- Miami Herald
There is nothing sacred about nine.
- Raleigh News and Observer
On one side, schools have “ground to pick up.” On the other, “it should be labeled child abuse to send anybody back to school before Labor Day.”
- Kansas City Star
He was never held accountable or exonerated for the abuse of his now-adult children.
- The State
A court first ordered Mooresville and its police department to return Jermaine Sanders’ $17,000 in November. He still doesn’t have it. Now, his wait could stretch on for months.
- The New York Times
At first glance, the partisan battle over voting rights in Michigan appears similar to that of many other states: The Republican-led Legislature, spurred by former President Donald Trump’s lies about election fraud, has introduced a rash of proposals to restrict voting access, angering Democrats, who are fighting back. But plenty of twists and turns are looming as Michigan’s state Senate prepares to hold hearings on a package of voting bills beginning Wednesday. Unlike Georgia, Florida and Texas, which have also moved to limit voting access, Michigan has a Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who said last month she would veto any bill imposing new restrictions. But unlike in other states with divided governments, Michigan’s Constitution offers Republicans a rarely used option for circumventing Whitmer’s veto. Last month, the state’s Republican chairman told activists that he aimed to do just that — usher new voting restrictions into law using a voter-driven petition process that would bypass the governor’s veto pen. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times In response, Michigan Democrats and voting rights activists are contemplating a competing petition drive, while also scrambling to round up corporate opposition to the bills; they are hoping to avoid a replay of what happened in Georgia, where the state’s leading businesses didn’t weigh in against new voting rules until after they were signed into law. The maneuvering by both parties has turned Michigan into a test case of how states with divided government will deal with voting laws, and how Republicans in state legislatures are willing to use any administrative tool at their disposal to advance Trump’s false claims of fraud and pursue measures that could disenfranchise many voters. The proposal puts new restrictions on how election officials can distribute absentee ballots and how voters can cast them, limiting the use of drop boxes, for example. “These bills contain some of the most outlandish voter suppression ideas that Michigan has ever seen,” said state Sen. Paul Wojno, the lone Democrat on the Michigan Senate’s elections committee. “We’ll find out if what was adopted in Georgia may have backfired, causing legislation like this to be put under a bigger microscope.” The chief executives of 30 of Michigan’s largest companies, including Ford, General Motors and Quicken Loans, announced their opposition on Tuesday to changes in the state’s election laws that would make voting harder — an apparent effort to get ahead of the issue, rather that come under pressure after laws are passed, as happened to two big Georgia-based companies, Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines. In a joint statement, the companies’ leaders warned against passing laws that reduce voting by “historically disenfranchised communities, persons with disabilities, older adults, racial minorities and low-income voters.’’ And in what appeared to be a shot across the bow of GOP lawmakers planning to cut out the Democratic governor, the executives said election laws “must be developed in a bipartisan fashion to preserve public confidence.” The Republican push to tighten Michigan’s election laws comes as the state faces a major spike in coronavirus cases, with the number nearing the peak in late December. Whitmer, who declined to be interviewed, on Friday called for a two-week pause in youth sports, in-person school and indoor dining and asked President Joe Biden for more vaccine. Republican opposition to Whitmer in Michigan has intensified during the pandemic. Michigan is one of just nine states that allow voters to petition lawmakers to take up a piece of legislation; if passed, the law is not subject to a governor’s veto. If the Legislature does not pass the bill within 40 days of receiving it, the measure goes before voters on the next statewide ballot. It is a rarely used procedure: Lawmakers have passed only nine voter-initiated bills since 1963, according to the state Bureau of Elections. But last month, Ron Weiser, the state’s Republican Party chairman, told supporters in a video reported on by The Detroit News that the state party planned to subsidize a petition drive to cut Whitmer out of the lawmaking process. To do so would require 340,047 voter signatures, or 10% of the vote in the last governor’s election. Weiser said that the signatures would be gathered through county committees with party funding. So far, the signature gathering has not begun, nor has the secretary of state’s office received a proposed bill needed to start a petition drive, as required by law. A spokesman for the state GOP, Ted Goodman, said the party could easily gather the needed signatures for the initiative if Whitmer vetoes a bill that emerges from the Legislature. “We’re confident we can ensure election integrity reforms ahead of the 2022 elections," Goodman said. A preview of what might be in a voter-initiated bill was suggested