The News Memo
Let's break down what happened in the news this week.
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📉 The May jobs report was just released this morning. Roughly 75,000 jobs were created in May, falling short of the 178,000 economists had predicted. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at a 50 year low of 3.6%.
📰 Virginia Beach Shooting Leaves 12 dead: Last Friday (May 31), an employee of 15 years at a municipality in Virginia Beach, VA, shot and killed twelve people at the company. Just hours before the attack, the shooter sent an email indicating he was resigning for “personal reasons” but that “it’s been a pleasure to serve.” Two .45 caliber handguns, purchased legally, were used in the attack. So far, no motive has been assigned.
📰 Parkland Shooting update: The former sheriff’s deputy, who worked as the resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida (the location of the Parkland shooting in 2018), was arrested this week on charges of negligence and perjury. An investigation found that the officer “did absolutely nothing to mitigate the MSD shooting.” As you may recall, the officer was criticized for failing to enter the school to confront the shooter. If he is convicted on all charges, he could spend 97 years in jail.
🏰 President Trump visited Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham palace this week for meetings, ceremonies, and a banquet. In her toast remarks, the Queen said, “Mr. President, as we look to the future, I’m confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us.” Trump added that she was a “great, great woman” during his toast. See this 3 minute video of the trip.
US, Mexico in Trade Dispute as Number of Migrant Arrests Surge at Border
Give me some context...
The US Customs and Border Protection released new figures this week that indicate a record 132,887 people were apprehended at the border in the month of May, including a record number of migrants in family groups and unaccompanied children. The monthly total is a 34% increase from April. Although the fiscal year doesn’t end until September 30, 2019, the number of apprehensions at the border through May 2019 is already 24% higher than any of the previous seven complete fiscal years.
The majority of migrants are arriving from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras). The inflow of migrants has overstretched border facilities well beyond their capacities, which has created shortages of dwellings and medical care.
What happened this week?
Amidst the surge in migrant arrests at the southern border, President Trump indicated the US will place a 5% tariff on $350 billion worth of goods imported from Mexico on Monday (June 10) unless the flow of migrants is slowed to a manageable level. It would be the single largest enactment of tariffs during Trump’s presidency. The tariffs are scheduled to increase to 10% on July 1 and 25% by October unless a deal is reached.
Leading US and Mexican officials met in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday (June 5-6) in an attempt to reach a deal to avoid the tariffs. US trade officials were not involved in the discussions, as the US has kept the focus on immigration. Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said the immigration issue “can’t be addressed closing borders...It has to be addressed at the source of the social problem.”
The US is pressuring Mexico to implement and enforce a few different measures to slow the flow of migrants and crack down on organized drug smuggling:
Officials said significant progress had been made in Thursday’s discussions, although it remains unclear if a deal can be reached before Monday’s deadline. President Trump, who is expected to return from Europe today (Friday), will have the final word on the deal.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are exploring options to block the tariffs, despite agreeing with President Trump on the need to address the border crisis. They see the tariffs as a threat to economic growth and a potential overreach of Trump’s executive power.
Lawmakers Ramp up Antitrust Oversight on Big Tech
What’s going on?
Lawmakers are concerned about a lack of competition in some areas of big tech. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google are now under intense scrutiny for potentially engaging in anti-competitive behavior.
The House Judiciary Committee recently made public its own investigative work on big tech, announcing they will be conducting hearings from top tech executives and issuing subpoenas for corporate documents over the next 18 months. If wrongdoing is found, lawmakers will pressure the Department of Justice and The Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
The Justice Department will handle potential Antitrust violations into Google and Apple, while the Federal Trade Commission will tackle Facebook and Amazon. Although delegations have been made as to who would examine who, no official investigations have been launched. Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat of Rhode Island and the Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, told reporters, “This is about how do we get competition back in this space.”
Following the announcements, shares in Facebook fell 7% on Monday along with a 1% drop in Apple, 6% drop in Google, and a 4.6% drop in Amazon.
What does this mean for the companies?
There is a reason these companies’ stock prices fell on Monday morning. The Antitrust battle will likely take years of legal debate and hearings. In fact, the government case against IBM lasted for 13 years before it was dropped. The future of big tech likely holds more regulation from lawmakers pulling the vast freedom they have held thus far in conducting their business.
