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Hope you had a great weekend. Here's today's rundown...
Europe is taking on big tech with a huge new law. Will the U.S. do the same?
Breaking Overnight: Top officials announced during a secret trip to Kyiv that the US Embassy will reopen for the first time since the war began.
French President Emmanuel Macron won re-election as he successfully fought off a far-right opponent. What the result means.
Twitter is reportedly reconsidering Elon Musk's $43 billion bid to buy the company.
New details on why a man set himself on fire outside the Supreme Court.
China is taking a page from 'Armageddon' and working on a system to take out asteroids heading towards Earth.
The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial continues this week. We'll look at the biggest bombshells so far.
Our weekly 'Good Mood Monday' features the world's oldest dog (more than 21 years old!)
📣 Mo News is Growing: Before we get to the day's news, some news of our own: I'm excited to announce that my friend and former colleague Jill Wagner is joining the Mo News team. Jill and I worked together at CBS News, where she reported from the New York Stock Exchange. Jill is an award-winning journalist who has reported for multiple local news stations, and most recently anchored for Cheddar News. She also co-founded the Need2Know newsletter and hosted the popular Cheddar Need2Know podcast.
Jill will be co-authoring the newsletter and will also conduct some of our Wednesday conversations with newsmakers. Stay tuned for even more exciting news soon regarding the launch of a Mo News podcast!
In the mean time, see you all tonight at 9pmET for Mondays with Mosh on Instagram Live, where I will take your questions.
Big tech companies like Facebook and Google will have to crack down on disinformation and better protect users from hate speech, after the European Union agreed to a new law this weekend. The Digital Services Act is the latest move by the 27 countries of the EU. It also bans online ads aimed at kids and makes it easier for users to flag problems. ~ NPR
More Transparency: The biggest companies (more than 45 million users) would be required to undergo content moderation risk assessments and independent audits tied to their handling of illegal material, in addition to content that may be legal but still threatens public health or human rights.
What's Next: The rules need to be rubber stamped by the member countries, which is expected to happen this summer, and the law is expected to go into effect by 2024 at the latest. Companies will face fines of up to 6 percent of their annual global revenue if they don't abide by the rules, which could equal tens of billions of dollars. Repeat offenders could be banned from the EU, officials said. ~CNN
EU vs. US: This is Europe's third major law targeting the tech industry. In the US, Congress hasn't passed one major piece of regulation to protect consumers--thanks in part to lobbying from Silicon Valley--even though both Republicans and Democrats agree new laws are overdue.
What gives? “Inertia is too kind of a word to describe what’s happened in the United States; there’s been a lack of will, courage and understanding of the problem and technologies...And consumers are left with no protections here and lots of confusion.” -- Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. ~NY Times
In the Works: The Justice Department is now backing a bipartisan antitrust bill that would bar Apple, Alphabet (Google's parent company) and Amazon from favoring their own products on their platforms over those of their rivals. It could go up for a vote this summer. Here's an explainer of the bill.
Breaking: The US announced overnight that it will soon reopen its embassy in Kyiv. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Zelensky in risky visit to the capital Sunday. In a move of symbolic and practical significance, the American delegation announced the plan to reopen the US Embassy and, for the first time since 2019, nominate an American official to lead it. ~NY Times
Russia's Southern Strategy: A Russian missile strike in the city of Odessa killed a three-month-old baby girl, her mother, and her grandmother, sparking even more outrage amongst Ukrainians. President Zelensky was visibly upset: "How did she threaten Russia? It seems that killing children is just a new national idea of the Russian Federation?" ~ BBC
Russia is hoping to fully occupy all of southern Ukraine as well as the eastern Donbas region, a senior Russian commander said this weekend. Major General Rustam Minnekayev says control of the south would allow Moscow to form a land bridge to Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Minnekayev also said it would give Moscow access to the Russian-backed separatist region of Transnistria in the neighboring country of Moldova. BTW, Moldova is not a member of the EU or NATO. ~Axios
French President Emmanuel Macron easily defeated his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in Sunday's election, winning a projected 58.5% of the vote compared to Le Pen's 41.5%. That's a wider margin than predicted, but less than the 66% of the vote he won with in 2017.
By the Numbers: Macron is first French leader in 20 years to win a second term in office. But he's still pretty unpopular, with just a 36% approval rating in recent weeks. Analysts say many French voters were likely voting AGAINST Le Pen instead of FOR Macron.
On the Issues: Macron is seen as a centrist leader who's pro-business and pro-European Union. Le Pen was anti-immigration, anti-European Union, and touted a "French First" economic policy. She wanted to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves in public. Le Pen is also closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. ~ Reuters
Macron's Vow to Unite: In his acceptance speech last night, Macron promised to be the president for everyone: "An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right. It will be my responsibility and that of those around me."
🌎 Reaction: The win was greeted with relief in many European capitals and at the White House. The fear was a Le Pen victory would bring France closer to Russia and risk France loosening ties with the EU and NATO. Some observers in the US (including White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain) pointed out Macron won despite approval ratings of less than 40% – about the same as President Biden, who is contemplating a reelection run of his own in 2024.
Rise of the Far Right: Even though Le Pen lost in the end, many analysts point out that she and her agenda still won more than 40% of the vote: "We will not spoil the victory ... but (Le Pen's) National Rally has its highest score ever" Health Minister Olivier Veran told BFM TV.
The two sides met Sunday to discuss the takeover bid. Twitter is re-examining Elon Musk’s $43 billion takeover offer after the billionaire lined up financing for the bid, in a sign the social-media company could be more receptive to a deal. Any sale remains far from certain, but the willingness of Twitter’s board to engage with Musk, the world’s richest man, represents a step forward. (WSJ)
People of color are buying guns at higher rates than ever before, even as many acknowledge that they might not be able to enjoy their Second Amendment rights in the same way as white Americans. Heightened violence, including new homicide records, a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and national attention to police brutality, have pushed more Black, Latino and Asian Americans to seek out firearms as a form of self-protection. (Axios)
A 50-year-old Colorado man who set himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court on Friday in an apparent Earth Day protest against climate change has died. Wynn Bruce, who identified as Buddhist, set himself on fire in an apparent imitation of Vietnamese monks who burned themselves to death in protest during the Vietnam War. (NY Times)
In late December 2019 and early January 2020, a number of researchers and the Chinese government were aware the virus could spread rapidly, but the truth was kept from the public. In those weeks, the virus exploded, leading to a pandemic that has killed more than 6 million people, by official tally. The actual toll is probably twice as many, or more. (Washington Post)
China plans to develop a system for monitoring asteroids that pose a threat to earth, highlighting the nation’s growing ambitions for its space program. The country will also explore ways for taking out asteroids that endanger the planet. (Bloomberg)
Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she opened up about surviving domestic violence. The pair met while making the 2011 movie The Rum Diary and later wed in 2015. They broke up in May 2016 when Heard sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp has accused Heard of abusing him and testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in the trial. He returns to the witness stand today. (People)
Frank Robb, a crocodilian expert, told USA TODAY that in early spring and late fall alligators become more active. The good news: "They aren't looking to hurt you," he said. Robb, also know as Alligator Robb, said alligators have to get some sun to regulate their temperature. They also venture out for looking for food, and maybe a date. (USA Today)
Meet the world's oldest dog: TobyKeith. He was 21 years 66 days old on March 16, making him the oldest dog alive, according to Guinness World Records. The dog's owner says "People can’t believe how good he looks for his age."
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