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TGIF! Here's today's rundown:
The US economy surprised experts and contracted for the first three months of 2022. How concerned should we be about a recession?
President Biden is requesting more money for Ukraine as Russia again threatens the West not to get involved, or else...
Moderna asked the FDA to authorize its Covid vaccine for kids 6 months to 5 years old. What the timeline for approval might actually look like.
Oklahoma lawmakers pass 6-week abortion ban modeled after the controversial Texas law.
A new lawsuit takes aim at oil companies for the decades-long lie that plastic was recyclable.
Latest blow for Netflix: Schitt's Creek is moving to Hulu.
And as always, what we're watching, reading and eating this weekend!
Have a great one-
Mosheh and Jill
The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank in the first three months of the year, with the gross domestic product (GDP) declining 1.4% on a yearly basis. It's the first decline since the pandemic hit in 2020, and is a sharp reversal from the 6.9% growth at the end of 2021. GDP is effectively the official scorecard for the economy.~ CNBC
Recession Concerns: Technically, the definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. That means if there's another decline from April to June, the U.S. would officially be in a recession.
Another Perspective: According to some economists who spoke to Marketwatch, a better way to assess the economy’s performance is to look at final sales to U.S. customers. This measure strips out exports and inventories and focuses on how much stuff Americans are buying from U.S. and foreign sellers. These sales rose at a solid 2.6% annual clip, up considerably from the second half of 2021. ~Marketwatch
Clouds on the Horizon: And yet, several major banks have been warning of a potential recession coming in 2023. Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard University and former IMF chief economist warns: “There are definitely clouds on the horizon...you can’t read too much into this number, but I do have significant concerns about the risk of recession, both in the U.S. and also in Europe and China, possibly all reinforcing each other like the perfect storm.” ~Washington Post
Inflation is the major problem, with the price of food, cars, fuel and so many other essential products rising at their fastest rates in four decades. The Fed has said it will raise interest rates to try to calm inflation, but that comes with its own risks like...bringing on a recession. Hiking borrowing costs is only successful because it slows demand across the board — and along with it, the economy and likely hiring, experts say. It's a tricky balancing act. ~ Bankrate
Show Me The Money: President Biden asked Congress for another $33 billion for Ukraine, which includes $20 billion for weapons, ammunition and military assistance, $8.5 billion in direct economic aid, and $3 billion in humanitarian aid. ~ Reuters
The package is significantly larger than previous aid packages, and is more than twice as much as the $13.6 billion infusion of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month.
"We need this bill to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom. The cost of this fight - it's not cheap - but caving to aggression is going to be more costly." -- President Biden
Russia's Latest Warning: Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning of a “lightning fast” response to any country that intervenes in its war against Ukraine. He seemed to allude AGAIN to his country's nuclear arsenal.
“We have all the tools for this, ones that no one can brag about, and we won’t brag — we will use them if needed — and I want everyone to know this. All the decisions have been made in this regard." -- President Putin
Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the threat of a nuclear war is very real and the risks should not be underestimated. ~CNN
Moderna has officially asked the FDA to authorize a low-dose version of its COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than age 5. If approved, it would be the first approved vaccine for that age group, approximately 18 million kids. ~ NPR
By the Numbers: Moderna tested a two-dose regimen that's one-fourth the strength of an adult dose. The company said it was about 51% effective for children 6 months to 2 years and 37% effective for those 2 to 6. ~USA Today
Pfizer and BioNTech are testing a three-dose regimen, which would be one-tenth the strength of the adult dose. Pfizer is expected to submit an authorization request to the FDA sometime in June.
The FDA is reportedly considering waiting until BOTH the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine data is in, so they can compare the numbers. They also think it could be "simpler and less confusing to simultaneously authorize and promote two vaccines to the public." BUT, it could mean approval might not happen until the end of June.
As state legislatures and local governments in the 1980s began considering bills restricting or banning plastic products, fossil fuel and petrochemical companies began an “aggressive” and “deceptive” campaign to persuade the public that they could mitigate the waste problem by recycling, which the industry knew wasn’t true, Bonta alleged in a news release. (CNBC) [John Oliver had a great breakdown of the history of the plastic recycling lie on his show last year.]
The initial response of advertisers to the change in ownership has been mixed. Some have welcomed Musk’s plans to authenticate users and squash fake accounts or “bots”, while others fear he will undo the progress Twitter has only recently begun to make in improving its content moderation. “In general, the expectation is that Musk’s comments will lead Twitter towards becoming more toxic and less brand-friendly." (Financial Times)
The "Oklahoma Heartbeat Act," Senate Bill 1503, would prohibit abortions at the time when a physician can detect early cardiac activity in an embryo or fetus, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy -- before many women even know that they are pregnant. The measure provides exceptions for medical emergencies. The Senate also passed a bill that would allow private citizens to bring a civil lawsuit against a person who performs or induces an abortion, intends to perform an abortion, or knowingly aids or abets an abortion. (CNN)
In a complaint filed in a Connecticut Superior Court, Steele argues ESPN broke the law by effectively demoting her in the aftermath of her controversial remarks on a podcast last September. Among other points that drew attention, Steele criticized former President Obama for identifying as Black instead of mixed-race. Steele also ridiculed her employer for its COVID-19 vaccine mandate as “sick” and “scary.” (Sportico)
After the Jacksonville Jaguars took Georgia pass rusher Travon Walker with the first overall pick and the Detroit Lions grabbed Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2, there was a run on wide receivers and offensive tackles through the rest of the first round. The Pittsburgh Steelers made Kenny Pickett the only quarterback taken Thursday when they selected the University of Pittsburgh product at No. 20. (Washington Post)
The multi-year deal is the latest in a string of nine-figure library transactions in the streaming sector in recent years, with shows like The Office, Friends and Seinfeld switching services. It is also the latest setback for Netflix and win for Disney (which owns Hulu). Having a deep catalog with a few marquee offerings is generally seen as a way to limit the number of subscribers canceling service in a given month (aka churn), but a strong slate of originals is what typically motivates new customers to start subscribing. (Deadline)
⭐️ Premium Content: Would you like to access newsmaker interviews and extra editions every week? Sign up for our 14-day free trial to the premium newsletter today. We are also currently offering 20% off on annual memberships. Your support will help us grow the newsletter and expand to more platforms.It will help us grow the newsletter and continue to expand to multiple platforms.