Meta says you can’t turn off its new AI tool on Facebook, Instagram

Source: Global News [Canada]

“Meta has now integrated AI into Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger in Canada — but its presence may not be welcomed by all, as the new feature can’t be turned off. In a statement Thursday, the company said Meta AI can be used ‘to get things done, learn, create and connect with the things that matter to you.’ It is now available in Canada, Australia, Ghana, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. … Facebook’s online help page says that Meta AI will join a group conversation if tagged, or if someone ‘asks a question in a post and no one responds within an hour.’ Group administrators can turn the feature off. While that feature can be turned off, Meta AI’s more general presence on the platforms cannot, according to a statement from Meta to Global News.” (04/19/24)

“Three Percenters” sentenced in Capitol riot case

Source: NBC News

“Four California men who were associated with the ‘Three Percenter’ militia group and convicted in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol attack were taken into custody Friday after a judge ordered them to serve sentences ranging from 21 to 33 months in federal prison, far below what the government had requested. Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio Martinez, Derek Kinnison and Ronald Mele were all found guilty of felony obstruction of an official proceeding and other charges after a trial last year. One of their co-defendants, former California police chief Alan Hostetter, was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison in December.” (04/20/24)

Crush of lawsuits over voting in multiple states creating shadow war for 2024 election

Source: Washington Times

“As President Joe Biden and Donald Trump step up their campaigning in swing states, a quieter battle is taking place in the shadows of their White House rematch. The Republican National Committee, newly reconstituted under Trump, has filed election-related lawsuits in nearly half the states. Recent lawsuits over voter roll maintenance in Michigan and Nevada are part of a larger strategy targeting various aspects of voting and election administration. It’s not a new strategy. But with recent internal changes at the RNC and added pressure from the former president, the legal maneuvering is expected to play an increasingly significant role for the party as Election Day in November approaches. The lawsuits are useful for campaign messaging, fundraising and raising doubts about the validity of the election.” (04/21/24)

Israel: Regime to summon ambassadors of six countries that voted for Palestinian UN membership

Source: Times of Israel [Palestine]

“Israel will summon ambassadors of countries that voted for full Palestinian UN membership at the Security Council on Thursday to lodge protests with them, a foreign ministry spokesman said Saturday. Twelve countries backed a resolution recommending full Palestinian membership at the world body Thursday and two — Britain and Switzerland — abstained, with the US wielding its veto to torpedo the measure. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Oren Marmorstein said the ministry would summon ambassadors of France, Japan, South Korea, Malta, Slovenia, and Ecuador on Sunday, ‘and a strong protest will be presented to them.’ ‘An identical protest will be presented to additional countries,’ he said in a post on X.” (04/21/24)

Iran: Khamenei tacitly acknowledges Tehran hit little in attack on Israel

Source: ABC News

“Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday dismissed any discussion of whether Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel hit anything there, a tacit acknowledgment that despite launching a massive assault, few projectiles actually made through to their targets. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments before senior military leaders didn’t not touch [sic] on the apparent Israeli retaliatory strike Friday on the central city of Isfahan, even though air defenses opened fire and Iran grounded commercial flights across much of the country. Analysts believe both Iran and Israel, regional archrivals locked in a shadow war for years, are trying to dial back tensions following a series of escalatory attacks between them as Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip rages on and inflames the wider region.” (04/21/24)

TN: Workers at VW plant vote to unionize with UAW

Source: The Tennessean

“Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga overwhelmingly voted to join the United Auto Workers late Friday, giving the union a decisive foothold in the historically anti-union South. Nearly three quarters of the workers voted to support the UAW, according to the final results from the National Labor Review Board. Of the 4,326 workers eligible to vote, more than 3,600 casts ballots over the three-day election. … The UAW had tried and failed to organize the VW plant twice before, once in 2013 and again in 2019. This election was part of a major campaign by the UAW to win new members in the South, a region that historically has been hostile to organized labor.” (04/19/24)

DC: Historic Number of House Dems Vote “No” on Unconditional Aid to Israel

Source: Common Dreams

“Nearly 40 House Democrats voted against a measure to send around $26 billion more to Israel as it continues its war on Gaza that human rights experts have deemed a genocide. While the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act passed the Republican-led House by a vote of 366-58, party insiders said it was significant that such a large number of Democrats had opposed it, with more centrist lawmakers joining progressives who have called for a cease-fire since October. ‘Despite the weapons aid package passing, this is the largest number of Democratic lawmakers to vote against unrestricted weapons aid for Israel in recent memory,’ senior Democratic strategist Waleed Shahid observed on social media. ‘If Congress votes to continue to supply offensive military aid, we make ourselves complicit in this tragedy.'” (04/21/24)

Tesla recalls Cybertruck over “trapped pedal” issue seen in owner’s viral TikTok video

Source: CNBC

“Tesla has issued a voluntary recall of 3,878 Cybertrucks to fix a ‘stuck pedal’ issue that had been depicted in a viral TikTok video posted last week by owner Jose Martinez. A pad on top of the Cybertruck’s accelerator pedal could come loose and get trapped in the interior trim causing unintended acceleration, a Tesla filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledged. Tesla’s service department plans to replace or repair the accelerator pedal assembly, free of charge for owners.” (04/19/24)

CA: Another music festival postpones with just two weeks’ notice

Source: SFGate

“California music festivals are dropping like flies. Sure, the big ones like Outside Lands and Coachella seem fine (although even that is up for debate) but for the second time in a month, a smaller California music festival has been postponed just days before it was supposed to begin. On Friday, Sol Blume announced that it was, for all intents and purposes, canceling its 2024 festival. Technically, the festival, which was also delayed in 2023, said it was postponing until 2025. The news comes on the heels of Skull & Roses, a Grateful Dead-themed festival in Southern California, announcing it was canceled less than two weeks before it was slated to begin. Sol Blume had appeared to be in trouble for a while but festival organizers hadn’t made an official announcement, much to ticket holders’ chagrin.” (04/21/24)

One dead, seven missing after two Japanese navy choppers crash in Pacific

Source: CBS News

“Two Japanese navy helicopters carrying eight crew members crashed in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo during a nighttime training flight after possibly colliding with each other, the country’s defense minister said Sunday. One crew member who had been recovered from the waters was later pronounced dead, while rescuers searched for seven others who were still missing. The two SH-60K choppers from the Maritime Self Defense Force were carrying four crew each and lost contact late Saturday near Torishima Island about 370 miles south of Tokyo, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told reporters.” (04/20/24)