theNewsWorthy: Monday, February 11th, 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...

Trump at the Border:  Today, President Trump will be at the southern border for a rally in El Paso County, Texas. He’s promoting what he says is a much-needed wall or barrier, after mentioning the area in last week’s State of the Union speech. Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke plans to lead an anti-wall protest at the same time as the rally. Lawmakers have until Friday to make a deal on funding a border wall before another partial government shutdown. Negotiations seemed to be progressing, but have stalled. Federal workers have hardly recovered from the last shutdown, which lasted five weeks; more than 25 percent of workers still haven’t received back pay, and some government contractors haven’t gone back to work.
Read more: USA Today, The Washington Post, NBC News

Louisiana Abortion Law:  New regulations on abortions in Louisiana have been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote. The law, which would have taken effect today, would have essentially closed down two of the three abortion clinics in the state. It’s not over, though: the Supreme Court will likely deal with this case again in October.
Read more: NYT, Time/AP

Amazon Blackmail Investigation:  The richest man in the world is taking on America’s best-known tabloid, and now sources are saying federal prosecutors are involved. Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claimed that The National Enquirer threatened to blackmail him if he continued investigating the tabloid. An attorney for the Enquirer says that a reliable source told them about the affair. So why the federal investigation? The paper’s parent company, American Media, Inc. recently made a deal with prosecutors in a separate case: the company was involved in paying off a woman who said she had an affair with now-President Trump. If American Media did blackmail Bezos, they may have violated the agreement.
Read more: AP, NYT, Business Insider

Rare Pacific Northwest Snowstorm:  A rare snowstorm is happening in the Pacific Northwest. Parts of Seattle saw more than ten inches of snow this weekend, the most the city has seen in 70 years. Snow will continue to cover the area tonight and into tomorrow, while other parts of Washington could see up to three feet by tomorrow. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled; thousands of people are have lost power. Snow and rain from the storm are expected to move to the Midwest and the East later this week.
Read more: CBS News, Weather Channel, AccuWeather
Sunscreen Ban:  Key West, Florida is the latest tourist destination to take action to protect the coral reefs in nearby waters. City officials just voted to ban sunscreens with certain chemicals that can bleach or damage coral reefs. Sunscreen manufacturers aren’t happy and have questioned the research. Hawaii passed a similar ban last year. Both states’  new sunscreen rules go into effect in 2021.
Read more: CNN, Miami Herald
AAF Begins:  There’s a new, pro football league, and it kicked off over the weekend. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is made up of eight teams. Rules and policies are a bit different from the NFL. The championship game is in April.
Read more: USA Today, Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports
Lindsey Vonn’s Last Race:  Lindsey Vonn – hailed as the most successful female alpine skier – won the bronze medal on her last race. Vonn was set to retire in December, but moved it up because of knee pain. At 34, she is the oldest woman to win a medal at a world championship and the first woman racer to win six world championships.
Read more: CNN, ESPN/AP
Amazon Live:  Amazon has launched a shopping channel similar to QVC. Amazon Live is a show where guests present products, while users can click on links to buy the products they’re talking about. The channel isn’t on Amazon's home page and hasn’t gotten a lot of attention yet.
Read more: Digital Trends
Facebook AI: Facebook is investing in artificial intelligence with its latest acquisition. It bought GrokStyle, a startup that uses AI to help users shop for furniture. Users can take a picture of a piece of furniture, and the technology matches it to similar products available for purchase online. The tech could work well with Facebook Marketplace.
Read more: Bloomberg, Forbes
Grammys:  Last night was music’s biggest night of the year: the 2019 Grammy Awards. Alicia Keys hosted the ceremony. Former First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance to share how music has helped her tell her story.  Song of the Year and Record of the Year both went to Childish Gambino for “This Is America,” although he chose not to show up. It’s the first rap song to win Song of the Year. Camila Cabello, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross. Cardi B, and Lady Gaga were among the performers. Post Malone sang his single “Rockstar” without 21 Savage, who was detained by immigration agents last week. Ariana Grande did not perform or attend, but she won her first Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.
Read more: CNN, Variety, People (complete winners list), NYT

Weekend at the Movies:The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part topped the weekend box office with $34 million, but still didn’t do as well as creators hoped.
Read more: Variety