Despite lockdowns, 2020 was America’s deadliest year for gun violence in two decades, The Washington Post reports, as nearly 20,000 were killed and another 24,000 took their own lives. COVID-19 and protests coincided with a 64 percent increase in weapon sales, with 23 million guns purchased in 2020. President Joe Biden is seeking to impose limits on gun ownership despite strong Republican opposition. Meanwhile, police are still investigating the motive behind Monday’s mass shooting in Colorado, with the suspect due in court this week.
2. ‘Anyone but Bibi’: Stalemate in Israel After Elections
Israel’s political gridlock looks set to continue as exit polls showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without a clear path to a majority. Tuesday’s elections were Israel’s fourth in two years and were seen as a referendum on the country’s longest-serving leader. Netanyahu campaigned on Israel’s successful vaccination rollout, but there were also huge “anyone but Bibi” protests against the polarizing politician in the run-up to the vote. His Likud party will likely have to form a coalition with extreme right parties, while a fifth election is also a possibility.
3. Myanmar Releases Hundreds of Detained Protesters
More than 600 people arrested for protesting last month’s coup were released Wednesday in an apparent goodwill gesture by Myanmar’s military — one day after a 7-year-old girl was shot dead by a soldier. The child was killed during a raid on her family’s home in the city of Mandalay, prompting activists to take a new tactic today, staying off the streets and instead calling on workers to strike. Detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was due in court today but the hearing has been delayed until April 1.
As working remotely has increased the number of hours we all spend online, have you ever felt yourself longing for a day without video calls that can inadvertently turn you into a cat? Well, if you work at Citigroup, your wish has been answered. The Wall Street company is instituting “Zoom-free Fridays” in an effort to tone down the pressure on workers. A recent survey showed that a massive 87 percent of Americans said their job impacts their mental health, and 41 percent reported feeling burned out a year into the pandemic.
South Korean officials confirmed today that North Korea conducted its first short-range missile test since the start of the Biden administration over the weekend. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan that he wishes for “cordial relations” between the two countries. And a massive container ship has gotten stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking traffic in one of the world’s busiest waterways.
You're at the bar (in a post-COVID world) and “Don't Go Breaking My Heart”comes on. For today's March Matchup from The Carlos Watson Show, which of these singing superstars are you pulling in to be your karaoke duet partner:Sevyn Streeter orJordin Sparks? Watch both on the show and cast your vote.
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They’re not shredding this one. A painting by graffiti artist Banksy went under the hammer at Christie’s Tuesday, earning $23 million for charities working with the U.K.’s National Health Service. But unlike Girl With a Balloon, which shredded itself after selling for $1.4 million, it remained intact. Game Changer, showing a young boy playing with a superhero nurse doll, appeared in a London hospital near the start of the pandemic along with a note from Banksy: “Thanks for all you're doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
2. Harry in the Valley: Prince Takes Job at California Startup
Britain’s Prince Harry has long been outspoken about his own mental health, so it makes sense that he’s joining BetterUp Inc., a San Francisco life-coaching startup that deals with it. “What I've learned in my own life is the power of transforming pain into purpose,” the Duke of Sussex, 36, said about his new job as chief impact officer — a role more commonly seen at nonprofits. Harry and American wife Meghan Markle stepped down as working members of the royal family last year and moved to California, and have since inked lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify.
3. Forget Death in Venice, There are Dolphins in Venice!
It’s for real this time. Unlike fake reports during Italy’s first lockdown last year, two dolphins have now been caught on camera making the most of the city’s quieter canals as Venice faces a third wave of COVID-19. Videos showed an adult dolphin and a calf near the famous St. Marks Square and along the Grand Canal. The wandering marine mammals appeared to be striped dolphins, which are not usually found in the Northern Adriatic, according to Sandro Mazzariol, a veterinary pathologist. Authorities escorted the dolphins, which seemed lost and disoriented, back to sea.
4. Bloody Controversial: Indigenous Australians Slam Art Festival
“We’re not props for your white guilt art.” That’s what many First Nations people told Tasmania’s Dark Mofo festival organizers over Spanish artist Santiago Sierra’s planned Union Jack piece. Sierra had called on Indigenous people from places colonized by the British Empire to donate their blood, which would soak a Union Jack flag as commentary on colonialism. After a public outcry, the event organizers apologized Tuesday and shelved the project. “A coloniser artist intending to produce art with the actual blood of colonised people is abusive, colonising and re-traumatising,” tweeted Claire Coleman, an Indigenous writer.
What do you think? Should art be canceled for offending Indigenous people or allowed to go ahead as a matter of free expression? Reply to this email, including your first name, last initial and city or state and we may share your response in the PDB.
5. Study Shows Saliva Test Can Diagnose Concussions
This could be game-changing. In a three-year trial, British scientists took samples from 156 rugby players in head injury assessments and found that DNA markers in saliva could predict concussions with 94 percent accuracy. The University of Birmingham researchers said the salivary biomarkers can also help study the body’s response to trauma over time. Though it could be years before such tests are available on the field to deliver immediate results for athletes in risky sports like rugby, scientists are hopeful they’ll also make it easier for doctors to test for other brain injuries.
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