Jun 29, 2017

Burning Man will go on under Trump (probably)

The Trump administration is set to soon green light a permit for Burning Man, a week-long festival of art (and much more) that takes place on federal land in the Nevada desert, according to a federal document posted Wednesday and an official at the Interior Department.

Why it matters: Rumors were floating around the Burning Man online community that President Trump may try to block the event, possibly because the participants tend to skew much more liberal than conservative (There are exceptions, of course, like tax guru Grover Norquist, who wrote a piece about his experience there a few years ago).

The details: The Bureau of Land Management, an Interior Department agency that oversees federally owned lands, posted on Wednesday an annual document with details about Burning Man's use of the desert. While that doesn't guarantee the BLM will issue the needed permit, spokespeople for both the event and the agency say one is expected soon. "We expect to issue the permit sometime after the 4th of July holiday weekend," said Mark Hall, a field manager in the local BLM office in Nevada.

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The novel coronavirus has spread from China to infect people in more than 40 countries and territories around the world, killing over 2,700 people.

The big picture: Most of the 80,000 COVID-19 infections have occurred in mainland China. But cases are starting to surge elsewhere. By Wednesday morning, the worst affected countries outside China were South Korea (1,146), where a U.S. soldier tested positive to the virus, Italy (332), Japan (170), Iran (95) and Singapore (91). Just Tuesday, new cases were confirmed in Switzerland, Croatia and Algeria.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

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4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.