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Haiti's political transition faces challenges; EU approves AI regulation legislation

Members of the G9 and Family gang stand guard at their roadblock in the Delmas 6 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 11.
Odelyn Joseph
Members of the G9 and Family gang stand guard at their roadblock in the Delmas 6 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 11.

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Today's top stories

Several politicians are vying for power days after Ariel Henry announced his intention to resign as prime minister once a presidential council is created. But many Haitians are unsure real change can be made.

  • On Up First, NPR's Eyder Peralta says Haitians have expressed a sense of desolation and dread. Guy Phillipe, former chief of police and coup leader, is campaigning for president and quickly built a following. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in the U.S. after pleading guilty to money laundering and is now back to Haiti. Philippe is critical of the transitional plan that emerged on Monday following an urgent meeting involving Caribbean leaders, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others who were searching for a solution to halt Haiti's crisis of violence. He says the plan focuses on sending foreign forces to fight the gangs and ignores an open secret in Haiti: that politicians were the ones who have funded and armed the violent gangs. 

The European Union's parliament yesterday approved the world's first comprehensive AI legislation. The EU AI Act will apply regulations to products and services that use the technology based on four categories of potential risk: low, limited, high and unacceptable.

  • Low risk applications of AI, such as AI in video games and spam filters, won't be subject to any regulatory control under this legislation, NPR freelance reporter Teri Schultz says. "Unacceptable" uses would include things like biometric identification, which will be banned from public use except for special cases like law enforcement. EU leaders are expected to give the regulation final approval by the end of the legislature in May. The legislation will then be gradually implemented over the next two years.

It's official: Voters are headed for a Trump-Biden rematch at the 2024 presidential election, and polls indicate Americans aren't thrilled by this choice. Candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are seeking to capitalize on this ambivalence by launching third-party bids. Kennedy — a longtime leader of the anti-vaccine movement and a promoter of various conspiracy theories — would first need to get on ballots, an expensive state-by-state undertaking.

  • Third parties could have a decisive impact on this year's election and provide a path for Trump back to the White House, NPR's Domenico Montanaro says. Trump won the 2016 election when the third party vote was 6% and lost in 2020 when it was less than 2%. Democrats are particularly nervous about Kennedy's campaign because of his famous Democratic last name and how he's polling with voters under 35 years old. Montanaro says this could be a problem for Biden, who needs young voters to win reelection. 

Deep dive

/ Hannah Bottino for NPR
Hannah Bottino for NPR

As school districts depend more on technology, cyberattacks against public schools — and the sensitive data they store — are on the rise. Districts collect data on everything from students' allergies and suspensions to household income, court orders and immigration status. Hackers can keep the information hostage for ransom or use it to steal childrens' identities, open bank accounts and rack up debt — and the consequences can follow victims well into adulthood.

  • The number of districts reporting such attacks surged from 45 in 2022 to 108 in 2023, according to an analysis by the cyber security firm Emsisoft.
  • The more information collected on a student, the more vulnerable they are after a breach — which is often the case for Black and brown students. 
  • Stolen records could resurface online years later, jeopardizing students' privacy as well as things like college applications, job interviews and even court hearings 

Today's listen

This type of staghorn coral (<em data-stringify-type="italic">Acropora pulchra</em>)<em data-stringify-type="italic"> </em>appeared to benefit from the presence of sea cucumbers (<em data-stringify-type="italic">Holothuria</em> <em data-stringify-type="italic">atra</em>), a new study finds.
/ Terry Moore/Stocktrek Images / Science Source
Terry Moore/Stocktrek Images / Science Source
This type of staghorn coral (Acropora pulchra) appeared to benefit from the presence of sea cucumbers (Holothuria atra), a new study finds.

The quest to slow the decline of the world's coral reefs now seems to have a surprising ally: the humble sea cucumber. Georgia Tech marine ecologist Cody Clements noticed years ago that clearing the pickle-shaped marine invertebrates from study areas seemed to accelerate coral tissue death. He set out to test his theory, proving in newly-published research that there was a "15-fold more death" of whole corals in places where sea cucumbers were removed. The reason likely has to do with the vast amount of sand these "little Roombas" hoover up as they roam the sea floor. Read the story and listen here.

3 things to know before you go

The word game Wordle is shown on a mobile phone in 2022. The <em>New York </em><em>Times </em>is accusing some Wordle clone creators of copyright infringement violations.
Brandon Bell / Getty Images
Getty Images
The word game Wordle is shown on a mobile phone in 2022. The New York Times is accusing some Wordle clone creators of copyright infringement violations.

  1. The New York Times wants coders to c-e-a-s-e and desist developing Wordle clones. The publication has sent "hundreds" of takedown notices
  2. Paul Alexander, who lived in an iron lung after contracting polio at six years old, has died at 78. Throughout his life, he painted, wrote a book and worked as an attorney, inspiring others to live a full life. 
  3. The number of U.S. adults who identify as LGBTQ+ has more than doubled in the last 12 years, according to a new Gallup poll. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Rachel Treisman contributed.

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