Syria: US Regime Launches Airstrikes After Drone Attack Kills Occupation Contractor

Source: Antiwar.com

“The Pentagon announced on Thursday night that it launched airstrikes in Syria after a drone attack killed a US contractor and wounded five US troops near Hasakah in northeast Syria. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that at the direction of President Biden, he authorized ‘US Central Command forces to conduct precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).’ The groups the US targeted were likely Shia militias that operate in Syria. The Pentagon claimed that US intelligence determined the drone was of ‘Iranian origin,’ but at this point, there’s no indication that Tehran was involved in the attack on the US base.” (03/23/23)

https://news.antiwar.com/2023/03/23/us-launches-airstrikes-in-syria-after-drone-attack-kills-us-contractor/

France: At least 457 arrested, 441 regime forces injured in escalating pension protests

Source: France 24 [French state media]

“A total of 457 people were arrested and 441 security forces injured on Thursday during nationwide protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s pensions reform, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. Speaking to the CNews channel on Friday morning, Darmanin also said that there had been 903 fires lit in the streets of Paris during by far the most violent day of protests since they began in January. … Elsewhere on Thursday, the entrance to Bordeaux city hall was set on fire during clashes in the southwestern wine-exporting hub.” (03/24/23)

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20230324-at-least-457-people-arrested-441-security-forces-injured-in-violent-french-pension-protests

US jobless claims inch down as labor market remains tight

Source: The Hill

“The labor market continues to defy Federal Reserve attempts to cool hiring, with U.S. applications for unemployment benefits down again last week and remaining at historically low levels. Jobless claims in the U.S. for the week ending March 18 fell by 1,000 to 191,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week moving average of claims, which flattens out some of week-to-week volatility, fell by 250 to 196,250, remaining below the 200,000 threshold for the ninth straight week. Applications for unemployment benefits are seen as a barometer for layoffs in the U.S.” (03/23/23)

https://thehill.com/homenews/ap/ap-business/us-jobless-claims-inch-down-as-labor-market-remains-tight/

Israel: Knesset passes law protecting Netanyahu as protests continue

Source: ABC News

“Israel’s parliament on Thursday passed the first of several laws that make up its contentious judicial overhaul as protesters opposing the changes staged another day of demonstrations aimed at ringing an alarm over what they see as the country’s descent toward autocracy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition approved legislation that would protect the Israeli leader from being deemed unfit to rule over his corruption trial and claims of a conflict of interest surrounding his involvement in the legal changes. Critics say the law is tailor-made for Netanyahu, encourages corruption and deepens a gaping chasm between Israelis over the judicial overhaul.” (03/23/23)

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israel-passes-law-protecting-netanyahu-protests-continue-98064883

CA: Bill would ban sales of Skittles, other “toxic” snacks

Source: Aol

“The snack and candy aisles at your local grocery store could soon carry fewer items if a bill proposed by California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel is voted into law. Last month, Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) introduced AB 418, which would ban the sale, manufacture and distribution of foods containing chemicals that have been linked to health concerns including decreased immune response, hyperactivity in children and increased risk of cancer. The bill would make California the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of foods containing the chemicals, according to a release from Gabriel’s office. The chemicals, currently banned in the European Union, are found in numerous snack staples including Skittles, Mountain Dew, Ding Dongs (with red heart sprinkles) and a host of other ubiquitous food items.” (03/23/23)

https://www.aol.com/news/end-rainbow-california-bill-ban-120053257.html

FL: DeSantis pitches expansion of “don’t say gay” law to mollify MAGA World critics

Source: Raidio Teilifis Eireann [Irish state media]

“The Republican-led US state of Florida is expected to ban the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in all school grades, in an expansion of a controversial law the White House slammed as ‘completely, utterly wrong.’ The move to expand restrictions on discussions of LGBTQ-related topics, dubbed by critics as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, comes as Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis lays the groundwork for a widely expected presidential run [and is under fire from MAGA World for throwing shade on former president Donald Trump]. … The new rule will be up for a vote by the Florida’s Board of Education on 19 April, local media reported. It has already been approved by the Department of Education, which like the board is led by DeSantis appointees, and will not need legislative approval to take effect, according to the reports.” (03/23/23)

https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2023/0323/1365806-florida-gender-school/

Large asteroid to fly between Earth and the moon on Saturday

Source: CBS News

“An asteroid will zoom past Earth this week at such close range that standard telescopes may be able to spot it in the night sky, experts say. The space rock, dubbed 2023 DZ2 by NASA, is expected to fly between Earth and the moon at speeds exceeding 17,400 miles per hour, according to the agency, which assigned it a rarity score of three as the occurrence only happens roughly once per decade. The asteroid will pass by Friday and Saturday on a track that scientists suggest is slightly less than half the average distance to the moon from Earth — which is still 174,650 kilometers, or about 108,000 miles — and measures between 140 feet and 310 feet in diameter. For reference, an Olympic-sized swimming pool is about 164 feet long.” (03/23/23)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/large-asteroid-to-fly-between-earth-and-the-moon-on-saturday/

MS: Regime sets tighter restrictions on absentee ballots

Source: SFGate

“Mississippi will set tighter restrictions on who can gather other people’s absentee ballots, under a bill that Gov. Tate Reeves signed Wednesday. The Republican governor said the law, which takes effect July 1, will ban political operatives from collecting and handling large numbers of absentee ballots. Reeves described the practice as ‘ballot harvesting,’ a pejorative [sic] term for dropping off completed ballots for other people. ‘This process is an open invitation for fraud and abuse, and can occur without the voter ever even knowing,’ Reeves said in a video statement. Opponents said the new restrictions could hurt candidates, campaign workers, nursing home employees or others who make good-faith efforts to help people obtain and mail absentee ballots.” (03/23/23)

https://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/mississippi-sets-tighter-restrictions-on-absentee-17854946.php

Mozilla Open Source AI To Challenge ChatGPT & Bard

Source: Search Engine Journal

“Mozilla announced the founding of an open source initiative for developing AI that puts transparency, accountability and trustworthiness at the forefront of the open source AI products they will build to challenge Microsoft, OpenAI and Google. Many of the most important software products that make modern life possible, like Android, WordPress, PHP, Nginx and Apache are all open source. … Mozilla pledged $30 million dollars for developing an alternative to the closed systems developed by big technology companies that put profits first. … Mozilla is a non-profit organization that builds browsers, email clients, a VPN, email privacy apps, and other products that are free, open-source, and privacy-first.” (03/23/23)

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/mozilla-open-source-ai/482981/

World Athletics bans some women from competing in female world ranking events

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“World Athletics has banned transgender women from competing in the female category at international events. The governing body’s president, Lord Coe, said no transgender athlete who had gone through male puberty would be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions from 31 March. A working group will be set up to conduct further research into the transgender eligibility guidelines. ‘We’re not saying no forever,’ he said. Under previous rules, World Athletics required transgender women to reduce their amount of blood testosterone to a maximum of 5nmol/L, and stay under this threshold continuously for a period of 12 months before competing in the female category. Lord Coe added the decision was ‘guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category.’ He noted that there are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in the sport.” (03/23/23)

https://www.bbc.com/sport/athletics/65051900