Don’t rock the boat. That’s the message from the Federal Reserve chair, who says global economic uncertainty still poses a threat to an otherwise “resilient” U.S. economy. She stressed that while the Fed still plans to eventually raise interest rates, any such move will be done slowly and deliberately. Experts interpreted the comments as a sign that no increase will be proposed when the group meets next month. U.S. stocks responded positively to Yellen’s remarks, the dollar slid and investors are now hedging more on the likelihood of a September increase.
The Presidential Daily Brief
A sad trip turned tragic. The political commentator and former Liberal federal cabinet minister was traveling to attend the funeral of his father when the plane he was flying on with his wife, sister and two brothers crashed into an island near Quebec. Officials have confirmed that seven died aboard the privately owned plane, which was trying to land amid fog and freezing rain on the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Lapierre, a former Transport Minister, is being remembered by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre as a “man of dignity” and a quick-witted commentator.
There may be such a thing as bad press. Corey Lewandowski has been charged by Florida police with simple battery stemming from an alleged incident involving Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a campaign event on March 8. An officer reported seeing bruising on the reporter’s arm, and the Jupiter Police Department has released a new video of the incident. The billionaire candidate, meanwhile, is threatening to pull out of tonight’s debate, and his campaign says Lewandowski — who must appear before a judge on May 4 — is “absolutely innocent” and “looks forward to his day in court.”
They couldn’t decide. America’s highest court said today, in a 4-4 ruling, that it could not resolve a case involving the right of public employee unions to collect mandatory fees from non-members — effectively handing organized labor a win. In January, the conservative justices, who then enjoyed a majority, seemed to feel that forcing financial support for unions was a First Amendment violation. Now, with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat sitting vacant, the case highlights the possible impact and change of direction of an understaffed court.
Was it a matter of the heart? Authorities have reportedly apprehended Seif Eldin Mustafa — a hijacker claiming to have a suicide explosive belt — after he ordered the pilot of Flight MS181 from Alexandria to Cairo to land at Larnaca airport in Cyprus instead. All 81 passengers have been released, and officials have confirmed that the bomb was fake. Some reports say the “unstable” hijacker only wanted to talk to his Cypriot ex-wife, while others have cited political motivations — a question investigators will now be looking to solve.
They don’t need an upgrade. The federal government says it’s unlocked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone without assistance from Apple, after six weeks of feuding over the company’s refusal to help. While the DoJ says it “successfully accessed” the information with help from an unidentified third party, the battle is likely to continue: Apple wants to know what method was used to crack the phone, and the government’s classified technique to access encrypted data is likely to raise questions about the corporate giant’s ability to keep customer data safe.
Welcome to the Badger State. The Republican front-runner waded into Wisconsin’s local media, deadlocked against Ted Cruz ahead of the state’s April 5 primary. While some critics say the mogul gets a free pass in interviews, he found no such treatment here, fielding confrontational inquiries from three of the state’s leading conservative talk radio hosts, including Charlie Sykes. Gov. Scott Walker is expected to endorse Cruz today, which could be yet another setback in a state where OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says a loss could complicate Trump’s path to the nomination.
But who in the world will unite with these Workers? Brazil is led by the Workers’ Party — but in alliance with their biggest political partner, the PMDB, which is expected to vote tonight to end their decade-long coalition. That could spell disaster for scandal- and recession-plagued President Dilma Rousseff, after a lawyers’ association filed an impeachment petition against her Monday. Now her mentor, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is trying to cobble together enough votes to secure Rousseff’s position despite an impeachment vote expected next month.
Plane crashes on Quebec island; deaths include ex-cabinet minister (CBC)
Fidel Castro blasts Obama’s Cuba visit. (WSJ) sub
More than a quarter of GOP senators say they’d meet with Merrick Garland. (NBC)
Injuries reported after massive fire in UAE. (Reuters)
Police investigate apparently random beheading of child in Taiwan street. (Time)
Everyone and their cousin will be sad to hear this. The icon who won viewers’ hearts starring as look-alike cousins with vastly different personalities in The Patty Duke Show died yesterday in Idaho following complications from a ruptured intestine. Duke first won acclaim, and an Academy Award, for her teenage performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. The New York native, mother of three and mental health advocate is being remembered by colleagues like Ed Asner as both “a great star and a great person.”
They’re brothers in arms. While Chinese, Japanese and Korean leaders may spar back home, they’re working together well in Africa, setting up military facilities in places like Djibouti. The beefed up presence follows Asia’s trade boom with Africa — China alone was expected to hit $300 billion in 2015 — and while they’ve been in the region for a while, they’re now quietly expanding their forward military presence. This has some in the American military, still the dominant foreign military force there, hopeful for future cooperation.
They’re gaining a foothold. As the Philippines gears up for its May general election, the family of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos is gaining ground, with his wife Imelda gunning for a third term in Congress and his son, Ferdinand Jr. (a.k.a. Bongbong), a frontrunner for vice president. The government, worried the country’s millennial voters have forgotten Marcos’ corrupt two-decade reign, are sharing Imelda’s extravagant jewelry collection — though not her famous thousand pairs of shoes — on social media as they prepare to auction off the lot.
They’re on shaky ground. The U.S. Geological Survey has issued a new earthquake hazard map showing that parts of the Sooner State are as seismic as regions in California now that man-made earthquake risks have been included for the first time. In many central states like Oklahoma, the injection of wastewater from fracking is shaking things up. Last year the 3.9-million-strong state endured nearly 900 low-magnitude earthquakes, compared to just one in 2007, and scientists believe that managing injection rates could help reduce the risks.
It’s nearly within grasp. A wave of reviews have flooded in for Facebook’s virtual reality headset, with most saying it’s an impressive piece of hardware but still lacking in several areas. While the setup is reportedly simple and it offers an immersive experience, some critics say the games and functionality offered so far only scratch the surface of what may soon be available. And with a $599 price tag, skeptical gamers — and the public at large — may hold off before making the leap into the third dimension.
No need to tip. The uplifting musical based on the 2007 film stormed out of the gates during its opening week, including a record-breaking sellout performance of $145,532 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Overall, it was a lucrative Easter weekend for Broadway, with ticket sales springing to a record $31.48 million, and 13 musicals banked at least $1 million for the week. With awards season — and several new productions — on the horizon, the show is expected to go on … all the way to the bank.
They put their guard down. Top league officials privately conceded that brawling among hockey players can lead to severe head injuries, depression and other health problems, with players self-medicating to cope with the symptoms. The newly surfaced email exchanges, which include Commissioner Gary Bettman, contradict public statements made as the league faces a class-action suit from dozens of former players. While the number of fights has fallen significantly since 2010-11, that’s unlikely to shield the NHL from complaints that they haven’t done enough to warn players about potential risks.