John Cena sort of streaks at Oscars and Speaker Mike Johnson faces GOP backlash: Morning Rundown

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In today’s newsletter: “Oppenheimer” won 7 awards at the 96th Academy Awards, including best picture and directing. Conservatives are furious about the recently passed government funding bill, but they’re not threatening to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson. And Kensington Palace issued an apology for editing a photo of Kate, Princess of Wales, after photo agencies issue a removal notice for the image. 

 Here’s what to know today.

‘Oppenheimer’ dominates Oscars, collecting trio of major awards among its 7 wins

a compilation of images from the oscars on march 10, 2024.
Getty Images; AFP; ABC

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” an epic biographical thriller about the dawn of the atomic era, won big at the 96th Academy Awards, winning seven prizes, including best director and the top prize of best picture. Cillian Murphy won best actor for his role as J. Robert Oppeheimer and Robert Downey Jr. won his first Oscar for best supporting actor as Lewis Strauss in the film.  The film also won awards for best film editing, cinematography, and best original score. 

Emma Stone won best actress for her leading role in “Poor Things,” which snagged three other awards for best costume design, production design, and makeup and hairstyling. Da’Vine Joy Randolph won best supporting actress for “The Holdovers.” 

Plus, a Kenergetic performance and spectacle: Ryan Gosling, in a pink sparkly suit and sunglasses, received a standing ovation after performing “I’m Just Ken’’ from the movie “Barbie.” And in a memorable presenters’ bit, John Cena presented an award nearly naked.

Read our coverage from last night’s ceremony and a list of full winners here.


Conservatives are furious, but they’re not threatening Speaker Johnson’s job

Mike Johnson at the U.S. Capitol
Kent Nishimura / Getty Images

House conservatives are angry about the government funding bill negotiated by Speaker Mike Johnson that passed through Congress last week, calling it a betrayal of Republican promises to reshape the federal budget. House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good, R-Va., has blasted the first of two funding packages and said he doesn’t expect a better deal in the second one, which must pass by March 22 to avoid a partial government shutdown. “Because the speaker doesn’t want to do that. He just wants to pass what the Senate wants so that we avoid any conflict,” Good told NBC News, saying that Johnson, R-La., wants to “join hands with the Dems” to “increase spending” and yield “no policy wins.”

But in a twist, they aren’t threatening to oust Johnson from his Speaker position. And Democrats are happy to see Johnson side with the majority of his conference and against the far right on funding the government. 

The shift in mindset indicates that reality is setting in for those who came into the new GOP majority with expectations of bending Congress to their will. But they’re recognizing that many of their Republican colleagues don’t support the spending cuts they want, and are beginning to doubt that any speaker can change that. 

Palace says Princess Kate edited photo with her three children and apologizes ‘for any confusion’ caused

Image: MANDATORY KILL-BRITAIN-ROYALS
Prince of Wales / Kensington Palace / AFP – Getty Images

Kate, Britain’s Princess of Wales, has issued an apology for “any confusion” caused by an edited photograph which was issued by her office, Kensington Palace, on Sunday.

Photo agencies had yesterday put out notices not to use the first photo of Kate that Kensington Palace released since she had an unspecified abdominal surgery back in January over concerns it had been digitally altered. The agencies said “the source” may have “manipulated” the image.

In the photo, which the palace said was taken by Prince William, Kate is seen smiling while posing with their children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” said a statement on Monday which was signed “C,” apparently denoting that it was written by Kate, whose full name is Catherine. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

The rollout for over-the-counter Narcan is inconsistent

Photo illustration of Narcan nasal spray next to a map of the United States with plot points of where Narcan was found in pharmacies.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

It was a glimmer of hope amid America’s raging opioid epidemic. Narcan, the nasal spray that can almost instantaneously reverse a potentially deadly opioid overdose, was going to be available over the counter in stores, easy to find and easy to buy.

In a long-awaited move, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the antidote for over-the-counter use in March 2023, and in September the $45 two-dose boxes were shipped across the country. Prior to that, Narcan, or naloxone nasal spray, was distributed for free at community health centers and was also available via prescription.

NBC News visited 64 stores in 15 states and Washington, D.C., over three weeks in February looking for over-the-counter Narcan, including major chain drug stores, independent pharmacies, supermarkets, big-box chains, convenience stores and gas stations. Our reporters found that despite the initiative, buying Narcan isn’t always easy.

Young men say they were drugged, kidnapped and robbed at Atlanta bars

Jace Curry poses for a portrait next to a mirror reflecting him
Kendrick Brinson for NBC News

Eight men in a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood say they lost consciousness and were robbed of thousands of dollars while out at bars from November 2021 to last month, according to two conversations with six of the men and police reports filed by two others. 

They say they believe they were drugged before their phones were used to transfer sums of money out of their bank accounts and their credit cards were used to make fraudulent purchases, according to information the victims shared with NBC News and police records. 

After NBC News reported about an incident at the same bar, Fives Paces Inn, in February, additional alleged victims reached out with similar accounts. NBC News found other alleged victims through social media and public records requests to the Atlanta Police Department focusing on several local bars.

In one case, Chandler Rebel, said he was robbed of about $13,000 after visiting Five Paces Inn with friends. The last thing he remembers at the bar was ordering drinks before briefly coming to in the back seat of a vehicle while being restrained by an unknown person. Rebel and the five men who spoke with NBC News described blackouts on the nights of their incidents that they said did not resemble the effects of alcohol.

U.S. forces add security at embassy in Haiti and evacuate nonessential personnel

The U.S military said that it has flown in forces to amp up security in the U.S. Embassy in Haiti to allow non essential personnel to leave. The neighborhood around the embassy in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is largely controlled by gangs. Haiti’s embattled prime minister, Ariel Henry, traveled to Kenya to push for the U.N.-backed deployment of a police force from the East African country to fight the gangs, but a Kenyan court ruled that such a deployment would be unconstitutional. Henry, who faces calls to resign, remains unable to return home.

It was careful to point out that “no Haitians were on board the military aircraft,” in the statement released by the U.S. Southern Command. That seemed aimed at quashing speculation that senior government officials might be leaving as the gang attacks in Haiti worsened. The gang attacks have left the country with dwindling supplies of basic goods. 

Politics in Brief

 Israel-Hamas war: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects President Joe Biden’s criticism that he’s “hurting Israel,” says that his policies have most Israelis’ support. 

Meet the Press: Sen. Lindsey Graham said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that President Joe Biden has perpetuated “broken borders” and that “the world’s on fire.” Graham also questioned Biden’s mental fitness, calling on him to “get in a room with Donald Trump and debate.”

Supreme Court: Some critics say that the Supreme Court is selectively invoking a conservative originalist approach after they ruled that states cannot disqualify Donald Trump from the ballot for his role in Jan. 6. 

Biden’s re-election campaign: President Joe Biden’s re-election machine brought in $10 million in 24 hours following his State of the Union address.

Staff Pick: Former campers describe harsh introduction to Trails Carolina

Photo illustration of a cut-out silhouette of a young boy on a photo of the Blue Ridge mountains area in North Carolina.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

It’s still unclear how a 12-year-old boy died last month on his first night at a wilderness camp for troubled youth called Trails Carolina. But when my colleague Elizabeth Chuck and I spoke with over a dozen former campers, they made one thing clear: their first 24 hours were some of the most traumatic. They said they were strip searched, had to read humiliating letters about themselves and were overwhelmed by the odor of the other unshowered campers. “I know if I had died on my first night,” one former camper told us, “I would have died believing that I was unloved and unwanted.”

Tyler Kingkade, national investigative reporter

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