What to watch for today
Chinese president Xi Jinping visits the Czech Republic. He will likely discuss his “One Belt, One Road” initiative—a modern update on the Silk Road trade routes linking China to Europe—when he meets with Czech president Miloš Zeman.
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich could get a US Supreme Court hearing. Blagojevich, who tried to sell an appointment to president Barack Obama’s former seat in the senate, is serving a 14-year jail sentence. The court might announce a decision to hear Blagojevich’s last-chance appeal.
Oculus Rift delivers its first virtual-reality headset to consumers. It’s a day VR fans and gamers have been waiting for since the company’s Kickstarter campaign in 2012. CEO Palmer Luckey delivered the first unit himself a few days ago, flying out to Alaska to do it.
The UN meets to discuss marine biodiversity. Inaugural negotiations over laws to govern bodies of water with no national jurisdiction begin in New York. Representatives will try to balance commercial interests with preserving wildlife diversity.
Over the weekend
A terrorist bombing in Pakistan killed at least 69, including children. The explosion occurred at Lahore’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, a popular destination for families on Easter. A Taliban splinter group claimed credit, saying the attack targeted celebrating Christians.
Syrian government forces pushed ISIL fighters out of Palmyra. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces finally captured the ancient city with the aid of Russian air support, marking a setback for ISIL. After taking the city in 2015, ISIL destroyed iconic sections of Roman ruins that had been declared a world heritage site.
Senator Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton to another debate. Bolstered by his three caucus victories on Saturday, the US presidential contender said he wanted to debate the former secretary of state in New York ahead of the April 19 Democratic primary there. Early polls show Clinton with a strong lead in the state.
Japan lost contact with its innovative new space satellite. The satellite, named “Hitomi” and launched on Feb. 17, was equipped with X-ray telescopes to study black holes. A gas leak or battery explosion could have sent it tumbling end-over-end, pointing the antenna in the wrong direction for communication.
The World Bank gave Jordan a cheap $100 million loan. The long-term, almost-interest-free loan is meant to help create 100,000 jobs in Jordan for Syrian refugees and its own citizens. Such loans by the World Bank are among the newest tools used to finance education and job creation for refugees.
Quartz obsession interlude
Keith Collins on how one man broke the internet by deleting 11 lines of code: ”The story of how 28-year-old Azer Koçulu briefly broke the internet shows how writing software for the web has become dependent on a patchwork of code that itself relies on the benevolence of fellow programmers. When that system breaks down, as it did last week, the consequences can be vast and unpredictable.” Read more.
Matters of debate
An implant is the next step toward ending heroin addiction. The medicine used has been taken orally for years, but an implant removes the human error that comes with relying on addicts to take a daily pill.
Europe needs to forge better links with Muslim communities. If the continent can’t bring them into society more effectively, it risks being destroyed.
Obama is the most merciless president in history when it comes to pardons. He’s granted the fewest of any full-term president since John Adams.
Shakespeare’s skull is not with the rest of his skeleton. Radar scans of his grave suggest the playwright’s skull was stolen several centuries ago.
Saturn’s rings are younger than the dinosaurs. They were likely formed just 100 million years ago.
Syrian militias backed by the US military are fighting militias armed by US spies. Clashes among different US-backed groups underscore the challenges of intervening in Syria’s chaotic civil war.
Japanese ships killed 333 whales in the name of research. Conservationists say the hunt was called “scientific” simply to skirt international rules.
A woman lived in the Plaza for $500 a month for 35 years. The New York City luxury hotel once had monthly tenants, and she ended up with a rent-controlled unit.
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