He’s made his decision, but Republicans hold the gavel. The U.S. president has nodded toward Garland, a federal appeals court judge from the Bill Clinton era, to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. His name has been discussed for previous picks, and Garland’s reputed as a moderate who’s well-respected by both sides of the aisle. But his age — he’s 63, while nominees tend to be in their 50s — and the fact that he’s another appellate judge from the East Coast who studied at an Ivy League school, could work against him.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s working the system. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is reportedly coming out of retirement to take a job as President Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff. Recently questioned in relation to the Petrobas corruption scandal, Lula was facing possible fraud and money laundering charges. But this move shields him from prosecution by a federal judge because, under Brazilian law, cabinet members can only be tried by the country’s Supreme Court. Lula, in turn, will likely head up the fight against congressional moves to impeach Rousseff on corruption charges.
It’s down to three. Reporting from the scene, OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says Marco Rubio’s faithful booed as the networks called Florida for bitter rival Donald Trump. The Sunshine State senator managed a hopeful tone in his concession speech, but was interrupted by a heckler shouting “Trump for President.” Now John Kasich, with a big victory in his home state of Ohio, becomes the last hope for establishment Republicans, as Trump secured several more wins. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton dominated, knocking back Bernie Sanders in Ohio and making his underdog effort even harder.
They’re sending a message. Otto Warmbier, an American student detained in January while preparing to leave the country with his tour group, has been given 15 years hard labor for trying to steal a political propaganda poster from his Pyongyang hotel. North Korea’s grown increasingly aggressive against the West in recent weeks over the U.S. angling for tougher U.N. sanctions, and Warmbier’s sentence is considered unusually high. American officials had been pushing for the 21-year-old’s release, but his sentencing after a one-hour trial doesn’t bode well.
They were on their way to work. A bomb exploded aboard a shuttle bus carrying government employees in the northern Pakistan metropolis, shattering all the windows and killing at least 16. Dozens more wounded were taken to a nearby hospital, where the death toll is expected to rise. Peshawar is known to be volatile, with security forces on alert for attacks on the nearby Afghan border. Taliban-affiliated militants have claimed responsibility for the bombing, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared that such attacks “cannot shatter our unflinching resolve against terrorism.”
Home buyers can relax … at least until April. U.S. economic data is still shaky enough that the Federal Reserve is holding steady on its benchmark interest rate, leaving it in a range between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent. The news falls in line with expectations that Chair Janet Yellen would not announce another quarter-point increase at the end of her team’s March meeting today. Gradual rises will continue, but 2016 will probably only see two or three hikes instead of the four that were originally planned.
Four arrested over suspected terror attack in Paris. (BBC)
Debris found on Réunion Island “unlikely” to be from MH370. (NBC)
Brussels security forces continue manhunt linked to Paris attacks. (BBC)
Ferguson City Council accepts police overhaul plan from Justice Dept. (CNN)
Hacker collective Anonymous declares “total war” on Donald Trump. (Mashable)
Feds charge man behind 2014 celebrity phone hacking. (Washington Post)
They think it leans too far to the left. So a right-wing revolution is underway in the U.S. higher education system, with endowments, fellowships and campus groups working together with right-leaning academic centers to bolster conservative and libertarian scholarship. They provide courses on the “morality of capitalism” and guest speakers like Donald Rumsfeld, even at colleges that don’t identify as conservative. A new wave of online schools with right-leaning ideals has also sprung up, hoping to educate the next generation of conservatives.
They’re lowering the bar. While previous VR gaming options like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive retail for hundreds of dollars each, Sony’s new headset is causing a stir in the gaming community with a significantly smaller price tag. It’s well-positioned to become a dominant VR player if it can catch up to new Oculus and HTC products hitting the market in the next few weeks. But they all have to leap the same hurdle: Many industry oracles think initial sales are likely to be slow for immersive gaming.
It’s an epidemic. Hoping to curb a national average of 40 deaths a day from opioid overdoses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations to doctors who write prescriptions for chronic pain, suggesting they first try ibuprofen and aspirin. It remains to be seen if physicians will follow the nonbinding guidelines, but some lawmakers are working on stricter rules. Several states are switching to online prescription systems to try to keep fraud in check, and there’s a federal effort to make opioid overdose antidotes more widely available.
He’s not done cracking that whip. Just months after his return to Star Wars in Episode VII, the 73-year-old Chicago native is gearing up for another adventure as the archaeologist hero of a $2 billion franchise. Last year upped interest in new sequels to classic series, with Jurassic World and The Force Awakens both smashing box office records, but while Ford and director Steven Spielberg are both on board for the project, set for a July 2019 release, original screenwriter George Lucas may have jumped ship.
They’re hearing the pitch. After Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto was struck in the head with a line drive Monday, MLB officials say they will “reach out” to the pitcher about new protective headgear, which 20 players have been offered for spring training. The cap/helmet hybrid, one of several options being worked on, has a carbon fiber shell and so far is getting good reviews from players who’ve moved ahead with it. But some say they’re concerned about the aesthetics of bulky headgear, and so far no one’s required to wear safety helmets.