Spring equinox, Mariners-Athletics, Powerball $550M jackpot: 5 things to know Wednesday

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Spring equinox, Mariners-Athletics, Powerball $550M jackpot: 5 things to know Wednesday

It's spring! And there's a supermoon and ice cream

Wednesday is the official first day of spring, and there's an astronomical doubleheader to mark the glorious event. The spring equinox, the precise moment the sun's rays shine directly on the equator, arrives at 5:58 p.m. EDT. (The spring equinox is one of two days in the year – the other being the autumnal equinox in September – when there is roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness almost everywhere on Earth.) At 9:43 p.m. EDT comes the final "supermoon" of the year, when the moon is a few thousand miles closer to Earth than usual. Down here on Earth, Dairy Queen is celebrating spring by giving away small vanilla soft-serve cones.

What is Andrew Gillum's 'major announcement'?

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is set to make a "major announcement" Wednesday. Gillum, who lost to Republican Ron DeSantis in the November election, earlier this month posted a video to Twitter that included clips from his gubernatorial campaign and ending with the campaign's rallying cry of "Bring it Home." The video was paid for by Gillum’s statewide political action committee. Since then, his name has been circulated as a possible candidate in the crowded Democratic presidential field.

Man who killed family and held classmates hostage now up for parole

Twenty-five years ago, Clay Shrout was a talented but troubled 17-year-old in Boone County, Kentucky. On May 25, 1994, Shrout shot and killed his parents and two sisters at their home, then went to his high school and took over a classroom. For 17 minutes, he held students hostage until eventually giving up his gun. Having served 25 years of a life sentence, Shrout, now 42, is scheduled to go before his parole board for the first time on Wednesday. While no shots were fired and no students injured, the incident has sometimes been described as a foreshadowing of the Columbine school shooting five years later.

Get your tickets ready! Powerball jackpot climbs to $550M

March Madness isn't the only game causing a frenzy this month. Wednesday's Powerball jackpot drawing is now worth an estimated $550 million. According to lottery officials, it’s the eighth largest Powerball prize in history. The winner can choose to receive the prize in annuity payments or take the lump sum option, which is $335 million before taxes. Thinking about what to do if you strike it big? You may not want to quit your day job — the likelihood of winning the jackpot is 1 in 292,201,338.Good luck. 

MLB's opening day, international edition

It's opening day for U.S. Major League Baseball . . . in Japan? Yes: The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics square off Wednesday in Tokyo for the first regular-season game of the MLB season. Mariners legend and Japan native Ichiro Suzuki, 45, will be in the starting lineup for the Mariners as he begins his 19th year in the majors. You'll have to get up early to catch it: The evening start time at the Tokyo Dome means ESPN's broadcast of the game begins at 5:35 a.m. ET. Fans looking forward to the league's opening day in the United States have to wait until March 28.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Spring equinox, Mariners-Athletics, Powerball $550M jackpot: 5 things to know Wednesday

  • The Trump team's Mueller report game plan: Read the report quickly and put out responses
    USA TODAY

    The Trump team's Mueller report game plan: Read the report quickly and put out responses

    WASHINGTON – Thursday, at least a dozen attorneys and staff members for President Donald Trump will plunge into special counsel Robert Mueller's 400-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Their mission? Distill the document into a quick response for the waiting political world. The president and his advisers are getting ready for the release by the Department of Justice of the findings by the special counsel whose investigation Trump called a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.” Staff and lawyers will be assigned sections of the report to digest as the team looks to develop official statements and talking points. The descriptions of the Trump team's preparations are based on interviews with five sources familiar with the plans.

  • Woman accused of making threats against Columbine high school found dead
    The Guardian

    Woman accused of making threats against Columbine high school found dead

    The young woman being hunted in Colorado after making threats against Columbine high school just days before the 20th anniversary of the mass shooting there was found dead by police on Thursday, apparently as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, law enforcement officials said. Sol Pais, 18, who authorities said had traveled to the Denver area on Monday from her home in Florida, had been declared armed and dangerous on Tuesday after purchasing a pump-action shotgun and ammunition. She was hunted down in a forested campground in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, west of Denver, late morning on Wednesday.

