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Biden in Brussels, SCOTUS hearings end, NCAA Sweet 16: 5 things to know Thursday – USA TODAY

Biden in Brussels for NATO summit on Ukraine

President Joe Biden will attend a special NATO summit in Brussels and a European Council meeting Thursday as leaders seek to reaffirm their unity amid Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine. NATO is expected to discuss enhancements of the military, humanitarian, and financial support they are giving Ukraine, officials said, while stiffening economic sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and Russia. Poland has proposed creation of a peacekeeping force in Ukraine, but officials said Sunday they do not know if NATO is willing to take such a provocative action. On Friday, Biden will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, Poland, to discuss the Western response to the humanitarian and human rights crisis from the war, according to the White House.

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Legal experts to weigh in on final day of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearings

On Thursday, legal experts and interest groups will weigh in on Ketanji Brown Jackson as the Senate Judiciary Committee wraps up four days of hearings on her historic nomination to become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. Interest groups including the American Bar Association and civil rights organizations will testify about Jackson’s suitability for the court. Witnesses chosen by Republican senators will also speak. The American Bar Association, which evaluates judicial nominees, already gave Jackson its highest rating, unanimously “well qualified,” last week. Brown Jackson defended her record during a third round of hearings Wednesday as Republicans coalesced around themes that she is soft on crime and vague about her approach to the Constitution. She went on to defend her sentencing practices and her views on expanding the Supreme Court. At one point, the judge said – if she’s confirmed – she will recuse herself in a case about the use of race in the admissions process at Harvard University.

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Ketanji Brown Jackson chokes up about her status as trailblazer

Sen. Alex Padilla’s praise of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s accomplishments brought on an emotional response from the Supreme Court nominee.

Patrick Colson-Price, USA TODAY

Miami Beach instates curfew to curb spring break violence 

A temporary midnight curfew in the city of Miami Beach will go into effect Thursday after five people were wounded in two shootings over the weekend in the spring break destination. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber declared a state of emergency Monday, saying in a news conference that tourists who came for a few days of uncontrolled fun have created an “unacceptable” environment in South Beach. The rule went into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. and it will remain until 6 a.m. on Monday, March 28. Miami Beach officials announced a similar curfew last year in an effort to curb excessive drinking and violence, which led to the arrest of more than 1,000 people. 

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Miami Beach implements midnight spring break curfew, emergency order

Miami Beach officials are enacting a midnight curfew and public emergency order for spring breakers after five people were injured in separate shootings.

Ariana Triggs, Storyful

Men’s NCAA tournament resumes with Sweet 16

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament picks back up Thursday with the Sweet 16 and a pair of No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 seeds are among the eight teams in action.Gonzaga, the No. 1 overall seed, gets the evening’s slate of games started when the Bulldogs face off against No. 4 seed Arkansas (7:09 p.m. ET, CBS).Staying in the West Region, No. 2 seed Duke will look to extend Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching career the Blue Devils face No. 3 Texas Tech (9:39 p.m. ET, CBS). Both games will be played in San Francisco. In the South Region, No. 2 seed Villanova will look to end No. 11 seed Michigan’s surprise run in the tournament, as the two teams square off for the chance to advance (7:29 p.m. ET, TBS). And in the final game of the evening, Arizona, the top seed in the South Region, will take on No. 5 Houston (9:59 p.m. ET, TBS). Both of those games will be played in San Antonio, Texas. 

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Can Texas Tech stop Coach K, Duke in their Sweet 16 matchup? | On Site

Texas Tech vs. Duke may be the best game of March Madness. I Even if your brackets are busted this matchup is going to be exciting to watch.

On Site

NYC to lift mandate, paving way for unvaccinated Nets, Yankees, Mets to play home games 

New York City mayor Eric Adams plans to lift the private-sector COVID-19 vaccine mandate for professional athletes Thursday, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The Associated Press reports the mandate will be lifted for performers as well. This will pave the way for unvaccinated NBA star Kyrie Irving to play in home games for the Brooklyn Nets and for unvaccinated New York Yankees and Mets players to also play in home games when the MLB season begins next month. The city’s sweeping vaccine mandate for workers will still apply to people with other types of jobs, including government employees. Adams had said he felt the vaccine rule was unfair when it came to athletes and performers because a loophole in the measure, imposed under his predecessor, Bill de Blasio, allowed visiting players and performers who don’t work in New York to still play or perform even if they are unvaccinated. “We’re going to make the right decision,” Adams said Wednesday. 

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Kyrie Irving’s impact on Nets title run is evident

USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt puts into perspective the impact of Kyrie Irving’s return to the Nets roster and how far he can help take the this team.

USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

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