Wednesday: SCOTUS to hear oral arguments in NCAA student-athlete compensation case; Godzilla vs. Kong hits theaters and HBO Max
Thursday: April Fools; MLB Opening Day
Friday: Good Friday; Monthly U.S. jobs report
📝 Transgender Sports Legislation
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a GOP-backed bill last Friday requiring transgender students in the state to compete in school sports according to their gender at birth.
The Volunteer state is the third to enact such legislation this year, joining Mississippi (March 11) and Arkansas (one day prior).
Republican lawmakers in at least 30 states have introduced similar transgender youth sports restrictions. (Map.)
Nearly all are modeled off an Idaho bill signed into law last year. A federal judge in August temporarily suspended the legislation before it was enacted due to an ongoing legal challenge.
🤿 A deeper dive…
Many Republican-led state legislatures are responding to an executive order signed by President Biden the day he took office banning discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.
Backers of the state billsargue that transgender girls naturally are stronger, faster, and bigger than those identified as female at birth, and therefore have an inherent advantage when it comes to sports.
Democrats opposed to the measures call them “a solution in search of a problem,” citing a lack of evidence transgender athletes are gaming the system for competitive advantage.
Many critics warn the legislation would prompt costly lawsuits and hurt transgender youth. They also point to Biden’s executive order, saying the move may threaten states’ federal funding for education.
⏭️ What’s Next?
More than a dozen GOP-led state legislatures are expected to approve similar measures addressing gender in school sports over the coming months.
Bigotry, not fairness, behind bills to block trans kids from sports
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🇲🇲 Myanmar Update
At least 114 anticoup protestors in Myanmar were killed by government soldiers and local police, according to the Associated Press, marking the deadliest day of protests since Myanmar’s military seized power in a February 1 coup.
On Sunday, Myanmar security forces reportedly opened fire on a crowd attending a funeral for a student killed the previous day. There were no immediate reports of casualties, though at least nine deaths were reported elsewhere that day.
More: Saturday’s death toll reportedly included at least six children between the ages of 10 and 16. Protesters have started referring to the dead as “Fallen Stars.”
🗽 NY Vaccine Passport
New York became the first state to launch a digital COVID-19 vaccination and testing passport app on Friday.
Called the Excelsior Pass, the blockchain-powered app allows New Yorkers to download or print a code proving they’ve been vaccinated or recently tested negative for the virus.
More: Residents need to download the app and answer a series of personal questions to confirm their identity before receiving a QR code, if eligible. The data comes from the state vaccination registry along with a number of pre-approved testing companies. Participation is voluntary.
📚 Children’s author Beverly Cleary, who chronicled the adventures of Ramona and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins, and more, passed away at 104. | Larry McMurty, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and screenwriter who depicted the American West, died at 84.
WeWork announced a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) BowX Acquisition valuing the office-sharing startup at $9B including debt. As part of the deal, WeWork plans to raise $1.3B.
The agreement comes two years after WeWork’s first attempt at an IPO – valuing the company at $47B – fell apart, leading to the ouster of founder and then-CEO Adam Neumann.
🚢 Suez Canal Update
The 220k-ton container ship leased by Taiwan’s Evergreen Corp. – which has been wedged across the Suez Canal since Wednesday – was partially freed earlier this morning.
At least twelve tugboats were deployed to assist efforts to unstick the ship, while excavators dug at the wall of the canal.
More: Roughly 10% of all world trade flows through Egypt’s Suez Canal. The blockage holds up an estimated $400M an hour in trade ($9B+ per day), according to shipping data and news company Lloyd’s List.
Even More: The head of the Suez Canal Authority said Saturday that weather conditions were “not the main reasons” for the ship’s grounding, per the BBC, adding “there may have been technical or human errors” and that an investigation is ongoing.
🖊️ And Now His Watch Begins…
A Song of Ice & Fire author George R. R. Martin signed a new five-year deal with HBO to make content for the network and HBO Max.
More: Five projects based on the Game of Thrones universe are reportedly already in development, in addition to one greenlit series premiering in 2022 (House of the Dragon).
🧠 In the Know…
🏀 The Men’s & Women’s Sweet Sixteen concluded yesterday (Live bracket: Men’s | Women’s). The Elite Eight tips off later today and finishes up on Tuesday, setting the stage for the Final Four this weekend.
📝 Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6B defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, accusing the network of spreading false claims that the company was involved in voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. (From the Left | From the Right)
❄️⛸🏒A Very Nice Deed
In the small town of Seaforth, Ontario, Graham Nesbitt is a local legend and role model. Former manager of the town’s popular ice-rink, Graham spent years becoming “a good guy to call” whenever someone needed time on the ice.
🐙 Sweet Dreams… by observing the color-changing patterns of octopuses as they slept, neuroscientists in Brazil determined that the animals experience two major sleep phases – suggesting that it may be possible for the cephalopods to dream.
💻 Blast From The Past… Windows hacker and developer Albacore came across a previously undiscovered Easter egg in Windows 95’s Internet Mail program – 25 years after the software was released. The hidden feature opens a secret window displaying a scrolling list of the developers’ names (Video: 1 min).