  • Ocasio-Cortez backs boycott of New York Post over cover attacking Ilhan Omar
    Yahoo News

    Ocasio-Cortez backs boycott of New York Post over cover attacking Ilhan Omar

    While President Trump repeatedly attacks the New York Times and other purveyors of “fake news,” New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is targeting her own media foe: the New York Post. In a Sunday interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” the freshman New York congresswoman explained why she is endorsing a boycott of the paper organized by local Yemeni-American bodega owners, calling the Post's attack on her friend Rep. Ilhan Omar “beyond the pale. Ever since she was elected last November, the Post has relentlessly attacked Ocasio-Cortez over her progressive views and her opposition to Amazon's plan to move its headquarters to Queens.

  • Notre-Dame Reconstruction Effort Attracts Nearly $1 Billion
    Bloomberg

    Notre-Dame Reconstruction Effort Attracts Nearly $1 Billion

    More than 800 million euros ($920 million) has already been pledged for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral, according to French Culture Minister Franck Riester. The normal annual budget for restoring national monuments is about 300 million euros, he said. The immediate priority is to secure Notre Dame's vault, which has a gaping hole in the middle after its spire collapsed during Monday night's fire, Riester said in an interview on France2 television.

  • 11 Must-See New Cars and SUVs at the 2019 New York Auto Show
    Car and Driver

    11 Must-See New Cars and SUVs at the 2019 New York Auto Show

    Go figure, an important auto show played host to several consequential vehicles' coming-out parties. From Car and Driver

  • Ukraine presidential candidates finally agree debate
    AFP

    Ukraine presidential candidates finally agree debate

    Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday finally agreed to a debate to close a presidential campaign that has at times descended into farce. Poroshenko originally called the event for last Sunday but Zelensky was a no-show, leading the incumbent to hold a one-man debate next to an empty podium at a Kiev stadium. With Zelensky scoring 72 percent support to Poroshenko's 25, according to the most recent opinion poll, this could be the last chance the incumbent has to boost his flagging campaign.

  • Portugal says all 29 dead in bus crash were German
    Associated Press

    Portugal says all 29 dead in bus crash were German

    All the 29 people killed in a tour bus crash on Portugal's Madeira Island were German, Portugal's foreign ministry confirmed Thursday. The bus carrying 55 people, all German tourists except a Portuguese driver and guide, rolled down a steep hill after veering off the road on a bend east of Madeira's capital, Funchal, on Wednesday evening when it was still light and in fine weather. The crash injured 28 others.

  • Porsche Collection Destroyed in Explosion
    motorious

    Porsche Collection Destroyed in Explosion

    The building itself also contained one of America's largest Porsche collections according to the Charlotte Observer. The rather unassuming red brick building didn't boast about the treasures within, but video from the Charlotte Observer revealed a huge hole in the roof and the charred remains of what appears to be a 550 Spyder amongst other less identifiable wreckage. Bob Ingram, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, and his wife reportedly started the collection in 1998 after a visit to the Monterey Historic Automobile Races.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 4-U.S. Justice Department tells T-Mobile, Sprint it has concerns about merger deal -sources

    The U.S. Justice Department has told T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp it has concerns about their proposed $26 billion merger in its current structure, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, although no final decision has been made. Sprint shares fell about 9 percent after the bell as investors increased bets the deal would not be completed following a Wall Street Journal report the merger is unlikely to be approved as currently structured. Shares of T-Mobile fell 4 percent.

  • Pete Buttigieg: Outrage over anti-gay protestors dressed as 2020 candidate 'whipping Jesus on a cross'
    The Independent

    Pete Buttigieg: Outrage over anti-gay protestors dressed as 2020 candidate 'whipping Jesus on a cross'

    Pete Buttigieg has been confronted by anti-gay hecklers along the campaign trail this week, with demonstrations taking a bizarre turn at an Iowa rally. A notorious anti-abortion activist dressed as the Indiana mayor began whipping a man wearing a costume of Jesus Christ near a Marshalltown campaign stop Wednesday morning, a day after that same protestor attempted to interrupt another event held by Mr Buttigieg. That man, Randall Terry, can be seen in a video captured by freelance Getty Images video producer Marcus DiPaola donning a “Mayor Pete” sign around his neck as he whips the other demonstrator, who is holding a cross on his back.

