Compiled by Sarah Train
Carter Best opened the show with breaking news concerning the coronavirus. While rates of new infection seem to be dropping in China, they are climbing globally and major cities like Jakarta, Berlin, New York, and Moscow have all recently reported their first confirmed cases of the virus.
Globally, there are nearly 90,000 cases of the virus. In Iran, an advisor to Iran’s supreme leader died of COVID-19 after a 250% spike in the number of infections within just 24 hours. In the US, just a few hours ago Seattle officials announced that six fatalities from the coronavirus have been reported in Washington state.
The coronavirus outbreak currently meets two of the Center of Disease Control criteria for a pandemic: illness resulting in death and sustained person-to-person spread. According to the CDC’s Risk Assessment, it is likely that coronavirus will soon be classified as a pandemic once it formally meets the third criteria of worldwide spread.
Despite rising rates of infection, the general public is still reported to be at low risk of exposure to the virus and the most effective individual prevention efforts include washing your hands regularly and refraining from touching your face frequently.
Mary Lou Masters then reported on UGA’s latest Student Government Association election. According to UGA Today, the president-elect is Asim Ahmed, the vice president-elect is Cheryl Kwapong, and the treasurer-elect is Carson Kuck. They will serve as the executive branch of SGA for the 2020-2021 school year.
According to The Red and Black, no ticket won an absolute majority of the vote during the general election. Unite received 45.5% of the vote, Forward received 37.1%, and Beyond received 17.4% of the vote. This led to a runoff between the top two voted tickets, Unite and Forward.
The Unite ticket “ran on a platform of accountability, sustainability, and visibility,” while the Forward ticket “ran on a platform of inclusion, sincerity, and perspective.”
In the runoff, Unite claimed victory with 56.8% of the vote, defeating Forward’s 43.2%, according to UGA Today. This newly elected ticket is believed to “promote community safety, improve resources for students seeking on – and off – campus housing, and financially assist students pursuing graduate studies.” The SGA inauguration will take place on April 6 in the Chapel
Next, Cason Smith reported on new Georgia budget legislation. Georgia Senate leaders followed their House colleagues Monday in backing a midyear budget that restores funding for everything from public health grants, mental health services and efforts to train doctors to local library materials.
The Senate pushed back on many proposed cuts that would impact small-town Georgia, a key constituency in a chamber largely run by lawmakers from outside metro Atlanta.
“What we tried to do is look at service reductions, and where we could, we restored services that directly affected children, the elderly, the disabled, and essential public safety needs,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill. This move by legislatures is in response to budget cuts proposed by Governor Brian Kemp.
Michael White discussed the latest financial update. Twitter may soon be getting a new CEO. CNN Business reports hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation bought a large stake of shares in Twitter today, causing speculation about the future of the board of directors. Twitter currently has three seats open on the Board of Directors, with Elliott Management nominating four people to those three seats.
While most tech companies like Google and Facebook offer different classes of stock with different voting rights, Twitter offers only common stock, meaning that each share has equal voting rights. This leaves Twitter more susceptible to activist investors looking to change the direction of a company, like Elliott Management. While it is not currently known how many shares Elliott Management bought, it was certainly enough to affect the stock price of Twitter, as the share price rose 8.04% to $35.87 at closing bell. If Elliott Management can get enough high-stake investors behind them, they can force out Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. Neither Elliott Management nor Twitter has commented on the matter.
Popular trading platform Robinhood, which offers commission-free trading, had a “terrible day today” as their servers crashed before the opening bell on Monday, according to Michael White. Robinhood said it is suffering from a quote, “system-wide outage” and that they are “working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.” Many users of Robinhood took to Twitter and Reddit to vent their frustrations at the loss of money or opportunities to invest in the market rebound today. With the servers down, investors on Robinhood were unable to cancel any options that they had outstanding with the market rebounding.
One option that hit Robinhood investors especially hard was the short position. A short is when an investor agrees to sell a share that they do not yet own at a predetermined price, say $10. The investor makes money when the share falls to $8, and they execute the option by buying the stock at $8 and selling it to the original contract at $10, leading to a gain of $2. A short is successful in a bear market, meaning a decrease in the overall market.
Many investors on Robinhood are complaining of an inability to cancel their short options, leading them to be bleeding money as the markets rebound. It remains to be seen when Robinhood will restore their servers and what their response is to their customers losing money, but any class action lawsuit is unlikely due to the terms and conditions stating that Robinhood is not responsible for a loss of money due to technical difficulties.
Cason Smith reported on national news. On Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to decide a lawsuit that threatens the Obama-era health care law, but the decision is not likely until after the 2020 Presidential election. The court said it would hear an appeal by 20 mainly Democratic states of a lower-court ruling that declared part of the statute unconstitutional and cast a cloud over the rest.
