NEW ELECTION SCHEDULE FOR NC09 ESTABLISHED: The period for candidates to file to run in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District would begin March 11 and end March 15. The primary would be held May 14, and the general election would be on Sept. 10, a date that coincides with Charlotte’s municipal primaries. If no candidate wins more than 30 percent of the vote in the 9th district primary, a runoff election will be held Sept. 10, followed by a general election Nov. 5. The 9th District runs from Charlotte to rural Bladen County. Unofficial results showed the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, leading the Democratic candidate, Dan McCready by 905 votes after the election. But the state elections board twice refused to make the results official due to concerns about tampering with mail-in ballots. After a months-long investigation and a four-day hearing, the state board ordered a new election on Feb. 28.
RACIST HIGH SCHOOLER PULLED FROM CHAMPIONSHIP GAME OVER SNAPCHAT POST: The night before a state quarterfinal boys basketball game that already had a predominantly black school calling foul, their predominantly white opponent has suspended a top player for using a racial slur on social media. Ardrey Kell coach Mike Craft tells The Charlotte Observer the Snapchat post using the slur in reference to West Charlotte prompted an indefinite suspension Monday night. As the higher-seeded team, West Charlotte would normally host the playoff game, but the North Carolina High School Athletic Association said its gym was too small . Supporters asserted the move to a neutral site was race-and socioeconomics-based. Less than 10 percent of Ardrey Kell students are on free and reduced lunch, compared to 98 percent at West Charlotte. The unidentified player's parents say he's "ashamed and deeply sorrowful."
PARENTS ARE CONFUSED OVER NC'S SCHOOL GRADING CHANGES: It’s a change local school districts have asked legislators to make for years: adjust how schools are graded by the state. But as bills in the N.C. General Assembly to do just that have gotten press and circulated on social media, parents have responded with outrage. Several filed bills would permanently keep School Performance Grades (SPGs) -- the “A”-to-“F” grades schools earn based mostly on student test scores -- on a 15-point scale. Without legislation, that scale will shift to a 10-point scale next school year. State data shows if the current scale disappears, 17 more schools in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties would see their grades slip to an “F.” On social media, where stories are often shared without being read, many North Carolina parents assumed it was a 15-point scale being proposed for students’ grades, rather than schools’. A Feb. 26 Facebook post from WRAL-TV in Raleigh generated so much anger -- more than 1,000 reactions and comments -- that the station had to edit its post: “Please Note: This new scale applies to the grades schools receive based on performance. It would not change the scale used to grade students.”
THERE MAY (FINALLY) BE A CURE FOR HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS: Publicly, the scientists are describing the case as a long-term remission. In interviews, most experts are calling it a cure, with the caveat that it is hard to know how to define the word when there are only two known instances. Both milestones resulted from bone-marrow transplants given to infected patients. But the transplants were intended to treat cancer in the patients, not H.I.V. Bone-marrow transplantation is unlikely to be a realistic treatment option in the near future. Powerful drugs are now available to control H.I.V. infection, while the transplants are risky, with harsh side effects that can last for years. But rearming the body with immune cells similarly modified to resist H.I.V. might well succeed as a practical treatment, experts said. Dr. Wensing is co-leader of IciStem, a consortium of European scientists studying stem cell transplants to treat H.I.V. infection. The consortium is supported by AMFAR, the American AIDS research organization.
GUAIDO SAFELY RETURNS TO VENEZUELA, OPPOSITION TO MADURO CONTINUES: Opposition leader Juan Guaido shrouded the route and timing of his return in secrecy amid concerns he might be detained by Venezuela's government. Yet he breezed through airport immigration checks and brazenly called for the downfall of President Nicolas Maduro at a rally where the presence of security forces was minimal. Guaido's homecoming Monday followed warnings to by the United States and other countries to Maduro not to move against his adversary, and he possibly realized arresting his foe could generate more street protests. And, while Guaido's presence is likely to add at least short-term momentum to his campaign for political change, Maduro has proven resilient and still commands the critical loyalty of top military officers. Venezuela is gripped by a humanitarian crisis that is expected to worsen as U.S. oil sanctions designed to put more pressure on Maduro take their toll. With both political factions holding firm amid increasing deprivation for Venezuelans, some analysts speculate that they might be considering negotiations on an end to the standoff.