by a package of 39 bills to change the state’s voting laws that Republicans in the state Senate introduced on March 24. Democrats denounced most of the proposals. The package would prohibit the secretary of state from mailing unsolicited applications for absentee ballots to voters, require voters to mail in a photocopied or scanned ID to receive an absentee ballot, and restrict the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, among other rule changes. These measures would roll back some of the expanded access to absentee ballots that Michigan voters approved, by a 2-to-1 margin, in a 2018 vote to amend the state constitution. The bills also include some provisions to make voting easier, such as adding an extra day of early voting on a Saturday and allowing 16-year-olds to preregister to vote. But the bulk of proposed changes would impose new hurdles to absentee voting, after Trump and Michigan Republicans last year spread misinformation about wide fraud and “irregularities” in the use of mail ballots. They particularly targeted Detroit, the state’s largest city, which has a majority-Black population. In November’s election, 3.3 million absentee ballots were cast in the midst of a pandemic, out of 5.5 million total votes. Citing scores of audits, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, called the election one of the most secure in Michigan history. Benson said only 15,300 absentee ballots were rejected, less than 0.5%, for reasons such as arriving too late. Biden carried Michigan by 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points. Benson refused to appear last week before a legislative hearing on the 2020 election, saying it could “further the lies” that undermine faith in voting. The secretary of state has proposed her own election changes, including making Election Day a holiday and allowing clerks two weeks before that date to open absentee ballots and begin processing them; the goal is to shorten the wait for results — one factor that fed misinformation about the 2020 outcome. Despite the courts’ near-universal rejection of claims of fraud, including the Michigan Supreme Court, Ruth Johnson, a Republican state senator and former secretary of state, said there was a “lot of gaming of the system.” “There was more cheating last year in an election than I’ve ever seen in Michigan,” said Johnson, who is chairwoman of the state Senate’s elections committee. Johnson, who represents a district in the Detroit suburb of Oakland County, said the suite of Republican voting bills would receive a fair hearing before her committee and said there was “no predetermined outcome” about which ones would be advanced to the full Senate. Michigan Democrats are working under the presumption that they will have to fight off both the legislative proposals and a major petition drive. Lavora Barnes, the party chairwoman, said she was weighing plans that include a competing petition drive and tailing Republican signature gatherers to speak directly to voters and counter GOP claims. She said Democrats might also argue in court that the new voting legislation violates the state constitution. “We will have our grassroots folks on the ground making sure folks are educated about what they are signing,” Barnes said. “I’m imagining a world where they are standing out in front of folks’ grocery stores and we are actively communicating on the ground during that entire process.” Nancy Wang, the executive director of a group called Voters Not Politicians, which drove support for the 2018 constitutional amendment, said she was preparing a campaign to pressure Michigan corporations to oppose any new restrictions on voting before a law is passed. “We’re making it known what is happening and what the impact would be if these bills were to pass,” Wang said. “We’re trying to get the same result they had in Georgia, but earlier.” Michigan Democrats said the prospect of a citizen initiative to bypass the normal lawmaking process would serve to allow a fraction of the state’s white population to disenfranchise Black voters. “It feels almost criminal to me,” said Sarah Anthony, a state representative from Lansing. “As an African American woman who has worked for years now to expand the right to vote, to mobilize and educate people about why it’s so important to vote, and to lower barriers to people, and now be in the Legislature and see these crafty ways that folks are trying to strip us of the right to vote, words can’t describe it." This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Cambridge will not be reunited with Prince Harry until the day of their grandfather’s funeral, when the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to act as peacemaker between the royal brothers. The siblings are understood to have spoken on the telephone since Harry landed in the UK on Sunday, and hope to finally see each other in the flesh on Saturday morning, ahead of the 3pm ceremony at Windsor Castle. It will be their first face-to-face meeting in more than a year and comes after Harry and Meghan gave an interview to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey suggesting an unnamed royal had queried Archie’s skin tone as well as describing William as “trapped” in the monarchy. Sources close to both couples insist that they will be putting their differences aside for the sake of the Queen as the family gathers at St George’s Chapel to remember the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday, aged 99.
