3.12.2020

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Need to Know
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An Official Pandemic
​​​​​​The new coronavirus continued to upend daily life yesterday, as the NBA announced it would suspend its season after a Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. The pause will last for at least two weeks and comes on the same day the NCAA decided to ban fans from March Madness, planning to play its postseason tournament in front of empty stands. Markets, resisting interest rate cuts, plunged again; the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.9%, pushing it into bear market territory (falling more than 20% from its previous peak) and ending an 11-year bull run. The S&P 500 (-4.9%) and Nasdaq (-4.7%) also fell. President Trump announced yesterday the US would prohibit most travel from Europe - the United Kingdom exempted - for at least 30 days. All the news came the same day the World Health Organization formally declared the outbreak a pandemic. 

The most recognizable of the more than 1,300 confirmed cases in the US may be actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson. The pair announced last night they had tested positive for the virus. 
Weinstein Sentenced
Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in a New York state prison yesterday after being convicted of sexual assault and rape. Though the case focused on two incidents, more than 80 women have spoken out against Weinstein, and the presiding judge appeared to side with prosecutors who recommended a long sentence that reflected a track record of abuse. The sentence, which could have ranged from five to 23 years, included 20 years for a 2006 felony assault on former production assistant Miriam Haley and three years for the third-degree rape of aspiring actress Jessica Mann (breakdown here). The disgraced mogul - taken to the hospital for chest pains following the sentencing - also faces rape charges in Los Angeles, though it is unclear how that case will proceed. 

The sentence marks a milestone for the #MeToo movement, which was jump-started by Ronan Farrow's 2017 piece on Weinstein ($$, New Yorker).  
Smallest Dinosaur Ever Discovered
A tiny skull trapped in 100-million-year-old amber may belong to the smallest dinosaur species ever discovered, researchers revealed yesterday. The remains, found in northern Myanmar, are less than an inch long and weigh less than an ounce, suggesting the bird-like species was similar to the bee hummingbird, the smallest bird alive today. Scientists hailed the specimen as a monumental find; not only does it provide insight into the gradual miniaturization of dinosaurs, but also offers clues into the evolution of certain species into birds. Moreover, unlike fossilization, where the bone structure is gradually replaced by other minerals, the amber looks to have preserved the creature's original bones, teeth, skin, and even its tongue. Watch the research team break down the discovery here.

Researchers also reported 100-million-year-old cockroaches (and their feces) trapped in amber.
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Ivy League cancels all spring sports which include baseball, softball, and lacrosse (More) | The Electronic Entertainment Expo, the world's biggest video game software and technology conference, canceled (More)
> Global entertainment industry tops $101B in revenue in 2019, an industry record; the revenue accounts for theater, home, and mobile spending (More)
> Former NFL star tight end Rob Gronkowski signs deal with WWE, will make professional wrestling debut next week on "Friday Night SmackDown" (More)
Science & Technology
> Accidental discovery lets scientists control the nucleus of antimony atoms embedded in silicon with an electric field; could bridge a key gap in quantum computing using conventional microchips (More)
> Neuroscientists unravel how the brain combines spatial and visual information to encode memories for landmark-based navigation (More)
> Bipartisan congressional committee led by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) set to release report detailing 75 recommendations to upgrade US cybersecurity and communications infrastructure (More) | House passes surveillance package, sends to Senate ahead of Sunday deadline (More)
Business & Markets
> Bank of England (UK’s Federal Reserve equivalent) announces an emergency interest rate cut of 50 points to battle economic impact of the coronavirus (More) | European Central Bank also evaluating options, expected to announce measures this week (More)
> PepsiCo to acquire Rockstar Energy Drink for $3.9B; Rockstar CEO Russ Weiner owns 85% of company, will cash out more than $3B (More)
> Modell’s Sporting Goods files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to close all 153 east coast stores (More) | Cibo Express Gourmet Markets to launch Amazon’s "Just Walk Out" cashierless technology at Newark airport next week (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Supreme Court to let administration enforce "Remain in Mexico" policy while it appeals lower court rulings; an estimated 60,000 asylum seekers reside in Mexico while waiting for their cases to be adjudicated (More)
> Whistleblower Chelsea Manning hospitalized following suicide attempt; Manning was jailed from 2010 to 2017 for leaking documents to WikiLeaks and is currently in prison for refusing to testify against the site's founder, Julian Assange (More)
> Election 2020: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) says he will stay in the race despite poor performance in six primaries Tuesday, will attend Sunday's one-on-one debate with Joe Biden (More) | Forecasts heavily favor Biden winning the nomination on the first ballot (More)
In-Depth
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Moving Millions, Leaving Mayhem
Tampa Bay Times | Bethany Barnes, Connie Humburg. One of the largest private security firms in the world, GardaWorld built its empire around securely transporting cash deposits. But interviews with dozens of former employees revealed a culture of shortcuts contributing to 19 deaths since 2008. (Read)
The Drone Boat of "Shipwreck Alley"
Verge | Matthew Braga. Thunder Bay, a rough and frigid stretch of Lake Huron just off the Michigan coast, is home to one of the largest collections of shipwrecks in North America. Now an autonomous and uncrewed boat known as BEN is tirelessly crisscrossing the waters, providing researchers with unprecedented maps of the lakebed. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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The six main differences between the flu and the coronavirus
... and riots erupt following fake coronavirus news in a Ukrainian town
After years of debate, study says Alcoholics Anonymous really is effective.
A first-of-its-kind survey probes the political views of US prisoners.
Scotland's currency comes alive with vibrant pictures of women and animals.
Egypt reopens its oldest pyramid after a 14-year hiatus.
McDonald's rolls out Big Macs with four patties
One of the DC snipers gets married in prison
Clickbait: Our favorite Photoshop troll has returned
Historybook: Girl Scouts of the USA is founded (1912); American author and poet Jack Kerouac born (1922); HBD actress and singer Liza Minnelli (1946); HBD Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) (1947); First female priests are ordained by the Church of England (1994).
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