They’re taking aim. As thousands rallied in Fort Lauderdale to demand politicians crack down on gun access, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — the site of last week’s massacre that left 17 dead — were the driving force. Survivors gave emotional speeches imploring lawmakers to act and promising to shame those who take money from the NRA, and they announced “March for Our Lives” rallies across the country March 24. Student activists are also planning a nationwide walkout in April to draw attention to the cause.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“Get smart America!” So President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend as his glee at 13 Russians being indicted by Robert Mueller for 2016 election-meddling — without implicating the president’s team in wrongdoing — reportedly turned to anger at the suggestion that he didn’t win on his own merits. He blamed Russia investigations for causing chaos and former President Obama for inaction. Late Sunday Trump turned to a new target: Oprah Winfrey, whom he mocked as “very insecure.” Winfrey was floated last month as a potential 2020 Democratic rival.
They had to find a way. Fighting has raged for a month in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region, and now Kurdish YPG forces have reportedly agreed for the first time to fight alongside President Bashar Assad’s troops to repel a Turkish invasion. Turkey, recently accused of a chemical attack on Afrin civilians, considers the YPG a terrorist group. A YPG official said the deal, which could see government soldiers arriving within two days, isn’t a sign of a political agreement — though it could complicate American and Russian alliances in the region.
He’s on thin ice. Curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, whose team won a bronze this year, has reportedly tested positive for meldonium, a banned substance. Russian athletes are currently competing under a neutral flag after their country was blacklisted over allegations of state-sponsored doping. Krushelnitsky had a clean test in late January, and some believe his food or drink could have been spiked. If a second sample, currently being tested, also comes back positive, it could mean Russian athletes aren’t allowed to march under their national flag at closing ceremonies.
You can’t count on these sheep … yet. Nearly two dozen Americans die daily while waiting for organ transplants, but scientists are hoping to help by growing human donor organs inside farm animals. They saw a breakthrough Saturday when an American-Japanese team of researchers announced they’d grown sheep embryos that were 0.01 percent human cells. They’ll need embryos that are least 1 percent human to facilitate transplants. But despite the U.S. National Institutes of Health banning public funding for the controversial field, researchers are optimistic, saying, “Things are moving fast.”
They’re on the road to a brighter future. Traditional Egyptian culture encourages gender segregation, but as society opens further to its female citizens, that segregation is a gold mine for women who teach others to drive. With some women uncomfortable being seen in public with an unfamiliar man, female-led driving courses are booming. Not all activists say single-sex schools are the way to go — some believe they stifle true female empowerment — but they’re still creating lucrative opportunities for Egypt’s entrepreneurial women on the open road.
Wash your hands. While authorities say the number of U.S. doctor visits for flu-like symptoms stayed steady in early February at about 1 in 13 — a sign that this year’s deadly flu season may be leveling off — the danger’s not over. The number of children who died of the flu spiked by 22 in the latest weekly report. About three-quarters of the estimated 84 children who have died so far weren’t fully vaccinated. Doctors say the nation’s bout with H3N2 is expected to continue into the spring.
Black power is also purchasing power. Marvel’s latest blockbuster — the first with a predominantly Black cast — had the fifth best U.S. debut ever, expected to bag $192 million domestically over the three-day weekend. Black Panther became the highest-grossing film by a Black director and the best-ever February opening. Its audience was also remarkable, with 37 percent of ticket buyers being African-American, unlike the usual 15 percent for a superhero film. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign raised over $400,000 to send more than 30,000 children to screenings.
The King is back. LeBron James’ hand-picked squad edged out Stephen Curry’s team in a 148-145 win at the Staples Center in LA Sunday. This year, instead of the usual East vs. West game, James and Curry were allowed to draft any players they wanted: schoolyard rules. The experiment was a success. The game was close throughout, with a more energized performance by players. James himself earned MVP honors, scoring 29 points. Next year’s All-Star Game is expected to stick with the new rules.