New Zealand, John McCain, N.C.A.A. Tournament: Your Thursday Briefing


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Good morning,

We’re covering newly announced gun restrictions in New Zealand, a gloomier outlook from the Federal Reserve, and a (possible) Brexit delay.

New Zealand’s largest opposition party said it supported the measures, which Ms. Ardern emphasized would require a buyback of banned weapons in circulation and the regulation of firearms and ammunition.

Closer look: New Zealand’s plan is focused on capability, not just a particular class of weapons. We compared rules for gun purchases in 16 countries.

Yesterday: As the first six victims of the terrorist attacks were laid to rest, some families were still waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones.

For aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a plane is a major source of revenue. Some add-ons are aesthetic, but others involve systems that are fundamental to the plane’s operations.

After two deadly crashes involving the same jet model, Boeing will make standard a feature that it had charged for, as part of an effort to get the planes in the air again. Neither of the planes that crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia was equipped with the feature, which is not required by regulators.

Yesterday: The Defense Department said it was investigating complaints that the acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, had been promoting his former employer, Boeing, and disparaging its military contractor competitors.

Go deeper: Investigators in Indonesia described confusion and prayer in the cockpit before the Lion Air crash in October. “God is great,” the co-pilot prayed.

Saying on Wednesday that the U.S. economy was slowing more than it had previously thought, the central bank left interest rates unchanged and signaled little appetite for raising them in the near future.

The Fed said that growth appeared to be slowing under the weight of the trade war, economic slowdowns in Europe and China, and fading stimulus from the tax cuts of 2017.

What’s next: The central bank expects 2.1 percent growth this year, down from the 2.3 percent it forecast in December — and more than a percentage point less than the 3.2 percent growth predicted by the White House. In 2020, the Fed projects growth of 1.9 percent.

Images of two enslaved people — Renty, pictured above, and Delia, his daughter — were commissioned nearly 170 years ago by a Harvard professor for a racist study arguing that black people were an inferior race. They are now stored at the university as cultural artifacts.

But to the Lanier family, who say they are descendants of Renty and Delia, the photographs are records of a personal family history. One member is suing for ownership.

Cyclone’s aftermath: Nearly a week after southern Africa was devastated by an enormous storm, heavy rains were still endangering communities isolated by flooding, and complicating rescue efforts.

Brexit delay: European Union officials said on Wednesday that they would allow Britain to postpone its withdrawal from the bloc, but only if Parliament endorsed Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal plan, which lawmakers have already rejected twice.

E.U. fines Google: European regulators have fined the company 1.5 billion euros, or about $1.7 billion, for antitrust violations in the advertising market. It’s the third E.U. fine for Google since 2017.

Unprotected and underwater: An Iowa town had to remove an improvised levee that held back the Missouri River in 2011. Now it’s flooded.

Sexual harassment accusations: Michael Steinhardt, a retired hedge fund founder and a leading Jewish philanthropist, has been accused by seven women of making inappropriate comments over more than two decades. He denies many of the accusations.

Snapshot: Above, Wednesday was the official start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and this is what the equinox looks like from space. From 22,000 miles out, two nearly equal slices cut straight down the middle.

Life without Facebook: Our personal tech columnist didn’t lose touch with his true friends after deleting his account — but strange things did occur.

N.C.A.A. basketball: The first round of the men’s tournament begins today. If you haven’t filled out your bracket yet, here are six unconventional picks to consider.

Late-night comedy: Trevor Noah watched President Trump’s attacks on John McCain: “I really can’t believe Trump is beefing with a dead man.”

What we’re reading: This first-person essay in HuffPost. Dan Levin, who covers American youth, writes: “What happens when a gay-married, nonbinary, atheist Jew moves to the Deep South and then decides to own a gun? A complicated collision of fear and values.”

But planes are designed to be in the air. Putting them out of service takes more than just finding somewhere to park and turning off the engines.

“Basically, you’re going to pickle it,” said Vandi Cooyar, the president of Logistic Air, an aircraft leasing company. A grounded plane needs to have its systems powered up and its engines turned on regularly. Grounded fleets need to be protected from the elements.

Such safeguards, Mr. Cooyar said, make it easier to bring planes back into service when allowed — though that, too, takes some finessing.

He is a man of few words. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke a three-year silence on Wednesday, asking his first question from the bench since 2016. Before that he had gone a decade without asking one.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford, Chris Harcum and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. Zach Wichter, who has covered the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

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