5/18/21 Power Five

1. Why is Covid Killing So Many Young People in Brazil? – “There’s a barrier to access for many,” said Dr. Ana Luisa Pacheco, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the Heitor Vieira Dourado Tropical Medicine Foundation in Manaus. “For some children, it takes three or four hours by boat to get to a hospital.”

2. The World Economy is Suddenly Low on Everything – “Copper, iron ore and steel. Corn, coffee, wheat and soybeans. Lumber, semiconductors, plastic and cardboard for packaging. The world is seemingly low on all of it. “You name it, and we have a shortage on it.”

3. If California is an Anti Business State, Why is the Economy Booming? – “Yet these factors don’t inherently have good or bad effects on business climate. Taxes that are too low to fund basic public services aren’t a virtue, and no intelligent CEO is going to prefer a state with potholed roads and dysfunctional courts to one with serviceable transportation infrastructure and efficient venues to work out their legal disagreements.”

4. Called By God – “Operation Underground Railroad is now famous for its international sting operations. They are a big fundraiser: In 2015, a Silicon Valley man funded a sting with $40,000 and watched it happen in real time. With the help of OUR, a rich person can become a vigilante hero for the day, their living room transformed into a personal situation room. For those who can’t afford the situation room, Ballard carries the drama with him to every interview and every fundraiser. That drama, and a real desire to save children, moves a lot of donors, whether or not it’s accurate. Vice recently investigated a few of Ballard’s stories and found “a pattern of image-burnishing and mythology-building, a series of exaggerations that are, in the aggregate, quite misleading,” and has detailed “disturbingly amateurish” operations like the one I attended.

5. A Town in Japan Spends Covid Money on Giant Squid Statue – “Noto, a fishing town where the squid is a delicacy, erected the statue in March in a bid to promote tourism after the pandemic subsides. The five-and-a-half-ton pink sea creature sits outside a squid-themed restaurant and tourist center.”

What $230,000 buys you – NYT