theNewsWorthy: Thursday, January 17th, 2019
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All the news stories mentioned in today's episode are listed with links below, so you can spend as much -- or as little -- time as you want perusing the latest happenings...
(Scroll down to read more about our Thing to Know Thursday topic …)
Shutdown Latest: Another strategy to end the government shutdown didn't work. Some Republicans and Democrats were circulating a letter that would have asked President Trump to reopen the government for at least three weeks. Problem is: they couldn't get enough lawmakers to show support and sign the letter. In the meantime, President Trump signed a bill to reassure government workers that they will be reimbursed -- once the shutdown ends.
Also: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi suggested putting the State of the Union address on hold or in writing, citing security concerns as White House security members are furloughed. Critics say it’s an attempted power move; Homeland Security officials tweeted they are fully prepared. The State of the Union address is still scheduled for January 29.
Read more: The Hill, NBC News, Politico, CNN
Terrorist Attacks: Two separate attacks in two different countries this week killed dozens of people, including five Americans. Earlier this week, an attack at a hotel in Kenya killed 21 people, including one American. More recently, ISIS claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed at least 19 people in Syria, including four Americans working for the U.S. military. The White House condemned the attack. Some critics believe that Trump’s statements and plan to withdraw troops may have re-invigorated ISIS.
Read more (Syria): Reuters, Time, The Hill
Read more (Kenya): CNN, AP
Brexit Update: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will stay in power after the government survived yesterday’s no confidence vote. Had it gone the other way, the U.K might be having a general election; instead, it’s back to work as May tries to get a Brexit deal approved. If lawmakers can’t agree on an exit deal governing the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union in March, it could lead to confusion on issues like trade and immigration.
Read more: The Guardian, AP
Tax Penalties Waived: Tax season starts January 28, and it’s the first time Americans are filing their taxes under the new tax law. So, the IRS is giving taxpayers time to adjust by waiving the penalty if they didn’t have enough money taken out of their paychecks for taxes throughout 2018.
Read more: WSJ, Reuters
Microsoft’s Promise: Microsoft is promising to give Seattle $500 million to help the communities impacted by big tech. The area is home to both Microsoft and Amazon, and the companies are often blamed for creating a lack of affordable housing. The pledge is the largest in Microsoft’s history and will go toward housing options for low- and middle-income workers.
Read more: Seattle Times, NYT
Space Force Comedy: A new comedy starring Steve Carell is coming to Netflix. Think: The Office -- but a Space Force. It’ll be a parody of the sixth branch of the military that President Trump proposed last year. The show, Space Force, is in its early stages, so there’s no release date yet. Watch the trailer here.
Read more: The Verge, CNET, YouTube
Sinclair Streaming: It seems like everyone wants in when it comes to on-demand streaming services, including local news. Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of local news stations across the U.S., has launched its own streaming service called STIRR. The free ad-based service is meant to bring news and entertainment to cord-cutters. Sinclair joins FOX, NBC, AT&T, Disney and others that have either launched or are planning to launch new streaming services.
Read more: TechCrunch, USA Today, NBC News
Facebook + Local News: Facebook plans to invest $300 million into the local news industry, providing support to nonprofits and grants for local newsrooms. It’s part of its effort to fight fake news.
Read more: AP, NBC News
RAZR Returns: Remember the Motorola RAZR flip phone from the early 2000s? It might be making a comeback as a $1,500 smart phone. The company that owns Motorola plans to revive the RAZR with a foldable screen.
Read more: Business Insider, USA Today
Coffee Going Extinct?: Coffee lovers, beware: a new study published in Science Advances says 60 percent of coffee species found in the wild could go extinct within the next 60 years or so. Plant disease, climate change and deforestation are threatening wild coffee, like the popular robusta.
Read more: Mashable, Science Advances, CNN