theNewsWorthy: Wednesday, June 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...
Shanahan Drops Out: Who will lead the Pentagon? President Trump is looking for a permanent defense secretary again. He planned to nominate Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, but this week, Shanahan took himself out of the running. He said he’s worried that the public process to get confirmed might reopen old “wounds” from domestic violence incidents involving his family. For now, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper will fill the position.
Read more: Washington Post, Fox News, AP, CBS News
Interest Rates: Top leaders at the Federal Reserve are meeting in Washington. They’re expected to decide whether to keep interest rates the same or cut them. Trump has repeatedly and publicly urged the Fed to lower rates as a way to boost the economy, but critics say the president has tried to influence America’sindependent central bank. When asked whether he wants to demote Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Trump said, “Let’s see what he does.”
Read more: Washington Post, CNBC, NYT, Bloomberg
Boeing's Lifeline: Boeing 737 Max planes have been grounded around the world for months after the model was involved in two deadly crashes. But now, the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) wants to buy 200 jets. The IAG signed a letter of intent to purchase both the Max 8 and the larger Max 10 planes, saying it's thinking about the future and has confidence in Boeing’s ability to fix any issues. Regulators are getting ready to test-fly Boeing’s Max planes after a software fix.
Read more: WSJ, CNBC, CNN
NY Going Green: State lawmakers in New York want to nearly eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. They’re expected to pass a new bill today that would mean gas-guzzling cars, oil-burning heaters and furnaces become things of the past. All of the state’s electricity would have to come from carbon-free sources. Supporters say it’s necessary to tackle the problem of climate change, while critics, including some business groups, call it impractical and expensive. Other states including California and Nevada have passed somewhat similar bills.
Read more: NYT, NY Daily News
Juneteenth: Today is Juneteenth, the oldest known holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, soldiers went to Galveston, Texas to tell everyone that President Lincoln had freed the slaves. It took two years for people to learn the news and comply. Though it isn’t a national holiday, many celebrate by having festivals, concerts and parties.
Read more: Juneteenth.com, Courier Journal
Facebook Libra Cryptocurrency: Facebook has officially announced its own cryptocurrency, called Libra, and it’s already getting some backlash. Users will be able to cash in their local currency to buy Libra, and it will be held in a digital wallet. They can then send Libra to stores or to friends via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or a standalone app. Facebook says the goal is to make sending money around the world easier and give people more access to financial services, but some politicians are asking the company to pause the project while it decides on regulations. Libra could launch late next year.
Read more: TechCrunch, NBC News, Reuters, CNBC
Google Affordable Housing: Google is promising to spend $1 billion to help the Bay Area with its housing crisis, which has left a lot of people homeless. Google will repurpose $750 million worth of its own land currently used for commercial and office spaces to build a total of 15,000 homes over the next ten years. It will also create an investment fund to help build affordable housing units. Google and other tech companies have been blamed for making homelessness worse in the area.
Read more: Bloomberg, CNET, WSJ
Best Buy Fitness: Best Buy will soon start selling smart gym equipment. Spin bikes, rowing machines, treadmills and other pieces of equipment from wellness tech brands can remotely connect with fitness trainers and classes, but they’ll cost you thousands of dollars. The equipment is available online now and will be sold in 100 Best Buy stores by the end of this year.
Read more: CNBC, USA Today, MarketWatch
YouTube AR Makeup: YouTube is now the latest company working to let you try on makeup virtually within its app. The new augmented reality feature called 'AR Beauty Try-On' is meant to be used while watching makeup tutorials. For now, it’s in the early stages and is only being offered to influencers.
Read more: TechCrunch, Mashable
Game of Thrones Prequel: The Game of Thrones prequel is officially underway. Filming has started in Northern Ireland. The new spin-off series will take place thousands of years before the events in Game of Thrones. The series doesn’t have an official title yet, and will likely air late next year.
Read more: Entertainment Weekly, CNN