PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

Hacked US Companies to Face New Reporting Requirements (Maria)

The authors write, “Companies critical to US national interests will now have to report when they’re hacked or they pay ransomware, according to new rules approved by Congress. The rules are part of a broader effort by the Biden administration and Congress to shore up the nation’s cyberdefenses after a series of high-profile digital espionage campaigns and disruptive ransomware attacks. The reporting will give the federal government much greater visibility into hacking efforts that target private companies, which often have skipped going to the FBI or other agencies for help. ‘It’s clear we must take bold action to improve our online defenses,’ Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat who leads the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and wrote the legislation, said in a statement on Friday.”

Under New Scrutiny: China’s Nuclear Pledge to Ukraine (Russ)

From The Wall Street Journal: “An unusual and mostly forgotten pledge Chinese President Xi Jinping signed eight years ago that China would protect Ukraine in the event of a nuclear attack is getting fresh attention following Russia’s invasion of its Eastern European neighbor. In its 2013 guarantees, Beijing praised Ukraine’s 1994 agreement to give up thousands of nuclear weapons from its time as a Soviet republic in exchange for security assurances from the U.S., U.K. and Russia.”

Ukrainian Official: Bennett Told Zelensky He Should Take Putin’s Proposal to End War (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “A senior Ukrainian official said that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday that he should take Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for ending the war. An official in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denies the claim. Why it matters: Bennett has emerged as a key mediator between Putin and Zelensky in the last two weeks. Israel has said it needs to remain neutral in the mediation, but the Ukrainian official told Axios that Bennett must present proposals and do more than act as a ‘mailbox’ between the two sides.”

What Russia’s Nuclear Escalation Means for Washington, With World’s Third-Largest Atomic Arsenal (Reader Steve)

From The Seattle Times: “Beneath the commercial and recreational vessels and island-bound ferries that navigate Puget Sound on any given day, something else swims secretly armed with a payload sufficient to permanently reshape a continent. Eight hulking Ohio-class nuclear attack submarines, each nearly as long as two football fields and armed with a spectrum of nuclear weapons, call Naval Base Kitsap at Bangor on the Kitsap Peninsula home. At any given moment, seven of them are armed with nuclear warheads and discreetly traversing the Pacific Ocean while one refuels at Bangor. These warheads make Washington state host to the globe’s third-largest arsenal of deployed nuclear weapons — an estimated 1,120 — behind only Russia and the United States as a whole, whose stockpiles still number in the thousands, despite decades of reductions, according to the Federation of American Scientists.”

Egypt Explores Alternative Wheat Sources Amid Ukraine Crisis (Aline)

From Al-Monitor: “The Ukraine crisis is casting a shadow across the world and many countries are increasingly concerned for their wheat imports. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, has started to search for alternatives to Russian and Ukrainian wheat. Government spokesperson Nader Saad told Mehwar TV by phone on Feb. 26 that Egypt could import wheat from 14 countries, some of which are outside Europe, and that Egypt has a strategic reserve of some five million tons of wheat in addition to its own domestic wheat production.”

The Alarming Legal Strategy Behind a SCOTUS Case That Could Undo Decades of Civil Rights Protections (Gerry)

The author writes, “The Supreme Court recently agreed to review a case that threatens to undo decades of civil rights protections by allowing business owners to return to a darker time in which they were allowed to fill the marketplace with discriminatory signs. In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, a web designer named Lorie Smith seeks the court’s permission to publicly announce that due to her religious convictions, her company ‘will not be able to create websites for same-sex marriages or any other marriage that is not between one man and one woman.’ The request conflicts with the law in most U.S. jurisdictions, including Colorado, where Smith resides. The law in those jurisdictions requires businesses open to the public to serve everyone and avoid discriminating on the basis of sex — and that includes, explicitly or implicitly, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Unprecedentedly, the court agreed to discuss what it had set aside until now: the argument that some businesses should be free to deny certain clients due to their owners’ freedom of speech that allegedly stretches to their commercial activities.”

Red States Are Now Trying to Trap Residents Into Their Own Laws (Sean)

From Jezebel: “As if it weren’t bad enough to have your own state ban basic health care options, red states are now trying to prohibit their residents from traveling to other places to access procedures Republicans don’t like. Missouri is trying to prevent its residents from having out-of-state abortions. Idaho is trying to prevent parents from taking their trans kids to other states for gender-affirming procedures. This is the unprecedented and, frankly, crazy result of the Supreme Court giving its blessing to Texas’ six-week abortion ban, which is enforced with a bounty hunter provision that encourages citizens to spy on and sue each other.”

Mount Everest Climbers Hold World’s Highest Tea Party (Dana)

The author writes, “An adventurer from Seattle was awarded a Guinness World Record for hosting the world’s highest tea party when he and his team sat down for hot beverages at a height of 21,312 feet above sea level on Mount Everest. Andrew Hughes, an endurance athlete and adventurer, received word from Guinness World Records this month that he and his team had officially set the record for the world’s highest tea party when they had tea and snacks at an altitude of 21,212 feet on May 5, 2021.”