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Good morning. It's Thursday, March 21, and we're covering the latest in a contentious border law, a push for electric vehicles, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know

Border Law Back-and-Forth

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals began hearing arguments yesterday over a Texas law allowing state police to arrest and prosecute migrants caught after unlawfully crossing the border. The proceedings come after a Tuesday Supreme Court decision upholding the law, which was then followed by a lower court ruling again suspending the order. 


Generally, migrants may cross the border two ways—at formal checkpoints or via unlawful entry elsewhere along the border. If encountered by federal border agents (see overview), many make official asylum applications. The new state-level law makes it a misdemeanor to cross the border between ports of entry. 


Proponents of the law say it adds a tool for the state to address the ongoing surge in migrants—southwest border encounters totaled 1 million over the past four months. Critics argue local officials have few tools to determine who violated the law and how to detain and prosecute them. 


Lawyers for the Biden administration have argued unlawfully crossing the US border is federal purview. See a breakdown here


Electric Vehicle Expansion

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday finalized rules that aim to limit tailpipe emissions from passenger cars and light trucks as part of a broader effort to transition the US to electric vehicles. 


The rules direct auto manufacturers to target a percentage of their new vehicle sales toward different types of electric vehicles, starting in 2027 and gradually increasing the targets through 2032 (see documents). The standards are performance-based, meaning auto manufacturers can decide which types of car technologies to invest in to reach the annually reduced emissions levels of their fleets. As a whole, electric vehicles accounted for 7.6% of new vehicle sales in the US in 2023.


The transportation industry is the largest source of US greenhouse gas emissions (see overview), representing 29% of emissions, with light-duty vehicles accounting for 58% of the transportation sources. The rules are expected to reduce US cumulative carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to soot and smog, by 7.2 billion metric tons between 2027 and 2055. The figure is equivalent to a year's worth of all US greenhouse gas emissions.


Royal Data Breach

The medical records of Catherine, Princess of Wales, were allegedly breached at the London Clinic in recent weeks, prompting an investigation by the United Kingdom's independent data privacy watchdog. The report broke amid speculations over Catherine's condition since a mid-January planned abdominal surgery at the prestigious clinic has kept her out of the public eye.


The probe comes as Catherine continues to deal with the fallout over a highly edited photo she shared of herself and her children earlier this month to quell spiraling rumors over her condition. On Wednesday, a second photo featuring the late Queen Elizabeth with some of her grandchildren was identified to have undergone similar edits (see visual).


Catherine has not participated in public ceremonies since Christmas, though she has been spotted in public at least three times, including in video footage taken Sunday. She is expected to return to duties next month. See a timeline of events here.

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> NCAA men's basketball tournament first round tips off today with the women's first round beginning tomorrow (More) | See latest men's bracket (More) | ... and women's bracket (More)

> Superstar Shohei Ohtani leads his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, to victory over the San Diego Padres to open the MLB regular season from Seoul; the season begins in earnest March 28 (More) | Dodgers fire Ohtani's interpreter amid allegations he stole millions from Ohtani to cover gambling debt (More

> "The Crown" and "Black Mirror" lead all nominees for the 2024 BAFTAs, or British Academy Television Awards (More)

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Science & Technology

> Princeton math professor Michel Talagrand wins 2024 Abel Prize, one of the field's most prestigious awards, for his work on analyzing random processes (More)

> Archaeologists discover oldest-known arrowheads, dating to roughly 74,000 years ago in what is now northern Ethiopia; time period coincided with the Toba super-eruption, which spread ash and gas worldwide (More)

> First-ever "quantum tornado" created by scientists in superfluid helium, which experiences near zero friction; phenomenon is meant to mimic and shed light on the dynamics of black holes (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close at record highs (S&P 500 +0.9%, Dow +1.0%, Nasdaq +1.3%) after Federal Reserve keeps interest rates unchanged, signals three rate cuts this year (More) | Reddit expected to start trading today at $34 per share (More

> Chipmaker Intel secures $19.5B in federal funding ($8.5B) and loans ($11B) to build and expand facilities across Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oregon (More) | Memory chipmaker Micron Technology shares rise over 14% in after-hours trading after it announces better-than-expected quarterly results (More)

> Chipotle Mexican Grill shares briefly surpass $3,000 for first time after board approves 50-for-1 stock split (More) | Paramount Global shares close up 12% on report of Apollo Global's $11B offer to buy Paramount's Hollywood studios (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> Four of six former Mississippi law enforcement officers sentenced for charges related to their roles in the January 2023 beating and torturing of two men during a warrantless home search; sentences so far range from 17.5 years to 40 years in prison, with two remaining officers to be sentenced today (More)

> Former Marine Daniel Penny to stand trial beginning Oct. 8 for charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for fatally subduing Jordan Neely on a New York City subway last May (More)

> Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong resigns one year after taking office after reported unspecified violations of the governing Communist Party's rules (More) | Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to step down after successor is chosen, citing personal and political reasons (More)



> The Price of Sharenting 

Cosmopolitan | Fortesa Latifi. Inside the world of family vlogging—where parents make social media content involving their children—a world with little to no regulatory oversight. (Read)


> The Mystery of Shock Therapy

Quanta | Elizabeth Landau. For decades, zapping the brain with brief currents of electricity has been shown to help severe depression, but no one knew why. Scientists now believe they've uncovered the answer in the brain's chemical balance. (Read)

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Finland tops the list of the world's happiest countries.


A record number of objects went into space last year.


Stargazers prepare for April's "horned devil" comet


Abandoned Welsh mine becomes the world's deepest hotel.


An Instagram account obsessed with historical sandwiches.


... and how social media AI bots are pumping Shrimp Jesus


Love is in the air ahead of the Paris Olympics.


Clickbait: Croissant burglar takes time for yoga before arrest


Historybook: Pocahontas is buried (1617); Martin Luther King Jr. leads third and ultimately successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama (1965); The US announces boycott of Summer Olympics in Moscow (1980); Twitter is founded (2006).

"Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society."

- John Lewis, one of the leaders of the Selma to Montgomery marches

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