☕ Cover: Fisher boat lying in the harbor with a calm sea and a beautiful sky reflecting on the water.
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: A 15-year-old is dropping off puzzles and handwritten notes at nursing homes to cheer up residents
📰 TOP STORY
Fish Out of Water: Last week, President Trump issued an executive order designed to support and revive the American seafood industry. The order aims to “create and sustain American jobs, put safe and healthy food on American tables, and contribute to the American economy.” Background: “Despite America’s bountiful aquatic resources, by weight our Nation imports over 85 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States,” the order reads. “At the same time, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing undermines the sustainability of American and global seafood stocks, negatively affects general ecosystem health, and unfairly competes with the products of law-abiding fishermen and seafood industries around the world.” In order to fix these problems, the Executive Order proposes that, by removing outdated and unnecessarily burdensome regulations; strengthening efforts to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; improving the transparency and efficiency of environmental reviews; and renewing our focus on long-term strategic planning to facilitate aquaculture projects, we can protect our aquatic environments; revitalize our Nation’s seafood industry; get more Americans back to work; and put healthy, safe food on our families’ tables.” Here’s what each side is saying.
On one hand: Environmentalists and organizations committed to ecological conservation have vehemently criticized the President’s actions. They believe that the Executive Order will worsen the conditions of oceans and critical bodies of water. More specifically, critics believe relaxed regulations will amplify corporate exploitation of aquatic environments and allow for the creation of “‘floating factory farms’ that pump pollution and diseases into public waters.” Environmental attorney Marianne Cufone says, “The federal government should strengthen local food security during this health crisis by supporting sustainable seafood, rather than allowing corporations to pollute the ecosystems we depend on.” Ultimately, environmentalists are concerned that the order will allow large corporations to “plunder the oceans without oversight.”
On the other hand: Supporters believe the Executive Order is a step in the right direction to support the global food supply chain during the pandemic. On a domestic level, Joe Grogan and Peter Navarro (advisers to the President) believe the decision will “help reduce pain in the grocery checkout line—and also strengthen U.S. food production against foreign competition.” They present their case for the executive order in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, assuring readers that it will “find new markets for American seafood products and identify unfair trade barriers, it also supports industry research, removes unnecessary regulations on commercial fishermen, and streamlines the aquaculture permitting process.” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross also praised the decision, saying, “Today, President Trump took bold action to secure America’s place as a seafood superpower by removing unnecessary regulations that restrict our seafood industry.” The primary justification behind this move is that it will stimulate the seafood industry, create more jobs, and it will serve to protect consumers from illegal fishing practices.
Flag This: Many Americans don’t understand that food is a national security issue. In 2008 global food prices skyrocketed and riots broke out in more than 40 countries across the world, resulting in several protracted conflicts. Moreover, there is a direct link between food insecurity and political stability. As the CSIS notes, “to mitigate the risks associated with economic and food security, long-term efforts underscored by strong U.S. leadership are required.” On one hand, the President’s actions should be celebrated. Ideally, they will create jobs for Americans that are desperately needed, while ensuring food security for the United States. On the other, “congressional oversight and guidance are crucial in maintaining the leadership that the United States is known for in global development.” The fact that this decision was made unilaterally, and fell to the back pages of newspapers around the country is concerning.
🦅 US NEWS
The Next COVID Crisis Could Be a Wave of Suicides
As many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis conducted by the national public health group, Well Being Trust. What’s Happening: The group is sounding the alarm that the growing unemployment crisis, economic downturns and stress caused by isolation and lack of a definitive end date for the pandemic could significantly increase so-called “deaths of despair” unless local, state, and federal authorities take action.
- Flag This: on March 22, President Trump tweeted, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem.” Many will view Friday’s Well Being Trust report as evidence of this claim. So far 79,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. A number that some think is inflated and others think is an under count. Taking it for what it is, however, it’s not much higher than the amount that could die of drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
A Crisis for Urban Universities
More than a month after the COVID-19 pandemic forced universities across the U.S. to shut down their campuses and quickly shift to online learning, many college officials are warning that they may not be able to reopen in the fall. Why it matters: Urban colleges and universities are particularly vulnerable, the Wall Street Journal reports. By the numbers: More than half of the nation’s students attend college in metro areas with more than one million people. Today, greater New York City is the nation’s largest college town, with more than one million students, followed by Los Angeles with 950,000 and Chicago with 520,000. Now, the COVID-19 lock down and its economic fallout threaten the fabric of urban life.
- Flag This: The impact of this shift is troubling not only for higher education but for cities themselves. In many places, universities play the critical role of “anchor institution,” serving as the largest employer and the most important driver of urban revival, thanks to the talent and high-tech innovation they attract.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
A new report published by the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the “peak of coronavirus in the world’s poorest countries is not expected until some point over the next three to six months.” What’s Happening: the number of cases is growing quite fast now in Africa, in Asia — South Asia especially — and the poorer countries of Latin America and the Middle East.
- Flag This: “Because the virus can get everywhere, if a number of cases grows in those countries, Europe and North America will not be saved from a further phase of the pandemic,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said.
- Food for Thought: Sweden’s ambassador to the U.S., Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter, said the country’s capital, Stockholm, could reach herd immunity sometime this month. Maybe that will happen for the rest of the world as well.
Islamic State could be about to hit back – and the world is paying little attention
In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic the crises of tomorrow can fester. A resurgence of Islamic State (IS) is likely to be one of them, Aviva Guttmann writes for the Conversation. What’s Happening: In recent weeks, IS has carried out a spate of attacks on security forces in Iraq and different areas of Syria. Why it matters: There are striking similarities between these current developments and events that happened in 2013-14 as IS seized huge swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
- Flag This: The threat of a resurgent IS is mounting and governments around the world could be about to make the same mistake again of missing it and reacting too late. Based on ongoing research investigating why the rise of IS in 2013 came as a strategic surprise to European governments, here are the seven most eye-catching parallels between 2013 and today.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Decade of Job Gains Wiped Out in April
Nonfarm payrolls fell by 20.5 million in April and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, both post-World War II records. The Good News: More than 78% of unemployed workers told the government they see their layoffs as temporary, a potentially good sign for the economy.
Premier Lacrosse League Staging 16-Day Quarantine Tournament to Replace Virus-Delayed Season
The Premier Lacrosse League became the first U.S. professional sports league to announce its intention to play games under a so-called “bubble’’ scenario during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how it’ll work.
Apple is reportedly shifting some of its AirPods production to Vietnam this quarter
Roughly 30% of the company’s classic AirPods will be produced in Vietnam rather than China, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The move will continue to diversify Apple’s supply chain.
📢 PRESENTED BY VINCERO
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
Results From Last Week’s Flag Poll
If the federal government created a contact-tracing app to help eliminate the coronavirus and it meant the US could open its economy faster, would you download it? 36% said Yes, 64% said No. Final results and comments.
This Week’s Flag Poll
If there is a “second wave” of coronavirus infections, do you think the United States should implement the same lock down measures? Click here to vote.
On this day in 1934, a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.
Arming the Cartels: The Inside Story of a Texas Gun-Smuggling Ring (Rolling Stone)
First quarantine concert foretells music’s dystopian future (Mashable)
How 25 London Neighborhoods Got Their Names (Mental Floss)
Fingers Crossed: What needs to go right to get a coronavirus vaccine in 12-18 months? Answer below…