“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!”
–Victor Hugo, Les Miserable
📱🇦🇺 Big Tech in the Land Down Under
Facebook agreed to restore news to its platform in Australia yesterday following a five-day blackout stemming from a disagreement over payment for news content.
Last Thursday, Facebook blocked Australian users from sharing news stories in response to a law making its way through Parliament that would effectively require Facebook and Google to pay traditional media companies for their content.
🤿 A deeper dive…
Australia’s proposed legislation covers certain services the government deems ‘designated digital platform services’ that create a significant bargaining power imbalance with Australian news businesses.
Australia’s government has indicated the law would initially only apply to Facebook Newsfeed and Google Search (but not YouTube), with other digital platform services to be added in the future if necessary.
Over the past two weeks, Google has struck deals with a number of Australian publishers, paying undisclosed sums for content to be featured in a new product called Google News Showcase.
💬 Relevant Quote:
“Digital platforms increasingly perform similar functions to media businesses, such as selecting and curating content, evaluating content, and ranking and arranging content online. Despite this, virtually no media regulation applies to digital platforms.
On the Other Side
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce – along with Facebook & Google – has raised concerns that the proposed legislation “does not establish objective criteria for determining who is subject to the code; rather, it explicitly targets and discriminates against U.S. companies.” (Read the full letter – scroll to #13, clicking triggers a pdf download.)
These concernswere echoed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which notedthe bill “explicitly and exclusively targets two U.S. companies without first having established a violation of existing Australia law or a market failure.” (Read the full letter – scroll to #17, clicking triggers a pdf download.)
Facebook’s decision yesterday to lift its news ban on Australian users came after the company came to an agreement with the government on amendments to the proposed legislation.
The changes would require an additional round of negotiation with media companies before binding arbitration kicks in, and provide more acknowledgement of any deals Facebook reaches with publishers on its own.
Hours after reversing its news ban, Facebook reached a dealwith Seven West Media, one of Australia’s major newspaper and TV channel owners.
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🚘 Tiger Woods Car Accident
Tiger Woods was involved in a roll-over car accident in LA early yesterday morning while driving alone in his SUV. The pro golfer suffered multiple non-life-threatening leg injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon.
More: Woods is “awake, reponsive, and recovering” according to a statement posted on his Twitter account last night. (Read the full statement.)
Even More: According to ESPN, Woods was on his way to a promotional photoshoot featuring NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Justin Herbert.Police said there were no visible signs of impairment when Woods was recovered and are investigating the cause of the accident. No one else was injured.
💰 CA Stimulus Bill
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $7.6B coronavirus relief bill yesterday.
Among other things, the bill provides relief in the form of $600 one-time payments to CA residents making less than $30K a year who receive the earned income tax credit and tax-paying immigrants making $75K or less (~5.7M people total).
The bill also sets aside $2B in aid for small businesses and includes other measures to support food banks, diaper banks, hair salons, and more.
More: The Biden-backed $1.9T COVID-relief bill advanced out of committee on Monday and is expected to be voted on in the House later this week.
🇬🇧 UK PM Boris Johnsonunveiled a four-step roadmap on Monday to “remove all legal limits on social contacts” in the country by June 21, assuming certain thresholds are met.
🇬🇪 In Georgia, police stormed the country’s opposition party headquarters and arrested its leader, Nika Melia, on charges of inciting violence.
🇨🇦 Canadavoted to declare China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority a genocide on Monday, becoming the second country to do so (after the U.S.).
🇮🇳 Plus, Two Things from India…
A New Delhi court granted bail to 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, saying there was “scanty and sketchy evidence” she engaged in sedition by editing and distributing an online toolkit aimed at promoting farmer protests within India. (The backstory.)
The mother of Ahmaud Arbery filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit yesterday, alleging the three men charged with murder in the death of her son were acting as surrogate police when they killed him. (Left-Center | Right-Center)
📢 Public Affairs
Shares of Churchill Capital Corp IV, the high-profile special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) combining with EV-startup Lucid Motors, fell nearly 39% Tuesday after Churchill confirmed its merger with Lucid. The deal will see Lucid receive approximately $4.4B in cash at a valuation of ~$24B, making it the largest SPAC deal to date.
The price of Bitcoin fell 13% on Tuesday to ~$48K after hitting a record-high on Sunday (over $58K), according to data from CoinDesk. Similarly, the price of Ether – the second-largest cryptocurrency by total market value – fell 14% yesterday to ~$1,520.
More: In its Q4 earnings report yesterday, fintech company Square revealed it bought $170M worth of Bitcoin (about 5% of the company’s total assets).
⏰ Catch Up Quick:
🏠 National home prices rose 10.4% year-over-year this past December, marking the largest annual increase in seven years (per Case-Shiller data).
🏨 Marriott Internationalintroduced Tony Capuano as its new CEO yesterday. He will replace former CEO and president Arne Sorenson, who died last week following a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
👔 Professional networking site LinkedIn experienced an international shutdown yesterday afternoon around 2 p.m. ET, leaving some users unable to access the site for over two hours.
📕🙏🏼 Thanks, Teach
Confined to an Indiana prison from 1997 to 2018, Michael Lacey spent all of his 20s and 30s behind bars.
He dedicated his time to self discovery and growth, acquiring two bachelor degrees, writing 70 movie scripts, and reading more than 400 books over the course of his 21 year sentence.
“She’s the bomb. She doesn’t know I’m coming- here we go, let’s surprise her!”
Now three years out of prison, Michael recently shared this reunion video of him surprising Ms. Rice – his favorite teacher – who has helped over 300 inmates achieve their GED’s.
Describing his teacher as “a shining light in that dark place,” the pair’s reunion may make you grab your tissues (at least, we had to 🤧🥰).
Since his release, Michael has turned his TikTok page into a space to share his favorite stories, lessons, and impactful moments from his time in jail.
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🦎 Reputable Reptile… a lizard found in the Peruvian Andes set the record for world’s highest-altitude reptile after being spotted by zoologists at an elevation of 17,700 ft.
🩺 Strong Backbone… patients with spinal cord injuries experienced significant improvement in motor functions after being injected with their own stem cells, according to a preliminary medical trial conducted by scientists at Yale.
🌐 Language Barrier… AI-powered algorithms employed by hedge funds to monitor market-related social media activity are struggling to comprehend the emojis, memes, gifs, and slang used to communicate on the Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets.
💵 Dolla Dolla Bills, Y’all
What is the highest value of U.S. currency ever put into circulation?
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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After the Federal Reserve Act passed in 1913, banks began issuing notes the following year in denominations of $1 – $10,000. The $10,000 bill features the portrait of Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase (picture).
More: In 1934, the federal government issued the $100,000 Gold Certificate – the largest note ever printed – used only for transactions among Federal Reserve banks (and not circulated publicly).