Welcome to Friday, where Florida’s suing the CDC, Rolls-Royce is rolling, and will.i.am is selling the Xupermask (pronounced “supermask”… obviously because it gives you powers).
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“Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow until you find your dream.”
–The Sound of Music
📝 Biden’s Executive Actions on Guns
President Biden announced a series of executive actions yesterday to address what the White House called “the gun violence public health epidemic.”
🤿 A deeper dive…
The Biden administration’s move consists of six initial executive actions:
1. Directing the DOJ to issue a proposed rule within 30 days to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.” (What are ghost guns?)
2. Directing the DOJ to issue a proposed rule within 60 days to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace – as was used by last month’s shooter in Boulder, CO – effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle (a weapon subject to more stringent regulation).
3. Directing the DOJ to publish model “red flag” legislation within 60 days, which the administration says will make it easier for states to adopt their own version. (What are red flag laws?)
5. Directing the DOJ to publish an annual report on firearms trafficking. The department last issued a report in 2000.
6. Nominating David Chipman – a former federal agent and top policy adviser to gun control group Giffords – to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
📢 Public Reaction
The NRA has already opposed some of Biden’s proposed actions, including regulation on ghost guns and arm braces. The nomination of Chipman, who supports tougher gun control measures, is also expected to draw pushback from congressional Republicans.
Only one ATF director has been confirmed by the Senate in the past 15 years – though Chipman only needs the support of 50 Democratic senators plus VP Kamala Harris.
If Democrats really want gun control, Sen. Dianne Feinstein needs to stay in office
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🇮🇪 Protests & Violence in Northern Ireland
Fifty-five police officers have been hurt and ten people arrested on rioting charges in cities across Northern Ireland over the past ten days (some as young as 13 or 14).
Politicians and analysts say the nightly incidents reflect resentment among pro-British unionists over what they perceive as concessions to Irish nationalists, who want Northern Ireland to break away from the UK and unite with the Republic of Ireland (rejoining the EU).
Also reportedly at play are grievances around the policing of COVID-19 restrictions and crime.
Researchers at Stanford University identified five new cases of a recently discovered COVID-19 variant in the San Francisco area that has two mutations.
The “double mutant” variant, which originated in India, contains two key mutations that have been found separately in other variants, but not together in a single strain.
More: Further testing is needed to determine whether it’s more contagious than earlier strains or resistant to some vaccines.
⚖️ Florida Sues CDC
Florida filed a federal lawsuit against the CDC yesterday seeking to force the restart of the cruise industry, which hasn’t been allowed to sail out of the U.S. for over a year.
The state accused the CDC of acting outside of its authority in restricting cruise sailings, pointing to other hospitality industries – such as airlines, casinos, and hotels – that have been allowed to operate with COVID-19 regulations.
More: The CDC on Friday issued guidance on how it expects to allow a resumption of sailings, but didn’t include a date by which U.S. sailings would be allowed.
Netflix reached a multi-year licensing deal with Sony Pictures that will start in 2022. The financial terms were not officially disclosed, but sources told Deadline that Netflix prevailed over multiple bidders with an offer of $1B over four years.
The agreement gives Netflix access to Sony’s biggest franchises including Spider-Man and Jumanji.
It also gives the streaming platform access to future Sony films like Uncharted, Morbius, or Spider-Man franchise sequels.
More: The deal will replace Sony’s existing licensing agreement with Starz, which dated back to 2005.
📉🚘 When the Chips Are Down
GM will temporarily halt production at eight North American assembly plants due to an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage, which it expects will cost up to $2B.
Last week, Ford announced production cuts at six plants for similar reasons. The company expects the chip shortage to lower its 2021 earnings by $1B–$2.5B.
More: Consulting firm AlixPartners estimates the chip shortage will cost the global auto industry $60.6B in revenue this year.
The two companies have been locked in a legal battle since last year, when Epic deployed an update attempting to bypass Apple’s 30% App Store fee – after which Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store entirely.
More: The filings showed top executives from both companies are likely to testify in-person in federal court as part of a trial expected to last weeks.
😷 Mask On… rapper will.i.am has partnered with Honeywell to develop the Xupermask (pronounced “supermask”), a new face mask that comes with LED lights, noise-cancelling Bluetooth earbuds, dual fans for ventilation, and replaceable filters.
💻 Saved By the Dell… a public school district in Haverhill, MA, was forced to cancel classes Thursday after a ransomware attack shut down the district’s computer network. The unexpected day off was intended to be the first day back of in-person instruction for second, third, and fourth graders.