3.16.2020

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Need to Know
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A National Emergency
President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the spread of the new coronavirus Friday, opening access to nearly $50B in relief funding for state governments. Separately, the Federal Reserve took dramatic action yesterday, dropping interest rates to near zero and launching a $700B quantitative easing program. Despite the news, stock futures fell overnight, hitting the 5% "limit down" that stops lower trading. "This better work," one investor said, echoing a sentiment that the downturn may last until US coronavirus cases begin to peak.

The White House also expanded European travel restrictions to include the United Kingdom and Ireland; US citizens will be exempt from the ban but are required to travel through one of 13 airports with enhanced screening procedures. The country's largest airports saw massive bottlenecks as the new restrictions went into place (see photos). Meanwhile, House Democrats struck a deal with the administration on a coronavirus aid package that includes free testing for the virus and expanded paid medical and emergency leave for some - but not all - workers affected by the outbreak. The Senate will consider the package this week.

Nearly 3,800 cases have been confirmed in the US, with 69 deaths across 12 states. An 82-year-old Brooklyn woman became New York's first victim, with New York City officials closing bars, restaurants, and schools. In the Midwest, both Ohio and Illinois also ordered all bars and restaurants to close dine-in services. Overseas, France closed all noncritical shops and public spaces, Spain locked down the entire country, and Germany announced a "bazooka" economic aid package. Italy saw a 25% spike in reported deaths Sunday, bringing its total to more than 1,800. 

President Trump tested negative for the virus one week after meeting with Brazilian officials who later fell ill.  
Rick Pitino Returns
Accomplished basketball coach Rick Pitino will return to the college ranks next year as the head coach at Iona College, university officials announced over the weekend. The controversial hire brings the Hall of Fame coach - the only to lead three separate schools to the Final Four - back from exile, having coached in Greece for two years. Pitino has had a number of high-profile run-ins with the NCAA for rules violations. In 2017, the University of Louisville became the first basketball program to have a national championship (from the 2012-13 season) vacated after the NCAA found a staff member arranged for escorts and strippers to visit recruits. Pitino was set to be suspended for the beginning of the 2016-17 season but was fired after it was revealed the school was a target in an FBI probe over a complex pay-to-play scandal. Pitino may not even be eligible to coach next season; the NCAA is rumored to be considering heavy penalties against both Louisville and Pitino over the latter violation. 
Biden Pledges a Female Running Mate
Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) met in the 11th Democratic primary debate, held in front of an empty auditorium as organizers went without an audience over coronavirus fears. Sanders, who has fallen behind in polls and delegate count, largely used the night to push Biden on progressive policies and attacked Biden's support for the war in Iraq and the North American Free Trade Agreement. The most notable moment of the night was Biden's pledge to pick a female vice president as his running mate (see a possible short list, $$, WashPo); Sanders said he was likely to do so as well, but would emphasize a running mate's progressive priorities. Tuesday marks another big primary day, with voting for both parties in Florida, Ohio, and Illinois, and a Democrat-only primary in Arizona.

Both Louisiana and Georgia said they would delay their primaries in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> NFL players narrowly pass new collective bargaining agreement which will last until 2030 (More) | See the biggest changes, including a possible 17-game regular season (More)
> Film box office in North America brings in $55M over the weekend, the lowest since September 2000 (More) | Cannes International Film Festival denies report it will be canceled; the world-famous French festival is currently scheduled for May 12-23 (More)
> Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirms 2020 Tokyo Olympics still on as planned despite coronavirus fears (More)
Science & Technology
> Archaeologists uncover a 3,400-year-old ball court in Oaxaca, Mexico, the oldest such court found in the Mesoamerican highlands; find suggests region was more culturally advanced than previously thought (More)
> Google subsidiary Verily developing a nationwide website to assist Americans with questions on COVID-19 symptoms, risk factors, and testing; triage site will be piloted in the Bay Area (More)
> Study links the end of major ice ages over the past 1 million years to higher tilt in the Earth's axis of rotation; cause and effect not precisely determined (More) | Here's how axial tilt also causes the Earth's seasons (More)
Business & Markets
> Bill Gates to step down from boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway to focus on philanthropic efforts (More)
> Retailers across the US trimming hours to focus on deep cleaning and restocking shelves (More)
> Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma to donate test kits and masks to US and other countries to combat pandemic (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Benny Gantz, chief rival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will try to form a coalition government after winning support of minority parties (More)
> Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) to enter rehab after being found intoxicated in hotel room with man overdosing on crystal meth; Gillum narrowly lost Florida gubernatorial race in 2018 (More)
> New Zealand marks one-year anniversary of mosque shootings in the city of Christchurch that killed 51 and injured 49 (More)
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Etcetera
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These simulations show why the coronavirus spreads exponentially
Sicily knows how to handle a self-quarantine
This great visualization puts the history of pandemics in perspective.

From our partners: Here's why you might be overpaying for renters or home insurance. #Ad
Seeds and fruit come alive with these hyperdetailed micrographs.
Lin-Manuel Miranda shares an unreleased "Hamilton" song
Seattle isn't as rainy as you might think
Fair Haven, Vt., elects a therapy dog as mayor.
Student suspended after he's caught selling squirts of hand sanitizer.
Clickbait: Egg McMuffin rat is the newest rodent star of New York.
Historybook: US Founding Father James Madison born (1751); US Military Academy is established (1802); Comedian Jerry Lewis born (1926); RIP Nobel Prize-winning author Selma Lagerlöf (1940); Fighting at Battle of Iwo Jima ends (1945).
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