After President Donald Trump announced new 25 percent duties on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum yesterday, trading partners including Canada, Mexico, China, Brazil and the EU threatened swift retaliation. U.S. industrial stocks fell following the announcement, and Asian markets suffered too, with Nippon Steel shares down more than 4 percent. Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn is rumored to be considering resignation after failing to dissuade Trump from the tariffs, and many in the administration expressed concern. Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter to argue that “trade wars are good.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Police in Michigan say a 19-year-old attending Central Michigan University killed his parents on the day family arrived to pick up students for the start of a spring break vacation. The gunman then fled on foot. On Twitter, the institution advised students and community members to seek shelter as police responded on Friday morning to reports of shots fired at Campbell Hall, a dormitory on the institution’s Mount Pleasant campus. Meanwhile, officials say the suspect, James Eric Davis Jr., is being considered armed and dangerous.
Despite President Trump’s statements this week supporting gun control measures — including expanded background checks and letting law enforcement seize guns without due process — a top NRA lobbyist tweeted after a White House meeting yesterday: “POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment.” So far no new federal gun control legislation has made it to the floor in Congress. Meanwhile, a nonpartisan study of U.S. laws found that an assault weapons ban could prevent 170 mass shooting deaths per year, while universal background checks could avert 1,100 homicides and suicides.
“We won’t surrender, we won’t give up.” So said former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in a video posted to social media yesterday. But he did give up on his ambitions to retake the regional presidency as Catalonia struggled to elect a new government after Spain cracked down on its autonomy following an independence referendum last year. Puigdemont, who’s in exile in Belgium and could be arrested if he returns to Spain, encouraged voters to elect Jordi Sanchez, a pro-independence figure who’s currently imprisoned in Madrid on sedition charges.
Thirty-one people were rescued this morning from the blaze that broke out just before dawn in a ward for bedridden patients at the Republican Narcology Dispensary, a one-story wooden building used as a rehabilitation center in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. At least 24 people died, and several more were hospitalized. The country has 30,000 registered drug addicts and a chronic shortage of treatment facilities. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited the site today, and authorities are still investigating the cause, which they say is likely faulty wiring.
After nearly a week of public schools being closed due to a massive teachers’ strike, state legislators thought they’d made a breakthrough Tuesday when they reached a deal with union leaders for a 5 percent raise for school employees. But without actual legislation passed through the Republican-controlled Statehouse — and dogged by concerns about the long-term viability of their health care plans — teachers have bucked union leadership to continue the strike. All public schools remain closed today and it’s not clear there will be a unified solution.
According to the Norwegian Nobel Institute, not only has it received a forged Peace Prize nomination for President Trump, but it’s the second year in a row this has happened. The group believes the same source, as yet unnamed, is behind both nominations. Only a select list of academics, former laureates and legislators can make nominations. Barack Obama was the fourth American president to receive the prize. Oslo police and the FBI are investigating the suspected identity theft behind the faux nominations, and the legitimate winner will be announced in October.
Check out King Tat. New infrared scans show two of the British Museum’s Gebelein mummies — which date back to as early as 3351 B.C. — had tattoos, despite living over 1,000 years before the previous oldest known inked Egyptians. The male mummy sports a bull and sheep while the female has S-like symbols. Researchers hope studying the tattoos, discovered in an ongoing effort to reanalyze artifacts, could help explain ancient Egypt’s visual language and its pioneering use of figurative images, rather than geometric designs, in body art.
There’s gold in them thar hits. Genre-defying pop duo Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun’s 2015 album Blurryface is the first to have every song sell at least 500,000 copies, as calculated by the Recording Industry Association of America. And with a 2013 change that takes on-demand streams into account, the band — which is big on Spotify — also saw seven of the album’s songs reach platinum status. Now finished touring, Twenty One Pilots are thought to be working on a follow-up album.
It’s still Miller time. University of Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller publicly denied last week’s reports that an FBI wiretap revealed him discussing an offer of $100,000 to entice recruit Deandre Ayton. The coach stepped aside for one game but has returned to try to lead his team to a Pac-12 championship, and the school says it has “no reason to believe” Miller broke any rules. The federal investigation into college basketball corruption continues, centered on agent Christian Dawkins — with whom Miller reportedly discussed the Ayton payment.