Welcome to Thursday. Today, we’re covering a major blockage at the Suez Canal, a deal to approve recreational marijuana in New York, and this stunning image (read on to learn more).
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“Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.”
🏛️ White House Immigration Response
President Biden announced VP Kamala Harris will lead the White House effort to tackle immigration issues at the southern U.S. border.
The news came as Biden met with the heads of the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services yesterday to discuss a recent increase in migrant arrivals (many of them unaccompanied children).
U.S. border officials encountered nearly 19k family members and over 9k unaccompanied migrant children in February – a month-over-month increase of 168% and 63%, respectively – according to the Pew Research Center.
🤿 A deeper dive…
A White House official said Harris’ work will run along two tracks:
“The focus in the near term will be on stemming the flow of migrants to the U.S.,” they told The Hill, a process that includes securing the border, providing humanitarian assistance, and creating pathways for migrants to legally immigrate.
The official said the longer term goal is to address the underlying conditions in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries that are prompting residents to flee.
Efforts will include combating corruption, enforcing border security, and implementing good governance practices. Biden has pledged to invest $4B in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador over four years, but the money has not yet been appropriated by Congress.
The Current Situation
The U.S. under Biden began accepting unaccompanied minors encountered by border officials, and is now in custody of at least 15k migrant children.
Oakland announced a privately-funded program to provide guaranteed income to low-income families of color.
The Oakland Resident Families program will give qualifying families $500 per month, with no rules on how to spend it. The initiative has raised $6.75M thus far from private donors including Blue Meridian Partners, a national philanthropy group.
✅ The Senate confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health at HHS, making her the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the legislative chamber. (From the Left | From the Right)
🗽 New York legislators reached a deal to approve a bill legalizing recreational marijuana, according to sources. (From the Left | From the Right)
⚖️ Virginia abolished the death penalty yesterday, becoming the 23rd state, and first southern state, to do so. (From the Left |From the Right)
☝️ 1 Last Thing…
💉 AstraZeneca issued revised Phase 3 trial data for its COVID-19 vaccine, now saying it’s 76% effective against symptomatic cases (down from 79% previously).
🚘 Hail to the Technoking
Elon Musk announced Tesla is now accepting bitcoin as payment for its vehicles from buyers in the continental U.S.
Musksaid people outside the U.S. will be able to buy Teslas with bitcoin “later this year.” He also noted that “Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as Bitcoin, not converted to fiat currency.”
The company’s refund policy notes that should buyers seek to return their vehicle, Tesla reserves the right to refund them in bitcoin or USD at the exact price bitcoin was worth at the time of purchase.
Eight members of GameStop’s 13-member board will leave the company after its annual meeting in June, according to a new SEC filing.
The planned exitsinclude Reggie Fils Aimé, the long-time president of Nintendo’s American division, and former Activision executive Kathy Vrabeck.
More: Remaining board members include Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen, who joined in January. Earlier this month, the board appointed him as chairman of a special committee to help the brick-and-mortar retailer transition to e-commerce.
💰 Raise the Roof
Blockchain.com, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency wallet providers, raised $300M in a funding round valuing the company at $5.2B (one month after raising $120M at a $3B valuation).
Fanatics, a sports merchandise company, raised $320M from investors – including Major League Baseball – valuing the company at $12.8B (up from $6.2B last August).
Digital delivery service goPuffraised $1.15B from investors – including SoftBank’s Vision Fund 1 – valuing the company at $8.9B (up from $3.9B last October).
🧠 In the Know:
🏛️ The CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later today. (Livestream here – starts at 12 p.m. ET)
📹 YouTuber Mr. Beast, real name Jimmy Donaldson, launched a $2M investment fund as part of a new company called Creative Juice that will offer creators up to $250K in exchange for a stake in their channels.
☝️ 1 Last Thing…
“Look, you have a former president in Trump, who is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a pathological liar, an authoritarian, somebody who doesn’t believe in the rule of law. This is a bad news guy.
But if you’re asking me, do I feel particularly comfortable that the president, the then president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about it.”
When Brandon replied making sure they knew it was a six-hour trip, the chefs simply said: “No problem. You tell us the date, time and location and we’ll be there.“
Ekiben co-founders Steve Chu and Ephram Abebe.
Setting up a make-shift kitchen in the back of their truck, Steve and his team made it to Vermont and cooked enough broccoli for the family to enjoy for days.
“My mom cried later about their generosity… It’s something we’ll never forget — I’ll carry that positive memory with me, always.”
🚁 The Wright Stuff… NASA revealed the Ingenuity Mars helicopter – which could perform the first powered, controlled flight on the Red Planet as early as April 8th – is carrying a tiny piece of fabric from the aircraft the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903.
🔋 Energy Reserve… researchers in Sweden developed a lithium-ion battery capable of functioning as a load-bearing structure, allowing for essentially “massless” energy storage that could significantly reduce the weight of electric vehicles.
🌌 Enlightening Observation… astronomers unveiled a new image of the supermassive M87 black hole – which became the first black hole to have its picture taken in 2019 – illustrating how its magnetism distorts light waves. (Image)
⏰ Prime Time… physicists in Colorado completed the most precise comparison of atomic clocks ever, achieving an uncertainty level of less than a quadrillionth of a percent – an important step in ensuring a more precise definition of a second in time.
🎹 Key Question
Of the 88 keys on a full-sized piano, how many are black?
A) 22 B) 44 C) 18 D) 36
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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