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Sep 01, 2021
Happy Wednesday! Think e-commerce and it’s hard to look beyond Amazon. Not in Russia though. Meet a Moscow-based former teacher who’s challenging Jeff Bezos with her country’s largest online marketplace — which she built while on maternity leave. While you wait for the NBA season to start next month, read about some of the world’s other up-and-coming basketball leagues. And make the middle of the week extra delicious with some of the world’s best non-Belgian waffles. Check out the winners of last week’s caption contest.
As Afghans woke up to their first post-war day in two decades, U.S. President Joe Biden said the country’s military withdrawal marks a new era for U.S. foreign policy. “This decision ... is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” Biden said. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the Taliban are scrambling to form a government in the face of a looming economic and humanitarian crisis. Can the U.S. really kick its habit of getting into wars abroad? Answer here or on Twitter (Sources: Al Jazeera, WSJ, The Guardian)
2 - Voting Rights and Wrongs
Texas Republicans have passed a controversial bill in the state senate that restricts access to voting by, among other things, banning 24-hour voting and drive-through polling stations, two measures that aided turnout during the 2020 presidential election. Critics have described the new regulations as a threat to democracy in a state that already has some of the strictest balloting rules in America. (Sources: NYT, NPR)
3 - Energy Drought
Climate emergencies are leaving millions without power across the Americas. In hydro energy-dependent Brazil, a historic drought has pushed water levels to their lowest in nearly a century, causing widespread power shortages. In the U.S., meanwhile, mass floods caused by Hurricane Ida have left thousands stranded and millions without electricity. (Sources: Reuters, AP)
4 - Dis-app-rove
South Korea has become the first country to challenge the app dominance of Google and Apple, with a new law that forces tech companies to allow competing payment systems in their app stores. The move could threaten the 30% commission both companies make from all app downloads. (Source: WSJ)
5 - Clever Cockatoos
Wild cockatoos have given the animal kingdom a lesson in resourcefulness. The noisy white birds were filmed on an island in Indonesia using three sticks as “tools” to open large seeds. (Source: Guardian)
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The daughter of one of Turkey’s biggest newspaper barons broke with the family business to strike out on her own. Today, the 48-year-old owns e-commerce businesses worth more than $2 billion and is among the world’s top female tech entrepreneurs. The jewel in her crown is Hepsiburada, one of Turkey’s largest e-commerce platforms whose name translates to “everything is here.” And it is — from laptops to jewelry. Often called Turkey’s Amazon, the firm became the first from Turkey to launch an IPO on the Nasdaq exchange in July, drawing a valuation of nearly $4 billion.
2 - Tatyana Bakalchuk
What Doğan Boyner is to Turkey, Bakalchuk is to an even bigger market: Russia. Except that Bakalchuk has built her stunning success story without a silver spoon. The former English teacher, with Korean roots, started her e-commerce site, Wildberries, from her Moscow apartment while on maternity leave in 2004. Today, 17 years later, she has fended off takeover attempts from Kremlin-backed firms and venture capitalists to turn Wildberries into Russia’s biggest online marketplace. In the process, Bakalchuk has leapfrogged the country’s politically connected elite to become Russia’s richest woman.
3 - Jessica Anuna
This 28-year-old Amazon alumnus with a hearty laugh and dimples is doing what the tech giant won’t: integrating Africa into global e-commerce delivery networks. At the moment, Amazon doesn’t deliver anywhere on the continent. Anuna’s Lagos-based online fashion retail startup, Klasha, has developed its own payment and delivery solutions, which it’s integrating into the systems of global brands so African consumers can have goods shipped from across the Atlantic faster than DHL.
Beyond the NBA: The New Rising B-Leagues
The talent pool of global basketball isn’t limited to the NBA anymore.
Professional basketball has finally arrived in Africa, and it is here to stay. The NBA and FIBA, the sport’s global governing body, have teamed up to form the continent’s first pro league, with Senegal-born NBA Vice President Amadou Gallo Fall — dubbed the godfather of African basketball — as its president. The league debuted with 12 teams in May in Rwanda, with big names like hip-hop star J. Cole and former U.S. President Barack Obama pitching in to help the sport grow in Africa. Fall predicts that the BAL could be the best league outside the U.S. in a decade. We think it could get there sooner.
2 - National Basketball League
What do NBA names like LaMelo Ball, R. J. Hampton and the newly drafted Josh Giddey have in common? They all come from the NBL’s Next Stars program, a unique quirk of Oceania’s premier basketball league with nine teams in Australia and one in New Zealand. The Next Stars development program, introduced during the 2018-19 season, is designed to locate players from around the world and give them the best chance of getting drafted into the NBA. Excluding Giddy and Hampton, 11 NBL players were picked up on summer league rosters.
3 - Liga ACB
Spain’s ACB is lauded as one of the top domestic leagues in the world. The 18-team league is entertaining and has a history of developing great European players who have had productive NBA careers such as Luis Scola, Luka Dončić and Tiago Splitter. Some players even prefer the ACB to the NBA. Nikola Mirotić, who averaged about 12 points per game in his seven-year NBA career, surprised everyone by choosing to return to Spain and play for FC Barcelona Bàsquet in 2019, so he could “do something bigger in Europe,” Mirotić said. The Spanish league was the right fit for him and others like Rudy Fernández, who felt they could spread their wings and be better players.
Waffles With a Twist
The Belgians might be the masters, but other cultures have their own takes on waffles — and they’re worth trying.
The Japanese snack is fishy but not in a bad way. Taiyaki is a fish-shaped waffle commonly filled with ice cream or azuki sweet red bean paste.
2 - Rosettes (Scandinavia)
If you are a carnival or amusement park-goer, you might mistake this one for a funnel cake. This Northern European snack, also known as circus waffles, is exclusively made with rose-shaped irons.
3 - Stroopwafel (Netherlands)
“Waffles in syrup.” That is the Dutch translation of stroopwafel, which originates from Gouda, Netherlands. True to its name, the Dutch dessert consists of two thin waffles with syrup right in the middle.
Meet Elizabeth Nyamayaro, the award-winning humanitarian who has served as advisor to U.N. Women and the World Food Programme, and headed up the U.N.’s HeForShe campaign to advocate for gender equality. After being saved from malnourishment by a UNICEF aid worker while growing up in rural Zimbabwe, Nyamayaro dedicated her life to service and activism, inspired by the Shona-language greeting from her small African village. Watch now.
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