theNewsWorthy: Wednesday, February 13th, 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...
El Chapo Guilty: A three-month trial for Mexico’s most notorious drug lord ended with a guilty verdict. Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is facing life in prison for smuggling nearly 200 tons of cocaine into the U.S. over the last 25 years. Guzmán escaped prison in Mexico twice. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2017 and will likely be heading to a maximum-security prison when he’s sentenced in June.
Read more: AP, NBC News
Winter Storm: Some classes and flights in parts of the Midwest and Northeast are canceled again today due to a winter storm. Snow, ice and strong winds are expected to continue. Nearly half of yesterday’s flights out of New York City’s LaGuardia airport were cancelled. About 75 million people in the northern half of the U.S. were under some kind of weather alert, but the storm is supposed to wind down later today.
Read more: The Weather Channel, USA Today, CNN
Budget Deal Response: Will President Trump sign or veto it? So far, President Trump has said he's not happy with the budget deal made Monday night, but he still hasn't said what he'll do about it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is recommending Trump sign the law and find other ways to fund more border barriers. Remember: negotiators from both parties agreed to $1.4 billion to fund 55 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. To get the bill passed, the House, Senate and President Trump will all have to agree. The countdown is on: if lawmakers can’t finalize a deal by midnight Friday, another government shutdown begins.
Read more: WSJ, The Hill, NBC News, AP, NPR
Tax Refunds Slow: The IRS is still struggling to recover from the last government shutdown. The Internal Revenue Service was already backlogged and dealing with a new tax law before the 35-day shutdown. By the end of the last shutdown, millions of pieces of mail had not been batched for processing, and tens of thousands of amended returns from last tax season still needed to be processed. Still, the agency says it’s off to a good start for the 2019 filing season.
Read more: USA Today, Taxpayer Advocate Service
Auto Loan Payments: According to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, seven million Americans are at least three months behind on their car payments. Economists are calling it a red flag, even as the unemployment rate is low and the economy seems strong in other ways.
Read more: The Washington Post, The Hill, Federal Reserve Bank of NY
U.S. Jobs Report: Job openings at U.S. businesses hit a record high in December, with 7.3 million open jobs. That’s the highest the Department of Labor has seen since starting to keep track in December 2000. There may be too many jobs to fill and not enough people to fill them.
Read more: CBS News, Reuters
Gates Annual Letter: Each year, Bill and Melinda Gates write a letter with their insights about the world. They say they hope to inspire action. One surprise from 2018 is that Africa is the youngest continent, with an average age of 18. Investing in Africa’s youth can help shape a better future for them. Another point was that at-home DNA tests can help prevent premature birth by identifying which gene may contribute to early labor. Another surprise was about toilets: they haven’t changed in a century. That might be fine for rich countries, but a toilet that doesn’t require a sewer could save millions of lives. Read the full letter here.
Read more: GatesNotes, Business Insider, ThriveGlobal
AI in America: This week, President Trump signed an executive order called the American AI Initiative. It calls for the U.S. to create rules for safe testing of new technologies and to direct more resources to AI research. Also, AI startups had their best year ever in 2018, raising a record $9.3 billion in venture capital.
Read more: The Verge, Forbes
Whole Foods Prices: Prices at Whole Foods dropped when Amazon bought the grocery chain in 2017, but now, your grocery bill may go up again. Whole Foods raised prices from a few cents to several dollars on hundreds of products to cover increasing ingredient, packaging and transportation costs. The company says it’s committed to keeping prices down when possible.
Read more: WSJ, Vox
Apple Rumors: Apple could be releasing some new gadgets this spring. Apple may announce new products at an event in March but hasn’t confirmed. Second generation AirPods, a new iPad mini, and a wireless charging pad are among the rumored devices.
Read more: Gizmodo, BuzzFeed
Best in Show: A wire fox terrier named 'King' won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last night. Today, King will take the traditional victory lap with a visit to the top of the Empire State Building and many press appearances. Last night’s win is the 15th time the breed has taken home Best in Show.
Read more: Sporting News, People, Twitter