- USA TODAY
The snake involved was an African bush viper. There is no known antivenom for their bites.
- Associated Press
Russia's defense minister said Tuesday that the country's massive military buildup in the west was part of readiness drills amid what he described as threats from NATO. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the maneuvers in western Russia that have worried neighboring Ukraine and brought warnings from NATO would last for another two weeks. Speaking at a meeting with the top military brass, Shoigu said the ongoing exercise was a response to what he claimed were continuous efforts by the United States and its NATO allies to beef up their forces near Russia's borders.
People who got blood clots after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine got them within two weeks of their COVID-19 shot
Of the 6.8 million people who've received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, six people subsequently developed CVST blood clots.
- Business Insider
Companies that have containers on the Ever Given could have to help pay the up to $1 billion Egyptian authorities are demanding before the ship leaves the Suez Canal
Three weeks after getting stuck, the Ever Given is still anchored in the Great Bitter Lake at the Suez Canal.
- Miami Herald
The nation is focused on voter-suppression bills advancing through state legislatures, but there is another wave of bills that are just as much of a threat to voting rights: blatant attempts to raise the penalty for protesting that could harm our ability to vote.
- The Daily Beast
ALEXEY NIKOLSKYAll-out cyberwarfare, nation-wide forced blackouts, and the targeted disruption of internet services—for one of the Kremlin’s top propagandists, all of those tactics are fair game in what she describes as a fated war-to-come against the U.S.“War [with the U.S.] is inevitable,” declared Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of the state-funded Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik, who believes the conflict will break out when, not if, Vladimir Putin moves to seize more territory from Ukraine.As Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s doorstep mounts, Kremlin loyalists have been urging for even more overt aggression and bloodshed in the campaign to annex Ukraine’s Donbas region. The only thing standing in the way, they say, is U.S. support for their beleaguered neighbor.NATO issued a statement on Wednesday demanding an end to Russia’s troop movements on the border with the disputed territory of Donbas in eastern Ukraine. It is the largest buildup of Russian troops since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The U.S. underlined the statement this week by deploying two warships to the Black Sea.On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened retaliation. “We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good,” he said.The escalation was foreshadowed on state television’s Sunday Evening With Vladimir Soloviev over the weekend. Simonyan explained that it was time for Russia to gear up for a showdown against the U.S., and prophesized a kind of war driven by hacking, the forced disruption of internet access, the shutting down of power supplies, and an all-out offensive on U.S. infrastructure.“I do not believe that this will be a large-scale hot war, like World War II, and I do not believe that there will be a long Cold War. It will be a war of the third type: the cyberwar,” said Simonyan.She warned that—in this theoretical battle—the U.S. would plot to cut off the electricity of entire Russian cities. In turn, she speculated, Moscow would be able to force a blackout in Florida or New York’s Harlem at the flip of a switch.