This morning's top headlines: Thursday, March 16
(14) updates to this series since Updated
TikTok is dismissing calls for its Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the popular video-sharing app, saying such a move wouldn’t help protect national security. The company is responding to a report in The Wall Street Journal that said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., part of the Treasury Department, was threatening a U.S. ban on the app unless its owners, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., divested. TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan says, “The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring."
New data suggests U.S. deaths of pregnant women dropped significantly in 2022. It comes after a year when the maternal death rate was the highest in nearly six decades. According to a final tally released Thursday, more than 1,200 U.S. women died in 2021 during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. That was the highest maternal death rate since 1964. Government health officials are still compiling data for 2022, but it appears last year the rate dropped back down to pre-pandemic levels. But that’s not great either: The rate before COVID-19 was the highest it had been in decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks the data.
Credit Suisse shares surged after the Swiss central bank agreed to loan the bank up to 50 billion francs ($54 billion) to bolster confidence in the country’s second-biggest lender following the collapse of two U.S. banks. Credit Suisse announced the agreement before the Swiss stock market opened, sending shares up as much as 33%. That was a massive turnaround from a day earlier, when news that the bank’s biggest shareholder would not inject more money into Credit Suisse sent its shares tumbling 30%. The plunge in price dragged down other European banks and deepened concerns about the international financial system.
A special grand jury that investigated whether Donald Trump and his allies illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia heard a recording of the former president pushing a top state lawmaker to call a special session to overturn his loss in the state. That's according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which spoke to five members of the special grand jury who said they heard a recording of a phone call between Trump and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston that had not previously been reported and has not been made public. Ralston, who died in November, did not call a special session in the weeks after the November 2020 election.
The decision by Utah’s Republican governor to sign into law a ban on abortion clinics is raising concerns about how already overburdened hospitals will accommodate becoming the only place for legal abortions in the state. The measure adds another complication to the post-Roe health care landscape in the deeply Republican state where about 2,800 women get abortions yearly. The new rule is most likely to affect patients prescribed medication abortion –- a majority -– who often don’t require hospital care. It’s unknown if abortion rights advocates will try to legally stop the ban before it takes effect in May.
California’s 11th atmospheric river has left the storm-soaked state with a bang. It has flooded roadways, landslides and toppled trees to the southern part of the state. It has also brought drought-busting rainfall that meant the end of water restrictions for nearly 7 million people. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s decision brought relief amid the state’s historic drought. Meanwhile, residents are struggling to clean up before the next round of winter arrives in the coming days. Some 27,000 people are still under evacuation orders statewide. Meanwhile, evacuation orders were issued for people in a dozen areas of Sedona, Arizona, where parts of An additional 61,000 people are under evacuation warnings, and emergency shelters house more than 650 people.
Record snowfall and rain have helped to loosen drought’s grip on parts of the western U.S., even pushing it out altogether in California after consecutive dry years. National forecasters and climate experts detailed their spring outlook Thursday, warning that some areas should expect more flooding as the snow begins to melt. Flooding already has inundated parts of California, Nevada and now Arizona. In the upper Midwest, above average snowpack has forecasters warning of elevated flood risks along the Mississippi River from Minnesota south to Missouri. Still, for a West that has struggled with long-term drought, forecasters say all the moisture isn't enough to make a noticeable dent in the nation's largest reservoirs on the Colorado River.
French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered his prime minister to use a special constitutional power that skirts parliament to force through highly unpopular pension system changes. His bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 could become law without a democratic majority. Opposition lawmakers sang the national anthem Thursday to delay the formal announcement by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. They said they'll make motions of no-confidence in response to Macron's calculated risk. Meanwhile, groups of youth set fires around Paris after police chased off thousands of protesters gathered at the Place de la Concorde as night fell. Similar scenes occurred in other cities. .
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has swiftly rejected a compromise proposal aimed at resolving a standoff over the future of the country’s legal system. The rejection deepens the crisis over a plan that has roiled the country and drawn international criticism. The country’s figurehead president, Isaac Herzog, presented the compromise in a televised address Wednesday. Netanyahu's plan, which aims to weaken the country's Supreme Court, has sparked more than two months of mass protests. Herzog said he had consulting with a broad cross section of the country and suggested that Israel’s survival depends on reaching a compromise. But Netanyahu quickly turned it down, saying it would only perpetuate the current situation.
R&B singer Bobby Caldwell, who had a major hit in 1978 with “What You Won’t Do for Love," has died. Caldwell's wife, Mary, says he died Tuesday at their home in New Jersey after a long illness. He was 71. “What You Won’t Do for Love” went to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a long-term soul standard and career-defining hit for Caldwell, who also wrote the song. His music was frequently sampled in the songs of hip-hop artists, including Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G. and Common. Born in New York and raised in Miami, Caldwell got his professional break playing guitar in Little Richard’s band in the early 1970s, eventually going solo.
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Kelsey Wood had her second double-double of the season, Ny’Ceara Pryor added 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high 10 assists and Sacred Heart won its first NCAA Tournament game with a 57-47 victory over Southern on Wednesday night in the First Four.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — DJ Horne had 20 points and Arizona State raced to a big halftime lead and scored the most points ever in a First Four game, burying Nevada 98-73 on Wednesday night.
The NBA has suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant eight games without pay after determining that his holding a firearm at a club in suburban Denver earlier this month was “conduct detrimental to the league.” Morant will miss his sixth game when the Grizzlies play in Miami on Wednesday night. He will miss the next two games and be eligible to return on Monday when Memphis plays Dallas. The games he already missed will count toward the suspension. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver met with Morant in New York before announcing the league’s decision. He called Morant's conduct “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
The conclusion of the men's college basketball season is upon us and that can only mean one thing: it is time for the 'Big Dance.'