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The Morning Rundown™

Texas immigration law paused again amid legal seesaw

Mar 20


Hours after the Supreme Court rules that Texas’ immigration law can take effect, it is now back on hold. And, charges have been dropped against the father of a late Marine who was arrested at the State of the Union. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

Texas immigration law back on hold hours after Supreme Court ruling

In a rapid succession of judicial decisions, Texas’ stringent immigration law, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), was put on hold just hours after the Supreme Court allowed it to temporarily take effect, marking a tumultuous 24 hours of rulings.

The Fifth Court of Appeals intervened late Tuesday, deciding that the Texas law, which authorizes local law enforcement to detain migrants crossing the border illegally, should remain suspended. This pause sets the stage for oral arguments on Wednesday, March 20, in the appellate court, which will deliberate on whether the temporary block should be extended as the Biden administration’s challenge against SB4’s constitutionality proceeds.

Texas officials did not report any arrests during the short period SB4 was in effect. Under SB4, apprehended individuals are given the option to voluntarily leave the U.S. or face legal proceedings. Mexico’s government responded promptly to the Supreme Court’s decision, asserting it would not accept any deportees forced to cross the border under this law.

Amidst the ongoing legal battle over Texas’ immigration policy, a similar legislative proposal has successfully passed the state House in Iowa. This bill, now awaiting Governor Kim Reynolds’ signature, would take effect in July.

Trump-backed candidates sweep Ohio primary, sets stage for November

Former President Donald Trump’s influence loomed large in Ohio’s high-stakes primary elections on Tuesday, March 20, with his chosen candidates, Bernie Moreno and Derek Merrin, emerging victorious and gearing up for November’s critical electoral battles.

Businessman Bernie Moreno defeated a field of rivals to set up a clash with Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. Meanwhile, Derek Merrin bested his opposition to take on U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur.

The outcomes of these races are pivotal, with the potential to shift the balance of power in Washington. Both incumbents, Brown and Kaptur, are perceived as vulnerable in an increasingly Republican-leaning Ohio.

In his victory address, Moreno lauded Trump’s support and sought to rally the party behind him against Brown, whom he criticized as a key supporter of President Joe Biden’s policies. As the general election looms, it promises to be fiercely contested. Brown, seeking another term, intends to focus on abortion rights, a move that contrasts with Moreno’s strategy as he navigates scrutiny over his past. Brown posting on X, “The choice ahead of Ohio is clear: Bernie Moreno has spent his career and campaign putting himself first, and would do the same if elected. I’ll always work for Ohio.”

Charges dropped against Gold Star father who disrupted State of the Union

Charges have been dropped against the father of a Marine killed during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, following his interruption during President Biden’s State of the Union address.

Steve Nikoui, who shouted his son’s name as the president delivered the March 7 address, was removed from the House chamber and arrested after being repeatedly warned by Capitol Police. In a statement issued later that night, authorities stated that disrupting Congress and demonstrating within congressional buildings was illegal.

However, as of Tuesday, March 19, D.C.’s Attorney General has decided to drop all charges against Nikoui, a decision that aligns with the office’s past treatment of similar cases involving protesters. This development was confirmed to Fox News by officials within the AG’s office.

Nikoui reportedly expressed was feeling “thrilled and humbled” by the decision to drop the charges. The incident and its aftermath have sparked a conversation on the rights of individuals to express their grief and political dissent in public forums.

NYT: Saudi government plans to create $40B fund for artificial intelligence

In a bold move to position itself at the forefront of the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing to establish a $40 billion investment fund dedicated to AI advancements.

The New York Times reports the Saudi government, through its Public Investment Fund, has engaged in preliminary talks with the American venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz. These discussions have explored the potential for Andreessen Horowitz to establish a presence in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, as part of the kingdom’s ambitious AI investment strategy.

According to the newspaper, the Saudi AI initiative is scheduled to commence in the latter half of this year, signaling a significant acceleration of the country’s efforts to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

If realized, this investment would catapult Saudi Arabia to the status of the world’s preeminent investor in artificial intelligence, underscoring the kingdom’s commitment to adopting cutting-edge technologies to fuel its future growth.

South Korean police dismiss bomb threat targeting MLB star Shohei Ohtani as not credible

Authorities have assessed a bomb threat aimed at Los Angeles Dodgers’ newcomer Shohei Ohtani as not credible, ensuring the safety of participants and spectators at Major League Baseball’s historic opening day game in Seoul.

The game, held Wednesday morning between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres at a stadium in Seoul, proceeded without incident. This event marks a milestone for MLB, as it is the first time regular season games are taking place in South Korea.

The threat emerged from an email sent to the South Korean consulate in Vancouver, Canada, by an individual claiming to be a Japanese lawyer. The message warned of a bomb set to detonate during the game. However, after a thorough investigation, police found no explosives at the venue. Authorities also believe the sender was responsible for similar threats last year.

Ohtani, making his debut with the Dodgers after signing a groundbreaking 10-year, $700 million contract with the team late last year, was the specific target of the threat.

Major League Baseball issued a statement confirming they are in close cooperation with local law enforcement to continue monitoring the situation vigilantly.

Finland tops World Happiness report, US drops from top 20

Some happy news for residents of Finland: the Nordic country has once again been crowned the happiest country in the world. This announcement comes at a less joyous moment for the United States, which, for the first time in 12 years, has dropped out of the top 20 in Gallup’s World Happiness Report, ranking No. 23 this year.

The Gallup survey pinpointed a notable dip in happiness among Americans under 30 as a significant factor behind the country’s slide down the rankings. In contrast, Americans aged 60 and older seem to be faring better, with the U.S. still making it into the top 10 for this age group.

Finland’s consistent top billing as the happiest country marks its seventh consecutive year at the peak of global well-being, a testament to the nation’s enduring quality of life and societal support systems.

The release of this year’s World Happiness Report aligns with the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, offering a moment for reflection on the state of global well-being amid ongoing challenges.

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