow the country’s president to violate patent agreements in public health crises, such as over COVID-19 vaccines. Thailand registered a record rise in cases on Friday, while Nigeria’s struggle against a surge in infections faces a fresh complication as 40 percent of the nation’s doctors strike over unpaid wages. (Sources: WaPo, NPR, Reuters, Bangkok Post, Voice of America)
4. (Not) A Slave 4 You
Not much longer. Britney Spears’ father has agreed to leave the singer’s conservatorship through an “orderly” transition “when the time is right.” The mechanism allowed him to control Spears’ finances and is at the center of a legal row between the father and daughter, who has insisted she’s unable to make key life decisions for herself. (Sources: CBS, WSJ)
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What if you could drink a meal? Once an insurgent in Shanghai’s “cocktail revolution,” Faye Chen is answering the question with her new NYC project, Double Chicken Please. Converting the flavors of Chinese and Western food into cocktails, the bar features wild concoctions like Japanese Cold Noodle and French Toast. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!
2. Joan Samia
Tired of working as a waitress, Samia stepped up as a bartender despite her employers’ reluctance. Rising through the ranks, she is now head bartender at Nairobi’s Artcaffé. Crowned Kenya’s Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year in 2016, the film buff’s trademark cocktails are inspired by either the local flavors of her home country or by movies, like Desperado.
3. Fátima León Cruz
Another national bartending champion, Cruz won the World’s Best Competition for Mexico in 2017 and went on to finish eighth globally, the first time a Latin American woman had ever cracked the top 10. Before discovering the Mexico City native’s champion concoction, a trigger warning. It’s the Cor Cocktail, which features fresh cow blood.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
You may know iconic actor Sean Penn for his Oscar-winning roles in movies like Mystic River and Milk, but do you know how he’s revolutionizing the world of service? Today, the change-making actor discusses his organization’s involvement in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, why we need a moratorium on technology and how we need to reform our views on citizen service. Watch now.
Next Water Wars
With an increasingly unpredictable climate and depleting water resources, the world is sitting on tensions between nations that are waiting to erupt.
It carries potentially damning consequences. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is Africa’s largest hydropower project and has fueled regional tensions by pitting water-scarce neighbors Sudan and Egypt against Ethiopia over who gets to control the Nile’s ebb and flow. Arid Egypt in particular has relied on the river for nearly all of its water supplies since the dawn of history and sees the dam’s construction as an existential threat.
2. Upper Klamath Lake
Meanwhile, conflicts in southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin are further foreshadowing water tensions as the effects of climate change worsen. Plagued by extreme drought, farmers and ranchers who rely on Upper Klamath Lake for agriculture will be left dry this entire year as federal officials have blocked irrigation canals to retain enough water to protect the lake’s endangered fish species. With their livelihoods at stake, outraged activists are threatening to force open the closed irrigation headgates.
3. South China Sea
A third of global trade passes through these waters that China has in recent years claimed unilaterally, sparking tensions with Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and other neighbors. But the South China Sea is also one of the world’s richest fishing grounds, officially employing 3.7 million people. And that too is turning it into a battleground as countries fight over dwindling fish stocks.
Great Sports Documentaries
If you’re missing live sports with all-time greats, we’ve got the next best thing for you.
In the past year, the sports world has turned a new page, one that prioritizes mental health like never before, and no one has been leading that discussion more than Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka. Netflix’s three-part docuseriesNaomi Osaka dives into Osaka’s world as an athlete, but more importantly the endless pressures that a competitor of her caliber faces in everyday life.
Love him or hate him, Tiger Woods’ impact has been undeniable. In HBO’s two-part series Tiger, Woods himself does not make a fresh appearance for an interview while the golfing legend’s turbulent life is placed under a new level of scrutiny that is both inspirational and revealing.
Is there any better word to describe the Irish mixed martial arts icon Conor McGregor? As the combat sport reaches never-before-seen heights in popularity, the 2017 documentaryNotorious covers McGregor’s rise from a plumber’s apprentice to a boisterous household name.
Send us your wittiest caption for the image above. We’ll pick four winners!
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