theNewsWorthy: Tuesday, February 26th, 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...

National Emergency Vote:  The House of Representatives is set to vote today on a resolution to block President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. Lawmakers aren’t the only ones sharing their opinions: nearly 60 former senior national security officials have signed an open letter calling the national emergency unnecessary. If the House passes the resolution, it’ll go to the Senate. But if the Senate approves, Trump will likely veto it (it would be the first veto of his presidency). To be continued...
Read more: NBC News, Vox, The Hill

Fourth of July Event:  President Trump says he's planning to hold the biggest gathering in Washington, D.C. history on the 4th of July. The event will be called “A Salute to America” and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. According to Trump, there will be “[a] major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite president, me!” 
Read more: USA Today, NYT

Secret Verdict Revealed:  Australian Cardinal George Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic figure to be convicted in a case involving sexual abuse of a child. Pell was found guilty back in December, but a judge required journalists to stay quiet on the trial and conviction until now to avoid any future prejudice by jurors in additional trials. The jury found that Pell abused two 13-year old choir boys in Australia in 1996. Pell says he’s innocent and plans to appeal. The unsealed verdict comes just days after a historic meeting at the Vatican, where Pope Francis called for an “all-out battle against abuse of minors.”
Read more: BBC, NYT

New Sanctions:  The U.S. announced new sanctions in the hopes of forcing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down. The U.S and dozens of other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s leader. Vice President Mike Pence attended an emergency meeting with Guaidó to work out a plan to freeze funds going to Maduro. Maduro is not giving up without a fight, and even blocked humanitarian aid from entering the country over the weekend.
Read more: AP, ABC News

Millennials & Debt:  New numbers show young Americans held more than $1 trillion in debt at the end of 2018. That’s the highest debt for 18- to 29-year olds since the financial crisis a decade ago. Student loans are mostly to blame, followed by mortgage debt. 
Read more: Business Insider, Bloomberg
Microsoft’s Military Contract:  A group of Microsoft employees signed a letter wanting to cancel a contract with the U.S. military, saying they didn’t sign up to build weapons. The company’s CEO is sticking by the decision and the multi-million-dollar contract with the Army. The contract would give the Army HoloLens headsets, which use augmented reality to let users see the world with virtual graphics. Microsoft says it won’t withhold technology from the departments we task with protecting our freedoms.
Read more: CNN, CNET
Microsoft’s HoloLens 2:  Speaking of the HoloLens, Microsoft announced a new version this week. The HoloLens2 has a bigger screen, a bigger field of view and new features like eye tracking sensors that can tell exactly where a user is looking while wearing it. The mixed-reality headset comes out later this year with a price tag of $3,500.
Read more: Engadget, The Verge
Alexa in Hospitals:  Amazon Alexa devices are being used in hospitals and health care centers across the country. A pilot program in Los Angeles, for example, is putting Amazon’s smart speakers into more than 100 patient rooms. The devices help patients to do basic things like changing TV channels without a nurse; a specified healthcare voice assistant called Aiva can route more complicated requests to the right person’s cell phone.
Read more: TechCrunch
World’s Healthiest Country:  Spain is the healthiest country in the world, according to the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Countries Index. The Index ranks nearly 170 countries based on overall health, considering factors such as life expectancy, tobacco use and obesity. Italy, Iceland, Japan and Switzerland finished off the top five. Canada is #16; the U.S. is #35.
Read more: Bloomberg
Grand Canyon 100th Birthday:  Happy 100th birthday to the Grand Canyon. It’s been one century since the Arizona attraction was declared a national park. The Grand Canyon itself is five or six million years old, but in the last 100 years, it’s become known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. About six million people visit the Grand Canyon each year.
Read more: CNN,