The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse Wednesday morning has thrown Haiti into turmoil. Two men claim to be the rightful prime minister and some of those in charge say they’ve asked the United States to send troops to guard key infrastructure like the country’s main airport, harbor and fuel storage. Meanwhile, police say they’ve arrested 15 Colombians, most of them former military members, and two dual Haitian American citizens. There’s no indication U.S. officials, who’ve pledged help, will deploy troops, but the White House says FBI and Homeland Security officials will help investigate Moïse’s killing. (Sources: NYT, CNN, AP)
2. Biden Orders Business Shakeup to Boost Competition
“Capitalism without competition,” U.S. President Joe Biden said yesterday, is “exploitation.” With that he signed policy directives aimed at spurring competition and protecting consumers. With 72 initiatives, his executive order fosters the first antitrust rules for online platforms, discourages big mergers and would re-establish net neutrality while targeting consumer issues like allowing cheaper over-the-counter hearing aid purchases, requiring airline surcharge disclosures and letting people who switch banks keep transaction data. Business groups are expected to oppose the moves, but they’re popular with the electorate and even Kansas GOP Sen. Roger Marshall said Biden’s order would “help Kansas farmers and ranchers.” (Sources: WSJ (sub), Washington Post)
3. Coming Up: G-20 Ministers Take Up Climate
On Sunday, governments of 20 of the world’s most prosperous nations will meet to discuss climate finance — appropriately in Venice, Italy, a city that a little sea level rise could inundate. To cut emissions and mitigate global warming’s effects, poorer nations are pushing for details on $100 billion in climate aid pledged at last month’s G-7 meeting, and hope a firmer plan will materialize in time for November’s COP26 climate conference. One way developed nations hope to make progress is by agreeing to a global 15% minimum corporate tax to eliminate tax havens used by tech giants. (Sources: Reuters, NYT)
4. California Balks at CDC Lifting School Mask Advice
It’s a teachable moment. Yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updated guidance that fully vaccinated teachers and students can return to classrooms unmasked. But California officials worry that separate requirements might cause pupils to “feel different or singled out,” and thus masking will remain universal. Places that follow the CDC’s advice would need to require lots of masking anyway, as only a third of Americans aged 12 to 17 are vaccinated. One agency official noted that parents can fully vaccinate their children within five weeks — just in time for the traditional start of school. (Sources: Politico, LA Times)
5. Also Important …
In a voice call yesterday, President Biden warned his Russian counterpart that the U.S. would take “any action necessary” to defend against Russia-based cyberattacks. Much of Lebanon experienced blackouts Friday when two power plants ran out of fuel. And California’s Death Valley yesterday matched the highest temperature on Earth in the last 90 years: 130 degrees Fahrenheit, or 54.4 degrees Celsius.
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Have all Three Lions been jabbed? English soccer fans are understandably insane about competing in tomorrow’s Euro 2020 final, their first major shot since 1966, against Italy. But there’s another kind of crazy health authorities expect: 60,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium, along with thousands crowding pubs. Britain’s COVID-19 cases are rising, especially among younger men who tend to go out to watch soccer, although deaths remain low. There’s a similar trend in Italy, but at least U.K. officials are allowing only 1,000 Italians quarantine exceptions to cheer on the Azzurri — a break they won’t get going home. (Sources: Reuters, The Guardian)
2. It May Be Time to Ditch Caffeine
By some accounts, it begat the Enlightenment. English intellectuals were so inspired by coffee that Charles II briefly outlawed coffee houses in the 17th century. But author Michael Pollan suggests that the king was on to something: coffee and tea are, medical science informs us, addictive scourges. While caffeine can inhibit types of cancer and other diseases, it also deprives us of proper sleep, fostering conditions from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to depression and suicide. And to top it off, we’re compensating for lousy sleep with more caffeine drinks — maintenance, they say, to get us through our shortened lives. (Source: The Guardian)
A solar panel on every roof. That’s what a bunch of citizens, meeting online in groups of eight, decided that their government needs to fight climate change. It was one suggestion from Germany’s 160-member citizens’ assembly on climate change, part of an effort to democratize democracy across Europe in the face of populism, OZY reports. Ireland used it to formulate marriage equality policy and France also sought climate advice that way. The German version mirrored the nation’s gender, age and other demographics. Now the challenge will be affirming the assemblies’ role, such as by mandating those rooftop panels — or risk relegating them to irrelevance. (Source: OZY)
4. They’re Giving Birth With No Help Whatsoever
They don’t need no stinkin’ “medwives.” Some expectant Americans are choosing to fly solo, trusting their bodies as they deliver at home, Marie Claire reports. Why? Hospitals are expensive and midwives can be unaffordable, unavailable and in 14 states, illegal. While doctors warn that this is risking the lives of both moms and newborns, “free birthers” note that since 1987, pregnancy-related deaths have increased, while all but 2% of births are in hospitals. Until medical professionals respect womens’ treatment choices without branding them as “unfit mothers,” one adherent says, more unaided births are likely to happen. (Source: Marie Claire)
5. The Tech Titan That Hates Monopolies
It could almost be a Netflix “original.” While Amazon and Apple get roasted on Capitol Hill, the streaming giant is sitting pretty. Amid bipartisan efforts to rein in monopolies, President Biden yesterday ordered heightened merger scrutiny. That’s fantastic news for Netflix, the established industry leader that’s threatened most when rival entities merge, posits legal writer Eriq Gardner. It might even stymie Amazon's deal to acquire MGM and its extensive cinematic catalog. But the very advantage that such rules afford Netflix is likely to be used in court in an attempt to nullify the policy. (Sources: THR, Yahoo)
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