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Happy Tuesday! India, the world’s largest democracy that’s also my home, celebrated its Independence Day on Sunday. On such occasions around the world, we’re invariably reminded of our countries’ founding fathers. But today, I’ll introduce you to the Indigenous professor who could be Chile’s next founding mother. As many Afghans look to escape their now Taliban-controlled nation, discover the unlikely havens that are welcoming refugees. And bite into a berry designed by nature to make acidic food taste sweet.
President Joe Biden forcefully defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a move that set the stage for the Taliban’s rapid return to power in Kabul over the weekend, while admitting that the Western-backed government there had collapsed faster than Washington had expected. He referred to desertions and surrenders within the Afghan army to argue that America couldn’t be expected to fight the Taliban when Afghan soldiers were unwilling to do so. In Kabul, Taliban fighters are enforcing an ominous peace, while the U.S. tries to airlift evacuees from an airport besieged by fleeing Afghans, some falling to their deaths after clinging to a departing jet. (Sources: WaPo, BBC, AP)
2. Booster Bulwark
U.S. federal health officials are expected to recommend booster COVID-19 vaccine shots for Americans eight months after their second shot, as the country battles a surge in infections from the Delta variant. Meanwhile, even as much of Africa waits for vaccines, Johnson & Johnson doses made on the continent by a South African manufacturer are being shipped to Europe. And New Zealand recorded its first local case since February. Should the West share its extra shots with poorer nations instead of using them as booster doses? Vote here or on Twitter. (CNBC, NYT, Reuters)
3. Devastating Grace
Tropical Depression Grace has hit Haiti, complicating an already difficult rescue and relief operation after Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake left more than 1,400 people dead. (Sources: Guardian, CNN)
4. Stash That Cash
Businesses are hoarding record volumes of cash, defying expectations of a spending boom as rising COVID-19 cases and worrying variants spark fresh uncertainty about the future of the economy. (Source: WSJ)
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She’s the daughter of a poetry-loving housemaid and a carpenter who taught himself to read at the age of 17. Now the activist for her Mapuche Indigenous community — Chile’s largest — is presiding over a 155-member elected convention that’s writing a new national constitution. This groundbreaking recognition of Chile’s pre-Columbian inhabitants came after last year’s historic referendum in which the voters overturned their current framework of governance, a controversial legacy of the late dictator Augusto Pinochet that doesn’t mention Indigenous people at all. She accepted the position with a clenched fist raised over her head. The 58-year-old Santiago University professor knows that the winds of change are blowing — and she’s giving them direction.
Get to know hip-hop’s hottest rising stars. City Girls stars JT and Yung Miami sit down with Carlos and share everything from how Drake cut short their breakout collab to how JT’s time in prison affected their relationship. Which legendary rapper and mentor of theirs do they tease a collaboration with next? Watch today.
Surprising Refugee Havens
Countries like Pakistan — home to several million Afghan refugees — are refusing to let them enter. But even in an increasingly inward-looking world, a surprising cast of nations is opening its arms.
A small size can come with a big heart. Even as the U.S. has shrugged off any ownership of the crisis in Afghanistan,NATO’s tiniest member, Iceland, is stepping up. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir yesterday said that Icelanders must “shoulder our responsibility,” expressing her concerns particularly for Afghan women under Taliban rule. The country of nearly 350,000 people will also consider taking in additional Afghan refugees over and above its regular quota, Jakobsdóttir said.
One of the world’s poorest nations might not sound like the most natural, welcoming destination for refugees. Yet for all its other problems — including anauthoritarian regime — the country has for long kept its doors open when wealthier nations have shut them. It offers refugees — more than 1.45 million of them — theright to education and health, allows them to start private businesses and provides land on which to farm and build a home.
When country after country in the Americas started closing borders amid migrant crises this past decade, this small South American nation went the other way, introducing a refugee law laying down extensive rights for those seeking shelter — temporary or permanent. An influx of Venezuelan refugees and concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have made Ecuador tighten some rules, but its policies — including a visa that’s relatively easy to access — have made it the latest gateway to the Americas for refugees all the way from Africa. Read more on OZY.
It’s also known as “miracle fruit,” and there’s a reason for that flattering title: Native to West Africa, this red berry contains a substance known as miraculin that causes asweet sensation on your tongue the moment it comes in contact with acidic foods. That makes it aperfect natural sweetener for those looking to consume tangy diet food. So the next time you want your low-fat Greek yogurt to taste like a loaded New York cheesecake, you’ll know what to add.
Packed with antioxidants, this deep purple Brazilian tree berry ferments quickly off the trunk — where it oddly grows — making it difficult to export. Luckily, it’s now also beinggrown in Florida, which is warm enough for the tropical crop. Often mistaken for a grape, it’s both tart and sweet, and an ingredient you’ll find in jams, jelly and even cocktails in Brazil. But if you want our advice, try it raw, and transport yourself to dense Brazilian forests.
If any berry can give the West African miracle fruit a run for its money, it’s theKorean omija. Called Schisandra berries in North America, they contain five distinct flavors, making them a smorgasbord of sensations in your mouth. Tryomija-flavored tea — or if you’re in the mood for something harder,punch laced with the berry.