Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Thursday, April 1, 2021, 2:55 PM

President Biden will hold his first cabinet meeting today and is expected to discuss his administration's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which was announced yesterday, according to the New York Times. Biden’s infrastructure plan focuses on rebuilding critical infrastructure while also addressing climate change and promoting racial equality. In a speech yesterday, Biden said his plan could create the “most resilient, innovative economy in the world,” and that “[i]t is a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”  

New York authorities filed three felony hate-crime charges against a 38-year-old man who stomped on an elderly Asian American woman claiming “you don’t belong here,” earlier this week, writes the Washington Post. Brandon Elliot, who was on parole after serving 17 years in prison for murder, now faces two counts of second-degree assault and one count of attempted first-degree assault. He will be held without bail. 

Biden directed the Pentagon to begin removing some military capabilities and forces from the Gulf region as part of a greater effort to reduce the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, writes the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. has so far removed three Patriot anti-missile batteries from the Gulf, and has diverted an aircraft carrier and surveillance systems from the region. Some equipment may be redeployed to focus on other priorities, such as China and Russia. 

Seven pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong were convicted of organizing and participating in a march during the widespread anti-government protests in 2019, reports the Associated Press. Jimmy Lai, owner of a local tabloid; Martin Lee, a founding member of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party; and five former pro-democracy lawmakers were found guilty of carrying a banner that criticized police and leading a procession through downtown Hong Kong. The leaders face up to five years in prison. 

Myanmar’s deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with breaking a colonial-era official secrets law, reports Reuters. Suu Kyi has been detained by the ruling military junta since Feb. 1 and was initially accused of illegally importing radios and breaching coronavirus protocols. If convicted under this newest official secrets charge, Suu Kyi faces up to 14 years in prison.

Google announced it will spend nearly $30 million to combat misinformation and fake news in Europe, according to the Hill. The money will go to the European Media and Information Fund “to strengthen media literacy skills, fight misinformation and support fact checking,” said Matt Brittin, the president of Google in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

A NATO official told Reuters that NATO is concerned about the Russian military build up near Ukraine’s borders. The official stated NATO allies had shared concerns about recent Russian violations of a July 2020 ceasefire and that Russia was undermining peace efforts in the eastern Ukrainian Donbass region. 

Officials from Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain will convene virtually tomorrow to discuss a possible return of the United States the 2015 nuclear deal, according to Reuters. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bryce Klehm announced an episode of Lawfare Live, in which Benjamin Wittes spoke with Rashawn Ray, fellow at the Brookings Institution, about reforming civil settlements for police misconduct. 

Herb Lin examined Gen. Nakasone’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee about Defense Department operations.. 

Jen  Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring Alvaro Marañon’s interview with Erik Larson, computer scientist and tech entrepreneur, about Larson’s new book “The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do.” 

Klehm also announced a Lawfare Lecture, which will take place on Wednesday, April 7 at 2:00 p.m. Paul Rosenzweig, founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC and former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security, will give a live presentation on measuring cybersecurity. 

Brain Nussbaum, Unal Tatar, Benjamin Yankson, Gary Ackerman and Brandon Behlendorg analyzed the Internet of Things in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. 

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk, featuring a conversation with Michèle Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and co-founder of CNAS, about China’s approach to systems destruction warfare, affecting the strategic calculus and more. 

Steve Floyd explained the alleged atrocities, law of war violations and regional implications in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict. 

Howell shared an episode of Rational Security, the “Vaccines are the New Masks” edition. 

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