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5 things to know for March 29: Coronavirus, Suez Canal, Chauvin trial, Myanmar, LGBTQ rights

Flash floods tore through Nashville this weekend, leaving four dead, destroying homes and businesses and prompting hundreds of evacuations.

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1. Coronavirus 

About 143 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the US, but states are still seeing worrying increases in cases. More than two dozen states are reporting at least a 10% case increase compared to the previous week, and it is likely due to lax safety measures and surges of spring break crowds. In a CNN documentary, Dr. Deborah Birx said after the first surge of coronavirus in the US, the following waves of deaths “could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.” Her admissions, and the observations of other prominent coronavirus authorities, cast a new harsh light on the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. Meanwhile, things are getting worse overseas. Hospitals in Paris are overtaxed as the city battles a new surge, the Philippines has ordered more than 25 million people into lockdown over the Easter holiday, and in Mexico, experts fear the coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported.

2. Suez Canal

The massive container ship blocking the Suez Canal and paralyzing global shipping routes has been partially freed after almost a week lodged in the narrow passage. The rear of the vessel was freed from one of the canal’s banks, according to the Dutch company working on the refloating operation, but its bow is still firmly stuck in the sandy clay. Egyptian officials claim crews will try to refloat the ship later today, but other sources warn what’s already been done — some rotation and the freeing of the back end of the ship — is the easiest part. Oil prices still dipped upon news of the partial refloating, signaling hope that the blockage, which is costing the canal millions in transit fees every day and holding up billions in cargo among about 350 waiting vessels, will soon be over.

3. Chauvin trial

Opening statements are set to begin today in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. It’s been 10 months since Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd during a confrontation on a Minneapolis street. Floyd’s death, and the deaths of other Black men and women at the hands of police, sparked a summer of worldwide protests. In a first for Minnesota, the trial will be broadcast live in its entirety, giving the public a rare peek into the most important case of the Black Lives Matter era. While the implications of the trial are vast, the trial itself will have a specific focus on Chauvin, his actions, and his intent. Questions will likely deal with things like Floyd’s autopsy, Chauvin’s mindset and loosely-defined legal terms like “depraved mind” and “culpable negligence.”

4. Myanmar

At least 114 were killed on Saturday alone during the bloodiest weekend of protests since Myanmar was rocked by a military coup in February. Recently, heavy fighting has also erupted between the army and the ethnic armed groups that control swathes of the country, and the violence has forced thousands of Burmese people to flee into neighboring Thailand. Two top UN officials have condemned the junta for the weekend’s bloodshed. But foreign criticism and the sanctions imposed by some Western nations have failed so far to sway the military leaders, as have almost daily protests around the country since the junta took power and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

5. LGBTQ rights

Twenty-eight states are considering bills to restrict the rights of transgender youth, and the passage of such legislation in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas this month has LGTBQ advocates on edge. Last week, Tennessee and Arkansas passed laws restricting transgender participation in school sports, and Mississippi passed a similar law earlier this month. The issue of school sports is one of the common restrictions LGBTQ rights groups are seeing in the more than 60 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation on the table across the country. The other most common type of legislation restricts young trans peoples’ access to gender-affirming health care.


People are remembering beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary, who died last week.

Truly the author of countless childhoods.

‘Saturday Night Live’ explains the NFT phenomenon through rap

And you’d be forgiven if you still don’t understand.

Airbnb and Vrbo are overloaded with reservations

After so long in quarantine, the hottest vacation destination is “anywhere but here.”

A North Carolina woman won the lottery on her 20th wedding anniversary

True love is nice, but a $370,000 prize is a close second.

Miss art museums? The Louvre just put its entire art collection online

To get the full museum effect, have a friend stand by and grumble disapprovingly every time you get too close to the screen.

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That’s about how many hours unaccompanied migrant children are spending on average in Customs and Border Patrol Custody at the southern border. Sometimes that number climbs to 100 — well over the 72-hour legal limit.


“Look at my family. Use my story.”

Louisiana Rep.-elect Julia Letlow, who urged fellow Republicans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, citing her own tragic experience losing her husband to complications from the virus.


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Squeaky clean 

Gotta get all scrubbed and shined up for the week, like this very satisfied tortoise. (Click here to view)

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