Power to the providers. By a margin of 3-2, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to undo Obama-era regulations that activists say ensure a more equitable internet. First unveiled last month, the decision marks a big win for telecom companies, which will be able to block or slow access to some websites while giving preferential treatment to others. Republicans and other supporters argue the move will provide consumers with more options — but it’ll almost certainly be challenged in court by net neutrality advocates, who say the lack of regulation could stifle content start-ups.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re wasting no time. Hot off losing a Senate seat to Democrats, congressional Republicans have agreed to a $1.5 trillion deal dovetailing their two tax plans. The unified bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent while reducing the top individual rate by 2.6 percentage points — a major cut for wealthy earners. It also ditches Obamacare’s individual mandate and opens long-protected Alaskan wilderness for oil drilling. The plan faces floor votes in both chambers next week — likely before Alabama can certify its new senator.
His own judgment was swift. On Monday investigators published a report accusing Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson of molesting his daughter’s 17-year-old friend in an evangelical church he presided over. Today the first-term legislator is dead in what local authorities are calling “a probable suicide.” Johnson, known for inflammatory social media posts, including one depicting the Obamas as apes, wrote a Facebook post Wednesday saying, “I cannot handle it any longer.” His body, shot in the head, was found by a bridge near Louisville. An investigation is continuing.
The numbers don’t add up. Myanmar officially reported that 400 people — mostly “terrorists” — were killed between Aug. 25 and Sept. 24 in violence that sent Rohingya refugees flooding into Bangladesh. But aid group Doctors Without Borders says its research shows that 6,700 of the Muslim minority died in violence during military “clearance operations,” suggesting evidence of what the U.N. has described as ethnic cleansing. Myanmar’s government didn’t respond to the report, which activists hope could prevent refugees from being repatriated and possibly send the issue to an international tribunal.
We haven’t heard the last of him. Even after President Donald Trump acknowledged his stunning defeat, former Alabama judge Roy Moore says he’s not conceding to Democrat Doug Jones and is waiting for official vote counts. Jones, a former prosecutor, prevailed 50 percent to 48 percent over Moore, who lost the advantage of the state’s deeply conservative electorate after multiple accusations of sexual assault and child molestation. Meanwhile, Alabama’s senior Sen. Richard Shelby said he and other Republicans were “relieved” at not having someone “so radioactive” in their midst.
Know This: Former reality TV star Omarosa Manigault, one of two Black members of President Trump’s senior staff, resigned after a confrontation with Chief of Staff John Kelly. British Prime Minister Theresa May is heading to Brussels to discuss Brexit terms with EU leaders after losing a parliamentary vote and being forced to guarantee that lawmakers will get a say on the final breakup deal. And firefighters are making gains against the fifth-largest wildfire in California history.
Confess All: “I don’t sit by and wonder, ‘Who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘When will they come for me?’” So wrote Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock in a nearly 1,000-word post — entitled “I Am Part of the Problem” — detailing his own history of sexual misconduct.
Talk to Us: What book got you back to reading? Send the title and a paragraph on why it had that effect to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a trick play. Activist group Rising Hearts launched an elaborate media blitz announcing that Washington’s NFL team was changing its name from the Redskins to the Redhawks. Using fake web pages made to look like ESPN, The Washington Post, Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated, the “coverage” quoted owner Dan Synder saying he was honoring Native Americans. It forced the team to defend the controversial moniker, which it insists it’ll keep. The group says the stunt was meant to show how “easy, popular and powerful” a name change could be.
These bots want to get inside your head. Small-time developers and tech giants alike are hoping to prevent suicides by monitoring warning signs online, employing algorithms to spot patterns of troubling commentary on social media — or even subtle factors like smartphone scrolling speed — that humans might overlook. Experts believe it’s worth trying: Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young Americans. Some worry about potential privacy issues, and false positives could create problems, but others say traditional efforts like suicide hotlines simply aren’t doing enough.
Thoughts and prayers can kill — or protect. There’s growing evidence of a new kind of Islamist insurgency in Southeast Asia that’s more violent and radical, with some followers aligning themselves with ISIS. Hard-line ideologies — like the rigid teachings of Salafism, a strict form of Sunni Islam that’s encouraged in Gulf states like Saudi Arabia — are spreading in the region. From Indonesia to Cambodia, sectarian thought is infecting historically tolerant communities. But moderate Islamic thinkers are pushing back, which may be the most powerful weapon against an ideological threat.
They’re speaking power to truth. The Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual census reveals that a record 262 reporters were jailed in 2017. Most — 87 percent — were covering politics and many were imprisoned on vague terror-related charges. Deniz Yücel, for example, is one of 73 reporters detained in dissent-stifling Turkey, which remains the world’s top jailer of journalists. “Authoritarianism is on the rise and journalists are paying the price,” CPJ’s director explained. He added that President Trump’s hostility toward the media “undermines the value of the press” worldwide.
They’ve made their marks. Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, The Cars, Dire Straits and Nina Simone in an April 14 ceremony. Devotees of Radiohead, Depeche Mode and the other 12 nominees may be disappointed, but at least the decision was democratic: Fans and 900 industry insiders voted on the selection. Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward, who had long dismissed the museum as being too American, changed his tune: “On Friday, I couldn’t really have cared less, but on Saturday the whole world looked different.”