theNewsWorthy: Tuesday, February 19th, 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...

States Sue Trump:  At least 16 U.S. states are joining a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. Remember: President Trump expects his emergency declaration to give him access to $8 billion in funds to pay for a border wall, and even he said that he knew the move would be challenged in court. The states’ lawsuit questions where the funds are coming from and whether there’s really an emergency at the border. It’s not the only lawsuit: the ACLU filed one as well.
Read more: CBS News, The Hill, NBC News

Trump on Venezuela:  President Trump is doing all he can to get the Venezuelan military to stand behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Trump has been working to ramp up pressure against socialist President Nicolas Maduro. At a rally in Miami yesterday, Trump warned military officials that they’ll “lose everything” if they continue to support Maduro. The Venezuelan military is blocking the U.S from sending food and medicine to the country, but Guaidó says he’ll try to move aid shipments into Venezuela this weekend.
Read more: CNN, AP, WaPo

North Carolina Fraud:  Hearings in North Carolina continue for a second day, bringing new details about potential fraud from the 2018 election. North Carolina’s Board of Elections’ executive director confirmed there was a “coordinated and unlawful” scheme surrounding absentee ballots. Investigators believe a Republican operative hired workers to collect more than 1,000 false absentee ballots, and since Republican candidate Mark Harris won by less than 1,000 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, it’s a big deal. The Election Board is set to decide whether to give Harris the House seat anyway or have a new election.
Read more: NYT, VOX, AP

Winter Storm Hits:  More than half of the U.S. population will feel the effects of another winter storm this week. The storm will bring rain, snow and ice to 40 states and  more than 200 million Americans. Some flights are delayed in affected areas, and airlines have already started waiving change fees. Expect snow in the Midwest and Northeast, and rain in the South.
Read more: AccuWeather, The Weather Channel, USA Today

Uber Sues NYC:  Uber is suing New York City in an effort to overturn the cap on the number of Uber and Lyft drivers allowed on city streets. The ban on new ride-sharing drivers took effect last summer, and was set to last one year. Now, Uber is trying to make sure it doesn’t become a permanent plan. Uber says it needs to add more vehicles to support the demand in the area.
Read more: CNN, The Verge
Amazon’s Footprint:  Amazon wants to go greener and is making a new commitment to the environment. The company plans to make at least half of its shipments carbon-neutral by 2030. The new “Shipment Zero” program will incorporate solar power and electric delivery vans. Amazon will also start publicly sharing its carbon footprint for the first time. The company recently faced criticism over a Greenpeace report that found Amazon’s data center in Virginia is powered by only 12 percent renewable energy.
Read more: TechCrunch, Amazon, Greenpeace
Airline Gender Choices:  Several major U.S. airlines are adding a new gender option, allowing travelers to choose "U" for  “undisclosed” or "X" for “unspecified.” United will also allow passengers to choose the gender-neutral title of Mx. instead of Mr. or Ms.
Read more: MarketWatch, NBC News
Jussie Smollett Case:  There’s new evidence in the Jussie Smollett case, and Chicago police now say they want to talk to the actor for a second time. Smollett said he was attacked in Chicago back in January, in what police originally said may have been a hate crime. Now, there are questions about what really happened. Police say two suspects questioned about the crime have been released. CNN cites sources saying police think Smollett may have paid people to help him fake the attack. Smollett insists the attack is real, though he hasn’t yet agreed to meet with police again.
Read more: Variety, CNN
Holiday Weekend Box Office:  Presidents’ Day weekend was a bust for the movie business: the holiday weekend sales haven’t been this bad in 15 years. Still, Alita: Battle Angel topped the charts, bringing in $34 million. 
Read more: Variety
New NASA Research:  NASA has put together a new research team, which will focus on life beyond Earth. The Center for Life Detection Science (CLDS) will partner with researchers at Georgia Tech to find out how life began and where else it could exist. NASA says it’s looking to see if there ever has been  – or could be – life on Mars or on any moons.
Read more: FOX News, NASA
Snow Moon:  In case you missed it yesterday, you might be able to see the Super Snow Moon tonight. The fancy name really just means it’s a full moon in February, and it will look larger than usual. The best time to see it for most people in the U.S. will be this evening during moonrise.
Read more: TIME, Quartz, USA Today