The News February 28-March 4: Superbowl of a Tuesday

Stories of the Week

Super duper Tuesday. Numerous states in the US held primaries and caucuses last Tuesday, marking a turning point in the presidential race. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won a handful of key states, including the enormous Texas, which brings her much-needed delegates (who will, in turn, be used to ascend to the nomination for the Democratic party.) Bernie Sanders took Vermont, his home state, as well as Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota, thanks to the white voting demographic in those states, who have favored Sanders this election cycle. On the Republican side, Donald Trump had a near sweep but ceded Oklahoma, Alaska, and Texas to Ted Cruz, who is from the latter state. Marco Rubio won his only election of primary season so far, taking Minnesota. Update: Ben Carson dropped out of the race (or appeared to) on Wednesday, and on Thursday Mitt Romney gave an anti-Trump speech.

Abortion hearings. The US Supreme Court heard its biggest abortion case in many, many years this week. The argument hinges on a Texas case, Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt, which argues that a state law, HB2 (famously filibustered by Texas State Representative Wendy Davis in 2013), places an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions. The Court's four liberal justices and three of its conservative justices took their typical stances. This means Anthony Kennedy, a conservative justice who is still something of a swing vote, will be the decider. The liberal justices made the case to Kennedy that HB2 appeared to be unconstitutional. 

Mumtaz Qadri dies in Pakistan. Pakistan has hung Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out against the country's blasphemy laws. Qadri was Taseer's bodyguard, and his actions were lauded by hardliners and blasphemy law proponents. While mourners and protesters have filled the street since his death, much of the Pakistani media has been silent in an effort to prevent his martyrdom.

Women protest outside the Supreme Court in favor of abortion rights. (Flickr - vaxciliate)

Women protest outside the Supreme Court in favor of abortion rights. (Flickr - vaxciliate)

 

Blues Buzz


 

Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

  • Burma pushed the date of the vote to elect a new president.
  • The UN voted on Wednesday on whether to sanction North Korea.
  • South Korean lawmakers ended the longest filibuster ever recorded. It dragged on for 192 hours.

Europe & Eurasia:

Middle East & North Africa:

Sub-Saharan Africa:

Americas:

  • Argentina has settled the 14-year battle over its debt.
  • Facebook's highest-ranking executive in Brazil was arrested following a dispute between the Brazilian government and the company.
  • The Zika virus could be causing paralysis
  • Famed kingpin El Chapo wants to be extradited to the US from Mexico so he can have better prison conditions.
  • Tesla workers in Nevada are protesting over their pay.
  • Texas isn't prepared for hurricanes, and that is a huge problem.

Oceania:

  • New Zealand is voting in a referendum on whether or not to keep its flag, which currently includes the Union Jack.

Quote of the Week:

Twenty-four years later, there are three women on the court. And if you count Justice Stephen Breyer as one of history’s great feminists—and I do—then you can view the arguments in this term’s landmark abortion case, Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, as creating a neat 4–4 split. On one side, you have a group of testy male justices needling a female lawyer for Texas clinics about whether it was even appropriate for them to hear this appeal. On the other, you’ve got four absolutely smoking hot feminists pounding on Texas’ solicitor general for passing abortion regulations that have no plausible health purpose and also seem pretty stupid.  - "The Women Take Over" (Dahlia Lithwick for Slate)

Blue Out: Astronaut Scott Kelly's year in space, in photos.