Beto enters the 2020 fray, FAA grounds jets and it's Pi Day: The Morning Rundown

"The only way for us to live up to the promise of America is to give it our all and to give it for all of us," Beto O'Rourke said announcing his candidacy.
Image: Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks to a crowd of marchers during the "March for Truth" in El Paso, Texas
"You can probably tell that I want to run. I do. I think I'd be good at it," O'Rourke told Vanity Fair in a lengthy cover-story profile published Wednesday. Paul Ratje / AFP - Getty Images

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

It's official: Beto O'Rourke has announced he's running for president.

Here’s what else we’re watching today.


Emergency order: FAA grounds some Boeing jets

After days of growing pressure, President Donald Trump announced that the Federal Aviation Administration was grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 and 737 Max 9 jets in the wake of two recent crashes that together killed 346 people.

The FAA said it decided to ground the jets after it received new information and physical evidence that showed similarities between Sunday's deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash and one off the coast of Indonesia in October.

Some passengers were taken off planes and even stranded at airports after the emergency order was issued.

Boeing said it supported the FAA's call "out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety."

But the company's stock is weathering its own turbulence. After three tumultuous days, it ended the day higher on Wednesday.


Beto O'Rourke announces he's in for 2020

The Texas Democrat, who drew national attention and broke fundraising records with his losing campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz last year, announced on Thursday that he is running for president.

The 46-year-old former congressman from El Paso has captivated some in the party with his skateboarding, adventurous road trips shared on social media, and crossover appeal to both moderates and progressives.

"The only way for us to live up to the promise of America is to give it our all and to give it for all of us," he said in a video announcing his decision to enter an already crowded primary field.


Manafort gets 7.5 years in prison — and new charges

If Paul Manafort's lawyers thought they were in for a break after his second sentencing, they were mistaken.

Shortly after the president's former campaign chairman was sentenced to an additional 43 months in prison on conspiracy charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, he was indicted on new fraud charges by Manhattan prosecutors.

The 69-year-old was indicted on 16 counts tied to residential mortgage fraud and conspiracy, according to the indictment unsealed Wednesday.

The charges could ensure that Manafort spends time behind bars — even if he were to receive a presidential pardon. The president has the authority to grant pardons on federal crimes but not state crimes.


'I'm profoundly sorry,' says Harvard alum who played a part in college cheating scandal

A 36-year-old Harvard graduate who was paid to secretly take college board tests for children of wealthy parents apologized.

Mark Riddell, a former star tennis player at the Ivy League school, was paid $10,000 per test and took SAT and ACT exams for students between 2012 and this past February, according to a criminal complaint.

"I understand how my actions contributed to a loss of trust in the college admissions process," he said.

Meantime, actress Lori Loughlin was released on a $1 million bond Wednesday after appearing in federal court in Los Angeles in connection with her alleged role in the scandal.

So what was Loughlin’s big mistake? If you’re going to bribe a college, there are plenty of ways to do it legally. The scandal has lifted the hood on the long-standing culture of corruption in America’s college admissions process, one of our columnists writes.

Others are asking: How much does it really matter where you go to college?


Plus


THINK about it


Live BETTER

If you have running a race on your spring bucket list, you’re not alone: In 2017 more than 18 million people in the U.S. registered for road races. (I've got a half-marathon on my horizon in May). Here are the five top running mistakes — and how to avoid them.


One fun thing

It's Pi Day! Here are seven interesting facts about the most famous number in mathematics.

Museums and science centers mark Pi Day with educational programs and events. But some math fans celebrate simply by enjoying a slice of pie. I'll take the pie. Steve Russell / Toronto Star via Getty Images file

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Thanks, Petra