10 things you need to know today: March 9, 2020

Jesse Jackson endorses Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz self-quarantines, and more

Bernie Sanders and Jesse Jackson
(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

1. Jesse Jackson endorses Bernie Sanders

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Sunday endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders, whose campaign hopes the civil rights leader's backing will help shore up the candidate's appeal to African-American voters, praised Jackson, saying it was "the honor of my life to be supported by a man who has put his life on the line for the last 50 years fighting for justice." The endorsement came after Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who dropped out of the presidential race in December, became the latest in a string of former moderate presidential candidates to back Sanders' rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Jackson said African Americans are "socially and economically" behind, and they "cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path."

The New York Times

2. Ted Cruz self-quarantines after contact with coronavirus patient

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced on Sunday that he was placing himself under self-quarantine for the next week after interacting briefly at the Conservative Political Action Conference with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. Cruz tweeted that he had a conversation with the person, and decided to isolate himself after consulting with public health officials and Vice President Mike Pence, who is spearheading the Trump administration response to the outbreak. "I'm not experiencing any symptoms, and I feel fine and healthy," Cruz said. He said his contact with the person was 10 days ago and the average incubation period is five to six days. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said he also shook hands with an infected person at CPAC, and will self-quarantine this week.

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Politico ABC 15

3. Health official says Americans might have to avoid crowds

Americans might have to stop attending large gatherings to protect themselves from the coronavirus as it spreads through the United States, Anthony Fauci, head of the infectious diseases unit at the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. The State Department on Sunday also warned against cruise ship travel during the outbreak. Public health officials in the U.S. have confirmed at least 532 coronavirus infections in 33 states, and 21 deaths from the flu-like virus that causes the sometimes deadly respiratory illness COVID-19. The outbreak, which started in central China, also is spreading rapidly in other countries. Italy now has reported more cases than any other nation outside China, with more than 7,350 of the world's 109,400 cases. Italy has shut down much of its north, the epicenter of its outbreak.

Reuters The New York Times

4. North Korea launches unidentified projectiles

North Korea fired at least three unidentified projectiles on Monday in the latest in a series of apparent weapons tests, the South Korean military said early Monday local time. The South Korean Defense Ministry said the launches were aimed toward the East Sea from the Sondok area in Hamgyong Province. A U.S. official told CNN there might have been four projectiles. The launches came after the U.S. and South Korea, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, called off joint military exercises. North Korea said it was resuming weapons tests after the failure last year of efforts to restart negotiations with the Trump administration on exchanging curbs to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs for sanctions relief.


5. U.S. stock futures dive due to coronavirus, oil price-war fears

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures plummeted by as much as 1,300 points, or nearly 5 percent, overnight on escalating fear of economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak, which is disrupting global supply chains. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also fell by as much as 5 percent. Shares in Europe and Asia fell sharply, too. The CME FedWatch tracker indicated that traders overwhelmingly expect the Federal Reserve, which last week announced an emergency half-point interest rate cut, will slash rates by another 75 basis points at its March meeting as it tries to boost the economy to offset the coronavirus fallout. Stocks have been swinging widely but losing considerable ground overall for more than a week as the outbreak spreads faster outside of China, where it started.


6. Crowds mark International Women's Day with celebrations, protests

Thousands of people held celebrations and protests in cities around the world to call for increased equality on International Women's Day on Sunday. One of the largest demonstrations took place in Chile, where participants clogged streets in the capital, calling for ending violence against women and chanting, "They kill us, they rape us, and nobody does anything." Police reportedly fired tear gas to disperse thousands of women in Turkey. Security forces arrested demonstrators in Kyrgyzstan. In the Philippines, protesters demanded better pay for women, and called for President Rodrigo Duterte to recognize women's rights. "In many different ways or forms, women are being exploited and taken advantage of," Filipino women's rights advocate Arlene Brosas said during a rally.

The Associated Press

7. Oil prices plummet as Saudi Arabia signals price war

Oil prices crashed late Sunday after Saudi Arabia unexpectedly started a price war against Russia, once an ally. U.S. oil prices plunged by as much as 27 percent to $30 a barrel, a four-year low. Global benchmark Brent crude fell by 22 percent to $35 a barrel. Saudi Arabia triggered the turmoil by signaling it would cut prices by up to $8 a barrel and flood the market with oil after Russia refused to join OPEC's call for the world's big producers to cut production to prop up prices in the face of declining demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak. "The signal is Saudi Arabia is looking to open the spigots and fight for market share," said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData. "Saudi is rolling up its sleeves for a price war."


8. Twitter labels video retweeted by Trump as 'manipulated media'

Twitter on Sunday used its new "manipulated media" label for the first time, assigning it to deceptively edited video of former Vice President Joe Biden that was posted by White House social media director Dan Scavino and retweeted by President Trump. The video showed Biden saying, "We can only re-elect Donald Trump." The clip came from a Saturday Biden speech in Missouri. Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in his bid for re-election, said in the full video: "We can only re-elect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It's gotta be a positive campaign." Twitter implemented the new policy on March 5 to identify misleading videos in an effort to stamp out the kind of misinformation that plagued the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Washington Post

9. Costco halts free samples as coronavirus precaution

Costco is going to temporarily stop offering customers free food samples as it becomes the latest major company to take precautions to fight the spread of the coronavirus. The decision followed the cancellation of the South by Southwest festival in Austin, one of many major events affected by the outbreak. Costco and other major retailers have been affected in other ways, with shoppers rushing to buy disinfectant, bottled water, and other goods they see as necessary to prepare for the coronavirus, either to avoid infection or keep supplied while staying home. "We're getting deliveries daily, but still not enough given the increased levels in demand on certain key items," Costco's CFO Richard Galanti, said last week in an earnings call.

The Oregonian USA Today

10. Onward tops weekend box office

Pixar's Onward led the domestic box office with $40 million in ticket sales over its debut weekend. The film centers on two elf brothers, voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, who try to bring their father back to life with a magic spell that only partly succeeds. Despite taking the top spot, Onward's opening was weak compared to other Pixar movies. Inside Out opened in 2015 with about $98 million in domestic ticket sales, adjusting for inflation. Onward also received a strong 86 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, but the studio's last three films (Toy Story 4, Incredibles 2, and Coco) had scores of at least 94.

The New York Times

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