Good morning. a 14-year old prodigy last week became the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She can read 1,150 words per minute and multiply and divide large numbers in her head. She also holds three Guinness World Records for basketball tricks. One of her dreams is to join NASA.
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South Africa. Crowds clashed with police and ransacked or burned shopping malls across South Africa on Tuesday with up to 72 people reported killed as grievances unleashed by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma boiled over into the worst violence in decades.
China. The United States has warned companies doing business in Xinjiang, where it accuses Beijing of an “ongoing genocide” and “crimes against humanity” against the Uighurs and other mainly Muslim ethnic minorities, warning firms could be liable to prosecution under US law.
Science. Australian scientists say they have developed painless blood sugar testing for diabetics, a non-invasive strip that checks glucose levels via saliva. For diabetics, managing their blood sugar levels typically means pricking their fingers multiple times a day with a lancet and then placing a drop of blood on a testing strip.
1789 Bastille Day - the French Revolution begins with the storming of the Bastille Prison in Paris (now celebrated as France's national day)
1850 1st public demonstration of ice made by refrigeration by Florida physician John Gorriee
1941 6,000 Lithuanian Jews are exterminated at Viszalsyan Camp
They Wanna Spy on You
The Story The National Assembly has approved a N4.87b budget for the National Intelligence Agency to track, intercept and monitor calls and messages on mobile devices, including WhatsApp.
You don't mean it! The amount is part of the N895.8b supplementary budget submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari last month and approved by both chambers of the federal parliament last week after increasing it by about N87b. The budget according to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, is meant to procure equipment for the military and to fight rising COVID-19 transmission.
Can they bypass WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption? Technology experts maintain that though messages on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted and cannot be read by WhatsApp, the company can trace the origin of the messages through source code. There are other tracking solutions that hackers and interested parties can use to monitor calls and messages. According to reporting by The Punch, the NIA would spend N2,938,650,000 on a Thuraya interception solution while the WhatsApp interception solution would gulp N1,931,700,000.
In addition, the NIA got an additional N129m to enable its personnel to embark on foreign training. The Defence Intelligence Agency, on its part, got a capital vote of N16.8b to provide infrastructure, cyber intelligence centre/laboratory, independent lawful intercept platform (voice and advanced data monitoring) and tactical mobile geological platform. SOURCE
Deadly Delta Variant Is Here
The Story Lagos faces a “potential third wave” of coronavirus infections, governor Sanwo-olu said in a statement.
Are they considering new restrictions? He warned of fines or even imprisonment for those who break rules to contain the virus and said the state would step up its vaccination campaign, following the detection of the highly infectious Delta variant in an incoming traveller. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has not been as hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as other parts of the continent, with just over 168,000 cases and 2,124 deaths confirmed since the outbreak began.
How long has the delta variant been here? National Centre for Disease Control officials last week confirmed that they had detected the Delta variant, putting officials nationwide on alert. The NCDC, however, did not say when the infected traveller had arrived. “From the beginning of July, we started to experience a steep increase in the number of daily confirmed cases, with the test positivity rate going from 1.1% at the end of June 2021 to its current rate of 6.6% as at 8 July,” Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement. “The rapid increase within a week gives great cause for concern.”
What happened to the control measures for incoming travelers? Lagos state, home to the commercial capital, has been the epicentre of Nigeria’s COVID-19 pandemic. It has confirmed 60,366 cases since the outbreak began – nearly 36% of the country’s total. There are self-isolation requirements for all incoming passengers, and arrivals from red-list countries - Brazil, India, South Africa, and Turkey - must quarantine in a government facility. But Sanwo-Olu said that 15% of Lagos arrivals from red-list nations had absconded, while authorities could not reach 18% of other incoming passengers.
He warned of sanctions including fines, imprisonment and deportation for rule-breakers, and said the state was “exploring all avenues possible” to increase vaccine access. Just 1% of residents have received two doses of vaccines against the novel coronavirus. SOURCE
Afghan Women Take A Stand
The Story While some Afghan men in the military have chosen to flee rather than confront Taliban militants, Afghan women aren't giving up without a fight.
