Monday, March 27, 2023

Wake-Up Call: More Storms Rattle The South

Severe storms rumbled across parts of the South on Sunday, two days after violent tornadoes smashed through the Mississippi Delta region — one of the country's poorest areas — gutting rural towns and leaving more than two dozen people dead, reports USAToday. The Storm Prediction Center said "strong tornadoes and very large hail'' were most likely to hit from central Louisiana across central and southern Mississippi and Alabama through the night. The National Weather Service office in Jackson, Mississippi, retweeted photos of hail that apparently fell in the state Sunday, some of it nearly the size of a baseball. 

Search and rescue teams worked Sunday through the rubble left by the weekend tornadoes. At least 25 people died in a twister that stayed on the ground in Mississippi for more than an hour Friday night. Houses were torn from foundations, trees were stripped of branches, cars were flipped like toys, and entire blocks were wiped out.  

Rolling Fork in Sharkey County, about 60 miles northwest of Jackson, was devastated so quickly by the tornado that Mayor Eldridge Walker said the sheriff’s department barely had time alert the community of under 2,000 residents. “And by the time they initiated the siren, the storm had hit and it tore down the siren,'' Walker said.

➤BIG BANK DEAL: First Citizens Bancshares Inc., one of the nation’s largest regional banks, is buying big pieces of Silicon Valley Bank more than two weeks after the lender’s collapse sent tremors through the banking system.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said First Citizens FCNCB 1.85%increase; green up pointing triangle is acquiring all of Silicon Valley Bank’s deposits, loans and branches, which will open Monday morning under the new ownership.  The purchase includes $119 billion in deposits and about $72 billion of SVB’s loans at a discount of $16.5 billion. Some $90 billion of SVB’s securities will remain in receivership.  Regulators took control of Santa Clara, Calif.-based SVB on March 10. The collapse sparked a panic that led to the weekend failure of Signature Bank and a dramatic intervention by financial regulators aimed at easing fears that depositors would flee smaller lenders. The sale represents a milestone in regulatory efforts to clean up after two of the largest bank failures in history, at a time when investors are on edge about the health of the global financial system. 

➤UNREST IN ISRAEL: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly fired his defence minister on Sunday just a day after he had called for an end to the PM's controversial judicial overhaul. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv and blocked a main highway in front of the Ministry of Defense before water cannons were deployed in Jerusalem. The dismissal signaled that Netanyahu will move ahead this week with his judicial plan, which has sparked mass protests, angered military and business leaders and raised concerns among Israel's allies. The plans include increasing sitting governments' and PMs' powers to overrule the Supreme Court and reduce the review of new laws - as well as giving the government ultimate control over all judiciary appointments. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had been the first senior member of the ruling Likud party to speak out against the plan.

➤TRUMP NEEDS TO 'READ THE ROOM': Donald Trump's energetic, jeering crowd of fans were notably silent when the former president made fun of Florida governor Ron DeSantis at a rally on Saturday. Speaking to a crowd of MAGA supporters in Waco, Texas, Trump recounted how DeSantis once asked him for an endorsement so that he could win the Florida governorship. The former president even mocked DeSantis for making the request, imitating him in a pleading, crying voice. But unlike Trump's attacks on his other political rivals, like Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz, the crowd did not seem to laugh or cheer at his remarks - and instead were eerily quiet during the tirade. They did, however, applaud just moments later when Trump hurriedly changed the subject and noted that he is ahead of other Republicans in polls for the 2024 presidential election. 

➤HARRIS ARRIVES IN AFRICA CARRYING $$$: Kamala Harris landed in Ghana on Sunday at the start of a three-nation tour which officials say is intended to show Africa that the U.S. is there as a partner - and lure them away from China. China has invested heavily in Africa in recent decades, including in infrastructure and resource development, while Russian influence has also grown, including through the deployment of troops from Russia's private military contractor Wagner Group to aid governments in several countries. Ghana is facing an economic crisis with inflation at more than 50 percent and its cedi currency down sharply, hit by the adverse effects of the global pandemic and Ukraine crisis. Ghana has agreed on a $3 billion credit deal with the IMF to tackle its economic crisis. It is also in talks with China on its problems. She insisted, however, that the trip was about helping Africa entice investment. She will stay in the country from March 26-29, then in Tanzania from March 29-31. Her final stop is Zambia, on March 31 and April 1.

➤WHO DID IT? Parts of the crucial computer code that keeps Twitter up and running were leaked online, the Elon Musk-led company said in a legal filing Friday. The leak came to light after the social media company took legal action to have the information about the code taken off GitHub, an online platform for software development, according to the NYTimes. GitHub agreed to immediately remove the content after Twitter sent over a copyright infringement notice, though it’s unclear how long the code was online. The Times reported it appeared to have been public for several months. One concern tied to the leak is the code includes security vulnerabilities that would give hackers the chance to steal user data or take down the site, two people briefed on an internal probe Twitter is conducting told the Times.

