© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Joe Biden paid tribute to the heroes of the “Bloody Sunday” US civil rights march nearly 60 years ago and used its annual commemoration to warn of an ongoing threat to American democracy from election deniers and the erosion of voting rights.
The US president joined thousands of people in Selma, Alabama to mark the movement that led to the passage of landmark voting rights legislation shortly after peaceful marchers were brutally attacked by law enforcement on a bridge though town.
Speaking on a Selma stage with the bridge as a backdrop, Biden warned that the right to vote in the US – which the civil rights marchers had sought to gain for Black Americans – was far from safe amid a concerted push to weaken voting rights legislation across the US and prominent Republican efforts to call into question election results.
“The right to vote – to have your vote counted – is the threshold of democracy … This fundamental right remains under assault,” Biden said. “We have to remain vigilant … In America hate and extremism will not prevail though they are raising their ugly heads again.”
Why was the speech so important? It presented the president with a chance to speak directly to the current generation of civil rights activists. Many feel dejected because the president has been unable to make good on a campaign pledge to bolster voting rights. Ahead of Biden’s visit, the Rev William Barber II, a co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, along with six other activists wrote to the president and members of Congress to express their frustration with the lack of progress on voting rights legislation.
Southwest Airlines plane hits birds and makes emergency landing in Cuba
© Provided by The Guardian Southwest Airlines planes parked at an airport. A jet had to make an emergency landing in Cuba after hitting birds on its way to Florida. Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters
A US jetliner taking off from Cuba had engine trouble after hitting birds and returned to Havana for an emergency landing on Sunday, Cuban authorities said.
Smoke entered the cabin of the plane but no one was injured in the incident involving Southwest Airlines flight 3923 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said the airline and the Cuban civil aviation authority, Cacsa.
Birds struck one of the plane’s engines and its nose shortly after takeoff. The Boeing 737 was carrying 147 passengers and a crew of six, Southwest Airlines said. The travellers would be put on another flight to Fort Lauderdale. Cacsa said the incident was being investigated.
What have Southwest Airlines said? “The pilots safely returned to Havana where customers evacuated the aircraft via slides due to smoke in the cabin,” Southwest said.
A diminished but loyal Trump Maga crowd at CPAC: ‘There’s one choice’
© Provided by The Guardian Donald Trump supporters attend the 2023 CPAC conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on Saturday. Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
It fell to Steve Bannon, far-right podcaster and political pugilist, to wake up the crowd with a jolt. “Don’t fall for the primary stuff,” he urged in a fiery speech. “It’s not relevant. We don’t have time for on-the-job training [instead of] a man that gave us four years of peace and prosperity.”
What had been a low energy Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) erupted in cheers. It did so again when Bannon – who is facing four months in prison for contempt of Congress – assured them that “Donald J Trump” would win both the Republican nomination and US presidency in 2024. Finally, here was someone who was speaking the language of CPAC.
But a glance at the convention centre ballroom revealed row upon row of empty seats. The “Make America Great Again” (Maga) movement, while vociferous as ever, appeared diminished in size. There was no doubt that former president Trump remained the big fish at the National Harbor in Maryland – but in a smaller pond. The list of Republicans who decided to stay away was as striking as those who showed up.
Who didn’t turn up? The absentees included potential 2024 contenders such as the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis; the Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin; former vice-president Mike Pence; and Senator Tim Scott. The Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, and Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel, were also missing. Even Fox News, once Trump’s loudest cheerleader, appeared to have given up the ghost.
Why are evangelical Christians flocking to Republicans over its support for Israel? The powerful voting bloc is looking to back pro-Israel politicians in the hopes of dictating policy that fits their theological views.
In other news …
© Provided by The Guardian LGBTQ+ rights supporters protest against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last year. Photograph: Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images
Florida Republicans are planning a broad rightwing legislative push, including new restrictions on gender identification, diversity and equity programs, abortion and press freedoms, and further relaxation of concealed weapons laws and the ability of courts to impose death sentences.
Boris Johnson has been accused of having “discredited the honours system” in the UK after it was reported that his long-delayed resignation list includes a knighthood nomination for his father, Stanley Johnson. Stanley Johnson is said to be among up to 100 names put forward for honours by the former prime minister.
A California couple has filed a $5m lawsuit against a tour company in Hawaii which it claims abandoned them in the middle of the ocean during a snorkeling tour. Elizabeth Webster and her husband, Alexander Burckle, say they realised the boat had left them and were forced to swim to shore to survive.
Intense fighting has continued in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut as both Kyiv and Moscow seemingly struggle with ammunition shortages and mounting casualties. Ukrainian forces still control the city despite the street fighting, the deputy mayor of Bakhmut, Oleksandr Marchenko, said.
Stat of the day: The Hollywood sign is 100 – how a hillside ad became an enduring monument
The Hollywood sign turns 100 this year, and like any star, it’s been primping and preening in advance of its big day. It’s received multiple highly publicized makeovers, and its PR team (yes, it has a PR team) has been readying for major coverage, with centennial events planned and a fundraiser launched. Like the Eiffel Tower, the Hollywood sign was originally supposed to be temporary, built to last 18 months as a flashy advertisement for the “Hollywoodland” real estate development. But the sign stayed on, successfully navigating the transition from saucy newcomer to icon. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce removed the “LAND”. By the late 1970s, with the sign again in disrepair, the original letters were finally replaced after Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, led a campaign to save them.
Don’t miss this: Why women are mad as hell (and not afraid to show it)
Once upon a time, women showing anger in public might have been deemed unladylike, even shameful. Yet ours is increasingly an age of rage. Last December, the BBC crunched data from the Gallup World Poll – an annual snapshot of emotional reactions across 100 countries – and found that while both sexes reported similar anger and stress levels in 2012, women’s were on average six points higher than men’s by 2022. The gap widened significantly during the pandemic. Female wrath can be a powerful catalyst for change, channelled into movements such as #MeToo, the protests against sexual violence in India and Pakistan, and the recent Iranian women’s uprising against the regime’s “morality police”. But not all anger is so productive.
Climate check: ‘Everyone should be concerned’ – Antarctic sea ice reaches lowest levels on record
For 44 years, satellites have helped scientists track how much ice is floating on the ocean around Antarctica’s 18,000km coastline. The continent’s fringing waters witness a massive shift each year, with sea ice peaking at about 18m sq km each September before dropping to just above 2m sq km by February. But across those four decades of satellite observations, there has never been less ice around the continent than there was last week. “By the end of January we could tell it was only a matter of time. It wasn’t even a close run thing,” says Dr Will Hobbs, an Antarctic sea ice expert at the University of Tasmania with the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership. The fate of Antarctica – especially the ice on land – is important because the continent holds enough ice to raise sea levels by many metres if it was to melt.
Last Thing: Matterhorn no more – Toblerone to change design under ‘Swissness’ rules
© Provided by The Guardian Since 1908, Toblerone has been produced in the Swiss capital, Berne, whose ursine heraldic animal is hidden inside the Matterhorn image. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters
The image of the Matterhorn mountain peak will be removed from Toblerone packaging after some of the chocolate bar’s production is moved outside Switzerland, meaning it falls foul of marketing restrictions relating to the use of Swiss iconography. The 4,478-metre-high (14,690ft) mountain, the nearly symmetrical pyramidal peak of which mirrors the shape of the almond-and-honey-laced chocolate bar, will be replaced with a more generic Alpine summit, said the confectionery brand’s US owner, Mondelēz. “Swissness” legislation introduced in 2017 restricts the use of the national flag’s white cross on a red background, as well as other indicators of Swiss provenance, in foodstuffs, industrial products and services.
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