A rapid transit overpass collapsed in Mexico City last night, dropping a train onto a road, reportedly killing at least 23 people and injuring 70 more. “A support beam gave way,” said city Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum from the scene, as rescuers worked amid rubble and debris which had trapped vehicles underneath. Videos showed one rail car hanging with one end on the viaduct and another on the street. It’s on Metro Line 12, whose construction elicited charges of irregularities. Marcelo Ebrard, who was mayor when it opened in 2012, tweeted that “causes must be identified,” and that he was “at the disposal of authorities.”
2. Biden Softens, Welcoming 62,500 Refugees in 2021
Limiting migrant admissions into America to 15,000 per year, President Joe Biden said yesterday, didn’t demonstrate that the U.S. was “a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.” That was nonetheless the limit his administration stuck with until a backlash from Biden’s own supporters. On Monday he said the limit would go up to 62,500 but cautioned that the system, hobbled by the Trump administration, couldn’t process that many arrivals. In addition to trying to rebuild it, immigration authorities say they’re also trying to bring together over 1,000 separated families, four of which will reunite this week.
It’s a cautionary tale of two countries. In India, large religious and political gatherings are partly blamed for the deadly, record-shattering pandemic surge, with cases surpassing 20 million today amid an oxygen shortage. In New York, ground zero for much of last spring’s pandemic peak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that all public venues, from restaurants to Broadway theaters, can fill to capacity on May 19. Neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey announced similar reopenings. But health experts urged officials not to be lulled by lowering case numbers and growing immunization, noting the danger from highly contagious virus variants in a population that isn’t fully protected.
Is it time to reopen the Big Apple’s public spaces? Answer our PDB poll.
4. Bill and Melinda Gates Are Splitting
After 27 years of matrimony, the Microsoft co-founder and his wife Melinda tweeted Monday that they have “made the decision to end our marriage.” As with fellow tech magnate Jeff Bezos’ 2019 breakup, it’s both a personal and financial event: Gates owns $26 billion in Microsoft shares, and TMZ reports that there’s no prenuptial agreement. While Gates wrote that the two won’t “grow together as a couple,” he said they will continue to jointly run the $51 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, known for its work to reform education and improve healthcare in the developing world.
Webby in Your Coffee: The PDB’s sister report, Whiskey in Your Coffee, has been nominated for the prestigious Webby Awards in the best email newsletter category! Vote here for your favorite newsletter and spread the word so others can sip its magical elixir.
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“Is there a doctor on board?” When expectant Utah mom Lavinia Mounga discovered on her Hawaii-bound flight she was in premature labor Wednesday, there was a veritable baby ER to help. By the time an Oahu-based family doctor reached her, the Utah mom was holding her tiny baby and surrounded by three vacationing Kansas City neonatal intensive care nurses. The medics improvised, using shoelaces to tie off the umbilical and a smartwatch to monitor the baby's heartbeat for three hours until landing at Honolulu. Nurse Mimi Ho said she and her colleagues visited mother and baby Friday, and, “we all just teared up.”
2. Minister to China: ‘Get the F--- out’ of Philippine Waters
He’s poking the dragon. Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin may have set a new bar for diplomats by tweeting about China’s ongoing encroachment in the South China Sea. He posted Monday about the “illegal” presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels lingering inside his country’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone: “China, my friend, how can I politely put it? Let me see … GET THE F--- OUT.” He then apologized for the outburst, but retweeted coverage of it today, commenting: “To my friend [Chinese Foreign Minister] Wang Yi only. Nobody else.” China has yet to issue (or tweet) a response.
3. Golden Globes Board Urges Passage of Diversity Reforms
Will they show their true colors? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s governing board has asked its 86 members to approve reforms to diversify the Golden Globes-awarding group, which has no Black members. Those include expanding membership with a focus on Black participation and eliminating the requirement that only Southern California-based journalists can join. If the vote fails, board members wrote, they’ll take “more serious” measures, “not limited to resigning.” The Grammys on Friday announced opening up its secretive nomination process, partly because of a boycott by The Weeknd, who yesterday called it “an important start” but still won’t participate.
4. Boxer Charged With Pregnant Girlfriend’s Murder
It’s not an isolated incident. Olympic boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez, 27, appeared in court yesterday in his native Puerto Rico facing charges that he had kidnapped his pregnant girlfriend, Keishla Rodríguez, dumped her into a San Juan lagoon and shot her from a bridge. It was but one incident in an epidemic of femicide for which the U.S. territory declared a state of emergency in January. Another intimate partner murder last week, of Andrea Ruiz, whose fears of her boyfriend were ignored by police, adds to mounting pressure for authorities to take threats against women more seriously.
Baby boomers remember the ozone layer and its infamous hole. It protects us from the harmful effects of the sun, and over years has been degraded by chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. Now the gases that replaced them, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), have closed the hole but warmed the climate over 1,000 times more than carbon dioxide. The Biden Administration yesterday announced strict limits on the manufacture and import of the chemicals. But unlike other environmental regulations, this one’s got bipartisan support in Congress, even in the A/C and refrigeration industry. If other nations follow, it could avoid a whopping .9 degrees Fahrenheit of warming.
By now, you’ve probably heard us talking about our favorite sneakers from Cariuma, but if there’s a time to take the leap and buy them, it's during Earth Month! Not only will you look great and feel great in these colorful and crazy-comfy kicks, but until the end of the month, Cariuma will plant ten trees in the Brazilian rainforest for every pair sold.
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Today on The Carlos Watson Show, get to know the man Carlos predicts will be the Democrats’ next house speaker. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries joins the show to speak about his harrowing experience during the Capitol riots, collaborating with the “unusual suspects” on criminal justice reform and the event that sparked his passion for politics. Don’t miss hearing from this political power player.