In the Know: March 21, 2014

“Her visit and her agenda sends a message that the relationship between the United States and China is not just between leaders, it’s a relationship between peoples. That’s critically important, given the roles that our two countries are going to play in the 21st century, that we maintain the very regular contacts that we have at the leader-to-leader level, but that we’re also reaching out and building relationships with people, particularly young people.” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, on First Lady Michelle Obama’s official visit in China to expand Sino-American relations

Nation: We’re still mad at Russia.
Russian lawmakers approved a treaty to annex Crimea from Ukraine by a near unanimous vote of 443 to 1 on Thursday, leading the U.S. step up sanctions in response. President Obama also signed a new executive order that authorizes possible further sanctions if Moscow does not act to cool things down. “This is not our preferred outcome. These sanctions would not only have a significant impact on the Russian economy, but could also be disruptive to the global economy,” he said. “However Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community.”

World: The search continues for flight 370.
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 resumed Friday in the southern Indian Ocean with long-range reconnaissance aircraft looking for possible debris from the jetliner in one of the most remote locations on Earth. Aircraft from Australia, New Zealand and the United States have staggered departures to an area roughly 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, where two objects were captured on satellite and described as possible pieces of the plane, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. Calling it the best lead so far to the whereabouts of the airliner that vanished 14 days ago with 239 passengers and crew, Malaysia interim Transportation Secretary Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters the find “gives us hope. As long as there’s hope, we will continue.”

Politics: Army General fined for sexual misconduct.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair was fined this week, avoiding a jail sentence, in a controversial and closely watched military sexual assault case that began in January. Among other things, Sinclair was accused of mistreating an Army captain who was his mistress. Sinclair was ordered to forfeit $5,000 a month in pay for four months, but will be allowed to remain in the military and keep his pension and other benefits. Jamie Barnett, a lawyer for the captain, called the sentence “a travesty” and likened it to “getting sent to the principal’s office for a stern talking to.”

Business: Tax scam.
Have you filed yet? Be careful, because thousands of Americans have been conned out of more than $1 million crooks posing as IRS agents demanding tax payments, according to the U.S. Treasury. “This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. Callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. In reality, if you owe taxes, the IRS will contact you by U.S. mail — not email.

Women’s Affairs: Gender bias affects math skills too.
Think women can’t do math? You’re wrong — but new research shows you might not change your mind, even if you have evidence to the contrary. A study of how men and women perceive each other’s mathematical ability finds that an unconscious bias against women could be skewing hiring decisions and widening the gender gap in math-dependent professions. In the study, men and women employers alike revealed their prejudice against women for a perceived lack of mathematical ability. When the only information that the employers had was a photograph of the candidate, men were twice as likely to be hired for the simple math job, whether it was a man or woman doing the hiring.

Sports: Let the madness begin.
The NCAA Tournament began Thursday and already our bracket is busted (but what’s new?). Thanks to Dayton’s upset of No. 6 seed Ohio State, over 80 percent of folks hoping to win Warren Buffett’s billion-dollar perfect bracket challenge were already out after the first game of the day. At the end of Thursday afternoon, and Harvard’s win over No. 7 seed Cincinnati, just 5.7 percent of ESPN brackets had a chance at perfection. Hey, there’s always next year right? At least we can still watch the madness unfold!

image via Washington Times

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