3.22.2018

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3.22.2018
All your news in a single email. We scour 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more - all packaged in a 5-minute read below.
 
Need To Know.
Spending Compromise Reached.
Facing a Friday night deadline to keep the government open, federal lawmakers reached a compromise on a sweeping $1.3T spending bill that would fund operations through the end of September. The spending package - expected to be introduced in the House late today - expands support for the opioid crisis, makes improvements to the national background check system for gun purchases, and provides over $540M for upgrades to the NYC Gateway tunnel project (see background on the project here). Depending on timing, the Senate may not be able to vote on the bill until Saturday - forcing the government into a 24-hour shutdown unless a one-day funding bill is passed. 

President Trump came out in support of the bill yesterday. 

Fed Raises Interest Rates.
The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates in its first meeting under new chief Jerome Powell by a quarter of a point, to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The move reflects growing confidence by the Fed - the nation's central bank (see 101) - that the economy will continue to grow, with unemployment expected to drop to near 3.5% in 2019. Commercial (i.e. regular) banks borrow money from the Fed, so when interest rates are increased it becomes more expensive to borrow. It then becomes more expensive for businesses and individuals to borrow from banks - which can slow economic growth. While it sounds counterintuitive, it is meant to check inflation, which causes the dollar to lose value and occurs when too much growth happens too quickly. The rates are still below the historical average of 2-5% - the Fed generally raises or lowers rates in an effort to keep inflation around 2% per year. 

The Fed signaled that it would aim for at least two more hikes in 2018 - US markets were down about 0.3% on the news.


Chinese Tariffs.
The White House is expected to announce nearly $50B in annual tariffs on China today, according to reports. The move would effectively tax imported Chinese goods across nearly 100 categories - officials said the decision is partly in response to Chinese theft of intellectual property from US firms and would focus on high-technology sectors. US businesses have long complained that China forces companies to turn over proprietary secrets as part of doing business in the country, costing the US hundreds of billions each year (see report here). The US exported $170B in goods and services to China in 2016, importing $479B. Chinese officials said they would consider retaliating with tariffs against US agricultural imports (paywall) - China is the second-biggest market for US farmers at over $20B, mostly in pork and soybeans. 

 
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In The Know.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

Bobby Tarantino II album propels Logic to top of Billboard Artist 100; First chart topper for Logic (More)
Men's Sweet 16 begins today, see preview here (More)
Court upholds 2015 verdict that Robin Thicke's 2013 song Blurred Lines infringed on Marin Gaye's 1977 song Got To Give It Up, awards $5.3M (More)
 

Science & Technology.

Wearable brain scanner records neural activity by measuring magnetic fields at the scalp, can be used while patient is moving (More)
Prototype 3-D printer allows printing of multiple materials, paving way for 3-D printing of entire devices in one pass (More)
Scientists demonstrate world's first continuous room-temperature MASER - like a laser but shoots microwaves (More)
 

Business & Markets.

Facebook CEO apologizes for mistakes handling user data, promises steps to restrict access to information (More) | Zuckerberg's statement (More)
Meet the 64 startups that launched at day 2 of Y Combinator's winter class (More)
LinkedIn releases 2018 rankings of where US employees want to work (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

Police identify Austin serial bomber as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, say materials were bought at a Home Depot (More)
Boko Haram returns over 100 girls kidnapped in February, warns to not put them back in school (More)
New report says Americans flocking to cities, populations in rural counties continue to shrink (More)
In Depth.

Utterly Horrifying. 

The Guardian | Paul Lewis. An interview with Sandy Parakilas, the former Facebook platform operator responsible for stopping data breaches by third-party developers, describes just how much of your private data was available to virtually any software company who wanted it - and what should have been done to stop it. (Read)
 

Reasons to Believe. 

NY Mag | Staff. For many years, the idea of aliens visiting Earth has been contemplated by conspiracy theorists around the globe - but they are not alone. The Pentagon has been looking into the existence of aliens for quite some time, and what they’ve found might change your mind. (Read)
Etcetera.
Uber releases dash cam of self-driving car involved in fatal pedestrian crash.

US News releases its annual rankings of the top graduate schools

Utah just passed the first free-range parenting law.

How the weirdest sounding US neighborhoods got their odd names

What Puerto Rico looks like six months after Maria.

 Winners of the Sony World Photography Awards for 2018.


The long list of people the now-bankrupt Weinstein Company owes money to.

Ranking the US states with the most and least fast food

Scientists figured out how to make an IPA without the hops.


Clickbait: Thai Airlines imposes "waistline restrictions" on its newest Dreamliner

Historybook: HBD William Shatner (1931); HBD Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948); HBD Bob Costas (1952); HBD Reese Witherspoon (1976); Terrorist drives car into crowd in London, killing 5 and injuring 50 (2017).
 
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