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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Wednesday.
2. New York’s top court threw out the House map drawn by Democrats.
A divided New York Court of Appeals ruled that Democrats violated the State Constitution and ignored the will of voters by redrawing congressional and State Senate district maps. Judges ordered a court-appointed expert to draw replacements. The verdict cannot be appealed.
In 2014, voters passed amendments aimed at decreasing partisan influence, the court’s chief judge noted in her ruling, but the districts were “drawn with impermissible partisan purpose.” All seven court judges were appointed by Democratic governors. It was a stinging defeat: National Democrats had counted on New York picking up seats this fall to offset Republican redistricting gains.
In other political news, Washington’s “nerd prom,” also known as the White House Correspondents’ dinner, will be held for the first time since 2020. Covid has complicated the guest list, though.
3. The pandemic’s emergency phase has ended, the EU said.
For now, the bloc recommends focusing on vaccination, surveillance and testing in advance of a possible fall wave, though EU states can set their own policies.
Deaths and hospitalizations have fallen off across Europe, because of the less severe Omicron variant and high immunization levels. But EU nations have abolished piecemeal restrictions, creating confusion. The announcement is an attempt to coordinate management of the pandemic as it becomes less acute.
4. A new report faults the Minneapolis Police Department for shockingly racist and misogynist talk and discriminatory policing.
The department fails to hold officers accountable for misbehavior and “is averse to oversight and accountability,” the report said. The investigation by the state’s Department of Human Rights was a response to the police killing of George Floyd. The federal Justice Department is also conducting an investigation. Each could result in consent decrees.
Investigators reviewed 700 hours of body camera footage, revealing officers and supervisors using flagrantly disrespectful or obscene language to suspects, witnesses and bystanders. Officers also stopped, searched, arrested, ticketed, used force on and killed Black and Indigenous people at higher rates than white people.
5. A young woman’s killing has sparked national outrage in Mexico over gender violence.
Debanhi Escobar, an 18-year-old law student, disappeared April 9 in Monterrey. Her body of her was found last week in an old, underground water tank. In the last month, at least nine other women and girls have disappeared around the city, one of Mexico’s wealthiest. More than 24,000 women are missing in Mexico, 2,800 of them in cases reported in 2021.
Security experts say a rise in organized crime, like sex trafficking, and high rates of domestic violence correlate with the rising rate of disappearances. Such cases typically are not investigated or prosecuted, allowing criminals to operate with impunity.
The day after Escobar’s death was confirmed, hundreds of women took to the streets in protest. “We are destroyed inside. Our hearts are broken,” her father said. “We are sick and tired of everything that’s happening in Mexico.”
6. Incandescent bulbs are at the end of their filaments.
Yesterday, the Biden administration adopted new rules setting stricter energy efficiency standards for light bulbs and phasing out the sale of most incandescent ones. The move was planned for 2019, but the Trump administration bent to pressure from incandescent light bulb makers.
Much of the country is already lit by LEDs, which last as much as 50 times as long as incandescents and use a fraction of the electricity. Under the new plan, Americans will save $3 billion a year on utility bills, and carbon dioxide emissions will drop by about 222 million metric tons over 30 years.
7. In what’s being called a mutual decision, the NCAA president, Mark Emmert, will resign early from his position as the top administrator in college sports.
He’ll leave by the middle of next year, according to the surprise announcement. Last year, his contract with him was extended until 2025, frustrating many college sports administrators and executives.
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The NCAA has been wrestling with transition, criticized for gender disparities in its basketball tournaments and losing a Supreme Court case dealing with limits on benefits for student-athletes. The NCAA’s current board chair said it would be studying “the future role of the president.”
8. Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest person, died in Japan last week at 119.
She survived two world wars, the 1918 influenza outbreak and serious illness. In Japan, which has the world’s oldest population, Tanaka was a symbol of graceful, clear-minded aging and was recognized by officials and Guinness World Records.
Born in 1903 to farmers in what is now Fukuoka City in Japan’s south, Tanaka married a cousin at age 19. She and her husband worked as shopkeepers and ran a kindergarten. She had four children, all of whom preceded her. After retiring in her late 70s, she visited relatives in Japan and the US, read newspapers, did math problems and played board games.
Her wit never deserted her. When one visiting reporter asked her what kind of man she preferred, she told him, “A young man like you.”
9. On the HBO series “Barry,” Henry Winkler has come into his own.
There was a period during which Henry Winkler despaired he’d be forever typecast as the Fonz from “Happy Days.” Ultimately, I’ve moved on to roles in “Parks and Recreation,” “Arrested Development” and lots of Adam Sandler movies. But he felt a truly great part had eluded him.
That changed when Bill Hader cast him as the washed-up acting coach, Gene Cousineau, on “Barry.” In 2019, Winkler won an Emmy for his role as him on what was HBO’s most-watched half-hour show. Season 3 premiered on Sunday after a two-year hiatus.
The Times Magazine profiled Winkler, digging into his severe undiagnosed dyslexia and his Yale School of Drama days. Hader joked: “One day we’ll find out that he’s got like 20 bodies buried under the house, but until then, I’ll be on record: I think he’s a beautiful person.”
10. And finally, competitive typing’s low-key appeal.
Competitive typing dates to an era when typewriter manufacturers held competitions at places like Madison Square Garden. The events drew thousands, but popularity waned after the first half of the 20th century.
In 2008, though, the TypeRacer website went up and drew a devoted community. Now, there are multiple websites where users log scores over 200 words per minute and an Ultimate Typing Championship. It’s a “grass-roots movement,” one said. “It seems like this special thing that some people want to keep secret and special and tight-knit.”
Have a championship night.
Hannah Yoon compiled photos for this briefing.
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