4.26.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Friday, April 26, and we're covering a retrial for the Hollywood exec at the center of the #MeToo movement, the return of an almost decade-old internet law, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Weinstein Conviction Overturned

A New York appeals court panel voted 4-3 to overturn the 2020 rape conviction of Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein yesterday, ordering a new trial. The 72-year-old Weinstein will be moved to a prison in California where he was separately convicted of sex crimes in 2022 and sentenced to 16 years.

 

In the 2020 trial, prosecutors called several women who were not claimants in the assault case to testify to Weinstein's history of sexual misconduct. In yesterday's opinion (see breakdown), the appeals court argued that since these women's allegations were not included in the assault charges—because they involved harassment or had reached a statute of limitations—such testimony prejudiced the jury against Weinstein. Observers have long noted this weakness in the legal case. 

 

In 2017, Weinstein became the centerpiece of a global #MeToo movement, which sought to expose the prevalence of sexual harassment. Dozens of accusations against him prompted similar allegations against hundreds of others.

 

Net Neutrality Reinstated

The Federal Communications Commission voted yesterday to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules.

 

The regulations treat internet service as a public utility, like telecoms or water. As a result, the rules require broadband companies to treat all data equally without favoring or charging more for different websites (see breakdown). The FCC first enacted net neutrality rules in 2015, warning that without them, broadband companies could throttle—or charge extra for "fast lane" access to—sites like Netflix and YouTube. 

 

In 2017, the Trump-era FCC repealed net neutrality, calling the rules unnecessary. There have since been allegations broadband companies have throttled access to video sites as well as the Santa Clara County Fire Department amid a wildfire. Verizon has called the latter a customer service mistake.

 

Separately, the FCC approved T-Mobile's $1.35B deal to buy the parent company of budget phone provider Mint Mobile.

 

New Haiti Government Sworn In

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has officially resigned, and a new transitional council has been sworn in, amid a period of escalating gang violence that has claimed over 1,500 lives so far this year in the Caribbean nation. Economy and Finance Minister Michel Patrick Boisvert will act as the interim prime minister.

 

The nine-member transitional council representing different political parties and civil and faith groups was set up by Haitian leaders, a 15-member intergovernmental Caribbean organization, and the US. It is tasked with forming a new cabinet, appointing a provisional electoral commission before the 2026 elections, and establishing a national security council. 

 

The country's escalating gang violence intensified after a coordinated attack in February, which saw a mass jailbreak and Henry agreeing to resign last month. Haiti has not held an election since 2016 and armed gangs are said to control about 80% of the capital. See previous write-up here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Chicago Bears take former USC star QB Caleb Williams with No. 1 pick in NFL Draft; Washington Commanders take QB Jayden Daniels with the No. 2 pick (More) | Rounds two and three begin tonight (7 pm ET, ABC/ESPN); see complete pick tracker (More)

> Satirical news site The Onion sold to new Chicago-based company five years after being purchased by G/O Media, who also recently sold Deadspin and The AV Club (More)

> Billie Eilish, Green Day, and Duran Duran among more than 280 musical acts asking US Congress to support "Fans First Act," which would reform the ticket-buying process for concerts and live events (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Chinese researchers release the most detailed geological maps of the moon to date; effort took a decade to complete and captured more than 12,000 craters and 17 different rock types (More)

> Researchers transplant brain tissue from rats into mice, successfully growing functional neurons; cross-species study sheds light on the flexibility of brain development (More)

> "Megaraptor" footprints uncovered by paleontologists in southeastern China; 95-million-year-old species was roughly 6 feet high at the hip and 16 feet long (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.5%, Dow -1.0%, Nasdaq -0.6%) following slowdown in US gross domestic product growth (More) | US economy expands at 1.6% annual rate in first quarter of 2024, below economist estimates of more than 2% growth and down from 3.4% in previous quarter (More)

> Alphabet posts better-than-expected Q1 revenue and earnings, announces first-ever cash dividend and $70B stock buyback (More) | Microsoft tops revenue and earnings estimates, fueled by AI demand (More) | Intel shares fall in after-hours trading on weaker-than-expected outlook for current quarter (More

> Southwest Airlines to end service at four airports beginning in August, limit overall hiring as part of cost-cutting measures; airline reports wider-than-expected Q1 loss (More)

From our partners: And the top 4 bonus cards are (cue drumroll) ... 2024 is here, and experts at The Ascent have sorted through hundreds of credit cards. These 4 are among the best bonus cards they’ve ever seen.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> US Supreme Court appears skeptical of former President Donald Trump’s appeal for blanket immunity from criminal prosecution for actions conducted while president but appears open to granting some immunity; decision due by June (More

> Pro-Palestinian protests continue across US campuses; USC cancels graduation ceremony, Columbia University warns students to clear encampments by today (More) | Hamas official says militant group is willing to agree to truce of at least five years with Israel in exchange for establishing an independent Palestinian state (More) | See war updates (More

> US births fall to 3.59 million in 2023, a 2% drop from the previous year and the lowest figure since 1979, per new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data; fertility rate—the average number of children a woman gives birth to in a lifetime—drops to record low of 1.62 (More

 

In-Depth

> Good Intentions Gone Bad

Freakonomics | Stephen Dubner. (Podcast) An economist's deep dive into three workplace examples illustrating the idea that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." (Listen)

 

> Intoxicating Hemp

Examination | Staff. A 2018 US law legalized the sale of hemp, which contains small amounts of the psychoactive compound delta-9 THC. Now, sales of products containing the high-inducing ingredient have skyrocketed, as have calls to poison centers. (Read)

> A Cabin from Scratch

Outside | Bryan Schatz, Patrick Hutchison. The story of how two idealists finally took the plunge and tried living off-grid in the wilderness in a house they built themselves—and the lessons they learned amid the frustrations. (Read)

 

> Chess Explained at Five Levels of Difficulty

Wired | Levy Rozman. A chess grandmaster breaks down the classic game, starting with a novice and working his way all the way up to an AI programmer. (Watch)

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Etcetera
 

The most beautiful botanical gardens in the US.

 

... and arguably the best state to retire.

 

Happy 100th birthday to Mickey Mantle's replacement.

 

The Moulin Rouge windmill has fallen.

 

Venice will charge an entrance fee on busy days.

 

... and Milan could end ice cream after midnight.

 

One-fifth of Americans on vacation think about their next vacation.

 

The world's first beauty contest for AI-generated women.

 

Clickbait: Chicago's "rat hole" is over.

 

Historybook: John Wilkes Booth killed 12 days after assassinating President Lincoln (1865); Former first lady Melania Trump born (1970); The worst nuclear disaster in history occurs in Chernobyl (1986); Lucille Ball dies (1989); Deadliest tornado in history kills 1,300 in Bangladesh (1989).

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