➤PHILLY WATER SAID TO BE OKAY: The City of Philadelphia said it was "now confident" tap water will remain safe to drink or cook through Monday night following a chemical spill in a tributary of the Delaware River in suburban Bucks County. Michael Carrol, deputy managing director for the City’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, said no contaminants had been found in the drinking water since the spill late Friday. In an earlier advisory on Sunday, officials recommended residents across most of the city use bottled water "out of an abundance of caution." “Nonetheless, because we cannot be 100% sure that there won’t be traces of these chemicals in the tap water throughout the afternoon, we want the public to be aware so that people can consider switching to bottled water to further minimize any risk," Carrol said.

ARE THE CHATBOTS COMING FOR YOUR JOB? A new research paper claims that a staggering amount of employees could see their careers impacted by the rise of ChatGPT, a shockingly intelligent chatbot released in November. Researchers from OpenAI and the University of Pennsylvania argued in a new research paper that 80 percent of the US workforce could have at least 10 percent of their work tasks affected by the introduction of ChatGPT. They also found that about 19 percent of workers may find at least 50 percent of their duties impacted by GPT, or General-purpose technologies. Researchers also found that higher-income jobs will likely have greater exposure to GPT, but that it will span across almost all industries.

🏀FINAL FOUR SET: Miami (Fla.) earned its first trip to the Final Four in school history with a inspired 88-81 comeback victory over Texas Sunday in the Midwest Regional Final. The fifth-seeded Hurricanes looked to be heading home as they trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half before rallying past the second-seeded Longhorns in the championship game of the Midwest Regional in the NCAA men's tournament. Senior guard Jordan Miller led Miami with 27 points on perfect shooting -- 7-of-7 from the field and 13-for-13 from the free-throw line at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

🏈SEAHAWKS, BOBBY WAGNER REUNITE AFTER REACHING 1-YEAR, $7M DEAL: After a one-year getaway with the Los Angeles Rams, linebacker Bobby Wagner has returned to the Seattle Seahawks in NFL free agency, the team announced Saturday, bringing the 32-year-old back to where he played his first 10 NFL seasons. Wagner signed a one-year, $7 million contract, according to multiple reports.

YANKEES TOP PROSPECT ANTHONY VOLPE MAKES OPENING DAY ROSTER: Top prospect Anthony Volpe will start at shortstop for the New York Yankees after an undeniable spring training performance vaulted him to the coveted job, the team announced Sunday. Volpe, 21, will travel back to the Bronx on Wednesday and join the starting lineup Thursday against the San Francisco Giants following a spring in which he batted .314/.417/.647 with three home runs and 10 extra-base hits in 17 games.

⚾RAYS HOPEFUL FRANCO CAN PLAY OPENING DAY AFTER 'FAVORABLE' MRI: An MRI on Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco's right quad Sunday returned "favorable" results, Rays manager Kevin Cash told the Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay remains optimistic that Franco will play Thursday, when the Rays open the regular season against the Detroit Tigers. Franco, 22, hit .277 with six home runs and 33 RBIs last season as Tampa By returned to the postseason, one of three teams in the American League East to do so.

🏈CAROLINA PANTHERS AGREE TO DEAL WITH WR DJ CHARK: The Panthers agreed to a deal with former Detroit Lions wideout DJ Chark, the team announced. Chark will receive $5 million fully guaranteed with the contract containing a $3.92 million signing bonus and four void years for salary cap purposes.

✞JERRY GREEN, DETROIT SPORTSWRITER AT 56 SUPER BOWLS PASSES AT 94: Jerry Green, a Detroit sportswriter who covered 56 consecutive Super Bowls, has died at 94, The Detroit News said Friday. Green retired as a columnist at the News in 2004 but continued to attend the Super Bowl for the newspaper until this year. His streak began with Green Bay's 35-10 victory over Kansas City in the first Super Bowl in 1967. "Jerry Green was synonymous with the Super Bowl. He chronicled the story of our game to millions of fans, helping bring them closer to the action," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "All of us in the NFL mourn his passing."

  • Charlotte Hornets 110 Dallas Mavericks 104
  • Chicago Bulls 118  Los Angeles Lakers 108
  • Memphis Grizzlies 123 vs Atlanta Hawks 119
  • Boston Celtics 137 San Antonio Spurs 93
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 108 Houston Rockets 91
  • Orlando Magic 119 Brooklyn Nets 106 
  • Toronto Raptors 114 Washington Wizards 104
  • Oklahoma City Thunder 118 Portland Trail Blazers 112
  • Minnesota Timberwolves 99 Golden State Warriors 96

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