Public access radio that connects community members to one another and the world
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
KDNK's Spring Membership Drive is in full swing! Click here for event details

Morning news brief

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Who will Haiti's next leader be? It seems to be anyone's guess. Days after the country's prime minister announced his intention to resign, the plan to get a transitional government in place is being tested.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Yeah, politicians of all stripes have also started jockeying for power. And Haitian citizens? - well, they are expressing reservations. NPR's Eyder Peralta is in the Dominican Republic, right at the border with Haiti. Eyder, let's start with what you've been seeing and hearing down there at the border.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Yeah, A. We've been seeing a lot of Americans evacuating from Haiti, and we've been seeing Dominican authorities deporting busloads of Haitians. They've long run a mass deportation program here, and they haven't stopped it despite the circumstances. The Haitians I've talked to have expressed a sense of desolation, of dread. So many people here I've talked to say this is in God's hand.

I met Rafael Maqueson. Even at 23, he's cynical. He says, yes, the prime minister has promised to resign, and yes, the international community has crafted this plan to put a transitional council in charge, but he's pessimistic.

RAFAEL MAQUESON: (Speaking Creole).

PERALTA: And he says, ever since he was a kid, Haiti has been in disarray. So he asks, what makes you think that anything will be different now?

MARTÍNEZ: Wow. Now, that's along the border in northern Haiti. Have you been able to gauge at all the reaction in the capital, Port-au-Prince?

PERALTA: There's been broad praise for the prime minister's decision to resign, but there's been sharp criticism of this plan, which was brokered by the international community, to install this transitional council. One example - I spoke to Guy Phillippe. He's a former senator, former chief of police. He helped lead a coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and he was sent to jail in the U.S. for drug-related money laundering. He was deported to Haiti three months ago. But he says he wants to be president, and he has built a following fairly quickly. What he told me is that this plan was drafted without any Haitian input, and it puts in power the same politicians who got Haiti into this mess. He says the plan focuses on sending foreign forces to fight the gangs, and he says it ignores an open secret in Haiti that politicians were the ones who have funded and armed the gangs in Haiti.

GUY PHILLIPPE: The biggest gang in Haiti is the state of Haiti itself. It's the president, the prime minister, the ministers, the elite. They are the worst gangs in Haiti.

PERALTA: So Guy Philippe has started a campaign for president. He promises to give amnesty to the foot soldiers and come after the politicians who he says put them there.

MARTÍNEZ: You mentioned foreign forces to help fight the gangs - that was that peacekeeping force that was arranged. Is it still happening? I mean, does it look like it's going to be deployed?

PERALTA: It's been stalled. The Kenyans, who are supposed to lead this force, say they will not send their police until Haiti has new leadership. This deployment was approved by the U.N. last year, and it has been delayed over and over. And this is yet one more wrinkle.

MARTÍNEZ: And one more thing. I mean, you're reporting from the Dominican Republic side of the border. Are you still hoping to get into Haiti?

PERALTA: That's a sore subject, A.

MARTÍNEZ: OK.

PERALTA: But, look, we've been trying, but Dominican authorities have not allowed us to leave their country...

MARTÍNEZ: Oh, wow.

PERALTA: ...By land and cross into the border into Haiti. They say it's for our own safety. They say it's to avoid a diplomatic problem with Haiti. The airports are closed in Haiti, so a land crossing with the Dominican Republic is the only way for us to get closer to this story. But, unfortunately, despite days of appeals to the Dominican foreign ministry, to immigration authorities, to the presidency, we have not been allowed to exit the Dominican Republic to cross into Haiti to bring our listeners this story.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. That's NPR's Eyder Peralta. Thanks a lot.

PERALTA: Thank you, A.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTÍNEZ: The world's first comprehensive AI legislation is here, and it comes from Europe.

FADEL: European Union lawmakers have approved the bloc's Artificial Intelligence Act. It aims to shape the creation of what they call human-centric AI, with regulations which will apply to any product or service that uses the technology.

MARTÍNEZ: Teri Schultz joins us now from Brussels to tell us what the regulations will and will not do.

Teri, governments around the world are trying to figure out how to regulate AI. So what's the European Union doing?

TERI SCHULTZ: Well, this AI act is pretty ambitious, and the EU is quite proud of it. It took several difficult years of negotiation and public feedback. They had to balance this complicated technology and a very powerful industry with consumer protections and then get 27 governments to agree to the same set of rules. Here's one of the parliamentarians who led work on the law, Dragos Tudorache.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DRAGOS TUDORACHE: We have a duty to recognize this potential because it is going to be the technology that will be driving us into the future. And at the same time, we realize that, clearly, there are risks. There are concerns.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. So that's the philosophical approach to it, Teri. So how are they going to do it practically?

SCHULTZ: So the AI Act will classify systems or applications into four categories according to what's considered their potential risk to society - from low to limited to high, up to unacceptable. And each of these will be subject to different levels of regulatory control. At the low end, there won't be any requirements or regulation. And at the unacceptable end, they'll be banned altogether in the EU.

MARTÍNEZ: So OK, give us some examples of what we're talking about here. I mean, who gets to decide how risky a certain use of AI would be?

