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Political Age Limits? North Dakota May Try

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Thursday. When the Hanshin Tigers won the Japan Series in 1985, overjoyed baseball fans grabbed a plastic statue of Col. Sanders sitting outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken location in Osaka and threw it into the Dotonbori River, where it sat until being found by construction workers in 2009. Since the Tigers ended "The Curse of the Colonel" and won last year's championship, KFC has announced it will finally dispose of the deteriorating talisman. Have a great day!

In Today’s Brief

  • Texas: FBI nabs kid bank robbers

  • Ireland: PM’s surprise resignation

  • Mayor Pete: Mum about future plans

  • Federal Reserve: Rate cuts on track

  • Richard Simmons: Health revelation

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Age cap

North Dakotans will take up a state ballot question with potentially significant national ramifications later this year.

  • Need to know: The North Dakota Congressional Age Limits Initiative would restrict ballot eligibility for elderly candidates if approved on June 11. The proposed law would bar U.S. House and Senate candidate from seeking office if they turn 81 before the final three days of their prospective term.

  • Would it stand? Legal scholars are skeptical. The Supreme Court blocked Arkansas from establishing term limits for its federal elected officials in 1995, saying states could not introduce restrictions not included in the Constitution. The North Dakota law would violate that precedent.

  • Big picture: Almost 80% of Americans said they supported age limits on politicians in a Pew survey published last year. The age debate will not subside with 81-year-old President Joe Biden and 77-year-old former President Donald Trump expected to be this year's major party candidates.

2) Charged up

The Biden Administration took steps to curb climate change and boost the electric vehicle industry.

  • What happened: The EPA announced strict restrictions on vehicle exhaust emissions and wants EVs to make up as much 56% of new car sales by 2032 to reach the pollution goals. That would be more than seven times the current EV market share.

  • Election year: The proposal is not as bold than Biden originally planned. His administration made concessions to auto manufacturers and labor unions, the latter of which have supported his re-election campaign following last year's strikes. The policy does not mandate EV sales or ban gasoline-powered cars.

  • Big picture: It is a polarizing move on all fronts. Climate activists say the measures are not enough. Republicans have criticized them as government overreach that will compel reliance on China and other countries for the minerals needed to power EVs. It remains to be seen if the decision will catalyze the sagging EV industry.

3) Red, white and bummer

The U.S. is no longer one of the world's happiest countries.

  • The list: The U.S. is ranked 23rd on Gallup's World Happiness Report, an eight-spot drop from No. 15 last year. It is the first time the U.S. has been outside the top-20 since the rankings began over a decade ago. Finland was No. 1 for the seventh straight year. Canada was 15th. 

  • The cause: Researchers said the drop was largely attributable to a decline in happiness among Americans under age 30. The survey found social support issues and feelings of loneliness in that age group.

  • Worth noting: It's not all gloom and doom. A CBS poll last year found 75% of Americans described themselves as happy. And a recent study on global mental health has the U.S. in the middle of the pack, but ahead of countries like Canada and the UK.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Three boys -- ages 11, 12 and 16 -- allegedly robbed a bank in Texas. The kids were charged with second-degree felonies; the FBI did not disclose if they were armed or if the stolen money was recovered (More)

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law prohibiting people from sleeping in public places like parks and sidewalks. Unhoused people will be granted expanded access to services and government-run encampments (More)

  • The Republican Study Committee wants to raise the Social Security retirement age and restructure Medicare. The pitch comes after former President Donald Trump was criticized for suggesting he would cut entitlements if re-elected (More)

World News

  • Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will resign for "personal and political" reasons. He will stay on until his Fine Gael party appoints a new leader and plans to remain in parliament (More)

  • The U.S. has begun evacuating American citizens from Haiti via helicopter. The State Department said it expects it can airlift about 30 people a day into the Dominican Republic; evacuees must pay for the charter service (More)

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu virtually addressed Senate Republicans yesterday. Netanyahu's request to also speak with Democrats was rebuffed; Speaker of the House Mike Johnson said the House GOP may invite him to address Congress (More)

Campaign News

  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was noncommittal about a future run for office. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor ran for president in 2020 and has been floated as a Senate and gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, where he now resides (More)

  • Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has a double-digit lead in polls forecasting the race to replace retiring Sen. Ben Cardin. Hogan is bidding to be the first GOP senator from the state in almost 30 years (More)

  • California Rep. Katie Porter regrets saying the state's Senate primary was rigged. Porter, a Democrat, finished third behind party colleague Rep. Adam Schiff and Republican Steve Garvey, a former MLB star (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed higher yesterday. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank still plans to cut interest rates three times this year (Dow +1.03%, Nasdaq +1.25%, S&P 500 +0.89%).

  • Chipotle's management board has approved a 50-for-1 stock split, pending shareholder approval. It would be one of the biggest splits in New York Stock Exchange history; restaurant managers would receive equity grants (More)

  • Intel has secured up to $8.5B in federal grants and $11B in loans for semiconductor manufacturing. It will be the largest grant handed out through the Biden Administration's initiative to spur domestic computer chip production (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Richard Simmons announced he was diagnosed with skin cancer. The retired exercise guru did not disclose the severity of the condition; he has not made a public appearance in a decade (More)

  • Shohei Ohtani’s friend and interpreter allegedly stole over $4M to pay gambling debts. Ippei Mizuhara has been fired; he previously told ESPN the Los Angeles Dodgers star knowingly gave him the money (More)

  • UFC parent company TKO settled a class-action fighter wage suppression lawsuit for $335M, according to an SEC filing. The deal avoids a mid-April trial in the matter (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Real Heroes: Five University of Georgia freshmen were on a road trip when they saw a car veer off the road and into a creek. They turned around and saved a woman and her two children.

  • Be Safe: Mercedes-Benz has recalled over 116K vehicles for a safety issue. The cars have a faulty electrical connection that could overheat.

  • Take Note: You may want to think twice about leaving a review of your employer on Glassdoor. A user alleges it has begun publishing names without consent, even though the website is supposed to be anonymous.

  • New Idea: Scientists say they have successfully eliminated HIV from infected cells. The hope is future research will unlock how to eliminate the virus from an entire body.

  • Very Cute: A 2-year-old boy has made an unlikely friend. A crow.

  • OPTIMIZE ME: Researchers “found convincing evidence that higher intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48% to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes”

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Looking Ahead …

Former President Trump is now two business days away from potentially having his assets seized by New York Attorney General Leticia James. He must post bond by Monday following his business fraud verdict, save an appeals court ruling in his favor.

Question of the Day

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Yesterday’s results:

What is your preferred way to make coffee?

  • Ground beans or French press (54%)

  • K-Cups or pods (21%)

  • I’m not a coffee drinker (19%)

  • Instant coffee (5%)

  • I buy it at Starbucks or a cafe (1%)