1

Olympics or It Didn’t Happen

Fans planning to attend the Tokyo Olympics may need group therapy as Japanese officials have issued a Covid-19 state of emergency. Spectators will not be allowed to attend the events that will instead be held in empty stadiums. "The ban was announced by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers, reducing the games to a made-for-TV event." Those empty stadiums are a thing that many around the world hoped we had left in the dust. Months ago, the Tokyo Olympics were heading towards a celebration of normalcy, but the virus caught them in the homestretch. It's a reminder that this crisis, while so much better in so many places, is not over.
+ The divided threat of Covid-19 is not just between countries, it's within them. As New York salutes health workers, Missouri fights a surge.

+ And within states. Five undervaccinated clusters put the entire United States at risk.

+ Global COVID-19 deaths hit 4 million amid rush to vaccinate.

2

Chip Away

"The U.S. Senate has set aside $52 billion in hopes of increasing the U.S. share of semiconductor manufacturing. A visit to a chip fab in Upstate New York shows why that might not be enough." WaPo: Three months, 700 steps: Why it takes so long to produce a computer chip.

3

Oxy Con

"Fifteen states have reached an agreement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, that would pave the way toward a $4.5 billion settlement of thousands of opioid cases." NYT (gift article from NextDraft): 15 States Reach a Deal With Purdue Pharma, Moving Toward a $4.5 Billion Opioids Settlement. Long story short, the family that poisoned America gets to keep a lot of the money they made doing it. And, "according to spokesmen, two branches of the Sackler family noted that the settlement included no finding of liability or wrongdoing." Patrick Radden Keefe wrote the book on the Sacklers. "It was always going to end this way — truth but not justice, some $ but not enough, no real accountability to speak of."

4

Stop Tossing Your Cookies

"Researchers have found that 'expiration' dates — which rarely correspond to food actually expiring or spoiling — are mostly well-intentioned, but haphazard and confusing. Put another way, they're not expiration dates at all. And the broader public's misunderstanding about them is a major contributor in every single one of the factors I named above: wasted food, wasted revenue, wasted household income, and food insecurity." Vox: The lie of "expired" food and the disastrous truth of America's food waste problem.

5

Reading Haiti Leaves

"Four suspects connected to the killing were killed by police overnight, and another two were detained." Here's the latest on the aftermath of the assassination in Haiti. Along with other signs of turmoil, there are currently two people claiming to be the new prime minister.

6

Clip Art of the Deal

Here's a little financial tip. If you want to save money on your tax bill, buy a professional sports team. You get credit for asset depreciation even though the asset doesn't depreciate. "Teams' most valuable assets, such as TV deals and player contracts, are virtually guaranteed to regenerate because sports franchises are essentially monopolies. There's little risk that players will stop playing for Steve Ballmer's Clippers or that TV stations will stop airing their games. But Ballmer still gets to deduct the value of those assets over time, almost $2 billion in all, from his taxable income." ProPublica: The Billionaire Playbook: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Millions in Taxes.

7

Latest from Surfside

"It is with profound sadness that this afternoon I'm able to share that we made the extremely difficult decision to transition from operation search and rescue to recovery." So said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, as the mission turns to recovery with 86 people still unaccounted for.

8

Tennis Lesson

"I felt under a great amount of pressure to disclose my symptoms—frankly because the press and the tournament did not believe me. I do not wish that on anyone and hope that we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones." Naomi Osaka: 'It's O.K. Not to Be O.K.' (It's good she learned this so young and is spreading the message to other young people. No one is O.K. all the time.)

9

Vegging Out

"In 2018, village-born Jin Guowei was knee-deep in debt and peddling fruit to tourists in the streets of Lijiang, Yunnan. Now he's Brother Pomegranate, an Internet sensation with 7.3 million followers and 300 million yuan ($46 million) of sales in 2020. He once sold 6 million yuan worth of pomegranates in 20 minutes." Bloomberg: Livestreaming Farmers Earn Millions From Fruit on China's TikTok.

10

Bottom of the News

Since we won't have fans at the Olympics, at least check out these photos of fans of Euro 2020. (Not sure why it's called Euro 2020 in 2021. Must be a Soccer/Football thing...)

+ This video of an influencer doing a Tik Tok right in front of a guy working on his laptop is the quarantine experience of every parent.

+ World's biggest sandcastle constructed in Denmark.

+ Italian farmers grow world's biggest ever cherry. (It's a bit of a disappointment, actually.)