“In conventional war, we could defeat Ukraine in two days,” Simonyan said, “but it will be another kind of war. We’ll do it, and then [the U.S.] will respond by turning off power to [the Russian city] Voronezh,” she said.The top RT editor asserted that “[Russia] needs to be ready for this war, which is unavoidable, and of course it will start in Ukraine,” arguing that the Kremlin is “invincible where conventional war is concerned, but forget about conventional war... it will be a war of infrastructures, and here we have many vulnerabilities.”Her solution consists of Stalin-type measures to eliminate “vulnerabilities” in the run-up to another escalation, emphasizing the need for a hack-proof, government-controlled internet. “We still don’t have a sovereign internet, but God willing, we will,” she said.She wholeheartedly endorsed a suggestion from Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the ultranationalist leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party, who argued that all of Russia’s opposition must be eliminated by May 1, 2021. With imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny on a hunger strike—and suffering from severe health ailments after being denied appropriate medical treatment—the Kremlin seems to be firmly set on that course.Simonyan argued that once Russia minimizes its vulnerabilities and renders Putin’s opposition powerless—which she argued could happen in a matter of months—the Kremlin will finally be ready to annex Ukraine’s eastern region.“I’ve been agitating and even demanding that we take Donbas. We need to patch up our vulnerabilities as fast as we can, and then we can do whatever we want,” she boldly proclaimed. The host, Vladimir Soloviev, wholeheartedly agreed: “We only lose if we do nothing.” He argued that by absorbing parts of Ukraine—or the entire country—Russia would be able to remove the zone of American influence further away from its borders.As one of the Kremlin’s most valued propagandists, Margarita Simonyan is notoriously close to the Russian president and has received multiple awards directly from Putin. After accepting one such award in 2019, Simonyan thanked Putin “for the most important reward in life… this honor to serve one’s Motherland.”Her “service” has involved RT and Sputnik-driven disinformation operations aimed at influencing the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which she often boasts about by pointing to the inclusion of her name in various U.S. intelligence reports.Russia’s recent cyberspace activities seem to serve as good practice for the “inevitable war” foreshadowed by Simonyan.Last year, six Russian intelligence officers were criminally charged by the U.S. for using the world’s most destructive malware to force blackouts in Ukraine and damage the critical infrastructure of multiple countries, which caused nearly $1 billion in losses. On Monday, hackers operating from Russia targeted France’s homeschooling platform.The Kremlin is prepared to intensify its offensive against the West, but fears of the retaliation that would follow. The idea of a bulletproof “sovereign internet”—completely under government control within Russian borders—is already on the books, with Moscow having introduced the idea as a preventative measure against retaliatory hacking attempts from other nations.Simonyan argued that Russia will surely be able to exploit the U.S.’s “catastrophic” educational standards, and referred to American military analysts and specialists as incompetent and stupid. She heartily laughed about news that more than 200,000 U.S. service members experienced hearing loss due to defective earplugs.“We can never come to any agreements with [Americans],” Simonyan said, arguing that instead, Russia can just as easily defeat the U.S. in a cyberspace war.She added, mockingly: “We don’t even need the nukes.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
The recent sabotage at Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility is just the latest setback for the country's Revolutionary Guard, though the paramilitary force is rarely publicly criticized due to its power. Its forces failed to stop both an earlier attack at Iran's Natanz facility and the assassination of a top scientist who started a military nuclear program decades earlier. Then on Sunday, the nuclear facility, of which the Guard is the chief protector, experienced a blackout that damaged some of its centrifuges.
- Business Insider
Iran says it will enrich uranium to highest level ever after apparent Israeli attack on key nuclear facility
Iran, which now plans to enrich uranium to 60% purity, has vowed revenge on Israel over Sunday's act of sabotage on the Natanz nuclear complex.
