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Aug 24, 2021
Good morning! If the pandemic has left you a bit strapped for cash, meet the new generation of thrifty savers with the coolest advice — including how to make liqueur from foraged fruits. As America returns to school, read about the explosion of homeschooling as an alternative to remote learning, and take a fun quiz. Then dive into the tunes of some of the most popular bands you’ve likely never heard of.
How the roles have reversed. The Taliban have warned the U.S. against leaving troops in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31, even as President Joe Biden is expected to decide whether America will keep soldiers at Kabul’s airport for longer to assist with evacuations. The White House reported that around 48,000 people have been flown out of Afghanistan since Aug. 14. Meanwhile, U.N. agencies fear that food could run out in the country as early as September. (Sources: Reuters, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian)
2 - Winning Shot
U.S. health regulators have given full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people who are 16 and above, the first such certification for any coronavirus inoculation in America. The news comes as Biden urged private companies to insist that their employees either take the shot or get tested regularly as the U.S. battles the Delta variant. Just over half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. Should private companies make vaccines mandatory for workers? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: AP, NBC)
3 - Not So Proud
The leader of the far-right group Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was sentenced to five months in jail after being found guilty of burning a Black Lives Matter banner and carrying large-capacity ammunition. At the hearing on Monday, he apologized. Also in Washington, an internal police investigation cleared the officer who shot 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt to death as she tried to force her way into the House Chamber of the Capitol alongside other rioters on Jan. 6. (Sources: CBS, WaPo)
4 - RichCoin
Bitcoin traded at above $50,000 on Monday while PayPal has started allowing British users to hold, buy and sell cryptocurrencies, despite regulators in major countries like China and the U.S. cracking down through fines and laws. Mainland China-based crypto firms are now moving to Hong Kong and Singapore, more permissive havens. (Sources: WSJ, Business Insider)
5 - Not Vegan After All
Giant tortoises have lost their reputation as peaceful beings after video footage taken by a scientist in the Seychelles showed, for the first time, one of them hunting and eating a live bird. (Source: NYT)
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Writer, activist and all around badass Jack Monroe knows a thing or two about a “struggle meal” and making a few ingredients go a long and yummy way. The poverty campaigner’s quest began when they battled to feed their son on a single salary. Experimenting with bottom shelf products, they realized that delicious and nutritious doesn’t have to break the bank. Monroe’s “cheap as chips” firecracker sausages with tragedy mash, peanut butter cookies and chickpea curry say they’re right.
2 - Aja Dang
Is student debt blurring your long-term vision? Don’t despair. Aja Dang has a word, or a few, to share. This popular YouTuber has managed to pay off $200,000 of student and car loans as well as credit card debt in just 2 years and has documented every step, broadcasting it to nearly half a million subscribers. Her top tips? Budget and track everything, hang out with like-minded people and find some side gigs for a bit of extra cash.
3 - Alexis Nikole Nelson
Known as Black Forager on Instagram and TikTok, Nelson is all about helping people find edible goodies in the world around them — for free. With over 500,000 followers on Instagram and 2.2 million on TikTok, she teaches people how to make everything from violet syrup to walnut liqueur. It turns out foraging in your neighborhood for unexpected tasty treats is the ultimate thrifty hack.
Is Homeschooling Permanent?
With the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading rapidly across America, it’s unclear how long schools will stay open. But while we’re all used to remote learning by now, there’s another trend picking up in parallel: homeschooling.
The world’s classes went online amid the pandemic, but in America, a growing number of parents have chosen a different route. Instead of virtual lessons for their kids, they turned to homeschooling. The number of families teaching their young ones by themselves doubled between spring and fall of 2020 and by October, 11% of American households were doing it. People also entered into homeschooling pandemic pods with neighbors, giving students more of a social scene than the kitchen table. The biggest jump was in Black families, where homeschooling increased fivefold as traditional schools failed to serve their needs.
2 - Delaying Kindergarten
Lots of families chose to delay kindergarten for their kids last year and the class of 2021 is expected to be huge as a result of the late starters. School districts across the U.S. are preparing for the flood of young students by hiring more teachers. But were the children who skipped kindergarten last year homeschooled? That could hold the answer to worries among some educators that they might otherwise be developmentally behind or lack appropriate social skills.
3 - Here to Stay?
That’s what some experts believe — and not just those who support homeschooling. In fact, the rise of the phenomenon during the pandemic, with its potential to partially displace traditional classes, is spooking educators who believe that school is the safest and best place for kids to be. Some are even calling for a ban on homeschooling to nip its surge in the bud.
Here’s a question. In which of the following countries is homeschooling legal?
a) Germany b) South Africa) c) China
Write in with answers below. And Anne B., Adalina A. and Tony M. — congratulations! You got yesterday’s trivia question right: Paraguay is the only country in the Americas where one Indigenous language — Guaraní — is spoken by the majority of the population!
Argentina’s best kept musical secret might not ring a lot of bells internationally but he enjoys almost religious status at home, all without big record labels or even media interviews. His bands’ lyrics are part of popular culture, and their monumental concerts attract hundreds of thousands of fans. Check them out.
2 - Kikagaku Moyo
With swaying long hair and vintage style right out of the ‘60s, Tokyo-based Kikagaku Moyo — which means “geometric patterns” — is leading the Japanese revival of psychedelic rock while gaining popularity and touring around the globe. Their musical influences include everything from hip-hop and blues to folk and classical Indian tunes. Tune in.
3 - The Wrecking Crew
You’ve probably listened to their music without knowing it. This group of studio musicians from Los Angeles is featured on hundreds of records throughout the ‘60s, playing the backing music for iconic artists including the Beach Boys, the Monkees and the Mamas & the Papas. You don’t want to miss Carol Kaye’s magic bass.
Meet proud Texan and Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey. The Dazed and Confused actor is certainly not confused about a future in politics and shares some insights into his new book, Greenlights. Plus, hear him gush about his wife and family. Watch on Amazon Prime Video.
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