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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. It’s Super Tuesday, the biggest Election Day on the Democrats’ primary calendar, with 14 states and one territory casting their ballots. We’ll have live results all night.
Bernie Sanders is positioned strongly across the map. But his top rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, is on the hottest stretch of his campaign.
Today’s voting includes the two states that award the most delegates — California and Texas — as well as several critical swing states. Here are six of the most interesting battlegrounds.
“It’s hard to remember an Election Day with so much uncertainty as voters go to the polls,” writes Nate Cohn of The Upshot. But there are clues to what might happen, including the fates of Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg.
Need a refresher? This visual story is a helpful explainer for why today matters so much. (Hint: A lot of delegates are at stake.)
2. The coronavirus struck Washington State earlier than once thought.
Two people who died last week in the Seattle area had the coronavirus days before the crisis began publicly unfolding there, tests showed. They are the earliest known U.S. fatalities, and brought the country’s total to nine.
New infections around several urban centers — in Westchester County, N.Y., San Mateo County, Calif., and Fulton County, Ga. — made clear that the virus was no longer tied only to international travelers.
3. Iran and Italy saw a rapid escalation in virus cases.
The number of infected people in Iran surged past 2,300, while the death toll rose to 77. The country’s head of Parliament said that nearly two dozen lawmakers had tested positive. The nation also temporarily freed more than 54,000 prisoners considered to be symptom free to stop the risk of spreading in the penal system.
In Italy, the death toll rose to 79, a jump of 27 in one day. Of the 2,502 infections so far — up from the 1,835 announced on Monday — 90 percent were in the northern Italian regions.
(The Vatican said that Pope Francis was ailing with a common cold and did not have symptoms “that could be related to other pathologies.”)
4. What will make the markets happy?
The Federal Reserve made a sudden and sizable cut in interest rates today to stem the economic fallout of the virus outbreak, but stocks still fell nearly 3 percent and bond yields dipped below 1 percent for the first time.
The Fed acted to forestall any possible U.S. recession, which could occur if the effects spread beyond manufacturing, travel and other sectors directly affected by the disease. But markets realize that central banks have no magical powers to cut through a crisis like this.
5. At least 22 people were dead after tornadoes tore through Nashville and central Tennessee.
In Nashville alone, at least 48 structures had either partly or completely collapsed. Police officers were going house to house in some areas, and road crews were clearing streets and dangerous electrical debris. An untold number of people were still unaccounted for.
President Trump said that he would visit the area on Friday. The path of the storm was eerily similar to a tornado that heavily damaged a Nashville neighborhood in 1998.
6. With little rain in the rainy season, California may be headed for another drought.
It was the driest February on record for the state, which emerged from its last drought only last March. January was also drier than average, and it was a record dry autumn for much of Northern California. That, along with warmer temperatures, has increased the risk of wildfires.
7. Vladimir Putin proposed adding a ban on gay marriage to the Russian constitution.
Political analysts suggest the move is meant to raise turnout for a referendum next month on constitutional changes that could allow Mr. Putin to remain in power beyond 2024.
Polls have suggested little enthusiasm among Russians for the referendum. By including the marriage amendment, the vote “will likely to attract both those in favor and those opposed,” a Moscow political scientist said.
8. “Architecture is the silent language that speaks.”
That was the Dublin-based architect Yvonne Farrell, who along with her Grafton Architects co-founder, Shelley McNamara, today won this year’s Pritzker Prize, the profession’s highest honor — the first time the award has gone to two women.
The jury cited their sensitivity to natural elements and attention to detail in works like the Urban Institute of Ireland in Dublin and the University of Engineering and Technology in Lima, Peru.
9. How do you cook fake meat?
Our food-science writer J. Kenji López-Alt put the vegan meat substitutes through the grinder, so to speak.
He concludes that faux-burgers do best when they are thick patties, cooked no more than medium-rare and paired with robust toppings. But the Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat products are even better broken up in a frying pan.
“I’ve made chili, ragù Bolognese, tamale pie and sloppy Joes that many tasters could not distinguish from the ground-beef versions,” he writes. Above, a meatball sandwich.
10. And finally, the Leaning Tower of Dallas bites the dust.
A 3.5-foot-tall wrecking ball brought down an 11-story office building in Texas that had refused to be demolished for two weeks.
The former Affiliated Computer Services building had become a tourist attraction and social media sensation. The Legoland Discovery Center built a miniature version of the lopsided tower, and one Dallas resident even started a petition to make the building a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lloyd Nabors, whose demolition company was in charge of the project, said he would miss the camaraderie that had developed over the building.
Have a smashing evening.
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