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Protest at UC Berkeley law school dinner and where cicadas will emerge: Morning Rundown

Plus, O.J. Simpson, the former NFL player who was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, has died of cancer. He was 76. 
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Ukraine warns it could lose its war against Russia as Congress delays crucial aid. A dinner for graduating law students becomes a flashpoint after a Palestinian student's protest. And a once-in-a-lifetime cicada emergence is almost here. 

Here’s what to know today.

Ukraine warns it could lose its war with Russia without U.S. help

Alex Babenko / AP

Ukraine is digging in to stop a collapse across its front lines as Russian attacks and American delays leave Kyiv to confront the possibility of a painful defeat.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that “Ukraine will lose the war” if Congress doesn’t help. While the increasingly drastic tone may be seen by some as an attempt to pressure Washington, a member of Ukraine’s parliament said the warnings are not an exaggeration.

The signs of Ukraine’s struggles on the battlefield are clear. Three defense lines are being built, even where there are no hostilities. It’s a far cry from a year ago, when it was Russia’s military building trenches to try and fend off a Ukrainian counteroffensive. 

And to address its depleted ranks, Ukraine’s parliament passed a new law to expand military conscription this week. It still might not be enough. 

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Meanwhile, Russia has turned its attention back to Ukraine’s energy grid, striking key facilities in missile and drone attacks that have exploited a shortage of air defense systems across the country. The Kremlin has put a particular focus on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, but it’s also actively targeting a front-line city in the eastern Donetsk region. 

The stakes are high if Republicans don’t break the logjam on a $61 billion aid package before it’s too late. Ukrainian leaders fear Russian troops could launch a new offensive over the summer or sooner. And the top U.S. general in Europe warned Congress that Ukraine will run out of artillery shells and air defense interceptors “in fairly short order” without new U.S. support, leaving it vulnerable to a partial or total defeat.

Read the full story here.

O.J. Simpson dies of cancer at 76

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL player who was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend in a televised trial that gripped the nation, has died of cancer, according to his family. He was 76. 

Orenthal James Simpson was part of the University of Southern California’s national championship football team in 1967 and won the Heisman Trophy the next year. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1969 and played 11 seasons in the NFL.

O.J. Simpson
Getty; AP

But his sports legacy was tarnished forever after his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were killed in 1994. Days later, Simpson was charged with the murders and attempted to evade arrest, resulting in an infamous hourslong police chase in his white Ford Bronco. The court case that followed, dubbed the "trial of the century," became a public spectacle. Simpson was acquitted of both murders in a controversial verdict. Read more about Simpson’s life.

Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, said in a phone interview that Simpson's death was "no great loss to the world." He added, "It's a further reminder of Ron's being gone." Alan Dershowitz, the prominent lawyer who served as an adviser on Simpson's legal "Dream Team," said he was saddened to learn that his onetime client died. Read more about the reactions to Simpson’s death.

More O.J. Simpson coverage: 

Afghan migrant on terror watchlist remains in U.S. after being released by Border Patrol

An Afghan migrant on the terror watchlist has been taken into custody, a Homeland Security Department spokesperson said, hours after NBC News first reported on the man’s release into the U.S. last year. Mohammad Kharwin was first apprehended and released by Border Patrol agents in 2023 after crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, U.S. officials said. During that time, Kharwin was able to apply for asylum and work authorization and fly domestically, officials said. The Afghan national was arrested in February and then released last month on bond by an immigration judge who was not told he was a national security threat.

A terror watchlist maintained by the FBI indicates Kharwin is a member of Hezb-e-Islami, or HIG, a political and paramilitary organization that the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization.

The case illustrates the challenges that U.S. officials face in identifying migrants who may pose a national security threat. Kharwin’s case marks the third incident in two years in which Customs and Border Protection has released migrants with suspected terrorist ties.

Measles elimination in the U.S. is under ‘renewed threat’ 

The CDC is calling for more widespread vaccination coverage against measles amid a “rapid increase in the number of reported measles cases” in the first three months of the year. According to a new report from the agency, this year’s first-quarter tally of measles cases was at 97 people, significantly higher than the average of five people each year between 2020 through 2023 in the same time period. And as of April 4, the U.S. had recorded seven outbreaks and 113 cases.

Measles has been considered eliminated in the U.S. since 2000, meaning the disease is no longer constantly present, though there are still occasional outbreaks. But this year’s high case load could put that elimination in jeopardy. Meanwhile, vaccination coverage is declining both in the U.S. and internationally. 

