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Agr Briefs

1. Modi’s Party Defeated in Local Poll as Deaths Surge

The election wasn’t Modi-fied. The party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suffered a defeat at the polls in West Bengal state on Sunday, as anger grows over his handling of the coronavirus crisis. He’d been expected to make significant gains in the polls, but a key critic’s party won the state instead.The defeat came as the country recorded a new high in deaths: 3,689. Meanwhile, Britain and France are sending supplies, and Australia’s government is under fire after banning its citizens from returning from India. From today, Australians arriving home from India face huge fines or up to five years in jail.

Sources: The Guardian, BBC, NYT

2. North Korea Threatens ‘Crisis’ for US and South Korea

The U.S. “is a human rights wasteland,” North Korea said yesterday, after U.S. President Joe Biden criticized the country in his speech to Congress and the State Department called it one of the most repressive states in the world. Washington faces a “crisis beyond control in the near future,” Pyongyang said, adding the U.S. “has no right to even discuss human rights” due to its own social inequality and racism. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister also threatened South Korea after defectors sent propaganda pamphlets across the border via balloons. Biden and his South Korean counterpart are to meet in Washington later this month.

Sources: CNN, NBC, BI

3. Jailed Restaurateur Owes Black Man He Enslaved $546,000

A white restaurant manager jailed for enslaving and torturing a Black man with intellectual disabilities has been ordered to pay double the amount of reparations by an appeals court. Bobby Paul Edwards was sentenced to 10 years in 2019 for the forced labor of John Christopher Smith, who worked 100-hour weeks at the South Carolina restaurant, unpaid, for years. Edwards also tortured Smith, once burning him on the neck with hot metal tongs for not delivering fried chicken to the buffet quickly enough. The court says Smith is owed $546,000, not the original $273,000, in back wages and overtime.

Sources: Washington Post

4. Epic Games Goes to Court to Challenge the ‘Apple tax’

Get ready for an Epic legal battle. Epic Games and Apple faceoff in court today in one of the tech industry’s biggest antitrust lawsuits. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to testify, as is Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney, who accuses Apple of unfairly restricting competition. The App Store is the only way to install software on iPhones, but Epic argues the 30 percent it has to pay the company for sale of digital goods in its games is extortionate. Apple is expected to argue the success of other mobile phone producers means it is not a monopolist. The trial is expected to run all month.

Who do you think is right? Vote here or on Twitter.

Sources: WSJ (sub), The Guardian

5. Also Important …

Sen. Mitt Romney, the only GOP member who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump twice, was booed while speaking at a Republican convention in his home state of Utah at the weekend. At least eight people were killed in anti-coup protests in Myanmar over the weekend. And 46 people have died in clashes at the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the worst fighting the region has seen in years.

Coronavirus Update: The U.S. will start trade talks with the WTO on wider global distribution of vaccines. Britain’s Prince Harry has called for equitable distribution of vaccines at a charity concert in Los Angeles.

Webby Awards! Our sister newsletter, Whiskey in Your Coffee, has been nominated for a Webby, the world’s top prize for digital content. Vote here and spread the word!

Today on The Carlos Watson Show: Get to know the real Chelsea Handler. The famed comic keeps Carlos laughing while discussing how she fights against injustice, and encourages us to “get out of your own a**holes” and approach others with empathy. Of course, she also gives us the latest scoop on her relationship status. Watch here.

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