3.23.2023

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, March 21, and we're covering the French president's narrow survival in parliament, a UN warning about the warming climate, and much more.

 

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Need To Know
 

Macron (Narrowly) Survives

A pension reform bill raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 in France was passed into law Monday after a no-confidence motion failed to pass the National Assembly. The vote was planned late last week after President Emmanuel Macron's chosen prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, used a procedural tactic to prematurely curtail debate on the bill. 

 

A total of 278 lawmakers voted in support of the no-confidence motion, nine shy of the 287 needed. Had it passed, the cabinet would have been forced to resign, and Macron's signature legislation would have been rejected. Opponents of the bill are reportedly planning to ask the Constitutional Council to weigh in on the law's constitutionality.

 

Many lawmakers called for Borne to step down after the vote, pointing to an eighth nationwide strike planned for Thursday. Thousands of protesters across the country demonstrated against the bill over the weekend, with at least 300 arrests amid clashes with police.

 

Final Oath Keepers Trial

Four associates of the antigovernment Oath Keepers militia group were found guilty yesterday of obstructing an official proceeding, among an array of other charges, for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol. Two others were found guilty of lesser charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds.  

 

The verdicts mark the end of the third and final trial examining the role of the group's members in the Capitol storming. Unlike the first two sets of trials (see here and here), the most recent set of Oath Keepers members was not facing seditious conspiracy (see 101) charges—the most significant count to have been brought so far against those arrested in connection to the storming. See background on the Oath Keepers here.

 

Federal prosecutors have charged about 950 people across 48 states for participating in the Jan. 6 event. See a running list of charges here.

 

UN Climate Report

A United Nations report released yesterday warns Earth is on track to reach a critical global warming threshold within the next decade. Global average temperatures are predicted to exceed the 1.5 degrees Celsius increase above preindustrial levels targeted in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement sometime around the early 2030s, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

 

China and the US are the top two emitters of greenhouse gases (see graph)—China, in particular, has seen its emissions roughly triple since the year 2000. The report shows the planet has warmed an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial age and prompts industrialized nations to reduce emissions by 60% by 2035 compared to 2019 levels. Models suggest achieving net-zero emissions by midcentury may allow temperatures to stabilize at least a decade later. 

 

The next IPCC assessment report will be issued in 2027. See how the greenhouse effect works here and what an average increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius means for different parts of the world here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Levenger

> Three men found guilty in Florida of 2018 fatal shooting of rapper XXXTentacion; the rising rap star was shot and killed during an apparent robbery attempt (More)

> Stage adaptation of 2005 film "Brokeback Mountain" tapped for May 10 opening on London's West End (More) | Gwyneth Paltrow to stand trial in $3M civil suit related to "hit and run" ski accident (More)

> Cuban baseball player Iván Prieto González defects to the US following Sunday's World Baseball Classic semifinal in Miami; this was the first time the Cuban national team played in Miami since the Cuban Revolution in 1959 (More)

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Science & Technology

> AI startup Runway announces platform to create three-second snippets of video using only text as an input; technology currently available via waitlist (More)

> New study links immune system cells in the gut with stress-induced depression; study may lead to new medical interventions for mental health disorders (More)

> Officials in East Africa confirm at least seven cases of polio in children arising from a strain derived from a new oral vaccine meant to protect against the disease (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.9%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +0.4%) on easing banking system fears (More)

> Amazon to lay off 9,000 employees, following the 18,000 laid off since November; company has over 1.5 million worldwide employees (More)

> Rocket company Virgin Orbit is seeking emergency financing to avoid bankruptcy, which could come as early as this week (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow for three-day state visit (More) | See updates on Russia's war in Ukraine (More) | US State Department releases 2022 annual human rights report (More)

> President Joe Biden issues first veto since taking office, rejects bill that would have reversed a federal rule permitting consideration of environmental, social, and corporate governance in retirement investment decisions (More

> An estimated 43,000 people died last year in Somalia amid the country's longest drought on record; the figure is the first official death toll published in a new report (More) | Antigovernment protests hit Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and Tunisia over high costs of living and political strife (More)

 

In-Depth

> Pong, Atari, and the Bay Area

SFGATE | Charles Russo. Fifty years after the iconic video game Pong was created, dig into the history of how the San Francisco Bay Area played a lead role in mainstreaming video games. (Read

 

> Why Aren’t Black Boxes Better?

Afar | Barbara Peterson. Black boxes contain critical information about a plane’s last moments but can take months or years to recover after a crash. So, why are airlines slow to the idea of livestreaming data in real-time via a network of satellites? (Read)

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Etcetera
 

How to unmask liars.

 

The world's happiest countries (in 2023). 

 

Car thefts are rising around the US—is TikTok to blame

 

Archaeologists find world's oldest pearling town

 

Oscar-winner Sir Roger Deakins breaks down his iconic films.

 

Turns out 58% of institutional investors rely on Reddit

 

Nab an overnight stay at Ted Lasso's favorite pub.

 

Thirsty crocodile crashes a picnic, steals cooler box

 

Clickbait: Uncovering unusual burial practices.

 

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).

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

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