3.9.2020

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Need to Know
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Italy Locks Down
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a sweeping quarantine for most of the country's northern region over the weekend, restricting the movement of nearly 16 million people in an attempt to stem the march of the new coronavirus across Europe. The measures, coming on the heels of more than 1,200 new cases (7,375 total cases, 366 deaths as of this morning) in the country in 24 hours Saturday, will last until April 3. Chaos reigned as confused travelers sought quick exits before the restrictions kicked in; officials said travel would be restricted to professional and emergency. In China (80,735 total cases, 3,119 deaths), where new cases have slowed, 10 people died after a converted hospital collapsed. In the US (561 total cases, 22 deaths), New York and Maryland both declared a state of emergency in response to new cases while Stanford University and the University of Washington were among the first major colleges to cancel in-person classes. 

See a map of confirmed cases in the US here.
Meanwhile, SXSW Canceled
The fallout from the coronavirus outbreak is stretching far and wide, as organizers called off the popular technology, film, and music festival South by Southwest, the first cancellation in the event's 34-year history. SXSW, scheduled to begin March 16, brought in more than $355M to the economy of Austin, Texas, last year and is one of the highest-profile examples of a cancellation due to the outbreak leaving officials, organizers, and attendees in a lurch. In the tech industry alone, major cancellations have cost cities more than $1B. Whether such events could act as major nodes for disease spread is unclear, though two recent large political events - annual meetings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Conservative Political Action Conference, both in Washington, DC - had attendees test positive for the virus. 

We've seen some confusion around names. The virus is called SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), while the disease it causes is known as COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Most deaths arise when the disease induces pneumonia-like symptoms, usually in the elderly and others with compromised immune systems. 
Royal Purge in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had at least four members of the country's royal family arrested over the weekend, tightening his grip on power as speculation mounts over the future of his 84-year-old father, King Salman. Detainees included the young heir's uncle (and the King's only full brother) Prince Ahmed bin Abdelaziz and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was heir to the throne before being pushed out by the current Crown Prince in 2017. The crown prince alleged the two were plotting a coup and the pair face charges of treason - a crime punishable by death. The arrests are the latest in a yearslong crackdown against perceived threats to bin Salman, who has been viewed at times as a reformer but has also received widespread condemnation for, among other things, allegedly orchestrating the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> McCoy Tyner, five-time Grammy winner and pioneering jazz pianist, dies at 81 (More)
> 2020 Iditarod dog sled race begins in Anchorage (More) | Check out a photo gallery of the 57 teams competing in the nearly 1,000-mile-long race (More)
> Publisher decides to pull Woody Allen's upcoming memoir after widespread backlash including from Dylan Farrow, Allen's adopted daughter who alleges he molested her as a child (More)
Science & Technology
> Archaeologists find evidence that one of the world's earliest human settlements was destroyed by the impact of a massive comet (More) | What is the Clovis comet hypothesis? (More)
> Study links gut bacteria in waxworms to their ability to digest polyethylene, the type of plastic found in common grocery bags; dubbed "plastivores," the worms can survive on a 100% plastic diet (More)
> Two decades of NASA satellite data show carbon dioxide emissions per person usually decline as a city's population density increases (More)
Business & Markets
> Oil prices plummet more than 20% to lowest level since 2016 after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fails to reach production deal with allies and Saudi Arabian Oil Co. slashes prices (More)
> US stock markets close rollercoaster week down on Friday (S&P 500 -1.1%, Dow -1.0%, Nasdaq -1.9%) on continued coronavirus fears, futures suggest markets to open significantly lower today (More)
> US economy added 273,000 jobs in February, surpassing expectations; unemployment rate reduced from 3.6 to 3.5%, a 50-year low; analysts expect coronavirus to lead to job reductions in months ahead (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Rep. Mark Meadows (R, NC-11) to replace acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; Mulvaney to be reassigned as special envoy to Northern Ireland (More) | Read Donald Rumsfeld's famous rules for the role; Rumsfeld served as President Reagan's CoS (More, PDF)
> Election 2020: Former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) endorses Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination; Rev. Jesse Jackson endorses Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (More) | "Mini" Super Tuesday tomorrow as six states hold nominating contests (More)
> Millions march in global cities around the world for International Women's Day; activists defy ban in Turkey, face violence from counterprotesters in Pakistan, and more (More)
Etcetera
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Feeling the need to decline handshakes? Here's how to do it politely.
... actually let's just stick to footshakes.
Forget the coronavirus, Amazon is working on a cure for the common cold.
NASA's Curiosity rover takes a stunning panorama of Mars. (w/video)
Divers capture a blanket octopus unveiling her billowing membrane.
One of the rarest video game consoles sells for $360K at auction.
Japanese chef carves food into incredible art
When your best friend of two decades turns out to be your sister.
Clickbait: Americans love to get drunk and shop.
Historybook: Cartographer Amerigo Vespucci (1454); First person in space Yuri Gagarin born (1934); Chess legend Bobby Fischer born (1943); Barbie doll debuts at American Toy Fair (1959); Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is shot and killed (1997).
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"How real can your music be if you wake up in the morning hearing birds and crickets?"
- Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace
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