No Bull With Raging Robert.
President Joe Biden reversed a number of Trump-era executive orders yesterday that took aim at Chinese social media apps, most notably viral video platform TikTok.
The initial ban arose over concerns by Western officials that Chinese law would obligate the companies to turn over data on US-based users if requested by Beijing. In the case of TikTok, parent company ByteDance — who argued American user data was physically stored in the US — eventually agreed to fully divest US operations. A blockbuster $30B sale to Microsoft ultimately fell through, and a federal judge suspended a ban on the platform in September.
The White House says it will institute a new review process for all platforms owned by foreign adversaries, as opposed to targeting individual companies.
A Russian court designated opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s political movement to be an extremist organization in a ruling yesterday. The decision comes almost one week after President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning supporters and members of extremist-designated groups from running for office. The combination effectively excludes Putin’s biggest opposition group from political power.
Navalny, who was jailed after being poisoned — allegedly by federal agents — is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in the country’s notorious Pokrov correctional colony. International rights groups consider him to be a prisoner of conscience, persecuted for noncriminal reasons.
The ruling comes ahead of President Joe Biden’s first in-person meeting with Putin, set for June 16 in Switzerland. Biden begins his first foreign trip today, meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson before heading to the G-7 summit.
A Canadian energy firm behind the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline said yesterday it would formally end the project. President Joe Biden revoked the company’s permit to build an extension from Montana to Steele City, Nebraska, on his first day in office.
The canceled line was planned as the fourth phase of the larger Keystone pipeline, which is currently operational (see map) and transports more than 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the US Gulf Coast. The already built line, which enters the US in North Dakota, remains operational. The addition would have increased capacity by roughly 800,000 barrels per day, or 7% of US daily consumption.
The Phase IV extension was originally opposed over its environmental impact in US Great Plains states, but became a proxy for the larger debate over climate change. See a timeline of the project here.
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> Government watchdog report finds former President Trump’s decision to visit Lafayette Square amid June 2020 protests did not influence officers’ decision to clear it or use chemical irritants to disperse crowd (More) | See timeline of the day (More, note: article has not been updated to reflect new report)
The Epstein Fortune
Vanity Fair | Gabriel Sherman. The details surrounding how deceased sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, once a high school math teacher, amassed his fortune remain a mystery. His long relationship with retail tycoon Les Wexner may hold the answer. (Read)
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Historybook: Benjamin Franklin conducts famous kite experiment (1752); Hattie McDaniel, first African American to win an Oscar, born (1893); Hollywood legend Judy Garland born (1922); Italy invades France, declares war on France and Great Britain (1940); RIP musician Ray Charles (2004).
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