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“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity.”
This Week at a Glance
Monday: NYC reopens public high schools
Tuesday: Israel holds fourth election in two years
Wednesday: Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen conclude two days of testimony before Congress regarding COVID relief
Thursday: The CEOs of Twitter, Alphabet, and Facebook testify before House; Biden’s first formal press conference as president
Friday: Key inflation numbers released in a report called the Core PCE price index
Georgia Shooting Update
Law enforcement officials have released the names of all eight victims killed in the shootings last Tuesday.
Soon Chung Park, 74 years old; Hyun Jung Grant (maiden name Kim), 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Ae Yue, 63, died in attacks on two Atlanta spas.
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44, were killed at a spa in Acworth, GA, shortly after the shootings in Atlanta.
Police apprehended the 21-year-old suspect – a white male from suburban Atlanta – several hours later as he was driving south of Atlanta towards Florida.
What Do We Know?
Investigators have said the suspect confessed to the slayings, telling law enforcement officials he had a sex addiction and shot the victims because he “wanted to eliminate” the temptation the establishments represented to him.
Atlanta policetold a news conference Thursday that investigators believe the gunman previously visited at least two of the spas, but it’s not yet clear if any of the businesses offered sexual services.
Six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent. Officials said they are also investigating whether the suspect’s actions constituted hate crimes, which carry additional penalties. (Learn more.)
Protests and vigils calling for an end to violence against Asian-Americans were held around the country over the weekend.
A GoFundMe page in memory of Hyun Jung Grant, a single mother to two sons, raised over $2.7M (as of Sunday). Other GoFundMe pages have raised tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for families of other victims.
Race is a factor in killings even if it’s not hate crime
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📝 New CDC Student Guidelines
The CDC published new guidance on Friday recommending all K-12 students attending in-person instruction stay three feet apart, rather than six, as long as universal masking is maintained.
The guidelinesstill recommend six feet of distance in all schools for staff, between staff and students, in common areas, and during activities like eating and exercising.
The agency also said middle and high school aged students should remain six feet apart in areas with test positivity rates of 10% or higher where “cohorting” – keeping students in groups together with the same staff – is not available.
On Saturday, France reintroduced a partial lockdown affecting roughly one-third of its population, while Poland imposed a new three-week lockdown affecting non-essential shops, hotels, cultural and sporting facilities. (From the Left |From the Right)
Finland was named the happiest country in the world for the fourth year in a row, according to the World Happiness Report published Friday. Denmark ranked second, then Switzerland, Iceland, and the Netherlands.
New Zealand was the only non-European country in the top ten (9th), while the U.S. ranked 19th overall – down from 18th last year.
More: The report’s editors said they found that while emotions changed as the pandemic set in, longer-term satisfaction with life was less affected.
The Fagradals Mountain volcano in southwestern Iceland, which had been dormant for 6,000 years, erupted on Friday night, lighting up the sky within a 20 mile radius.
No evacuations were needed since the volcano is located in a remote area 1.5 miles from any road.
*Clarification: In Friday’s newsletter, we wrote that a peer-reviewed research study “found most people who have had COVID-19 are protected from catching it again for at least six months, though elderly patients are more prone to reinfection” – but didn’t include the ultimate conclusion.
The study found protection against repeat infection was 80.5% (47.1% in those aged 65 and older), but ultimately concluded “natural protection, especially among older people, cannot be relied on.” – thanks to Nick M. from Austin for pointing this out.
🏀 March Madness
The First Round of the NCAA Tournament took place on Friday and Saturday, with the Second Round continuing Sunday and finishing later today. (Recaps: Day One| Day Two |Day Three.)
Notable First Round upsets: 15-seed Oral Roberts’ defeated 2-seed Ohio State 75-72; 14-seed Abilene Christian beat 3-seed Texas 53-52.
In the Second Round: Oral Roberts beat 7-seed Florida to become the second 15-seed in history to make the Sweet Sixteen; 8-seed Loyola Chicago – who, with the support of 101-year-old Sister Jean, made a Cinderella run during 2019’s tourney – clinched a berth in the Sweet Sixteen after defeating 1-seed Illinois 71-58.
More: Tenth-seeded VCU’s First Round matchup against 7-seed Oregon was declared a no contest after multiple VCU positive COVID tests. Oregon advanced to the next round.
Even More: The women’s tournament kicked off yesterday, with all 16 higher-seeded teams notching a victory. It was the first time since 2010 no lower-seeded teams pulled an upset during a single day of the first round.
The acquisition, which faces lengthy regulatory review, marks the third major U.S. railroad Canadian Pacific has targeted in the past decade.
More: The deal would create the first railroad network to connect the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, but still requires approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. A decision is expected by mid-2022.
🔒 China Locks Out Tesla
Tesla vehicles are banned from entering Chinese military complexes and housing compounds over fears the vehicles’ cameras pose a security risk, according to multiple sources (Reuters, Bloomberg).
The WSJ also reported China is restricting the use of Tesla’s among military staff and employees of key state-owned companies, citing concerns of national security leaks following a government security review of Tesla’s products.
More: In a virtual meeting on Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told the government-backed China Development Forum that the company would never provide the U.S. government with data collected by its vehicles in China or other countries.
The high-schooler and three friends were driving home when they were t-boned by another driver, totaling the car and causing A’zarria Simmons to smash her head on the window and lose consciousness.
“That’s when I checked her pulse,” said Torri’ell, “I put my head against her chest, and I didn’t really hear nothing. That’s when I started doing CPR on her.“
After 30 compressions and two rescue breaths, A’zarria regained consciousness and was rushed to the hospital.
A’zarria shared that Torri’ell has always been the type of person to “help anyway she can, to help anybody.” Both girls dream of pursuing careers in the medical field.
“I know that if somebody was in need of help, I’d go to the rescue,” said Torri’ell.
💻 Big Brother Nature… a professor at Harvard University created a computational system called the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS) that uses machine learning to help wildlife rangers in Uganda and Cambodia predict when and where poachers will set traps.
🌱 Little Shop of Wonders… scientists in Singapore developed a device allowing them to transmit movement instructions to a Venus fly trap using electrical signals and evaluate how the plant reacted to its environment – an invention that could be applied to agricultural crop monitoring systems.
👴 Forever Young… a team of Beijing biologists tested a new form of gene therapy that successfully reversed some effects of aging in mice and extended their lifespans, a discovery that could one day delay aging in human subjects.