What are they doing? In the northern and central parts of the country, the women have taken up arms and are marching in the streets. They're sharing pictures of themselves with assault rifles on social media, in a show of defiance as the Taliban conquers more territory.
But what's their motivation? While they're not likely to be heading to the frontlines, their public demonstrations are a reminder of how frightened women and girls are about what Taliban rule could mean for them and their families. In areas the Taliban controls, restrictions are already in place on women’s education, their unrestricted movement and their clothing.
A changing culture? In the two decades the U.S. and its allies kept the Taliban at bay, a new generation has grown up with unrestrictions many are likely to lose. A recent survey shows that even women from extremely conservative rural areas aspire to more education, greater unrestricted movement, and a greater role in their families. Taliban rule will take them in the opposite direction.
While rare, it's not unprecedented for Afghan women to take up arms. One thing the women have to their advantage is that facing women in battle can be humiliating for Isis fighters. SOURCE
Cubans Have Had Enough
The Story Thousands of protesters marched in cities across Cuba, chanting “Down with the dictatorship!” in the island’s biggest anti-government demonstrations since 1994.
What's happening there? Anti-riot squads and special forces jeeps with machine guns suppressed the unrest. Cuba is experiencing a record surge in coronavirus cases and its worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Last month, the economy contracted 2%, worsening shortages in basic goods. "There is no food, no medicine... They do not let us live," one of Sunday's protesters lamented to the BBC Mundo.
How did they get to this point? Cuba has had a communist political system since 1959, after six years of revolts led by Fidel Castro brought down the military dictatorship of then-President Fulgencio Batista. In 2020, Cuba’s economy contracted by 10.9%, the largest drop in nearly three decades, attributed to the collapse of the tourism industry due to the pandemic and U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
How has their handling of the pandemic been? The Delta variant has led to a surge in daily COVID-19 cases — Cuba reported 6,923 cases on Sunday, twice as many as a week earlier. It also recorded 78 deaths, the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic. Cuba began its vaccination campaign in May. Approximately, 3 million (26.7%) of its 11.2 million population have received at least one dose. Around 1.7 million Cubans (15.3%) are fully vaccinated.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel, in his reaction, blamed the United States for the unrest. He called the US' tight sanctions on Cuba - which have been in place in various forms since 1962 - a "policy of economic suffocation". Díaz-Canel, while accusing the protesters of being mercenaries hired by the US to destabilise the country, called for his supporters to go out and defend the revolution - referring to the 1959 uprising which ushered in Communist rule. SOURCE
A 5-part TikTok series on what happened in Tulsa in 1921. Morning Brew
The WSJ editors have provided three slightly incorrect sentences. Can you figure out the grammar or style error in each?
1. The Satellite Industry Association estimates that about $127B in annual revenue from satellite services is vulnerable.
2. While the cancer is left untreated, patients follow a rigorous program of MRI’s, tests and biopsies.
3.Michelle Santacreu, a Girls Who Code alumnae, won a $20,000 college scholarship.
QUESTION & ANSWER
What are the most interesting "world's largest ___" across the globe?
This is the “Valley of Peace”:
It is located in Najaf, Iraq and is the largest known cemetery in the world.
Despite Najaf having a population of ~600,000 people, the graveyard has between 10 and 15 million bodies. (Though some say it is much higher.)
The cemetery is open to anyone to be buried. The Shia tradition doesn’t make distinctions between poor and rich in mourning and burial. (Source: Fayyad, Qassem. "Wadi Al-Salam: A Cemetery to Cleanse Sins.)
The location is haunting—and quiet. And has been growing rapidly since the start of the Iraq war.
It is an important location because, under Shia belief, the land is literally considered a part of heaven--if you bury your dead there it will hasten their passage into the after life.
Consequently, Shias from around the world send bodies to be buried here.
Don't expect this graveyard to stop growing. SOURCE
1. Using “estimates” and “about” is redundant when talking about the same figure. 2. MRIs shouldn’t have an apostrophe. 3. One woman is an alumna.