Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Happy Friday Everyone: We’re going to kick off the last day of the week with some odd news. There is a man that is trying to sue his parents for giving birth to him ‘without his consent’. Now he wants to be paid for his life. Can’t make this stuff up.
North Carolina-based BB&T is acquiring SunTrust Banks for $28.3 billion in a deal that will create America’s sixth-largest bank. The combined entity, valued at $66 billion, is set to be finalized by the fourth quarter of this year. The new company will count approximately 10 million households as customers, as well as $442 billion in assets. Why this matters: The merger is the biggest the banking industry has seen since the 2008 financial crisis. – The Street / Fox Business
FDA putting Walgreens ‘on notice,’ weighs enforcement action for alleged illegal tobacco sales to minors
The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is putting Walgreens “on notice” over illegal tobacco sales to minors. The federal agency said 22% of the 6,350 Walgreens stores it inspected had illegally sold tobacco products to people who were underage. One of the pharmacy chain’s stores in Miami will be blocked from selling tobacco for 30 days. The Other Approach: Walgreens rival CVS stopped selling tobacco products in 2014. – The Hill
Ford investing $1 billion in Chicago plants
Ford will invest $1 billion to expand its production in Chicago. The carmaker will add 500 jobs to support this year’s launch of three new SUVs — Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator. The jobs will bring the total number of workers at Ford’s Chicago assembly and stamping plans to 5,800. General Awareness: the company is simultaneously undergoing an $11 billion overhaul that will include workforce cuts. General Motors is also making cuts in the U.S. and Canada. – Chicago Tribune
The Pentagon is preparing to pull all American forces out of Syria by the end of April, even though the Trump administration has yet to come up with a plan to protect its Kurdish partners from attack when they leave, current and former U.S. officials said. Geographical Context: The U.S. has been trying to work out a deal with Turkey on a political plan for northeastern Syria that would avert a destabilizing fight between Turkish forces and Kurdish forces in Syria that Turkey views as terrorists. Right now, however, the two sides have made little headway. – WSJ (subscription)
France recalls ambassador to Italy as diplomatic row deepens
France recalled its ambassador to Italy for talks on Thursday, saying the situation was “unprecedented” since the end of World War Two. What happened: the populist government in Rome publicly aligned itself with the protesters attempting to topple President Emmanuel Macron. Zoom out: Relations between the two countries – both founding members of the EU – have been tense since Italy’s populist Five Star Movement and right-wing League party formed a coalition government in June 2018. The two governments have clashed over a range of issues, including immigration. – BBC
Facebook data uses curbed in Germany
Germany’s top antitrust enforcer has ordered Facebook to stop requiring users to let it collect data on their internet usage. The authority said the social media giant must allow people to use its platform even if they withhold consent for collection. Why it matters: this is an option that is not currently available, therefore with its creation, it could be a blueprint for other countries to follow suit. So You Know: Facebook combines data on activity across third-party apps and its own, including WhatsApp and Instagram, to tailor ads to users. – Bloomberg
Dow drops more than 200 points as Trump won’t meet Xi before US-China trade deadline
Stocks fell sharply on Thursday as it became clear that a trade meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would not happen before a key March deadline. The Dow dropped 220.77 points, the S&P pulled back 0.94 percent, and the Nasdaq lagged, sliding about 1.2 percent as well. Backdrop: China and the U.S. have until the start of March to strike a trade deal. Otherwise, additional tariffs on Chinese goods take effect. Big picture: The market is already on edge because of global growth worries, and downbeat outlooks from companies that are reporting earnings. – CNBC
Wave of concussion lawsuits to test NCAA’s liability
The NCAA is facing more than 300 lawsuits from former college football players who claim their concussions were mistreated, leading to medical problems spanning from headaches to depression and, in some cases, early onset Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Precedent: in 2014 The NCAA agreed to pay $70 million toward medical monitoring for former college athletes, another $5 million toward medical research and payments of up to $5,000 toward individual players who claimed injuries. Why this time is different: the last settlement included an agreement that large personal injury class-action lawsuits could not be brought against the NCAA, but individual lawsuits were permitted on a per school basis. – AP Sports / CBS
Twitter finally reveals Daily Active Users
In a first for Twitter, the company finally disclosed daily active users receiving ads and the number came in at 126 million. Why this matters: that is 60 million fewer than Snapchat, and less than a tenth of Facebook’s flagship app according to Axios. The revelation came in Twitter’s fourth-quarter earnings release, which also showed it completed its first profitable year since its founding in 2006. What else: the firm also said it would stop sharing monthly active user numbers, which saw a decline in the most recent quarter. – Axios
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1943: Americans secure Guadalcanal
On this day in 1943, Japanese troops evacuate Guadalcanal, leaving the island in Allied possession after a prolonged campaign. The American victory paved the way for other Allied wins in the Solomon Islands.
Yesterday’s top tag was a special delivery of Freedom being served up by the U.S. Air Force.
Photo Credit: The U.S. Army