Saturday, April 03, 2021
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1. Car Rams Checkpoint, Killing Capitol Officer

Gunfire erupted yesterday at the U.S. Capitol after a man rammed a car into police officers, killing one before being fatally shot. William “Billy” Evans was fatally struck at a checkpoint, becoming the fourth Capitol Police officer to die since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot began. Police said the driver of the car tried to attack them with a knife before they killed him. While the motive isn’t clear, Facebook posts by the reported attacker, Noah Green, 25, from Indiana, support Louis Farrakhan’s Black separatist Nation of Islam, and said he was unemployed and warned of the “last days of our world.”

Sources: NBC, CNN

2. Story of the Week: Reliving George Floyd’s Death

To many who watched the gruesome video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck in May, “totally unnecessary” seems an understatement. But that professional opinion from Chauvin’s veteran colleague Lt. Richard Zimmerman, breaking the so-called “blue wall of silence” behind which law enforcement colleagues protect each other,  capped a gut-wrenching week of the dismissed policeman’s murder trial. It featured videos of the 9-minute pinning that preceded Floyd’s death, and regrets from witnesses who said they should have done more to help him. The prosecution will continue next week, after which Chauvin’s attorneys will attempt to justify his actions.

Sources: NYT, ABC, CBS

3. Coming Up: U.S., Iran Agree to Talks

The door is open. Negotiators from Washington and Tehran are planning visit Vienna on Tuesday to make the first attempt to reinstate the 2015 nuclear agreement discarded by former President Donald Trump. While all of the deal’s parties, including Russia and China, are to attend, the U.S. and Iran won’t meet directly. The plans came about yesterday during a virtual meeting, after which the European Union announced that all fellow signatories “emphasized their commitment” to the agreement. But the U.S. wants new provisions, including limits on missile development and support for Middle Eastern militias — possible deal-breakers for Iran.

Sources: NYT, AP

4. Syrian Regime Squeezes Cash From Refugees

It’s a desperate move. But the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad is strapped after nine years of civil war, so it’s turning to one of the few sources of hard currency it has: refugees. First, OZY reports, there’s a repatriation fee (via a costly currency exchange) of $100 per person for anyone who returns. Then, if a man doesn’t pay the $8,000 fee to avoid military conscription, his family can forfeit their home. That’s of particular concern to refugees in Denmark, since the Scandinavian country has decided that there are areas near Damascus that are safe enough for deported Syrians.

Source: OZY

5. Also Important …

Taiwanese authorities intend to prosecute a construction site manager whose possible failure to set a parking brake may have caused a train wreck that killed 50 people yesterday. U.S. President Joe Biden has lifted sanctions imposed by his predecessor on International Criminal Court judges, but remains opposed to their investigating alleged war crimes by American or Israeli forces. And yesterday the top-ranked UConn Huskies fell to the Arizona Wildcats, who’ll appear in their first women’s NCAA Tournament finals game Sunday, against Stanford.

In the Week Ahead: Today No. 1 overall Gonzaga will face UCLA and Texas universities Baylor and Houston will battle for the two slots in Monday’s NCAA men’s tournament basketball final. Wednesday is U.S. National Beer Day. And on Friday, Djibouti will stage an election, but there’s little chance of a meaningful challenge to the 22-year-reign of President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh.

OZY has made it a mission to identify talent long before anyone else does. Before you witnessed Amanda Gorman’s genius onstage at the 2021 presidential inauguration, she was an OZY Genius Award winner. Now it’s your turn! Apply today for your chance to win a grant of up to $10,000 — or tune into our free webinar on April 5 for tips about how to perfect your application.

1. A Pandemic Easter ‘Miracle’

In nearly every Christian-majority nation, tomorrow will be the second Easter Sunday with the stark choice of celebrating quietly, or risking contagion in churches. But in Jerusalem, where many residents have been inoculated in the worlds’s top vaccination program, a Good Friday procession was allowed to stream along the Via Dolorosa yesterday to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Christ’s crucifixion. One Catholic priest said it was “like a miracle” to see people gathered, but in the nearby West Bank most Palestinians still haven’t been immunized, and continue to wait for a new beginning.

Sources: NYT, Newsweek

What are your Easter plans, if you celebrate? Answer our PDB poll and see what others are saying.

2. Are U.S. Parks Beyond Saving?

Bow down to the recreation-industrial complex. That’s the National Park Service’s 21st-century imperative, writes This Land author Christopher Ketcham in Harper’s. Despite being founded in 1916 to preserve as well as display America’s natural treasures, conservation has lost out to a $778 billion recreation industry. And while a new Democratic president might seem its savior, the last one did little to ease the strain on overwhelmed parks that are increasingly open to damaging off-road vehicles and plagued with all manner of human leavings.The best way to save them, Ketcham argues, is to disband and replace the National Park Service.

Source: Harper’s

3. Where It’s Always the Day of the Dead

While pandemic hot spots struggle to bury victims, Mexico’s Jalisco state was overflowing with bodies even before COVID-19. The problem near Guadalajara came to a head in September 2018, when a community noticed a truck trailer packed with bodies. The area was beset with murders from drug cartel violence and the local coroner may have lost one of his daughters as a result of his complaints. In 12 years, 13,578 people were murdered in Jalisco, so nameless bodies keep turning up. Today Mexico has more than 38,000 unidentified bodies and still struggles to match them to the 70,000 people reported missing.  

Source: The Guardian

4. How Coppers Cracked Europe’s Biggest Book Theft

Like in a movie, they rappelled in from the roof. But it wasn’t gold bars or state secrets they were after but books stored in the transit warehouse near London’s Heathrow Airport. Like the 1543 volume in which Copernicus posits the radical theory that Earth and the planets revolve around the sun. Historian Marc Wortman lays out in Vanity Fair the steps that led police, including DNA from a car headrest, to a garage floor in Romania. There, an investigator from Bucharest watched nervously as a jackhammer broke concrete, fearing what it might do to $3.4 million worth of printed treasure underneath.

Source: Vanity Fair

5. MLB Moves All-Star Game Over Voting Law

They’re voting with their feet. Major League Baseball is moving two events, the All-Star Game and its amateur draft, out of Atlanta in protest against Georgia’s restrictive new voting law, widely condemned as a ploy to disenfranchise Black voters. MLB announced that it “opposes restrictions at the ballot box,” which include curtailing early voting and outlawing giving water or food to people waiting in line to vote. The move comes as two of the state’s biggest corporations, Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, have voiced opposition to the law after a public outcry, suggesting baseball won’t be the last business to call a foul on the new law.

Sources: WSJ (sub), ESPN

she’s bringing the spirit to social media

Today on The Carlos Watson Show, meet Sarah Jakes Roberts — social media’s resident minister, author of multiple bestselling books and daughter of the Rev. Bishop T.D. Jakes. Find out how she came to terms with becoming pregnant at the age of 13, how she worked to heal her “broken soul” through faith and service — and why she thinks her marriage is the best love story of all time. Oh, and you won’t want to miss her surprising hidden talent … as a trap rapper. Tune in now for an episode like no other.

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