UC Berkeley law professor confronts pro-Palestinian student during a dinner protest

A dinner this week for graduating law students at the University of California, Berkeley, was supposed to be a quiet evening. But the event has become the latest flashpoint over free speech and concerns about Islamophobia and antisemitism on college campuses as the war between Israel and Hamas rages on. 

Law professor Catherine Fisk and her spouse, law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky, hosted the event in their home’s backyard Tuesday. During the dinner, Palestinian student Malak Afaneh stood up and started delivering an unsanctioned speech through a cordless microphone she had brought with her. Video shot by a law student shows Fisk immediately interjecting and asking Afaneh to leave. When Afaneh continues with her speech, Fisk then tries to grab a microphone out of her hands.

Afaneh said the incident was “clear Islamophobia” and “assault” and is considering her legal options. Chemerinsky, who is Jewish, called the disruption “ugly and divisive.” Read the full story here.

Get ready for a cicada eruption

Cicada Safari

Tens of billions of noisy cicadas are set to pop out of the ground this spring in a rare event that last occurred over two centuries ago. Two different broods of cicadas — Brood XIX, which lives on a 13-year cycle, and Brood XIII, which lives on a 17-year cycle — will emerge at the same time from underground for the first time since 1803. In the map above, Brood XIX is represented by the red dots and shows where the bugs have emerged before. The blue dots represent Brood XIII. These areas are likely to have cicadas this year.

The winged insects are expected to appear across the Midwest and the Southeast starting in early May, with experts estimating that more than a trillion cicadas could blanket parts of the country where the two broods overlap.

If you’re worried about the hordes of winged insects, don’t fret. Cicadas are harmless to humans — though some people find the sheer number of insects and their loud mating songs a nuisance. For bug enthusiasts, the cicada invasion brings a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Politics in Brief 

Abortion rights: Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Arizona today to highlight reproductive rights, just days after the state Supreme Court ruled that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable. Also, Arizona’s attorney general said her office is considering refusing to prosecute abortion providers and patients and helping license doctors in other states if the Civil War-era ban is upheld.

Johnson goes to Florida: With his job in jeopardy, House Speaker Mike Johnson plans to head to Mar-a-Lago today to meet with the one person who could save his precarious speakership: Donald Trump. He’ll also deliver remarks about “election integrity,” sources say.

2024 election: Trump is calling for more presidential debates between him and President Joe Biden so that more Americans “have the full chance” to see the candidates in action before casting their ballots.

Guns in America: The Biden administration is moving to end the controversial “gun-show loophole” in what could be the biggest expansion of background checks in decades.

Wisconsin politics: Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley announced she would step down at the end of her term next spring. Her retirement puts liberals’ majority on the swing state’s highest bench at stake and will likely set off an expensive and bitter race for her replacement.

Want more politics news? Sign up for From the Politics Desk to get exclusive reporting and analysis delivered to your inbox every weekday evening. Subscribe here.

Staff Pick: Is higher potency marijuana more dangerous?

A woman smokes a joint
The Washington Post via Getty Images file

As more people around the country get high from legal marijuana, the demand for stronger weed has grown, too. THC levels in cannabis products that were once about 3% now can be close to 40% in the flower. And the higher the potency, the more risk there is of adverse effects. Teenagers and young adults need to be especially careful of high-potency weed because their developing brains are at greater risk of psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. — Jane Weaver, health editor

In Case You Missed It

  • There is no evidence that mRNA Covid vaccines cause deadly heart problems in teens and young adults, according to a new CDC report.
  • The former interpreter for Shohei Ohtani was charged with bank fraud and accused of stealing more than $16 million from the MLB star.
  • A former Nickelodeon star who was featured in the “Quiet on Set” documentary series said she’s “done” with the entertainment industry.
  • Kansas City Chiefs receiver Rashee Rice turned himself in to police after an arrest warrant was issued in connection with his role in a high-speed crash in Dallas.
  • A Wisconsin judge denied the release of a woman serving a sentence in a psychiatric institute for brutally stabbing a peer when she was 12 years old in the 2014 “Slender Man” attack.
  • Instagram will test a new feature that blurs nudity in messages in an effort to curb sextortion on its platform.

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

When shopping for treatments for dark under-eye circles, dermatologists recommend looking for key ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol and caffeine. Here are 19 treatments they recommend.

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