3.14.2023

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, March 14, and we're covering the latest in the fallout from Silicon Valley Bank's collapse, harmful algal blooms on the Gulf Coast, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Bank Run Fallout (Cont.) 

President Joe Biden told Americans to have confidence in the US banking system yesterday after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank over the last week, calling on Congress and bank regulators to strengthen regulations for financial institutions. 

 

The government said bank fees will cover the losses rather than taxpayers' money and investors would not be protected, but customers would have immediate access to their deposits. The Federal Reserve also established a lending facility for US banks to protect them against financial risks stemming from SVB's collapse.

 

Despite the government's assurances, stock prices fell at midsize and regional banks that cater to startups and the tech industry, including First Republic (-60%) and Western Alliance (-45%). 

 

Separately, London-based bank HSBC acquired SVB's UK business for 1 pound to protect $8B in deposits for UK customers. SVB operates in Europe, Canada, Israel, and India, and has a joint venture in China.

 

Silicon Valley Bank's collapse is the second largest since the 2008 financial crisis. See bank failures in the US since 2001 here.

 

Bike Path Attacker Sentenced

An Islamic extremist convicted of killing eight people in an attack on a Manhattan bike path in October 2017 was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole yesterday after a federal jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on his punishment. The deadlock means prosecutors were unable to impose the death penalty on the 35-year-old attacker, who sped a truck onto a bike path. 

 

The federal jury in January found Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbekistan citizen, guilty of 28 charges, including murder in aid of racketeering and supporting a terrorist organization. Prosecutors said he drove a rented truck into bicyclists on a path along the Hudson River, before crashing into a school bus and being shot by police. Five tourists from Argentina, two Americans, and a Belgian woman were killed in the attack. 

 

Federal executions have been paused under the Biden administration while the Justice Department reviews the death penalty policy, but prosecutors have been allowed to push for capital punishment in cases inherited from previous administrations.

 

Gulf Coast Red Tide

Florida's southwestern Gulf Coast has seen a flare-up in harmful algal blooms known as "red tides" in recent weeks, posing health risks to vacationers and harm to wildlife. It's the area's worst series of blooms since 2018, which was the most severe event in 70 years (see chart).

 

Known for their reddish-brown color, red tides in Florida result from the rapid multiplication of toxic algae Karenia brevis (see explainer). Typically, red tides manifest in the fall amid warmer, nutrient-rich waters and dissipate by December. In severe events, red tide can aggravate preexisting respiratory issues in humans while causing significant loss of marine life. 

 

Close to 90 Gulf Coast samples registered concentrations of red tide in recent days, or at least 100,000 algal cells per liter of water; several areas passed 1 million (see map). In Pinellas County, authorities had to clear tons of dead algae-stricken fish from the shore in the last week. See aerial photos of the phenomenon here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Sunday's Academy Awards telecast pulls in 18.7 million viewers, a 12% increase over 2022 (More) | "The Last of Us" finale draws series high 8.2 million viewers; creators confirm more seasons in the works (More)

> Former MLB star Trevor Bauer signing with Japanese team, nearly two years after being released by Los Angeles Dodgers following sexual assault allegations (More) | 2023 World Baseball Classic in full swing; see latest schedule and scores (More)

> NCAA men's basketball tournament begins today with First Four matchups from Dayton, Ohio (More) | See complete bracket (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Biden administration approves oil drilling project in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, issues separate rules restricting drilling on 13 million other acres of the reserve (More)

> Researchers solve mystery of why smog forms in the Indian capital of New Delhi at night; phenomenon is driven by the condensation of gas molecules from homes burning wood for fuel as temperatures drop (More) | Ranking the world's most polluted cities (More)

> Scientists discover composite material capable of releasing stored energy to "jump" more than 200 times its thickness; may have applications in advanced robotics applications (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.3%, Nasdaq +0.5%) as certain regional bank stocks whipsaw in trading (More)

> Pfizer to acquire cancer drugmaker Seagen for $43B (More) | Sanofi to acquire diabetes therapy provider Provention Bio for $2.9B (More

> Experience management software giant Qualtrics accepts $12.5B go-private offer from private equity firms (More)

From our partners: Big bonus for a big year. This card is offering a rare $200 welcome bonus. Bonuses like this don't come around that often. That's why thousands are lining up for this card. Learn more now.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> International Criminal Court to issue first arrest warrants against Russian officials over Russia's alleged war crimes in Ukraine (More) | Moscow signals willingness to extend grain export deal via the Black Sea for 60 days (More) | See updates on the war (More)

> California braces for its next atmospheric river event through Wednesday as floodwaters rise (More) | At least 97 dead in Malawi and Mozambique after Tropical Cyclone Freddy struck over the weekend for the second time in a month (More) |  US officials say hundreds of migrants attempted to cross the El Paso, Texas, border Sunday in a mass entry (More)

> Thousands of junior doctors in the UK kick off three-day strike for better pay amid increased workloads and rising costs of living; junior doctors make up 45% of all doctors in the country's National Health Service (More)

 

In-Depth

> Social Media and Mental Health

After Babel | Jonathan Haidt. Social psychologist and NYU professor Jonathan Haidt examines the research underpinning why 57% of teen girls now say they experience persistent sadness or hopelessness. (Read)

 

> The $430K Ticket

ESPN | Justin Heckert. How nostalgia about the greatness of Michael Jordan caused a ticket from No. 23's first game with the Chicago Bulls to fetch one of the highest prices ever paid in history for a sporting event item. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

US cities where rental apartment sizes are shrinking.

 

How the internet came to be

 

US presidents depicted as wrestlers. (via Twitter)

 

The best St. Patrick's Day parades in the US.

 

... and see photos of the annual Chicago green river dye.

 

Watch the trailer for the live-action "The Little Mermaid." 

 

Tasty pizza deals for Pi Day

 

The government's case for better crash dummies.

 

Clickbait: Samsung caught putting filters on photos of the moon.

 

Historybook: Eli Whitney patents cotton gin (1794); Albert Einstein born (1879); Stephen Curry born (1988); Seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles born (1997); Stephen Hawking dies (2018). 

"If you're having fun, that's when the best memories are built."

- Simone Biles

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