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Sep 06, 2021
Good morning! From fashion to fitness and everything in between, trends today are made or broken by a handful of prominent social media stars known as “influencers.” These online celebrities earn hard cash from their millions of followers. But today, you’ll meet an Argentine influencer who’s using his Instagram fame to help Indigenous communities get desperately needed ambulances. Read about how Milan’s mafia gangs are changing their strategies amid the pandemic and try some gluten-free cake delights.
It’s not a happy Labor Day. More than 7 million unemployed Americans are poised to lose all jobless benefits today as three federal programs lapse. Nearly 3 million others will lose the $300 weekly income bump provided by those programs, deepening a sense of crisis at a time when the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has hit the economy. Should the benefits be continued? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, CNBC)
2 - Coup Versus ‘Coup’
Guinean soldiers have taken the country’s President Alpha Condé into custody and claim they’ve grabbed power, prompting a sharp rebuke from the United Nations. But Condé, once a respected leader, is no longer a poster boy for democracy, after controversially winning a third term last year by amending the constitution to allow him to run twice more. Read more about the “term-elongation fever” that’s infecting West Africa’s leaders, on OZY. (Sources: Al Jazeera, CNN)
3 - ‘Softer’ Taliban?
It was always going to be a hard sell to the Islamist group’s rank and file, no matter what their leadership claims to a global audience. Taliban fighters thrashed women protesters marching to demand rights over the weekend, though the group said four men had been arrested for the violence. Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed on Monday that they’ve taken control of the northern Panjshir region, the last bastion of resistance against their rule. But the National Resistance Force, the anti-Taliban forces in the region, rejected the claims as “false” and said the fight over Panjshir was still on. (Sources: BBC, Guardian, Reuters, Hindustan Times)
4 - Back-to-Home
Since July, at least 1,000 schools across 31 states have returned to virtual teaching after restarting physical classes, as the explosion in cases from the Delta variant has upended a long-awaited return to school for tens of thousands of students. In Mississippi alone, 13,715 students have tested positive over the past month. And the virus led to rare drama on the soccer pitch when a World Cup qualifier between heavyweights Brazil and Argentina was suspended after health officials entered the field, concerned that some Argentina players had violated quarantine protocols. (Sources: WSJ, FT, AP)
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The 29-year-old Argentine influencer started his career with silly stunts like spilling milk on his face. Now, Maratea has amassed nearly 2 million followers on Instagram and is using his fame to help families and communities in need. With support from his fans, his philanthropic efforts have ranged from simple acts, like paying for a woman’s groceries, to grand gestures, like purchasing two ambulances for an indigenous Wichí community and securing $2 million in funding for a child’s medical care.
2 - Molly Burke
She has a vision to help young disabled people — a vision that doesn’t require actual sight. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at 4 and losing a majority of her sight at 14, the now 27-year-old YouTube star became one of the first creators on the platform to represent the disabled community, her content sharing how she navigates her daily life as a blind person. What’s more, she has become a trailblazing inspiration for young disabled people, advocating for greater handicap accessibility in the self-care space and speaking out against bullying, as well as being a motivational speaker.
3 - Tyler Oakley
A gay YouTube star with almost 7 million subscribers, Oakley has scored interviews with legendary change makers like Michelle Obama. His channel focuses on inspiring other members of the LGBTQ community to accept themselves for who they are. The activist has been a huge supporter of the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that leads in combating suicide in LGBTQ youths, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization with the help of his fans.
Crime’s a Changin’
The pandemic hasn’t just changed our lives. It’s also changing the tactics of crime groups around the world.
Before the pandemic, Milan’s malavita(organized crime cartels) sold drugs in public spaces — parks, restaurants and nightclubs. But amid the pandemic and restrictions on movement, dealers have turned to WhatsApp and the dark web to communicate with buyers. Drugs are dealt more stealthily, both knowingly and unknowingly, through food-delivery workers. The malavita have also found themselves playing a crucial role in the economy, providing loans to small and medium-size businesses struggling because of the pandemic.
2 - Hack-Attack
Building walls won’t stop Latin American crime cartels from entering this illicit business. With crackdowns on human and drug trafficking, experts fear that cartels might turn to hacking to continue to extort and exploit from the safety of their desks. Hackers in Brazil and Mexico are cooking sophisticated local code that they’re using to target banks, ATMs and smartphones in Latin America … and, increasingly, even in the United States. Read more on OZY.
3 - COVID Conning
The rushed distribution of pandemic aid has proved a ripe opportunity for fraudsters to scam citizens, both in the U.S. and around the world. California officials have counted up at least $11 billion stolen from the state’s COVID-19 relief program with some estimating the number to be as high as $30 billion. Meanwhile, officials have found at least 66 percent of unemployment money has been misspent in Nebraska.
And while we’re discussing modern crime, here’s a quiz. The largest-known crypto-scam of 2021 so far involves the theft of $3.6 billion. Which country witnessed this scam?
With a crust made of pecans, cashews and dates topped with a sweet raspberry swirl, this recipe is ideal for when you’re jonesing for cake but don’t want to bake. These healthy, bite-size snacks are a perfect summer snack and easy to make because you stick them in the freezer instead of the oven.
3 - Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Cake
Claire Saffitz’s cake recipe is the perfect Passover dessert, topped with chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons that are a holiday favorite. Both grain-free and vegan, this scrumptious treat can be enjoyed by anyone at any time of the year.
Do you have a unique cake recipe you’d like to share with your fellow Whiskey in Your Coffee readers? Send us brief recipes and a photo, and we’ll pick our favorites!
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 to see how data will revolutionize farming and explore solutions to food insecurity and climate change. Binge the series now onApple,Spotify,Stitcher orwherever you get your podcasts!
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