  • Man accused of tossing boy off Mall of America balcony ordered held without bond
    Reuters

    Man accused of tossing boy off Mall of America balcony ordered held without bond

    In his first court appearance since Friday's incident, when he allegedly dropped the boy nearly 40 feet (12 meters), Emmanuel Aranda was charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder, Hennepin County Attorney's office spokesman Chuck Laszewski said. Prosecutors had asked for bail to be set at $2 million, but Hennepin Country District Court Judge Jeannice Reding reserved her decision on the request, ordering Aranda held in lieu of $2 million bond until a May 14 hearing, Laszewski said. Aranda, 24, who lives in Minneapolis, did not enter a plea, Laszewski added.

  • Former Congressman Keith Ellison: Trump's Attacks on Ilhan Omar Are 'Violent Incitement'
    The Daily Beast

    Former Congressman Keith Ellison: Trump's Attacks on Ilhan Omar Are 'Violent Incitement'

    Former congressman Keith Ellison has a theory for why President Donald Trump is working to make Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) public enemy number one. “She, simply by her existence, is a person who he doesn't believe belongs,” Ellison said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast. Omar has been a constant lightning rod for controversy since arriving in Washington, where her comments about the Israel lobby have drawn intense criticism from her Democratic and Republican colleagues alike.

  • These Are the Health Companies at Risk in the 'Medicare for All' Debate
    Bloomberg

    These Are the Health Companies at Risk in the 'Medicare for All' Debate

    Health insurers and now hospitals have led the sector-wide plunge even as policy analyst like Veda's Spencer Perlman argue that Medicare for All has a slim shot at becoming law. While the broader healthcare sector remains under pressure -- S&P 500 health care names have lost more than 6 percent over the past three days in their biggest drop since December -- managed care's sell-off appears to have abated for now with S&P 500 insurer names now little changed intraday.

  • How One Man's Deleted Tweet Launched a Worldwide Notre Dame Conspiracy Theory
    The Daily Beast

    How One Man's Deleted Tweet Launched a Worldwide Notre Dame Conspiracy Theory

    Hale quickly tweeted that his friend had “zero evidence” for the claim beyond a purported conversation with cathedral staff, and he deleted the original tweet minutes later. But it only took those few minutes for his tweet to become a core piece of proof for right-wing conspiracy theorists who are convinced, without any actual evidence, that the fire was set by terrorists. With one tweet, Hale became sucked into a right-wing media machine eager to both rile up its audience and earn more traffic on social media.

  • Previously captured 3D images will be used to restore Notre Dame Cathedral after fire
    KGO – San Francisco

    Previously captured 3D images will be used to restore Notre Dame Cathedral after fire

    Previously captured 3D images will be used to restore the damaged Notre Dame Cathedral.

  • Amazon to pull plug on China retail operations: report
    AFP

    Amazon to pull plug on China retail operations: report

    Amazon plans to close down its online retail operations that cater to consumers in China in an apparent admission of defeat to local e-commerce rivals such as Alibaba and JD.com, a report said on Thursday. The US e-commerce pioneer will maintain other operations in China such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kindle e-books and cross-border teams that help ship goods from Chinese merchants to customers abroad, Bloomberg News said, citing unidentified people familiar with the plans. An Amazon spokesperson did not explicitly confirm plans to throw in the towel on domestic e-commerce, but said the company was looking to focus more on cross-border sales.

  • Stop Facebook's targeted advertising by changing your account settings
    USA TODAY

    Stop Facebook's targeted advertising by changing your account settings

    Adjust your Facebook ad preferences You can do the following on Facebook's desktop website, and you can also access ad preferences through your Facebook app. From the site, click the on the downward arrow in the upper corner and click on Settings. Click on Ads on the left side.

