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Magnolia Mornings: April 4, 2024

Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion

In Mississippi

1. JSU to honor Top 40 under 40 young alumni

On Friday, Jackson State University will honor 40 of its young alumni who are making remarkable strides as philanthropists and humanitarians in their respective fields and beyond.

According to the university, the initiative signifies an era of celebrating JSU alumni under the age of 40 from diverse backgrounds and disciplines who are genuine catalysts for global change, with the motive of enhancing the alumni experience while fostering a forward-thinking and successful environment for some of its youngest graduates. 

The sold out event will feature an awards ceremony and reception. Learn more by visiting here.

The Mississippi Development Authority has approved three participating community development financial institutions to provide loans through the American Rescue Plan’s State Small Business Credit Initiative.

MDA says the loan participation program, known as the Mississippi CDFI Small Business Loan Fund, was allocated $45 million.

Culleywood Capital, Renaissance Community Loan Fund and Hope Enterprise Corporation have each been allocated $14.7 million in funding through the CDFI Small Business Loan Fund. The goal is to increase access to capital for Mississippi small businesses and promote economic growth and job creation in the state.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. RNC rakes in $65 million in March

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the Republican National Committee (RNC) raked in in $65.6 million in March from fundraising efforts.

“The party said that Mr. Trump, the R.N.C. and their shared accounts now had $93.1 million cash on hand entering April — roughly double what they had a month earlier,” NYT reported, adding, “The March numbers will help Mr. Trump narrow the substantial financial hole he had been in compared with President Biden, who had amassed $155 million with the Democratic Party at the end of February.”

2. Americans still agree on most core values

A new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Wednesday finds that despite a deep political divide in the nation, most Americans share many core beliefs about what it means to be an American.

“The results, which included perspectives on a number of different freedoms and rights, have only small variances between Republicans and Democrats except on the right to bear arms, which Republicans are more likely to see as core to the nation’s identity. The overall findings are striking because they come at a time of extreme partisanship when political agreements seem rare and concerns are heightened over the potential for violence during a volatile presidential election year,” the AP reported.

Read more of the findings here.

Sports & Entertainment

1. Jackson State in the hunt in the SWAC

Jackson State’s baseball team scored double-digit runs in a 14-4 run-rule victory over UAPB in a non-conference contest at Torii Hunter Stadium on Tuesday afternoon in Arkansas.

The Tigers are now 20-8 on the year, currently in third place in the SWAC East standings with a 5-3 conference record.

Jackson State will be on the road this weekend against Bethune-Cookman with the three-game series starting Friday.

2. Shuckers, Braves to open 2024 season

The Biloxi Shuckers and Mississippi Braves are set to open their 2024 seasons this week.

The Shuckers will host Montgomery on the Coast in a three-game series while the Braves, entering their last season in the Magnolia State, will travel to Pensacola for their weekend matchup.

The two Mississippi Double A teams will meet next week in Pearl at Trustmark Park for a six-game series starting on Tuesday, April 9th.

Markets & Business

1. Amazon lays off hundreds of store employees

According to CNBC, Amazon’s cloud computing division is laying off hundreds of employees in its physical stores technology and sales and marketing units. The news was first reported by GeekWire.

The announcement from the company came on Wednesday. An Amazon Web Services spokesperson said in a statement, “We’ve identified a few targeted areas of the organization we need to streamline in order to continue focusing our efforts on the key strategic areas that we believe will deliver maximum impact.”

“The cuts to AWS’ store technology team come after Amazon said it would remove cashierless checkout systems in its U.S. Fresh stores. The AWS unit includes teams overseeing the cashierless tech, called Just Walk Out, as well as its Dash smart carts and Amazon One palm-based payment technology. The store technology team was moved out of Amazon’s retail group and folded into its cloud computing division in 2022,” CNBC reported.

2. Powell remains optimistic of rate cuts this year

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that stronger-than-anticipated economic activity this year hasn’t changed the Feds broad expectation that declining inflation will allow for interest-rate cuts this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The recent data do not…materially change the overall picture, which continues to be one of solid growth, a strong but rebalancing labor market, and inflation moving down to 2% on a sometimes bumpy path,” he said, WSJ noted.

The current rate has been between 5.25% and 5.5% since July 2023.

— Article credit to the staff of the Magnolia Tribune

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