What Happened in March 2024?


What Was the Biggest News in March, 2024?

House of Representatives Says Chinese Owner of TikTok Must Sell to a US Company or It Will Be Banned

President Biden has said he would sign the House bill, which overwhelmingly passed 362-65 this month, and calls for the ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, to sell it’s stake to a US company or the app will be banned. However, the bill hit roadblocks in the Senate and faced protests from thousands of the 170 million US users, including small businesses and content creators who either make a living on the app or successfully advertise their goods and services. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee say there is a threat of the Chinese government accessing Americans’ private data, although they cannot divulge the top secret details.

Beyonce Drops a Country Album and the Country Goes Crazy

Judging by the press coverage, you’d think Beyonce was the first black woman to walk on the moon. News and reviews appeared everywhere from network nightly news to The Washington Post, and everywhere in between. The only bigger news was the Baltimore bridge collapse and the NCAA basketball tournament.

Cowboy Carter album cover

Last month, Beyonce became the first black woman to have a #1 country song, with the early release of “Texas Hold ‘Em”. On March 29 she released the album “Act II: Cowboy Carter” featuring a Dolly Pardon introduction to her remake of “Jolene”, a montage of tunes interrupted by Willy Nelson as a radio DJ, plus cameos by her daughter, Miley Cyrus, little-known black female country singers, and a voice-over from the first black woman to appear on “The Grand ‘Ole Opry”, Linda Martell. “Act II” refers to the second of three albums planned during the COVID-19 quarantine, the first of which was “Renaissance”. To quote Beyonce, “This ain’t a country album. It’s a Beyoncé album”.

Israel Tightened the Noose Around Palestinians in Gaza

Palestinians face starvation in Gaza

Israel pushed 1.3 million Gaza residents into the town of Rafa bordering Egypt even as they carried out raids and continued bombing the area. Israeli officials have publicly announced their intent to mount a ground offensive in Rafa and continue military operations until their objectives against Hamas are achieved.

Israel severely limited aid trucks entering Gaza from Egypt, exacerbating the starvation and suffering of Palestinians. More than 100 people were killed and 700 injured when thousands of Palestinians swarmed the few aid trucks carrying food into Gaza City. Some were trampled to death, and others died when Israeli troops opened fire.

Facing pressure from Democrat voters in the US over the genocide of more than 30,000 civilians, President Biden authorized airdrops of emergency meals into Gaza. But after airdrops killed civilians in stampedes, drowned them when airdrops landed in the sea, and flattened them when parachutes failed to open, the government media office in Gaza called them “flashy propaganda rather than a humanitarian service”. President Biden announced a plan to deliver humanitarian supplies into Gaza by ship by building a temporary pier.

At the same time, Biden quietly authorized the transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets to Israel despite Washington’s concerns about an anticipated military offensive in southern Gaza that could threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians. In addition to fighter jets, the US will transfer more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs to Israel. The 2,000 pounds bombs that can flatten a city block and leave a 40 foot crater have been blamed for mass casualties of civilians. In one case, 100 civilians died when a 2,000 bomb was dropped to kill one Hamas leader. A New York Times investigation identified 208 craters left by 2,000 pound bombs in satellite imagery and drone footage across southern Gaza.

Wildfires in the Texas Panhandle Burn an Area the
Size of Delaware

Texas panhandle fires

The state of Delaware spans 1949 square miles, which is roughly the size of wildfires burning across the panhandle of Texas. In particular, the Smokehouse Creek fire consumed more than 1,100,000 acres which makes it the second biggest wildfire in North American history, second only to the Miramichi fire in New Brunswick, Canada in 1821. It’s thought a downed powerline ignited the Smokehouse Creek fire, which burned 115 miles a power lines causing outages to more than 40,000 residents. Driven by record winter high temperatures, low humidity, and high winds, the fire destroyed 500 structures and killed two people and at least 7,000 cattle.

Lack of US Aid to Ukraine Changes the Momentum of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

US military aid for Ukraine has been mired in Congressional deadlock, significantly influencing Ukraine’s military strategy and operations. This impasse is primarily due to political divisions within the U.S. Congress, where Republicans have linked the approval of additional aid to demands for new immigration legislation. Gridlock in Congress has prompted Ukrainian military forces to conserve ammunition and artillery shells. The continued delay in securing new funding could potentially weaken Ukraine’s ability to sustain prolonged military engagements and conduct effective counteroffensive operations against Russian forces. Without the ammo to resist further, Ukrainian forces were forced to retreat from the city of Avdiivka to avoid encirclement and potential capture. The capture of Avdiivka by Russian forces has been described as Moscow’s biggest battlefield advance since taking Bakhmut earlier in the year. It highlights the importance of continued military support for Ukraine, as the loss impacts not only the tactical situation on the ground but also the broader strategic balance in the region.