- The Daily Beast
Christopher Furlong - WPA Pool/Getty ImagesPrince Philip was often said to have vowed never to be in the same room as Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of his son Andrew, after photographs appeared in a newspaper in 1992 of Sarah topless and having her toes sucked by a lover in the South of France.Gyles Brandreth, Philip’s official biographer whose book The Final Portrait will be published later this month, has confirmed that long-standing rumor today in the second lengthy excerpt from his book.Even as a Corpse, Prince Philip Has to Take Second Place to the QueenPhilip, he said, declared “enough was enough” after the pictures appeared. He told Brandreth Fergie was “simply beyond the pale,” and resolved not to have anything more to do with her.At the time when the pictures were first published, Sarah was staying at the queen’s Scottish country estate of Balmoral. Philip put his resolution into immediate action, as Ferguson herself recalled to Brandreth, saying: “It was ridiculous. As soon as I came in through one door, he’d be falling over the corgis to get out of the other. It was very funny. Except, of course, it wasn’t.”Although the queen continued to receive Fergie even after her separation and subsequent divorce from Prince Andrew, Philip made it clear that he had no desire to ever see her again.Sarah plaintively told Brandreth: “Of course I want to see him. I am the mother of his granddaughters, after all.”Brandreth said when he raised this with Prince Philip, he just shrugged and said: “But the children come and stay,” adding, “I am not vindictive, but I don’t see the point.”He described Andrew and Sarah’s post-divorce arrangements which have seen them continue to share a home as “truly bizarre,” adding, “I don’t pretend to understand it.”Brandreth writes that Fergie and Philip held diametrically opposed views on “bottling up your feelings” which she believed was positively harmful.Brandreth writes that when her daughters were children she would tell them to stand in the middle of the extensive grounds of their home, Sunninghill Park, and scream.Brandreth wrote that Sarah then demonstrated, catching him by surprise as she let out a blood-curdling scream.He writes: “The prospect of encountering his former daughter-in-law screaming in the middle of Sunninghill Park could have been one of the reasons the Duke of Edinburgh decided to give her a wide berth after her separation from Prince Andrew. He regarded reticence as a virtue and self-control as a quality to be admired.”Philip did not sit down for the 2011 six-parter on the Oprah Winfrey Network Finding Sarah, in which Fergie wept on screen with a TV psychiatrist. He told Brandreth he was in favour of “self-awareness” but against “the endless introspection that seems to be so prevalent these days.” As reported on Monday, he regarded Harry and Meghan’s decision to do a similar interview as “madness.”Fergie, Brandreth reports, tried to repair relations with Philip but was constantly rebuffed.For Philip’s 80th birthday, she sent him “a handsome dinner service.” But even here, fate conspired against her, Brandreth writes: “It was supposed to have 12 settings, but it arrived with 13: the ‘sample’ had been included with the set. With Sarah, somehow, something always goes wrong.”Philip’s allegedly vow to never be in the same room as Fergie was broken only when they both attended the wedding of Prince Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
The Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, a Sin City namesake, is being sold to a new entrant among Las Vegas Boulevard resort owners. Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corp. announced Tuesday it will acquire the iconic Strip property from Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. for about $308 million. The agreement for the nearly 1,500-room hotel, casino, theater and convention property also involves a sale-and-leaseback transaction relating to Bally’s Black Hawk, Colorado and Rock Island, Illinois, casino properties, the company said.
- The Telegraph
Alex Salmond has been accused of pandering to extreme Scottish nationalists after his new party released a campaign video which spoke of breaking "the spine of English superiority” and he claimed the support of a King who died nearly seven centuries ago. The former First Minister’s Alba Party on Monday broadcast a supposed endorsement from Robert the Bruce, who successfully led Scotland during the first War of Independence against England in the fourteenth century. In the clip, 'The Bruce', who actually died in 1329, predicts that Mr Salmond’s new rival party to the SNP would “unite the clans”. The bizarre video was in fact voiced by Angus Macfadyen, an actor who played the Scottish King in the 1995 blockbuster Braveheart, and is a supporter of Mr Salmond’s party.
- Idaho Statesman
Images shared online show just how big some of the hailstones were.
- Business Insider
Over 40 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast have been removed by Spotify since the platform purchased the hugely popular show.
- Associated Press
A student opened fire on officers responding to a report of a possible gunman at a Tennessee high school Monday, and police shot back and killed him, authorities said. The shooting wounded an officer and comes as the community reels from off-campus gun violence that has left three other students dead this year. Police found the student in a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, a city about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Nashville, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David B. Rausch said at a news conference.