theNewsWorthy: Friday, February 8th, 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...

Whitaker Testifies:  Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is scheduled to testify before Congress, even though he said he’d only testify if he wouldn’t be subpoenaed. He won’t be... if he shows up. Assuming Whitaker does appear, he’ll likely be asked about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and his communication with the president about it. As Attorney General, Whitaker is overseeing the investigation; that will likely change if the Senate confirms William Barr to take over.
Read more: The Hill, Vox, CBS News, WSJ

Green New Deal:  Democrats are sharing more about the Green New Deal — a resolution that tackles climate change and economic inequality. The main goal of the Green New Deal is to eliminate greenhouse gases and switch to 100 percent renewable, zero-emission energy over the next ten years. It could create millions of high-wage jobs along the way. The resolution is non-binding, which means if it gets a vote and passes, it won’t actually become a law; instead, it’s meant to spark conversation and make climate change a priority. While there’s a lot of support for the deal, there’s also a lot of criticism. Some Republicans have said it’s unrealistic and unnecessary.
Read more: ABC News, Reuters, FOX News

More Cold Weather:  A second blast of cold is coming: temperatures could drop 20 to 50 degrees between today and tomorrow. The northern plains of the Midwest and the East coast will be affected, with temps feeling as cold as -55° in North Dakota. But it won’t be as cold as some saw during the polar vortex.
Read more: AccuWeather, USA Today

Ford Investment: Ford is investing $1 billion into its Chicago assembly plant, and hiring 500 more workers, too. The investment will allow Ford to make more Explorers and others. Ford began restructuring last year; it’s dropping all passenger car models except for the Mustang. The announcement comes just days after rival General Motors said it would lay off more than 4,000 workers.
Read more: NBC News

Bank Merger:  SunTrust Bank and BB&T are merging to create the sixth-largest U.S. bank. The deal is valued at $66 billion. It’s the first major bank deal since the 2008 financial crisis. The name of the new bank hasn’t been announced yet, but it will hold more than $400 billion in assets and $300 billion in loans. The deal should close by the end of this year.
Read more: BusinessInsider, CNN
Editing Genes?:  Scientists think they’ve edited the first gene inside the body, but it’s too soon to know if altering DNA definitely works. So far, so good though: scientists used an IV to insert copies of corrective genes in two men with a rare disease. Scientists plan to test a higher dose of treatment on more patients this year.
Read more: Washington Post
Facebook Data:  German regulators have told Facebook it can’t take data from users without permission. Facebook has been combining user data from Instagram, WhatsApp and other websites it owns to personalize advertising. Germany says Facebook puts users in a bad spot: either agree to submitting all data or don’t use the site. If the company doesn’t come up with a way to get users’ permission, it could face a fine of up to $5.5 billion.
Read more: NYT, CNN
Amazon Self-Driving Car:  Amazon is investing in self-driving cars. There aren’t a lot of details yet, but Amazon is part of a $530 million investment in an autonomous tech developer called Aurora. Aurora is already working with Volkswagen and Hyundai. Amazon says the self-driving cars could help Amazon employees increase productivity.
Read more: WIRED, CNBC
Amazon Blackmail & Lawsuit:  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he was blackmailed by a tabloid. He claims The National Enquirer threatened to release embarrassing photos of him if he continued with an investigation into how the tabloid got a hold of personal text messages about his marriage. The Enquirer hasn’t commented.
In the meantime, Woody Allen filed a $68 million lawsuit against Amazon over a four-part movie deal that Amazon backed out of. Amazon says it dropped out because of resurfacing abuse allegations. Allen says it’s not true, and he wants his movie released.
Read more (Woody Allen Sues Amazon): Variety, TechCrunch
Read more (Amazon vs. Tabloid): WSJ
Gucci & Adidas Issue Apologies:  Gucci is apologizing for a sweater that some say is too similar to blackface. The black sweater had an oversized collar which could be pulled over the chin and nose, with a cutout for the mouth. Gucci saw immediate backlash and removed the nearly $900 sweater from its website and stores. Adidas also issued an apology for it’s Black History Month shoe: an all-white “uncaged” version of its popular Ultraboost sneaker.
Read more (Gucci Blackface): AP News
Read more (Adidas Criticism): Quartz
Grammys on Sunday:  The Grammys are this Sunday. Kacey Musgraves, Cardi B and Lady Gaga are among the performers. Diana Ross will also give a special performance to honor her 75th birthday. There will be a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who died last summer. Kendrick Lamar leads with eight nominations. Alicia Keys is hosting.
Read more: Vox