Crippled Cargo Ship Crash Collapses Baltimore Bridge

Baltimore bridge collapse

Six construction workers died when a huge container ship lost power and plowed into a bridge support, toppling the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The 980-foot long container ship MV Dali hit the unprotected support at 8 knots, collapsing the 1.6 mile long bridge spanning the Patapsco River. In recent years the river was dredged and taller cranes built to accommodate larger ships, but the bridge supports weren’t protected with fenders, nor were tugboats required to guide large ships through the waterway, since ship owners would incur extra costs.

Haiti Gangs Overwhelm Police

Haiti is grappling with surging gang violence, leading to a state of emergency and a mass prison break, with thousands of inmates escaping amid attacks on the capital. The government’s control is weakening as gangs assert dominance, severely impacting public safety and stability​. The rise in gang-related violence has had catastrophic effects on the civilian population, including forced displacements. Over 314,000 people have been forced from their homes due to the unrest, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation. The gangs’ control over significant portions of Port-au-Prince has led to widespread fear, with the population facing threats of violence, kidnappings, and killings.

Trump Watch

Trump is Selling a God Bless the USA Bible

On his social network Truth, Trump is hocking a $59.99 Bible which includes the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the chorus to the country song “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. Lee Greenwood’s website says the God Bless the USA Bible is not owned, managed or controlled by Trump, but his likeness is licensed from CIC Ventures LLC. CIC Ventures was established in 2021 by a former Trump aide and a Trump-linked lawyer in Palm Beach, Florida. Its principal address is the Trump International Golf Club. The company has also been involved in Trump-themed money making schemes including digital training cards and gold sneakers.

Donald Trump selling the God Bless the USA Bible

In 2015 Trump claimed the Bible was his favorite book, but he couldn’t quote a single verse. At the height of nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear Lafayette Park so Trump could lead a group of officials including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church where he held the God Bless the USA Bible for a photo op.

US Supreme Court Restores Trump to the Colorado Ballot

The US Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot exclude a candidate under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment without action first from Congress. This ends the exclusion of Trump from the ballot in Colorado, Maine and Illinois, and elsewhere. However, if Trump is elected and Democrats win both houses of Congress, they could refuse to certify Trump the winner citing the same clause.

Trump Found Guilty of Fraud in New York Case, But Can’t Post the Full Bond Amount to Appeal

After being found guilty of lying about the value of assets on financial statements, Donald Trump’s bond in the New York fraud case was initially set at $454 million while he appealed, but was later reduced to $175 million by an appeals court. This reduction provided Trump with a significant financial relief, allowing him to avoid the seizure of his assets by state authorities.

Special Prosecutor Resigns in Georgia Election Interference Case

Nathan Wade resigned as the special prosecutor in the Trump’s Georgia election interference case. This decision followed a ruling by Judge Scott McAfee, which highlighted a significant appearance of impropriety due to a romantic relationship between Wade and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Specifically, it came to light during testimony that Wade and Willis were dating when she hired him as the special prosecutor on the case for $653,880. Trump’s defense team argued that Willis and Wade used the money to go on luxury vacations. Wade’s resignation allowed Willis to remain on the case.

Politics in Utero

human embryos are considered children in Alabama

Alabama Supreme Court Rules Embryos are Children

Last month the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through IVF and stored outside the uterus are protected as children. The decision stemmed from a wrongful death lawsuit brought by three couples whose frozen embryos were destroyed at a fertility clinic. Some IVF clinics in Alabama paused operations, potentially facing civil and criminal penalties lest an embryo be destroyed. The classification of embryos as children under Alabama law could influence other states’ legislation and practices around IVF, and the decision could be used as a legal precedent in future attempts to restrict abortion access nationwide.

The First Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill, Opill, Is Available This Month

The first over-the-counter birth control pill, Opill, is available this month. Approved by the FDA last year, it only costs $20 a month or $90 for a six-month supply, and it is 93% effective when taken at the same time on a daily basis. Over-the-counter birth control pills are already available in more than 100 countries. Meanwhile, France became the first country to ensure abortion rights in its constitution.

The Supreme Court Hears the Case Against Abortion Pill

The Supreme Court deliberated on the FDA v Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine case regarding the fate of the abortion pill mifepristone. This is the first major abortion-related case since the overturning of Roe v. Wade nearly two years ago. Trump appointee Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk overruled the FDAs approval of mifepristone in a lawsuit brought by anti-abortion doctors in Texas. Mifespristone has been legal for 23 years, accounts for 60% of abortions, and has a 99.6% success rate of terminating pregnancies while causing fewer complications than Tylenol.