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Good evening. Here is the last Tuesday at the end of the day.
1. In a speech in Buffalo today, President Biden called white supremacy “poison” and Saturday’s racist massacre “domestic terrorism” and shared the name and story of each victim.
Biden and his wife, Jill, met with the victims’ families ahead of the speech, in which Biden denounced “replacement theory” and condemned those “who spread lies for power, political gain and profit.” Biden added, “I don’t know why we’re not admitting what’s going on.” But he refrained from naming influential conspiracy theorists, like Tucker Carlson.
Not all residents welcomed his words: “I don’t care what Biden said. I want to see some action,” said one resident. “I want to see our community get help.”
Biden expressed support for taking assault weapons off the streets but, before leaving, said there was little he could do for gun control via executive action and that it would be difficult to get Congress to act.
2. Early Tuesday, more than 260 Ukrainian fighters at the Mariupol steel plant went to Russia. Their fate is uncertain, as is that of hundreds of others still in the factory.
The soldiers laid down their arms under the orders of their country’s army, after very secret negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. The surrender appears to end the longest battle of the war to date, cementing one of Russia’s few major territorial gains.
What happens next is unclear. The evacuated soldiers were taken to Russian-held territory, where Ukrainian officials said the fighters would be exchanged for Russian prisoners. But the Kremlin has not confirmed the swap and has signaled it may bring war crimes charges against the soldiers.
Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine seem further apart than ever in peace talks.
3. Five states held primaries today.
No state is more closely watched than Pennsylvania. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has spent the day recovering from a stroke, is the frontrunner for the Democratic Senate nomination against Rep. Conor Lamb. Three candidates are neck and neck in the Republican Senate race; Dr. Mehmet Oz, a famous doctor supported by Donald Trump, was slightly ahead in the polls.
The former president has also backed Doug Mastriano, a far-right loyalist who has promoted conspiracy theories and is the leading Republican candidate for governor. Officials said final election results may not arrive tonight.
4. The Ministry of Justice asks January 6 committee transcripts.
The House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol has so far interviewed more than 1,000 people. And the Justice Department has asked the committee to send transcripts of any interviews it conducts — including discussions with Trump’s inner circle, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
The transcripts could be used as evidence in potential criminal cases or to pursue new leads. The move comes amid signs that Attorney General Merrick Garland is picking up the pace on his painstaking investigation into the Capitol attack, which coincided with certification of the election the former president lost.
5. American public schools lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020.
Experts point to two potential causes: Some parents got so fed up with remote instruction or mask mandates that they started homeschooling their kids or sending them to private schools that have remained wide open for the pandemic. Other families have been thrown into such turmoil by pandemic-related job losses, homelessness and school closures that their children have abandoned them.
While a broad decline was underway with declining birth and immigration rates, the pandemic has accelerated that decline in a way that experts say will not be easily reversed.
6. Is it in or out?
The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has raised new doubts over his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, saying (on Twitter) that ‘this deal can’t move forward’ until it has not obtained more details on the volume of spam and fake accounts on the platform.
Musk has tackled the issue of fake accounts, which Twitter says make up less than 5% of its total, in a move some analysts see as an attempt to lower the acquisition price or waive the deal.
The social media company is moving forward. In a lengthy regulatory filing, Twitter’s board urged shareholders to vote in favor of the deal and provided a detailed view of how the board reached a deal with Musk last month .
7. More baby formulas may be on the way.
As a national infant formula shortage irked many parents, the FDA announced an agreement with Abbott Laboratories to reopen the company’s shuttered infant formula plant.
Russo-Ukrainian War: Main Developments
In Mariupol. The bloodiest battle of the war in Ukraine ended in Mariupol, when the Ukrainian army ordered the fighters to a steelworks in the city. Ukraine’s decision to end the fighting gave Moscow full control over a large swath of southern Ukraine, stretching from the Russian border to Crimea.
The plant in Sturgis, Michigan, has been closed since February after several babies who consumed formula produced there fell ill and two died. The company said the reopening could mean more formulas hitting store shelves in six to eight weeks.
Separately, House Democrats released a $28 million relief bill to address the formula shortage.
And new research on sudden infant death syndrome found that some babies at risk for SIDS had low levels of an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase. The study could pave the way for newborn screening if the results can be corroborated.
8. For the first time in 50 years, Congress held public hearings on UFOs.
Two Pentagon officials spoke to a House subcommittee about the unexplained sightings in the sky and showed previously classified video of a bright spherical object passing a fighter jet. Another video showed small triangles – possibly drones – moving through the air.
Last year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report listing unexplained aerial phenomena dating back to 2004. Lawmakers say they want more transparency and thoroughness in investigations, just in case the objects represent a actual extraterrestrial activity or would be advanced Russian or Chinese technology. . Privately, some senior US officials dismissed the idea that the objects represented anything extraterrestrial.
9. New restaurant dress codes delight some customers and irritate others.
Over the past couple of years, American fashion has mostly focused on sweatshirts and t-shirts. As a fix, some restaurants are now asking customers to dress for dinner. “The high-end fashionable dress code is strongly enforced,” warns the LA Olivetta restaurant. At Carte Blanche in Dallas, “refined casual” is the order of the day.
Many customers love it. A New York fashion designer called it “a way to show your appreciation” to the battered restaurant world. But there can be a fine line between elegance and exclusion: Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was refused entry to a Capital Grille while wearing leggings. (The restaurant group’s president apologized and said he had updated his dress code and retrained his staff.)
10. And finally, the debut of a donkey at the opera.
The revival of “La Bohème” at the Metropolitan Opera has a new star. Wanda stepped in to fill the clogs of beloved Sir Gabriel, who for 16 seasons appeared on stage in a crowd scene, drawing a toy cart. (Sir Gabriel retired to a farm in Maryland.)
Wanda has previously starred in commercials and appeared on Palm Sunday at a New York church. Her co-stars appreciate her presence. “Animals and children,” said Gregory Warren, who plays the toy salesman. “Having them on stage really changes things.”
Have a dramatic evening.
Hannah Youn and Eve Edelheit photos compiled for this briefing.
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