  • Parents of Swedish coder held by Ecuador say he is innocent
    Associated Press

    Parents of Swedish coder held by Ecuador say he is innocent

    The parents of a Swedish programmer suspected of plotting to blackmail Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno over his abandonment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made an anxious plea Tuesday for authorities to release their son. Dag Gustafsson acknowledged that his son, Ola Bini, had a friendship with Assange but said his ties with the hacker who lived in Ecuador's London embassy while evading U.S. and British authorities for nearly seven years ends there. "Ola is a friend of Julian Assange, nothing more," he said, sitting before a screen with an image of his son, dressed in cap and smiling slightly.

  • Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squad
    Reuters

    Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squad

    Ukraine's security service SBU said on Wednesday it had captured a Russian military intelligence hit squad responsible for the attempted murder of a Ukrainian military spy in the run-up to a presidential election on Sunday. The issue of how to deal with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and backs pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, is prominent ahead of the vote, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko casting himself as the commander-in-chief Ukraine needs to defend the country. Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU, the main intelligence agency, told a news conference in Kiev that seven members of the Russian group had been detained and charged and that an eighth person had been detained on Wednesday morning.

  • Teenager accused of killing grandparents and plotting against school
    ABC News Videos

    Teenager accused of killing grandparents and plotting against school

    A 17-year-old has been charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly killing his grandparents in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

  • Trump allies say they're 'not concerned' about the Mueller report
    Yahoo News

    Trump allies say they're 'not concerned' about the Mueller report

    Ahead of the scheduled Thursday morning release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, allies of President Trump have a simple message: Move along, nothing to see here. Bolstered by the knowledge that Attorney General William Barr has already declared he would not charge Trump with obstruction of justice and that Mueller's investigation found no evidence of collusion with Russia, multiple sources close to the president said they were confident the report wouldn't damage the White House. One source close to the White House told Yahoo News on Thursday that they were not worried about Mueller's report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential cooperation from Trump's campaign with those efforts.

  • Photos of the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio NRING Special Editions
    Car and Driver

    Photos of the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio NRING Special Editions

    The NRING package is available on both the Giulia Quadrifoglio and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. From Car and Driver

  • Man with two cans of petrol and lighters arrested inside New York cathedral days after Notre Dame fire
    The Independent

    Man with two cans of petrol and lighters arrested inside New York cathedral days after Notre Dame fire

    A man has been arrested after walking into St Patrick's Cathedral in New York with two cans of petrol, lighter fluid and lighters just days after a fire tore through Notre Dame in Paris. The 37-year-old New Jersey man allegedly pulled up in a minivan outside the landmark in Manhattan on Wednesday night, walked around the area, and then returned to the vehicle to retrieve the items, said New York Police Department (NYPD). As he enters the cathedral he's confronted by a cathedral security officer who asks him where he's going and informs him he can't proceed into the cathedral carrying these things,” said NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism John Miller.

  • Instagram accounts of Iran Guards commanders blocked
    AFP

    Instagram accounts of Iran Guards commanders blocked

    The Instagram accounts of several Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders have been blocked, the Tabnak news website reported Tuesday, with the photo-sharing website saying it was complying with US sanctions. The United States announced on April 8 that it has placed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic republic, on their list of "foreign terrorist organisations". Tabnak, a site close to Iranian conservatives, said Instagram blocked the accounts of Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Major General Mohammad Bagheri and Major General Ghassem Soleimani.

  • 20-year-old college student falls 100 feet off cliff to her death
    AOL.com

    20-year-old college student falls 100 feet off cliff to her death

    A 20-year-old college student plummeted 100 feet to her death off a cliff during a school trip last weekend. Although it is considered one of Arkansas' most photographed spots, Hawksbill Crag has been the site of multiple deaths by unintentional falls in recent years, including that of a 19-year-old University of Arkansas coed in 2016. Briar Cliff University released a statement on Saturday following Norton's tragic death.