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Trump could spark a trade war after new announcements on steel and aluminum tariffs; Venezuela postpones its presidential elections.
No one knew what Trump’s big tariff announcement was going to be until he made it
- On Thursday, President Donald Trump took another step toward a possible global trade war, announcing steep new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. [NBC News / Martha White]
- Trump revealed plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on all steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, which will anger countries from which the US buys these metals, as well as American businesses buying foreign steel. Those tariffs will be applied broadly rather than targeting specific countries. [Vox / Alexia Fernandez Campbell]
- White House officials were split on the move, with some deeply opposed to it. It was a win in particular for White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, a known trade hawk. [CNBC / Jacob Pramuk, Eamon Javers, and John W. Schoen]
- And by many accounts, the hours leading up to the announcement were complete chaos. There was no tariff announcement on a Wednesday night White House schedule, but Trump was adamant that he wanted to announce the tariff on Thursday, sending officials on a mad dash. [Daniel Dale via Twitter]
- Some aides were completely unsure what Trump was going to say in the hours of his announcement. This is all to say that the White House is a well-oiled machine. [Politico / Andrew Restuccia and Adam Behsudi]
- Trump’s decision took many members of Congress by surprise — Republicans and Democrats alike. As Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told reporters, “There is no standard operating practice with this administration. Every day is a new adventure for us.” [Erica Werner via Twitter]
- While US steel manufacturers will be happy, the same can’t be said for many other companies. Beer, soft drink, and seltzer companies (basically, anyone who makes something that comes in an aluminum can) are going to be in big trouble. The automobile industry and construction companies will take a big hit. Canada and other foreign countries that import a lot of steel are pissed. [Vox / Alexia Fernandez Campbell]
- And the announcement threw the stock market for a loop; the Dow dropped 420 points while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 slumped by 1.3 percent each. [CNN Money / Matt Egan and Nathaniel Meyersohn]
Venezuela punts on its presidential election for a month
- Venezuela has postponed its upcoming presidential elections, which were supposed to be in April, to May, amid instability and a burgeoning economic crisis in the country. [Associated Press / Joshua Goodman]
- The election was moved after President Nicolas Maduro reached a tentative agreement with some opposition parties. [Reuters / Ana Isabel Martinez and Andrew Cawthorne]
- Only one opposition leader, Henri Falcon, is launching a campaign against Maduro. Others, including the nation’s most prominent opposition leader, Leopoldo López, are barred from running and under house arrest. [NYT / Wil Hylton]
- Meanwhile, US officials are preparing to put a strict embargo on Venezuelan crude oil, which could be a death sentence for the country’s oil industry and a severe blow to its already crippled economy. The embargo is to ratchet up pressure on Maduro, whom US officials have dubbed a “dictator.” [CNBC / Sam Meredith]
- How does your brain know when you’ve had enough water to drink after feeling unbearably thirsty? The science isn’t as simple as it sounds. [NYT / Veronique Greenwood]
- The site of the worst nuclear accident in history is getting a second life thanks to a new type of energy: Chernobyl is transforming into a solar farm.
- K2, the world’s most difficult mountain to climb, might soon be conquered by an elite team of Poles. [Atlantic / Margret Grebowicz]
- A secretive company just dropped $80 million for 25,000 acres of seemingly worthless land in the desert outside of Phoenix, and people are wondering what’s going on. [USA Today / Mike Klesta]
“By doing nothing, Neutral Milk Hotel developed a cult.” [Pitchfork / Mark Richardson]
Watch this: How ski warfare created biathlon
It all started as a military exercise in Norway. [YouTube / Mac Schneider]