Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 5, 2018

The Shape of Water wins big at the 90th Academy Awards, the White House says no exceptions on tariffs for allies, and more

1

The Shape of Water takes Oscar for best picture

The Shape of Water won best picture at the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday in an evening filled with speeches celebrating diversity and supporting the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment. Guillermo del Toro also won best director for The Shape of Water, a romantic fantasy drama about a mute janitor who falls in love with a mutant aquatic creature being held in the lab where she works. Jordan Peele won best original screenplay for Get Out, becoming the first African-American writer to win the award. Frances McDormand won best actress for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and her co-star Sam Rockwell won best supporting actor. Gary Oldman won best actor for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, and Allison Janney won best supporting actress as Tonya Harding's mother in I, Tonya.

2

Key Trump aide says no exceptions on tariffs for allies

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that it was unlikely that the Trump administration would exempt any allies from President Trump's suddenly announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, which will hit Canada and Europe hardest. "As soon as he starts exempting countries, he has to raise the tariff on everybody else," Navarro said on Fox News Sunday. Separately, he said on CNN that Trump could grant exceptions if they serve U.S. interests. Several Republicans called on Trump to reverse his decision, saying the tariffs would do the U.S. more harm than good. Kevin Brady, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, urged Trump to exempt Canada and Mexico, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said: "You're punishing the American taxpayers, and you are making a huge mistake."

3

South Korean delegation meets with Kim Jong Un

A high-ranking South Korean delegation is in Pyongyang to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday to discuss efforts to improve relations after a period of escalating tensions. It will be Kim's first meeting with South Korean officials. South Korean National Security Chief Chung Eui-yong, leader of Seoul's delegation, promised to "have an in-depth discussion on measures to continue various talks between North Korea and the international community, including the United States." Chung also said he would communicate South Korean President Moon Jae-in's aim to foster "the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and create a lasting peace by utilizing the flow of the inter-Korean dialogue," building on the "improvement of the relationship that was built during the Pyeongchang Olympic Games."

4

U.S. aircraft carrier stops in Vietnam for first time since Vietnam War

The USS Carl Vinson started a five-day port call in Vietnam on Monday, marking the first stop by an American aircraft carrier in the country since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Smaller U.S. warships have visited Vietnam in recent years, but the Carl Vinson's arrival was interpreted as a sign that China's controversial claims in the South China Sea are encouraging new, once unlikely alliances. The ship, carrying nearly 6,000 crew members, anchored off Danang, a port in central Vietnam that once served as a staging area for the U.S. war effort. "It's a pretty big and historic step, since a carrier has not been here for 40 years," said the Carl Vinson strike group's commander, Rear Adm. John V. Fuller, whose father served in Vietnam.

5

Italy elections result in potential hung parliament

Italy appears headed for a hung parliament after a center-right coalition and a surging anti-establishment party finished with the most votes in Sunday elections, but neither appear to have won enough seats to rule on its own. Projections based on sample vote counts on Monday indicated that a center-right coalition including former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, the anti-immigrant League, and a small far-right party would likely win slightly more seats than the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. However, the Five Star Movement and fellow euroskeptics in the League might be able to combine to collect the 50 percent needed to form a ruling coalition. One newspaper summed up early impressions of the results in a headline: "Ungovernable Italy."

6

China's National People's Congress eyes ending presidential term limit

China's National People's Congress got underway in Beijing on Monday. The two-week summit is expected to provide a stamp of approval for a proposal to lift a two-term limit to allow President Xi Jinping to serve indefinitely. In a keynote address kicking off the annual meeting, Premier Li Keqiang said the country faced "profound changes in the national security environment," as the government announced that defense spending would increase by 8.1 percent this year, outpacing economic growth projected at 6.5 percent, down from 6.9 percent last year but still strong. The defense spending increase was China's biggest in three years, but it still amounted to just a quarter of U.S. levels.

7

Florida school board investigates teacher over white nationalist podcast

The Citrus County, Florida, School Board has removed a middle school teacher, Dayanna Volitich, from the classroom pending an investigation into reports that she hosted a white supremacist podcast and posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim tweets. Volitich, a social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School, allegedly used the pseudonym "Tiana Dalichov" in the podcast, Unapologetic. In one episode, she agreed with a guest who suggested that "a kid from Nigeria and a kid who came from Sweden" should not be expected to learn in the same way, and in the same episode said "science" has provided evidence that some races are smarter than others. She also boasted of pushing her beliefs in class. Volitich said in a statement released Sunday that the podcast was "satire," and that she never injected her politics into her lessons.

8

MASH actor David Ogden Stiers dies at 75

Actor David Ogden Stiers, best known as the snobbish but skilled surgeon Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III in the iconic sitcom MASH, died over the weekend after a battle with bladder cancer. He was 75. Winchester became the foil for Alan Alda's character in 1977 when Maj. Frank Burns (Larry Linville) left the show. After MASH, Stiers voiced several roles in Disney cartoons, including the Cogsworth character in Beauty and the Beast. Stiers also appeared in more than 150 plays, in roles including King Lear, as well as five Woody Allen films, starting with Another Woman in 1988. He once said that "villains are a slice of heaven." He later branched out into music, guest conducting for several orchestras.

9

Black Panther leads the box office with another big weekend

Black Panther remained the box office leader with a $65.7 million haul over the weekend. It had the third-biggest third weekend ever, behind Avatar, which brought in $69 million in 2010, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which banked $90 million in 2016. The Ryan Coogler-directed blockbuster has now surged past the $500 million mark in North America. Black Panther also is already the third-biggest grossing comic book superhero movie in North America, behind The Dark Knight ($534 million in 2008) and The Avengers ($623 million in 2012). Globally, the film has made a total of $900 million, and it doesn't open until next weekend in China, the world's No. 2 movie market.

10

Roger Bannister, first to run 4-minute mile, dies at 88

Britain's Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a 4-minute mile, died peacefully Saturday in Oxford, his family confirmed Sunday. He was 88. Bannister was a 25-year-old medical student training with an amateur all-star team when he broke the once-unthinkable barrier on the morning of May 6, 1954, in a race at Oxford's Iffley Road track. The British runner was paced by two teammates, then turned on his trademark explosive kick to finish in 3:59.4. The news made headlines around the world, and Bannister was compared to Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, and other giants of sport. Then, as quickly as he burst onto the world stage, he stepped off, announcing later the same year that he was retiring from competitive running to concentrate on his career as a neurologist.

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