It was pumpkin time. Ninety-eight-year-old Sister Jean’s blessings weren’t enough as Cinderella 11-seed Loyola-Chicago blew an early double-digit lead and Michigan rallied to win 69-57 Saturday at San Antonio’s Alamodome. Villanova was even more decisive in its NCAA Final Four victory, outclassing Kansas 95-79 with a record-tying 13 three-pointers in the first half. And while oddsmakers favor the top-seed Wildcats over the 3-seed Wolverines in Monday night’s championship, no one’s counting out Michigan in this year of the underdog.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The U.S. is reportedly preventing the U.N. Security Council from calling for an independent investigation of deadly violence at Gaza’s border with Israel. On Friday, 17 Palestinian demonstrators were killed as Gazans massed at border fences and were fired upon by Israeli soldiers. Israel says Hamas militants tried to plant explosives and threw Molotov cocktails and rocks. No Israelis were injured, however, and videos appear to show a Palestinian shot while running away. It was the conflict’s deadliest day since the 2014 Gaza war, but the U.N. statement can’t be adopted without American support.
He’s come a long way. After having never left the Hermit Kingdom since he took power in 2011, its absolute leader, Kim Jong Un, traveled 20 hours by train to Beijing. There he was feted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and said his nation was committed to “denuclearization.” That’s a far cry from the weapons tests and threats of a few months ago, and may be an indication that he’s serious about negotiating — first with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27 — and then with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., slain April 4, 1968, fought for racial equality, for voting rights and dignity for African-Americans. But many who revere his memory aren’t encouraged by today’s developments on those fronts. Some who marched with King, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. John Lewis, will discuss such questions Wednesday at Memphis’ National Civil Rights Museum — located in the Lorraine Motel, where the assassination took place — where a bell will toll at 6:01 p.m., the moment that fateful shot rang out.
British ex-spy Christopher Steele shot to contentious stardom with his now-infamous report saying Russia’s got something seedy on President Trump. But that’s not his only investigation on the Kremlin’s alleged dirty deeds: Steele authored a dossier alleging the 2015 killing of Russian media magnate Mikhail Lesin in a Washington hotel, according to BuzzFeed. While the Justice Department attributed the death to multiple falls while dangerously intoxicated, Steele determined that a Vladimir Putin-linked oligarch’s henchmen beat Lesin to death. The FBI has the report, but isn’t commenting.
Soft-spoken U.S. Senate candidate Don Blankenship doesn’t avoid talking about doing time for fostering conditions that allowed a deadly 2010 coal mine explosion. The Democrat-controlled government refused to regulate properly, he tells West Virginia voters, and then scapegoated him. The CEO of mining company Massey Energy went from a 10 percent approval rating in 2015 to being a serious contender against Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin. President Trump’s playbook — which worked well in coal country — has helped build his campaign, along with his millions of dollars.
The Week Ahead: Today is Easter Sunday, awkwardly coinciding with April Fool’s Day for the first time since 1956. The out-of-control Chinese space station is expected to tumble to Earth in flames sometime on Monday. And comedian Bill Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges begins Monday in suburban Philadelphia.
Know This: The head of the Justice Department’s death penalty unit has been removed after the New York Times reported employees’ complaints that he promoted a “sexualized environment.” A woman protesting the fatal March 18 police shooting of Stephon Clark in Sacramento was reportedly hit by a local sheriff’s department vehicle during a demonstration Saturday night. And perennial NCAA women’s basketball tournament favorite Connecticut lost by two points Friday to Notre Dame, which will face Mississippi State in Sunday’s final.
Get up to Speed: From Putin’s “election” to Facebook’s data debacle to college basketball’s March Madness, the OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about the week’s big issue. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, the latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.
The writing is on the wall. A ragtag group of illegal abortion providers saw its numbers swell after Donald Trump, pledging to help overturn Roe v. Wade and outlaw the procedure, was elected president. One network has about 200 women who are trained to use homemade suction devices and/or herbal and pharmaceutical medication to terminate pregnancies. What they’re doing breaks numerous laws in some states, but women seek their services, either because their red states lack facilities, they’re uncomfortable with clinical care or simply because they can’t afford legal providers’ services.
Hundreds of villages float on the Tonle Sap River and lake of the same name in Cambodia, home to tens of thousands of mainly ethnically Vietnamese inhabiting the water because they’re barred from living anywhere else. They face harassment from government authorities and discrimination from mainlanders who don’t accept them as Cambodian. The only embrace they can expect is from the pythons swimming nearby. These raft dwellers cannot attend public schools, open bank accounts, own property or even expect Vietnam to welcome them, leaving few alternatives to remaining adrift.
It’s something to chew on. Simplified versions of CRISPR gene editing technology are already being used to alter fruits, vegetables and meats for sale in the U.S. and U.K., and advocates say the possibility of ramping up production could mean CRISPR is the key to feeding an ever-growing world population. Some labs are even editing out elements of food intolerance, including creating celiac-friendly wheat. But the tech’s not going down well with some GMO opponents, who say it’s just a new form of the same problem — which needs stricter regulation.
Hardly: The satirical news outlet is arguably hilarious as ever, but it’s nonetheless been struggling with its digital distribution. After initially benefiting from exposure on Facebook and other social media, The Onion and sites like Funny or Die and Cracked are trying to survive amid diminishing clicks through to their actual sites. Social media has also provided new talent platforms from which to cultivate a following, diminishing humor sites’ incubator role. That’s good news for emerging comedians, although humor providers must now seek new revenue from television or book publishing.
Turns out they have a basketball team. While the Windy City’s newest shot at bucket glory is celebrated on skyscrapers, its hoopsters, who survived until their Final Four elimination Saturday, can be overlooked on their Loyola-Chicago campus. With help from its 98-year-old team chaplain Sister Jean, the school lit up the city with its maroon and gold. It had a chance to teach the NCAA a thing or two, with its coach railing against proposed player transfers and its star players oddly attending classes and worrying about tests.