It’s a “black day for Belgium,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said following today’s bombing at Zaventem airport, where at least 11 were killed and 81 wounded. Another explosion hit the Maelbeek Metro station, killing at least 20 and injuring scores. ISIS is claiming responsibility, and police have released a photo and wanted notice of one man they are looking for in connection with today’s violence. Meanwhile, leaders have raised Belgium’s terror alert to the highest possible level and declared three days of national mourning, with Michel urging citizens to “show calmness and solidarity.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s gone south … but hopes his efforts to normalize relations won’t. Yesterday the U.S. president touched down in Havana — the first to do so in eight decades — where he’ll spend 48 hours touring historic sites and meeting with leaders. The arrests of dozens of dissenters and sweeps to remove beggars and prostitutes from the streets signal the Castro regime’s strict control. But Obama, who will address the island in a televised speech tomorrow, hopes to reach past the sanitized version and meet with Cubans directly to extol greater freedoms.
The plot thickens. Salah Abdeslam, arrested Friday after a dramatic raid, may have been planning another terrorist attack in Brussels, and Belgian prosecutors say they have DNA identifying an accomplice named Najim Laachraoui, 24. Abdeslam, suspected of involvement in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130, is being interrogated, and Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders says weapons and a new terror network have been uncovered in Belgium’s capital. Interpol is warning neighboring countries to be on the lookout for accomplices who may try to flee in the wake of Abdeslam’s arrest.
Oy vey! The Republican front-runner is speaking today at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference, and some Jews are less than thrilled. The pro-Israel lobby will hear speeches from Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Hillary Clinton as well. But some rabbis, concerned by the Donald’s rhetoric and “neutral” stance on Israel, plan to protest by quietly studying the Torah’s passages on tolerance during Trump’s address. OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says the ad-libbing billionaire plans to speak from prepared remarks in an attempt to appear more presidential.
They’re reportedly planning another attack. Just two days after the latest in a series of bombings killed five people in Istanbul, Turkish state media say authorities are hot on the trail of three militants who are conspiring to attack Turkey again. Provincial police departments have been instructed to keep a sharp lookout for the three men, who are all linked to ISIS. Meanwhile, five have been arrested in connection with the suicide attack over the weekend, as Turkey struggles to attract tourism in the wake of several deadly bombings.
They’re painting the town red … with a lot of green. The U.S. paint giant just agreed to mix colors with its Minneapolis-based rival in an $11.3 billion deal. Sherwin-Williams will pay $113 cash for each share, topping Valspar’s Friday share price by more than a third, with the equity value of the deal ringing up at $9.3 billion. The merger is expected to be finalized in early 2017, giving the Cleveland-based paint supplier a stronger foothold with retailers like Lowes and an opportunity to expand overseas.
This has a different ring. The FBI has postponed a legal showdown with Apple over whether the tech giant can be forced to help unlock a terrorist’s iPhone. They say an “outside party” has come forward with a possible solution, which could let Apple off the hook just a day after CEO Tim Cook promised to keep up the fight during a live event announcing the smaller iPhone SE. The judge has issued an indefinite stay, but expects a status report from the government by April 5.
No. 1 men’s tennis pro Novak Djokovic questions equal prize money. (BBC)
Russian court finds Ukrainian pilot guilty of killing two journalists. (DW)
North Korea reportedly fires five more missiles into the sea. (AFP)
Investigators look into whether driver fell asleep in deadly Spanish bus crash. (The Local)
Flight recorders damaged in FlyDubai crash. (CNN)
Get a room! Couples will soon be able to reserve hotel stays in Cuba via Booking.com. A deal has been reached between Cuba and Priceline to allow the discount travel firm’s subsidiary to make rooms at a number of Cuban hotels available to U.S. customers in the coming weeks. It also follows a weekend agreement between Havana and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to manage three prestigious hotel properties in the Cuban capital — all signs that American tourism to the communist island is set to take off.
They’re rocking the boat. Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council plans to launch a $300 million vessel to Antarctica, and they’ve asked the public to choose its name online. But Internet balloting isn’t always smooth sailing — after all, a Mountain Dew contest once generated names like “Hitler did nothing wrong” for a new drink — which explains how “RRS Boaty McBoatface” is steaming ahead by over 21,000 votes. In second place? “Henry Worsley,” after a famed explorer who died recently — and who many hope can catch up before the April 16 deadline.
This can’t fly. Information security expert Ryan Satterfield wondered whether his drone could easily be hacked, so he tested it, using an unsecured network and basic software — and sent it crashing to the ground. With drones quickly filling the skies above, the danger that they’ll be hijacked by evildoers is also soaring. There’s the obvious threat of terrorism, and industry professionals say that without greater regulations it’s just a matter of time before drones are used to frame people for crimes, to traffic drugs or to expose private information.
Elizabethkingia doesn’t sound scary, but the bacteria found in soil, rivers and mosquito guts is behind an outbreak of blood infections that have killed 17 people in Wisconsin since last November. It’s now spread to a western Michigan patient, who has also died. The bacteria’s not dangerous for most people, but it can cause life-threatening meningitis or pneumonia in the elderly and very young, or those with compromised immune systems. The CDC says the infections stem from the same parent bacteria, but they’re still working to pinpoint the source.
The Boss said it was OK. At a gig last week in Los Angeles, young Xabi Glovsky held up a sign asking Springsteen to sign his note because he’d be late for school the next day. The 66-year-old singer obliged, asking Xabi’s teacher to excuse him for the late night of “rocking and rolling” — which she did. The evening also served as a farewell to the venue, with the rocker dedicating his song “Wrecking Ball” to the historic L.A. Memorial Sports Arena, soon be demolished.
It really was madness. Down by 12 points with just 33 seconds left, the Aggies pulled off an epic rally to force overtime before prevailing over Northern Iowa 92-88. The shocking 14-2 turnaround included three forced turnovers in a row and a game-tying layup with less than two seconds remaining that doomed what had seemed certain to be a repeat upset for the underdog Panthers. Instead, No. 3 seed Texas A&M advances to the Sweet 16 where they will face No. 2 Oklahoma in Anaheim on Thursday.