What is Antitrust?
Antitrust laws seek to protect markets from the abuse of market power by big businesses. Antitrust laws were first enacted in 1890, long before something like Facebook could have been imagined, which makes the laws more difficult and confusing to enforce, thus it could take years to implement effectively.
Here is a helpful two minute video with graphics to explain Antitrust.
Thursday Marks The 75th Anniversary of D-Day
Hundreds of veterans, prominent political leaders, atendees met to honor and commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. UK Prime Minister Theresa May, President Trump, President Macron of France, and several other leaders participated and spoke at the commemoration in Portsmouth, England. Below are some snippets of what each of them said, including a letter from Pope Francis:
President Trump: "You are among the greatest Americans who will ever live. You are the pride of the nation. You are the glory of our republic and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
Prime Minister May: "If one day can be said to have determined the fate of generations to come in France, in Britain, in Europe and the world, that day was 6 June, 1944."
President Macron: "This is where young men, many of whom had never set foot on French soil, landed at dawn under German fire, risking their lives while fighting their way up the beach, which was littered with obstacles and mines."
Pope Francis: “We know the landings on June 6, 1944, here in Normandy were decisive in the struggle against Nazi barbarism, allowing a path to open towards ending a war which had so profoundly battered Europe and the world.”
Remind me what happened on D-Day...
On June 6, 1944, over 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy in France, in the face of fierce German defenses and adverse weather. The raid was named Operation Overlord, and its goal was to bring an end to World War II. Troops from the US, Britain, and Canada established a foothold in France for 11 months that later led to the victory over Nazi Germany.
Although estimates vary, there were between 4,000 and 9,000 German casualties and around 10,000 Allied casualties. The Allies also took over 200,000 German prisoners of war.
Why is it called D-Day?
The D simply stands for “Day,” and was used for the date of any important military operation, according to the National World War II Museum. The day before the invasion would be D-1, with the day after being D+1, two days later D+2, etc.
For your interest:
D-Day: 10 things you might not know about the Normandy invasion
D-Day: 17 stunning photos from 1944 show how hard the Normandy invasion really was
YouTube Moves to Bar Hateful Content, Demonetize YouTube Creators
Give me some context...
Over the last few years, social media platforms, especially YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, have struggled with how to monitor and manage content on their platforms that they believe qualifies as harassment or hate speech. As private companies, they are not required to abide by the First Amendment, and can choose to ban speech. Controversy arises, however, as to whether companies are consistent in applying their policies, or if they tend to be biased against certain groups.
What happened this week?
On Wednesday, YouTube announced that it will remove thousands of videos on its platform that promote Neo-Nazis, White Supremacy and other ideologies it deems hateful. In a blog post titled “Our ongoing work to tackle hate,” YouTube states it will ban “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion,” as well as videos that deny the occurrence of factual events such as the Holocaust and the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
In its announcement, YouTube did not specify specific channels or videos that will be banned. Further, YouTube said it will continue limiting recommendations for videos that make erroneous claims, such as videos claiming the earth is flat. Finally, they will push more recommended videos from “authoritative sources (like top news channels).”
What sparked the announcement?
The online firestorm started when two major YouTube channels, Vox, a liberal channel with over 6M subscribers and Steven Crowder, a conservative comedian with nearly 4M subscribers clashed. Crowder has frequently joked about the sexual orientation and voice of Vox Reporter Carlos Maza, who is gay and Latino. Maza argued that Crowder’s channel should be banned and that it violates YouTube rules.
After reviewing the content of Steven Crowder's videos, Youtube responded by saying, “Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.” YouTube said Crowder’s videos were “hurtful,” but did not violate their policies and would remain available. The next day (Wednesday June 5), however, YouTube decided to demonetize Crowder's channel, saying, “We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community.” Thus, although Crowder’s videos will be available, he will not earn revenue from advertisers until certain actions are taken, including the removal of links on his channel to purchase homophobic t-shirts.
YouTube faces a delicate matter moving forward, as it tries to please multiple groups with different interests (these groups are generalized):
📚 India Reads the Most of Any Country Surveyed
According to The World Culture Score Index, India reads more than 10 hours a week averaging over 1.5 hours of reading a day. Thailand and China are placed second and third on the list while the U.S. placed 23rd.