The Ever Given, a Taiwanese-operated, Japanese-owned, Panamanian-flagged container ship headed from China to the Netherlands, became wedged across the Suez Canal, blocking an artery that accounts for about 12 percent of world trade and causing an hourly loss of $400 million.1 2 3 The ship, which is widely speculated to include boxes of Hideous Abomination, a Kickstarter-funded board game in which players compete to construct surprising monsters, was freed after six days, thanks in large part to the sun and moon.4 5 On Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day, military generals attended a red-carpet gala, and that night members of the military shot and killed a women’s-rights activist, a snack vendor, a futsal goalkeeper, and more than 110 others, including many young children, in the most brutal episode of violence since the military junta deposed the National League for Democracy in early February; victims’ families were told that they would have to sign a letter affirming that the military was not responsible for the deaths in order to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones.6 7 8 9 “There is no influx of refugees yet. We asked those who crossed to Thailand if they have any problem in their area. When they say no problem, we just asked them to return to their land first. We asked, we did not use any force,” said the Thai prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, after people from Myanmar fleeing government bombs were sent back.10 A Canadian professor tried to deny a student living in Myanmar an extension on a statistics midterm despite the country’s communications blackout.11 “Even the Internet came down with COVID-19?” the professor wrote in an email.
Sitting beneath a painting of a slave plantation, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed the Election Integrity Act as officers arrested the state representative Park Cannon, who is black, for knocking on the door to Kemp’s office; provisions in the act add new ID requirements for absentee ballots and criminalize the distribution of free food and water to citizens standing in line to vote.12 13 14 The Florida House approved a bill that would punish nonviolent protesters, allow anti-protester vigilantes to dodge civil liability, outlaw police divestment, and make damaging or destroying memorials, including Confederate flags, felonious.15 16 A South Carolina senator inaccurately argued that the District of Columbia does not deserve statehood in part because of a lack of car dealerships, of which it has 91, and a South Carolina state senator proposed that all adult South Carolinians form a militia.17 18 19 “Y’all, this country is crazy,” a South Carolina state congressman said in response. After triggering two fire alarms, an illegally installed communal popcorn machine was removed from the North Dakota State Capitol.20 The state’s House majority leader said, “Popcorn cheers people up for a reason. And now it’s gone, and that’s the way it goes.” The United States fell 11 places below its 2010 position, to just below Argentina and Mongolia, on a watchdog’s annual ranking of countries according to political rights and civil liberties; worldwide, freedom declined for the fifteenth consecutive year.21
A San Francisco consulting startup hired Prince Harry as its chief impact officer, and a Turkish cosmetic-surgery company determined that Prince William had been described online as sexy more often than any other bald man.22 23 A former chairman of Goldman Sachs bought a $51 million Upper East Side mansion formerly owned by Jeffrey Epstein, and Goldman Sachs employees will no longer be allowed to work between Friday evenings and Sunday mornings “except in certain circumstances.”24 25 “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?” tweeted an Amazon spokesperson as the company’s workers voted to unionize in Alabama, went on strike in Italy, and planned strikes in Germany and India.26 27 28 Texas revised its winter-storm death toll upward by nearly 50 percent; Mexico revised its COVID-19 death toll upward by 60 percent.29 30 In New South Wales, Australia, the worst flooding in decades forced tens of thousands to evacuate, and at least three hospital patients were bitten in the largest mice plague in decades.31 32 After being hoisted out of a drain, a Florida woman claimed to have survived for three weeks while lost in the sewers on nothing more than a can of ginger ale.33 NASA announced that an asteroid previously feared to be on a collision course with Earth will miss.34—Jordan Cutler-Tietjen