Nation and world news briefs

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Florida senators pitch daylight saving time pause

WASHINGTON — Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott want to make sure there is plenty of time for wasting away again in Margaritaville in the sunlight this winter.

If they get their way, revelers in Key West, Florida, where Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band conceived of the mythical Margaritaville, will get to nibble on sponge cake and watch the sun bake one more hour — hopefully in a socially distant manner in this age of coronavirus pandemic protocols.

The pair introduced a bill that was placed on the Senate calendar Wednesday that would postpone clocks from “falling back” one hour until November of 2021. That would also mean clocks would not “spring forward” one hour in March of 2021.

Rubio is a previous backer of national, permanent daylight saving time. He said in a statement that the government “has asked a lot of the American people” during the pandemic and that his and Scott’s proposal “is just one small step we can take to help ease the burden.”

Rubio said extra daylight after school hours “is critical to helping families and children endure this challenging school year.”

Rubio told reporters Wednesday that support for the bill is “growing.”

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said Wednesday at the Capitol that he has not read the bill, which was a surprise when it was added to the calendar.

Scott told reporters he believes the move could also allow for outside diners to eat in the daylight. Many restaurants have expanded their outdoor seating, adapting to the patchwork of jurisdiction rules on limiting indoor dining in an effort to keep people from transmitting the coronavirus indoors.

The Florida senators’ release also pointed to studies that have shown benefits to year-round daylight saving time, such as fewer car crashes and reduced energy usage.

The needs for standard time zones and daylight saving time in the U.S. dates back to the late 1800s, when the railroad system created a need for standard times so trains arrived when they were expected to.

Current law dictates that daylight time should apply from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November, unless jurisdictions opt out.

—CQ-Roll Call


Why are people sending the Biden-Harris campaign $19.08?

WASHINGTON — The notifications wouldn’t stop. It had been 24 hours since former Vice President Joe Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris would be his running mate in his quest to win the White House. Soon after, the phone of the Democratic Party’s chief fundraiser was buzzing every other minute, alerting him that the campaign had just received another donation of exactly $19.08.

It’s not uncommon for campaigns to solicit donations for particular amounts, like $7 or $23, to make the ask stand out, but a number that precise, down to the red cent, was strange.

“I’ve never seen people give in such a specific increment ever before,” says Clayton Cox, finance director for the Democratic National Committee. But Cox, who was active in his college’s Greek system, knew exactly why.

The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. were springing into action to support one of their own, Harris, who pledged at Howard University as an undergrad in the 1980s.

But why $19.08? That’s the year the AKAs, the oldest Black sorority in America, were founded. “The week after she was announced, I was getting one every 15 minutes,” says Cox. “It was that frequent.”

As of Friday, the Biden Victory Fund (a joint fundraising effort between the campaign and the DNC) had received more than 11,000 of these donations totaling almost $219,000, according to DNC Deputy Communications Director Chris Meagher.

—CQ-Roll Call


City says deal for temporary 3rd Precinct site for Minneapolis police is off

MINNEAPOLIS — A plan to temporarily house Minneapolis’s 3rd Police Precinct in a warehouse has fallen apart, the city confirmed Wednesday.

The city’s elected leaders had been debating whether to temporarily house the officers in a warehouse about a half mile from their former station, which burned in the riots that followed George Floyd’s death.

A City Council committee had been scheduled to discuss Wednesday afternoon a proposal to lease, for $1.2 million a year, a warehouse at 2633 Minnehaha Ave., run by Lothenbach Properties II and Imagine Express.

Shortly before that meeting began, the city confirmed that the deal was off.

“The City of Minneapolis and Imagine Express have been in ongoing negotiations over a lease agreement at 2633 Minnehaha Ave.,” city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie said in a statement. “The two parties have reached an impasse in the negotiation process and have amicably agreed to cease lease negotiations over this property moving forward.”

More details are expected to be discussed at a City Council committee meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Some neighborhood groups had opposed the plan, saying they felt there hadn’t been enough public engagement before the city pursued a potential deal for a temporary site.

—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


Tyrannosaurus skeleton worth several million dollars headed to auction

NEW YORK — Sold to the eccentric theme park operator!

One of the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons is headed to the auction block.

Christie’s announced Wednesday it would be selling “STAN,” a 67 million-year-old fossil, in early October.

The skeleton, which measures 40 feet long and 13 feet high, was discovered in 1987 in South Dakota by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison, who was told it was a triceratops — a common error made because triceratops fossils are so common, James Hyslop, Christie’s head of Science and Natural History, said.

However, after Sacrison took the bones to the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota in 1992, researchers quickly realized he had found something special. In subsequent follow-up digs, they recovered 188 more bones (a T. rex had an estimated 300), Hyslop said.

Christie’s will put the fossil on display at its New York location and allow socially distanced public viewings until the middle of October.

“We’ve got the skull displayed at ground level so that you can get really up close and personal with him and just see the serrations on his teeth,” Hyslop said. “His longest tooth is 11 inches long. It’s just terrifying to behold.”

The auction house said the skeleton, even at roughly 66% complete, is worth at much as $8 million.

—New York Daily News