Defenders of the Affordable Care Act argued that the issues raised by the case are too important to let the litigation drag on for months or year in the lower court and that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans erred when it struck down the health law’s now unenforced requirement that Americans have health insurance.
The case will be the third major Supreme Court battle over the law, also known as “Obamacare,” since its passage in 2010. The court has twice upheld the heart of the law in past decisions. Texas brought the lawsuit to the Supreme Court with the support of the Trump administration.
Carter Best continued with reporting on international news by discussing the crisis at Turkey’s border. There has been a mad rush to Turkey’s borders after an announcement last Thursday that the country would be easing border restrictions for migrants crossing into Europe. Thousands of migrants have flooded the area surrounding the Turkish border with hopes of using this entry point to travel to neighboring Greece.
Amidst the chaos, the first casualty since Thursday’s announcement occurred when a boat carrying migrants capsized, leading to a child’s death. Turkey is currently hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees and President Erdogan has called for greater support from the rest of Europe in managing the migrant crisis. This policy change reflects Erdogan’s frustration with the rest of the continent and is essentially an effort to drain Turkey of the massive number of refugees.
Earlier today Erdogan resisted European pleas to reverse the change by saying, “It’s done, the gates are open now. You will have your share of this burden now.” A recent Russian-backed offensive in the Syrian province of Idlib led to the deaths of several Turkish soldiers and a new flood of nearly 1 million Syrians into Turkey.
Greece claims Turkey is actively attempting to force people across the border and has responded by sending police forces to the border as well as suspending all asylum applications for a month. Many other European countries have expressed both support for Greece and vehement disapproval of this latest move by Erdogan.
For state news, Wood Smith reported on Georgia County and how they will test water wells for coal ash. Officials in Monroe County say they will pay to test water wells for coal ash contamination. Monroe County Manager Jim Hedges told WGXA-TV that the county will pay $10,000 to test about 55 private wells across the county.
The tests come after environmental group Altamaha Riverkeeper tested wells of residents around Juliette and found chemicals which indicate contamination from the coal ash pond at Georgia Power Company’s Plant Scherer.
Georgia Power says its own testing of wells around the coal-fired power plant show no contamination above federal or state limits. The company plans to extract water from the coal ash, cap the pond in place and monitor it for future contamination.
Juliette residents came to the state capitol Monday to lobby for a bill that would require Georgia Power to dig up the coal ash and bury it in a lined landfill. Results from Monroe County’s well tests should come back within seven to 10 days. Coal ash is a toxic byproduct of coal burning in power plants and contributes to cancer, developmental problems, and reproductive health issues.
Mary Lou Masters discussed news in entertainment, which included the announcement of the next Bachelorette. According to E! News, Clare Crawley was named the Bachelorette on this morning’s episode of Good Morning America.
Clare first came to Bachelor Nation on Juan Pablo Galavis’ season of the Bachelor in 2014. She then appeared on two seasons of the spin-off show, Bachelor in Paradise. Her most recent Bachelor-affiliated show was Bachelor Winter Games, where she ended up engaged, although it was short-lived.
This upcoming season of the Bachelorette will be Clare’s fourth time on one of the franchise’s shows. Although she leans to “the older side of Bachelor Nation stars,” she is confident this will work towards her advantage. She claims she has more experience and knows what she wants in a man. Crawley also said that she isn’t looking for something specific when it comes to looks and she cares more about what’s on the inside.
ABC will begin filming in just a few weeks, once Peter’s season of the Bachelor concludes next Monday. Clare will be the oldest bachelorette in the series’ history at 38 years old, beating out Rachel Lindsay who was the bachelorette at 32.
Wood Smith then discussed the latest on the Democratic Primary. Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg exited the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Sunday, ending a campaign which outlasted governors and senators in the fight for the party nomination.
“Today is a moment of truth,” Buttigieg said. “The truth is the path has narrowed to a close, for our candidacy, if not for our cause.”
Buttigieg said he had a responsibility for considering “the effect of remaining in this race any further.”
“Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to help defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values. And so we must recognize that at this point in the race the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and our country together,” he said.
Buttigieg’s decision to drop out of the race came a day after former Vice President Joe Biden won a crushing victory in the South Carolina primary, reenergizing a campaign that had waned in the first three contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Democrat Tom Steyer also ended his bid for the presidency yesterday and Amy Klobuchar ended her bid earlier this afternoon with an endorsement for Joe Biden.
Michael White closed the show with sports news. In the east conference, the St. Louis Battlehawks were in first with a three to one record, while the D.C. Defenders and New York Guardians are tied for second at two to two and the Tampa Bay Vipers in fourth place at one to three, getting their first win of the season this past week. The west has a clearer picture, with the Houston Roughnecks in first at four to zero while the Dallas Renegades are in second at two to two. The L.A. Wildcats and Seattle Dragons are tied for third at one to three each. The playoffs will see the top two seeds in each division play against each other, with the victors going to the XFL Championship.