Inside Daily Brief - August 21st, 2019

Inside Daily Brief (Aug 21st, 2019)

Trump cancels Denmark trip/ New gun control proposal / Facebook 'clear history'/ The Matrix

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1. President Trump has postponed a September trip to Denmark, after the country's prime minister called the idea of the U.S. buying Greenland "absurd." The president tweeted that "based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time." The news apparently took the Danish royal family by surprise; Trump was set to visit the palace during his trip. Greenland is a semi-autonomous Danish territory which made it clear it was not for sale after reports of President Trump's desire to purchase it leaked out last week. --AP

2. The students who started the March for Our Lives organization after a 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have unveiled a sweeping new gun control program. A Peace Plan for a Safer America proposes the creation of a national gun registry, a ban on assault weapons, a gun buyback program and the creation of a director of gun violence prevention at the federal level. "I think that this plan is something that we can truly — as a country and as Americans united against violence and fighting for peace — can get behind," said March for Our Lives co-founder David Hogg, 19. A spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association called the plan and its ideas "out of the mainstream." --WASHINGTON POST

3. Facebook finally is rolling out a "clear history" tool and opt-out feature for data collection of users' activity outside Facebook. The new settings within the privacy dashboard are labeled "Off-Facebook Activity," and they allow users both to stop web-browsing activity from being transmitted back to Facebook, and to clear all previous data collected from this activity. The Associated Press notes, via the company's talking points and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's own early comments, that clearing one's history will result in ads that are less targeted, and that perhaps make little sense. And as David Baser, a director of product management at the company, tells the New York Times, "If this were widely adopted, it would mean less overall revenue for Facebook." – NY TIMES

A version of this story appeared in Inside Social.

4. Jewish leaders have condemned President Trump's remarks that Jewish people are “disloyal” if they vote Democrat. Trump did not expand on his initial comment, but many Jewish leaders see it as a political move to incite Trump’s right-wing base. Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said the comments are “yet another example of Donald Trump continuing to weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism.” –CNN

5. Walmart filed a lawsuit against Tesla after rooftop solar panels on seven of the retailer’s stores caught fire. Walmart alleges that Tesla, who provided the solar panels, did not ground its electrical and solar systems properly, and sent inspectors who “lacked basic solar training and knowledge.” In total, Tesla supplied solar panels to more than 240 Walmart stores. –CNBC

6. Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen an 83 percent increase in fires this year, INPE, the country’s space research agency, reports. Cities throughout the country including Sao Paulo have been covered in dark smoke the past few days, trigging environmental alerts. Fires in the Amazon are typically set intentionally (and illegally) to clear land for ranching and agriculture. –THE HILL

7. Google and Mozilla will both block an attempt by the government of Kazakhstan to monitor users' encrypted internet activity. The government made installation of a root certificate mandatory last month, and according to Engadget, the root certificate is a Trojan horse that allows the government to carry out so-called "man in the middle" attacks, effectively breaking websites' encryption. Although the Kazakhstan government has said it stopped requiring installation of the certificate to access the internet, there are concerns that those users who did download it could still be subject to unwanted surveillance. --ENGADGET

8. Hasbro will reduce the amount of plastic packaging for its video games and toys and announced a goal of removing all plastic packaging for new toys by 2022. Hasbro's CEO said "removing plastic from our packaging is [part of our] journey to create a more sustainable future for our business and our world." The company is not yet phasing out plastic for use in toys, but the Boston Globe reported that COO John Frascotti said there would be a shift to more sustainable materials. - TOYBOOK

This item originally appeared in our Inside Retail newsletter.

9. Elon Musk walked back his idea to “nuke Mars” and instead proposed using satellites equipped with solar reflectors to warm the planet. Musk had suggested that dropping nuclear weapons on Mars’ poles could warm the planet’s atmosphere with the eventual goal of making it more habitable for humans. The satellites, he now argues, could similarly warm the planet. Scientists have concluded, though, that releasing Mars’ CO2 – Musk’s goal in these ideas – wouldn’t be enough to transform the planet’s atmosphere. –INSIDER

10. "The Matrix" will reload yet again, with Keanu Reeves reprising his role as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss returning as Trinity. Lana Wachowski will return to direct the fourth movie in "The Matrix" series, which is slated to begin production early next year. The three prior installments in "The Matrix" franchise, which tells the tale of a hacker with supernatural powers who joins forces with a band of rebels battling machines who use humans for fuel, grossed $1.6 billion collectively worldwide. While fans rejoiced online over the announcement, there was a notable omission: There is no word if Laurence Fishburne will return as Morpheus. There is already speculation that the role could be recast with a younger actor in a re-envisioning of the character. -- VARIETY

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