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Daily Briefing: TikTok in Congress

TikTok's CEO will likely be met with bipartisan attacks Thursday by Congress members  concerned about the ill effects of social media and tensions growing with China. Also in the news: Authorities have located a body near a suspect's vehicle following a shooting at a Denver high school. The men’s NCAA tournament Sweet 16 round tips Thursday night, with action in the Big Apple and Sin City.

🙋🏼‍♀️ I'm Nicole Fallert, Daily Briefing author. Is there such a thing as a safe alternative to sugar?

Here's Thursday's news.

TikTok in a geopolitical battle

The CEO of TikTok will make a high-profile appearance Thursday before a U.S. Congressional committee to make the case for why the hugely popular video-sharing app shouldn’t be banned.

The background: Shou Zi Chew’s testimony comes at a crucial time for the company, which has acquired 150 million American users but is under increasing pressure from U.S. officials concerned about data security and user safety.

  • TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Scrutiny over TikTok’s relationship with Beijing put the company in the crosshairs during the Donald Trump administration and the Joe Biden administration. Now the U.S. is demanding that the app be sold or banned.

  • Will the United States ban TikTok? Experts are skeptical of a ban happening, but the U.S. worries TikTok will be pressured into handing over U.S. user data to the Chinese government or that it could be used as a propaganda machine to manipulate Americans.

  • Chew is expected to make the case to the American people that selling TikTok to a U.S. company would not address national security concerns. A sale would face other obstacles, such as few companies could afford to pay the asking price.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., joined by the popular app's supporters, leads a rally to defend TikTok at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 22, 2023.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., joined by the popular app's supporters, leads a rally to defend TikTok at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 22, 2023.

Student shot two faculty members at Denver high school

The Denver Police Department said Wednesday evening that a SUV belonging to a suspect in a shooting at a Denver high school, identified as 17-year-old Austin Lyle, had been found. The Park County Sheriff's Office later said officials also found a body in the woods near the vehicle but did not say whether the body was identified as the suspect. The two East High School administrators who were shot were taken to a hospital, police said. One was in serious but stable condition, and the other was in surgery in critical condition. Read more

Isabella DeJoseph, 15, center left, is embraced by her mother Alana as they leave East High School after a school shooting, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Denver.
Isabella DeJoseph, 15, center left, is embraced by her mother Alana as they leave East High School after a school shooting, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Denver.

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Fed hikes interest rate 0.25 point to curb inflation despite banking turmoil

The Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate by a quarter percentage point Wednesday, pushing ahead with its aggressive campaign to tame inflation despite financial turmoil following Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. But acknowledging the crisis will constrain bank lending and weaken the economy and inflation, Fed officials are now forecasting just one more rate hike this year and even that move is uncertain. In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed acknowledged recent strains in the nation’s banks and said they will soften the economy but added the financial system is stable. Read more

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said "it's too soon to tell" how much the stricter bank lending will hobble the economy and tame inflation but said it could be more significant than expected and the Fed "may have less work to do."
Fed Chair Jerome Powell said "it's too soon to tell" how much the stricter bank lending will hobble the economy and tame inflation but said it could be more significant than expected and the Fed "may have less work to do."

Trump's lawyer ordered to hand over documents in Mar-a-Lago probe

A federal appeals court upheld an order Wednesday for the production of documents in a Justice Department investigation of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, according to court records and news reports. Federal prosecutors are trying to force Donald Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify about whether the former president misled him about the documents, which were seized under subpoena in June and during an FBI search in August, according to ABC News and Politico, based on anonymous sources. Read more

Supporters of former President Donald Trump protest near his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on March 21, 2023.
Supporters of former President Donald Trump protest near his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on March 21, 2023.

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Sweet 16 scramble for Elite Eight spots

The stakes are getting higher. Teams reaming in the men's NCAA tournament face off Thursday night with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line. Of the 16 remaining men's teams, only four have won a championship: Michigan State, UCLA, UConn and Arkansas. And seven of the Sweet 16 men's teams have never even been to a Final Four. With No. 1 seeds like Kansas and Purdue having already fallen, fans will have all eyes on Houston and Alabama to make sure they don't go down as well. As with every week of March Madness, expect chaos to ensue. Read more

Miami's Destiny Harden (3) celebrates during the first half against Indiana.
Miami's Destiny Harden (3) celebrates during the first half against Indiana.

One more thing

Photo of the day: Ramadan celebrated around the world

Ramadan began Wednesday and lasts through April 21. The Islamic holy month is a time for fasting, being with loved ones and prayer, including asking for forgiveness for sins. Muslims believe it was during this month God gave the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad and told him he was in charge of carrying God’s message. Read more and and click here for more photos from the global observance of Ramadan.

Muslim devotees offer prayers marking the start of Islam's holy month of Ramadan at Al Akbar Mosque in Surabaya on March 22, 2023.
Muslim devotees offer prayers marking the start of Islam's holy month of Ramadan at Al Akbar Mosque in Surabaya on March 22, 2023.

Nicole Fallert is a newsletter writer at USA TODAY, sign up for the email here. Want to send Nicole a note? Shoot her an email at NFallert@usatoday.com or follow along with her musings on Twitter. Support journalism like this – subscribe to USA TODAY here.

Associated Press contributed reporting.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: TikTok, China, Denver shooting, Fed interest rate hike, Trump, NCAA, Ramadan: Daily Briefing