“Never again.” That’s what Florida high school student Sarah Chadwick told lawmakers yesterday in Tallahassee, while thousands of protesters gathered outside the Statehouse to demand action on gun control. In Washington, during a listening session with survivors of gun violence, President Donald Trump recommended arming teachers, while parents issued emotional pleas. “How many children have to get shot?” asked a father whose daughter was killed in last week’s shooting in Parkland, Florida. Meanwhile, thousands of students at high schools across the country staged walk-outs to honor the victims.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s only getting worse. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is urging an immediate end to hostilities in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, which is currently caught under “horrendous” bombardment by government troops and Russian allies. The rebel enclave of around 400,000 is facing a humanitarian crisis as hospitals have been destroyed and people are sheltering in their basements from unrelenting airstrikes. Monitors say around 350 civilians have been killed in the last few days alone. Guterres called the assault “a human tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes.”
They’ll need to find new friends. Tech-savvy conservatives and Trump supporters have lashed out at the social media giant after its recent suspension of thousands of automated accounts known as “bots.” Fringe figures like white nationalist Richard Spencer complained about losing followers, while the hashtag #TwitterLockOut was trending on Wednesday amid accusations of censorship and left-wing bias. Twitter says the move was part of its ongoing crackdown on political propaganda and “suspicious account behaviors,” which includes banning systems that allow users to simultaneously post, like or retweet from multiple accounts.
They’re feeling bullish. When they met last month, Fed officials agreed the economy may grow even faster than they thought when they elevated their growth projections in December. That clean bill of health, based in part on robust global growth and the potentially positive effect of tax cuts, could lead to a boost in short-term interest rates. January’s meeting — held just before Janet Yellen’s departure — took place before most of the recent market volatility, but observers say Fed officials have long been confident about the economy.
Know This: The U.S. women’s hockey team clinched a stunning win over Canada in Pyeongchang on Thursday to bring home the gold. The Trump administration may slap new sanctions on Russia for its election meddling and a global cyberattack. And relatives of Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Zindel have sued The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro and studio Fox Searchlight for allegedly stealing the story from a 1969 play by Zindel.
Listen to This: Established under President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a way to combat rising xenophobic sentiment, National Brotherhood Week is a long-forgotten holiday, but its chief mission — to promote a more inclusive American society — is perhaps more appropriate today than ever before.
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His soul’s at rest. The celebrated pastor, who left an indelible mark on evangelical Christianity in the United States, died at home yesterday in North Carolina. Known as “America’s pastor,” Graham preached widely and to massive crowds throughout six decades, even frequenting the White House as a spiritual counselor to many presidents. The Southern Baptist’s charismatic style attracted millions of followers, while his attempts to cooperate with mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics — as well as his aim to steer clear of politics — cemented him as a moral authority.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Comprising almost one-third of Zimbabwe’s total foreign revenue, small-scale tobacco farming is staging a major comeback. Thanks to controversial land reforms under ex-President Robert Mugabe that created droves of new farmers, the industry has defied longstanding economic turmoil to produce the country’s most valuable export: Tobacco netted $887 million in 2016. While some inexperienced farmers are still getting up to speed on the best cultivation methods, the business looks promising — especially amid Zimbabwe’s lingering economic maladies.
Your BMI isn’t in your DNA. New research suggests that matching your weight loss plan to your genotype won’t help you shed pounds. A year-long, $8 million study of 609 participants examined whether genes involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism could predict a better response to low-fat or low-carb diets. But the results showed no difference between dieters whose genes matched their diet and those who were mismatched, spelling bad news for the consumer genetics industry. Meanwhile, one DNA diet company is conducting its own study.
Will they have to answer in the form of a question? The veteran game show host will moderate a Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate in October. Trebek, who was born in Canada but became a naturalized U.S. citizen, has previously said he wouldn’t allow politicians to get away with canned responses, and would “pin them down” even if it made him look bad. A registered Independent who describes himself as socially liberal but fiscally conservative, Trebek first expressed interest in moderating a debate during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign.
There’s trouble off the court. A Sports Illustrated investigation has revealed widespread claims of sexual harassment by the NBA team’s management. More than a dozen current and former employees claimed instances of misconduct — including fondling and lewd comments by former president and CEO Terdema Ussery — and superiors who were unresponsive to complaints. Some women even said they left the sports industry altogether after the abuse. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who claimed he hadn’t been aware of the allegations, said the franchise is opening a hotline for counseling services.