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Aug 30, 2021
Good morning! It’s tough to lose people we love. It’s harder still if they go missing without a trace. Today, on the International Day of the Disappeared, meet the Mexican mother who digs secret graves to look for the thousands of missing people the country has given up on. As schools grapple with an uncertain future, visit a New Jersey community where futuristic learning is making at least some tasks easier. And move to the rhythms of a jazz-inspired South African music form that’s exciting Ed Sheeran.
Hurricane Ida barrelled into Louisiana on Sunday with 150 mph winds, knocking out power in New Orleans and spurring fears of a repeat of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in 2005. At least one death has been reported. Is New Orleans better prepared for hurricanes like Katrina or Ida than it was in 2005? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NPR, CBS)
2 - Airport Under Attack
Rockets were fired near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport Monday morning, the latest threat to America’s frenetic evacuation ahead of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by Tuesday. On Sunday the U.S. launched a drone strike at a car it said was carrying suicide bombers headed to the airport. Afghan officials have said three children were among those killed. (Sources: Reuters, AP, CNN)
3 - Where’s My Coffee?
If you love your morning cup of joe, there’s a crisis brewing. Vietnam’s strict COVID-19 lockdown of Ho Chi Minh city amid a rise in cases is sparking worries of a supply shortage from the major coffee producer, even as drought and frosts have hit Brazil’s export of Arabica beans too. (Sources: BBC, FT)
4 - Europe Closes Doors Again
President Joe Biden might claim that America’s back, but Europe’s not sure it wants Americans returning just yet. The EU is expected to reimpose a ban on nonessential travel from the U.S. amid a surge in infections from the delta variant that’s led to America’s second-largest school district, in Los Angeles, imposing mandatory weekly testing for students. Meanwhile, Japan is probing the deaths of two people whose COVID-19 shots came from suspended batches of Moderna vaccines that were found to be contaminated. (Sources: WSJ, WaPo, Japan Times)
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More than a quarter of a century after the genocide of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men at Srebrenica, many families are still searching for the remains of their loved ones. Almost 7,000 victims have been identified since the massacre by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995, but hundreds remain missing. In 2019Begović, a Bosnian war survivor and member of the group Mothers of Srebrenica, finally got to bury the only part of her brother’s body that has been found so far: his hand. She says she’s not giving up. On the 11th of every month the organization holds a peaceful protest. “We must seek and fight fortruth and justice,” she says.
2 - Cecilia Delgado
After her 34-year-old son was detained by two policemen only to vanish, Delgado formed Buscadores por la Paz or “searchers for peace.” Two agonizing years later she found him in a mass grave. Now she continues looking for Mexico’s estimated 88,000 missing people. “The love we have for our children is greater than the harsh climate, hunger or fear,” she says. “They are treasures because we find them in clandestine graves that we have to excavate. And they are, unfortunately, corpses.”
3 - Sheffra Dzamara
Zimbabwean opposition activist Itai Dzamara was having his hair cut at a barbershop in Harare when he was last seen in 2015. His wife, Sheffra, is still doggedly searching for the father of her two children. Itai, a former newspaper journalist, had been a vocal opponent of then-President Robert Mugabe and organized a protest movement calling for his resignation. Then he vanished. Sheffra has petitioned Mugabe’s successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to shed light on what happened to her husband, to no avail. But she isn’t giving up. “I am going to fight,” she says.
The Classroom of the Future
Our classrooms might not look like what The Jetsons had predicted, but they’re poised for a futuristic tech makeover that no one could have foretold.
Schools in the picturesque community of Sewell, New Jersey, have adopted Bakpax, a futuristic artificial intelligence-powered learning system that grades tests, analyzes results, tracks students’ progress and delivers new content based on their individual needs. The tool, which can process handwritten tests in seconds, has been a hit with students. Tutors also love the extra help, which allows them to focus on teaching social skills, which at least for now (fingers crossed) computers are unable to do.
2 - (Don’t) Put the Phone Down
Playing video games in class? Yes, please! So say teachers in Finland who have been using Minecraft to help students develop essential skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. “The beauty of the game is that you can do anything you want, and for all that you do, you have to find suitable solutions,” said Finnish teacher and MinecraftEdu co-creator Santeri Koivisto. The trend has proven so popular that the country known for having one of the best educational systems in the world has exported the idea to other countries, including the United States.
This style of music originated inTanzaniain the 1990s and mixes U.S. rap stylings with East African taarab. Now with singers likeDiamond Platnumz,Nandy andZuchu producing recent hits in the genre, it’s taking off on YouTube and TikTok. Last year Diamond Platnumz became the first sub-Saharan African singer to get1 billion YouTube views and this year he was nominated for best international act at the BET Awards.
Ever look down at your plate of food and wonder where the ingredients came from? OZY’s hit podcast franchise The Future of X is back, and this season we’re investigating The Future of Farming with our friends at Vital Farms, from how data will revolutionize farming to possible solutions to food insecurity and climate change. Binge onApple,Spotify,Stitcher orwherever you get your podcasts!
Southlake, Texas, seemed to have it all: stately homes, intense civic pride and above all, terrific schools. So when a 2018 video showed Southlake high school students chanting the N-word — and when Black residents shared stories of racist harassment — the school board vowed to make changes. But that in turn set off a backlash that’s consumed Southlake, fueled by a growing crusade against critical race theory. Check out this new NBC podcast.
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