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Murder charges for Atlanta gunman.

Views expressed in this geopolitical news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content supplied by National Public Radio (NPR).

Accessed on 18 March 2021, 1902 UTC, Post 1085.

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Thanks for joining us today.

Russ Roberts

https://www.hawaiigeopoliticalnews.com

by Korva Coleman and Rachel Treisman

First Up

Mourners visit and leave flowers on Wednesday at the site of two shootings at spas across the street from one another in Atlanta.
Megan Varner/Getty Images
Here's what we're following today.

The suspected gunman in three attacks that killed eight people at Atlanta-area spas has been arrested and charged with murder. Robert Aaron Long, 21 of Georgia, confessed to the crimes and said he was a patron of the targeted businesses. Six of the deceased are women of Asian descent, adding to a surge of hate crimes and other attacks against Asian Americans in the past year. 

U.S. intelligence agencies are warning that the threat posed by domestic extremist groups increased last year and will remain high in 2021. According to a report commissioned by President Biden, extremists are being motivated by disinformation about the 2020 election, the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the coronavirus pandemic, and other conspiracy theories that promote violence.

The IRS and Treasury Department are delaying the tax filing deadline by one month, to May 17. Officials say the extension — which applies to federal income returns and taxes only — is intended to help taxpayers “navigate the unusual circumstances” related to COVID-19. Here are five things to know about filing taxes during the pandemic. 

The Biden administration says it will spend $10 billion on coronavirus testing for the nation’s schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will lend technical assistance to state and local health departments to create school testing programs where they aren’t up and running yet. 

Police in Washington, D.C., arrested a Texas man outside Vice President Kamala Harris’s official residence, although she doesn’t yet live at the estate near the U.S. Naval Observatory. Police say they recovered a rifle and ammunition from the vehicle of Paul Murray, 31.  He was first detained by the Secret Service, which acted on an intelligence bulletin from Texas, and was formally arrested by Washington police. 

The House has voted to renew the Violence Against Women Act, a law that protects and provides resources for people subjected to sexual and physical abuse and domestic violence. It heads next to the Senate, but reauthorization is not guaranteed. Congress failed to act when the law last lapsed in 2018, as Republicans disagreed over new provisions covering guns and transgender issues. 

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Today's Listens

Juvenile white sharks, like this one near Aptos, Calif., are moving into new ecosystems as water warms.
Eric Mailander
Environmental advocates say the Biden administration is taking office at a critical time for oceans: Sea levels are rising, fish are migrating away from where they’re normally caught and water is becoming more acidic as it absorbs carbon dioxide emitted by human activity. They hope oceans will play a central role in the administration’s climate agenda, including post-pandemic recovery plans. Read more or hear the story

The U.S. Department of Agriculture denied Black farmers grants and other aid for decades, even after they won a class action discrimination lawsuit in the 1990s. Now, despite some partisan resistance, Black farmers and other disadvantaged groups are getting billions in debt relief and other help from the newest stimulus bill. Take a listen

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, a prominent skeptic of the coronavirus, has died at age 61. He had not been seen in public since the end of February, fueling speculation he was ill and possibly incapacitated. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan told state television on Wednesday that the cause of death was heart failure. Read the story or listen here

Scientists have created living entities in lab dishes that resemble human embryos more closely than ever before, according to new research published Wednesday. The two new experiments aim to gain insights into early human development and treatment of fertility problems, and to find ways to prevent birth defects and miscarriages — but they also raise sensitive moral and ethical concerns. See the story or listen to it.

Members of NASA's Perseverance rover team, in collaboration with the Navajo Nation, have been naming features of scientific interest on Mars with words from the Navajo language. Fewer young people are speaking the language, and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said he hopes its use in the high-profile mission will inspire more of them to understand the significance of learning it. Listen or read about it.

The Picture Show

Leesa Kelly is hoping the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin results in a verdict that tells the world that there are consequences when police take a Black life.
Nina Robinson
After the killing of George Floyd, Minnesota business owners put up plywood to protect their buildings during civil unrest. Those boards became a blank canvas for devastated and angry Minnesotans, who covered hundreds with portraits and messages during the weeks of protests that ensued. Leesa Kelly and Kenda Zellner-Smith teamed up in August to collect and preserve those murals, in an effort to create constant reminder of what happened in the summer of 2020. They’re working to create a digital archive, and have an exhibition planned for May: For three days, some 200 boards will be on display in Phelps Field Park in Minneapolis, a five-minute walk from the site of Floyd’s killing.

Before You Go

Supporters celebrate the district court's ruling on Japan's same-sex marriage ban with a flag reading "unconstitutional decision" in Sapporo, Hokkaido prefecture, on Wednesday.
STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images
  • A Japanese court on Wednesday ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The first-of-its-kind decision will not alone prompt a change in policy, but supporters hope it will set a precedent for other pending cases — and help pave the way for marriage equality in the only G-7 nation that doesn’t fully recognize such unions.
  • Love him or not, Justin Bieber is dropping a new album on Friday. Justice will include his latest song, “Peaches,” one of the numbers he performs on his new NPR Tiny Desk Concert
  • It’s Antiques Roadshow come to life! This small, porcelain bowl cost $35 at a yard sale last year, but is really a rare 15th century Chinese artifact. It just sold at Sotheby’s for $721,800.
  • James Levine, the former Met Opera Music Director, is dead at the age of 77. The renowned conductor had a larger than life role in the classical music world, but left the Met in 2017 after accusations of sexual misconduct. Nine men eventually publicly accused Levine of harassment or abuse. Levine died on March 9 of natural causes.
  • President Biden defended his rescue dog Major a week after the German Shepherd made headlines for causing a minor injury at the White House. Biden said the “sweet dog” is currently undergoing some remedial training
  • Lonnie Bunch is the first Black leader of the Smithsonian Institution and one of the main reasons the National Museum of African American History and Culture came to life. The museum is currently closed because of the coronavirus, but he gave a virtual tour to NPR’s Code Switch podcast. 

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