Say cheese! Victory in the Badger State injected an extra boost of momentum to both senators’ long-shot campaigns. It was Donald Trump’s most consequential loss since Iowa, and a campaign recalibration is already underway. As Cruz nabbed nearly all of Wisconsin’s delegates, OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says chances are rising for a contested GOP convention in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Brooklyn-born Sanders, who’s won seven of the last eight contests, still needs an upset in New York, Hillary Clinton’s former senatorial turf, to have any statistical shot at the Democratic nomination.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s the first to fall. Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has agreed to step down over allegations from the leaked papers that he hid millions in overseas investments by setting up a shell with the help of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Thousands protested today while Gunnlaugsson resisted calls to resign, attempting to dissolve Iceland’s parliament before finally capitulating. Reports say he’s likely to be replaced by the country’s agriculture minister — but his downfall leaves many wondering if more public figures will be toppled by the scandal.
He says it’s a matter of ”sincerely held religious beliefs.” But Bill 1523, the latest in a series of similar bills introduced after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, allows private businesses and government employees to deny services to gay people. The government must still provide services to gay citizens, but individual employees can opt out. A similar bill was recently vetoed in Georgia after the U.S. business community raised an outcry, but Gov. Phil Bryant has ignored public protests and signed the bill into law — leaving Mississippi’s gay community bracing for the aftermath.
Money talks. As Dairyland voters head to the polls today, a new report highlights two economic models forecasting a Republican win in November, including one that factors in slow GDP growth and inflation, while a third model favors Democrats. Meanwhile, the front-runners faced uphill battles today in Wisconsin, where Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders pulled off victories. Hillary Clinton’s campaign reminded supporters that she was never expected to win the Badger State, while she and Donald Trump remain favorites in New York and in the overall nomination battle.
Are they up to no good? Project 38 North reports that “unusual” steam — exhaust caused by heating the main plant at the Yongbyon Radiochemical Laboratory — was seen in satellite images from last month. While plumes of steam don’t necessarily mean the Hermit Kingdom is beginning to refine plutonium, it could mean that threats to restart nuclear development have led to action. Meanwhile, Seoul is refusing to hold discussions with Pyongyang, calling on the North to “stop its provocations” and “take a path toward denuclearization with sincerity.”
The Caucasus is on the brink. A third day of clashes over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh between the nations’ forces yesterday killed at least 13 people, bringing the death toll since Friday up to 46. Armenia’s president warned a “large-scale war” is possible over the mountainous area his country has controlled since the end of a six-year war in 1994. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to back Azerbaijan “to the end,” while U.S., Russian and German leaders are calling for an end to the fighting.
Everyone counts. That’s the message from America’s highest bench, whose justices unanimously ruled yesterday in Evenwel v. Abbott that states may draw election districts based on total population, rather than the number of eligible voters. Had they decided the other way, it would’ve shifted voting power away from urban hubs and into GOP-friendly rural areas. “Representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained. While other reapportionment methods may prove constitutional, this decision favored the status quo — and Democrats.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark eyes top U.N. job. (AFP)
Vitamin D shows promise for healing diseased hearts. (BBC)
Ted Cruz is mad that John Kasich won’t bow out of GOP race. (NYT)
Winston Moseley, whose crime prompted creation of 911 system, dies at 81. (NPR)
Global military spending is on the rise. (DW)
Ford puts $1.6 billion toward Mexico plant. (Detroit Free Press)
They cannot be contained. Breanna Stewart and the Huskies capped a perfect 38-0 season in thunderous fashion, beating Syracuse 82-51 and becoming the first women’s college basketball team to win four consecutive national championships. Stewart and teammates Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck also made history as the only players, male or female, to win four titles. And coach Geno Auriemma overtook UCLA men’s coach John Wooden with his 11th overall championship. The victory also marks the 75th consecutive win for a team that’s unlikely to slow down any time soon.
Take a break; you’ve earned it. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to require businesses to pay an employee’s full salary for six weeks after the birth of a child, the first major U.S. city to do so. California already requires partial payment, usually up to 55 percent. Critics say such measures will hurt small businesses in an already volatile economy — but workers’ rights advocates call this a huge win, and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been talking up parental leave policies on the campaign trail.
They weren’t even supposed to be there. Kris Jenkins hit a 3-pointer as time expired, giving his team a dramatic victory over North Carolina, 77-74. The 70,000 fans in attendance were treated to a great college hoops performance, with both squads trading leads until the very end. It’s the Wildcats’ first NCAA title since 1985, and comes on the heels of two disappointing seasons. Afterward coach Jay Wright said he couldn’t wait to see a replay of his own reaction to what’s being called an instant classic.
Civilization wasn’t always so civilized. Anthropologists have uncovered a link between human sacrifices and the rise of stratified social systems. A new study shows that ritualized religious killings may have been used by ancient elites to cement social hierarchies in some of our earliest civilizations. University of Auckland researchers found that the barbaric practice was common among a diverse group of larger Austronesian cultures, and their research is shedding a bloody new light on how we developed from smaller egalitarian settlements to the large class-based societies we have today.
Hair today, gone tomorrow. As the airline restarts service to Tehran, it’s stirred controversy with an internal memo asking female flight attendants to wear head scarves and loose-fitting clothing in Iran as a nod to cultural norms. In France, full-face veils worn publicly for religious purposes are illegal. While flight attendants already don abayas on Saudi Arabian stopovers, crew members protested the latest request, leading to a union fight. Air France finally conceded that staff can opt out of the Paris-to-Tehran route when it launches April 17.
He’s cheesed off. Vladimir Putin’s army may be formidable, but the shirtless wonder really flexes his muscles with economic sanctions, like seizing 470 tons of Parisian cheese last year to make a point about Europe’s political maneuvering. Such actions appear petty but can cripple economies. The stakes are especially high for Turkey and Ukraine, who have political beefs with Moscow but rely on its energy and tourism. And the Kremlin’s posturing is biting Russians — who give Putin high approval ratings nonetheless — with soaring prices at home.
The plot thickens. The heir apparent to 65-year-old CEO Bob Iger announced that he’s leaving the company in September. Staggs’ contract wasn’t up until June 2018, and no reason was given for his decision. With Disney since 1990, he’s overseen the empire’s theme parks, cruises and the lion’s share of its employees. The firm says it’ll start to “broaden the scope” of its succession planning — big names like Sheryl Sandberg are already flying — but stocks tumbled in after-hours trading on news of the surprise departure.