SCHULTZ: Well, at the low-risk end are applications such as AI in video games or spam filters - we're all familiar with those. And at the unacceptable end are uses such as biometric identification, which will be prohibited in public spaces except in special cases, like law enforcement or counterterrorism. But authorities will have to get special permission, and it will be really strictly limited. EU governments are the ones responsible for evaluating and enforcing the act on their own territory, but the bloc has set up an office here in Brussels to help coordinate and make sure it's being done in a fair way across the EU. It'll also provide guidance for companies and developers so they're in compliance.

MARTÍNEZ: Ah, developers - that's the other party in this. So what's been the response from the tech industry - from those developers? And what kind of - what happens if companies just don't want to comply?

SCHULTZ: Parliamentarians said it was one of the most heavily lobbied pieces of legislation in years, but they feel like they've both protected consumers and the technology's potential. This is how it was described by Brando Benefei, one of the co-leaders of the parliamentary work.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BRANDO BENEFEI: Too many citizens in Europe are skeptical of the use of AI, and I think this is a competitive disadvantage. And this would stifle innovation. Instead, we want our citizens to know that, thanks to our rules, they can trust the businesses that will develop AI in Europe.

SCHULTZ: So A, I'm not sure if tech companies are buying that explanation of how more regulation is going to be good for them, but they won't have a choice. The act will get final approval from EU leaders in the next month or two. It'll be gradually implemented over the next two years, and then violators can be fined up to 7% of a company's annual turnover.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. We'll see how it works out. That's Teri Schultz in Brussels. Teri, Thanks.

SCHULTZ: Thanks, A.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTÍNEZ: We are headed once again for a presidential rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but polls and NPR's own reporting suggests many Americans aren't exactly thrilled about that.

FADEL: So other candidates, like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are seeking to capitalize with third-party bids. And they're trying to gain attention in unorthodox ways - like maybe naming a famous professional quarterback to the ticket?

MARTÍNEZ: Let's bring in NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro to help us sort all of this out. So Domenico, RFK Jr. is the nephew of a former president. He's controversial. He took false stances related to vaccines, and most members of his family don't want him to run. But he is running. He is running as an independent. So how is he planning to name a vice presidential running mate?

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Well, that's right. I mean, Kennedy's campaign tells NPR he's already made the decision about a vice presidential running mate and that he's going to let everyone know about it on March 26 in Oakland, Calif. We don't know who that's going to be. But the campaign confirms that, in addition to others, Kennedy has reached out to former Minnesota governor and wrestler Jesse Ventura and, yes, Aaron Rodgers, the former Green Bay Packer and current New York Jet. We don't know how realistic this is, but Rodgers has praised Kennedy. They align on their views on vaccines. I mean, you remember that, during the pandemic, Rodgers landed in hot water after claiming to be, quote, "immunized" when he'd never been vaccinated against COVID. And he's also continued to needle those who are promoting vaccines.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah, the announcement's in Oakland. He went to Cal. Aaron Rodgers went to Cal...

MONTANARO: Well, there you go.

MARTÍNEZ: ...Nearby. And he's supposed to be being the quarterback of the Jets in November, so I don't know how he's going to handle both if he's the guy. But OK, so why is Kennedy doing this now - I mean, just for attention?

MONTANARO: Certainly helps in that regard. I mean, he needs signatures to get on ballots across the country, and that's a tough thing to do when you're not affiliated with a major party. But more practically, he needs to meet filing deadlines that require naming a vice president. You know, and it's not just Kennedy who's doing this or needing to. Other third-party candidates, like Cornel West, the Harvard professor, says that he's going to name a VP by the end of the month, too.

MARTÍNEZ: And then there are groups that are trying to sort out the top of their ticket, like No Labels. So where are they at with who might they pick?

MONTANARO: Yeah, No Labels is sort of stalled right now. Today, the group is going to announce the panel that would be tasked with picking a candidate. The group so far has really struggled to find someone. Several higher-profile moderates, like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said no. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has opted to run for the Senate. Nikki Haley said that, despite her differences with Trump, she's a Republican. The latest potential name being floated is Geoff Duncan, a former lieutenant governor from Georgia. But it's not clear No Labels is going to find anyone at all at this point, and that's music to Democrats' ears who believe a third-party moderate would only hurt Biden's chances.

MARTÍNEZ: So realistically, then, I mean, what impact could third parties have on this presidential election?

MONTANARO: I mean, they could be pretty decisive and could create a path for Trump back to the White House. You know, Trump has a pretty solid base of support, but didn't get above 47% of the vote in either 2016 or 2020. He won in 2016, though, when the third-party vote was 6%. He lost in 2020 when it was less than 2%.

RFK Jr. potentially scrambles things in really unconventional ways. I mean, polling has been inconsistent about who he pulls from the most, but Democrats are particularly nervous about his campaign, and with good reason. He's got a famous Democratic last name. His campaign says that he's polling best with people under 35 and seeing lots of them at rallies. And the issue set that he's campaigning on skews pretty progressive - calling out corporate greed, being pro-environment and against war. That's a really big potential problem for Biden, who needs younger voters and the left flank of his party if he hopes to win reelection. And former President Trump has called RFK Jr. a very smart person.

MARTÍNEZ: You know, I just thought about it. Aaron Rodgers only plays one game a week. He can play on Sundays, then campaign the rest of the week.

MONTANARO: And maybe this speculation will last longer than the four plays he played for the Jets...

MARTÍNEZ: There you go.

MONTANARO: Just saying.

MARTÍNEZ: There you go. NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro - thanks a lot.

MONTANARO: You got it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.