theNewsWorthy: Tuesday, August 21st, 2018


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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...


Another security threat seems to have come from Russia, but this time, hackers have a new target: conservative think tanks and the US Senate.
Microsoft said it found and took control of websites created by a group of hackers linked to a Russian military unit – the same Russian-tied group believed to have interfered in the 2016 election.
The New York Times reports hackers created the fake websites and made them look like the real websites of targeted organizations or government groups. Just one letter or symbol was the only thing different about the URLs. The hackers apparently hoped people would think they’re clicking through the real websites, when really, they could be handing over passwords or other sensitive information to the wrong people.
For now, it seems, Microsoft helped put a stop to it. The company says it wants to see tech companies and the federal government work together more to prevent more of these cyberattacks.
Read More: New York TimesThe Washington PostCNN


A big announcement for the coal industry. 

Today, President Trump is expected to explain a new plan that will get rid of environmental restrictions on coal-fired power plants and leave it up to the states to decide how to handle them.
The new plan is also expected to relax pollution rules for facilities that need upgrades. The Wall Street Journal reports it could help coal plants stay competitive with renewable energy sources. The proposal essentially rewrites the Clean Power Plan, which was part of President Obama’s effort to slow down climate change.
Environmental groups say they plan to fight the new plan in court.
Read More: Associated PressWall Street Journal


The Pope wrote a first-of-its-kind letter to all Catholics this week.
The letter asks them to condemn sex abuse by priests and help get rid of any cover-ups. Pope Francis called the cover-ups a “culture of death."  Reuters reports it seems to be a call for Catholics to face the sex abuse crisis together.

Some critics called for more action and fewer words.
Remember: a grand jury report found the Catholic Church had covered up the abuse of more than 1,000 children in Pennsylvania alone.
Read More: ReutersAssociated Press


Venezuela is dealing with a big problem, and is making a big, radical change to try to fix it.
The problem is soaring inflation. The inflation rate hit 60,000 percent over the weekend, and experts think it will hit 1 million percent by the end of the year. As NPR puts it, it takes stacks of bills just to buy toilet paper now.
The radical move to fix it? Change the currency. CNBC reports the government is handing out new banknotes linked to a government-run cryptocurrency called the Petro. The government calls it a ‘magic formula’ for economic reform, but many experts are saying it’ll only make things worse.
The economic crisis is already so bad that hundreds of thousands of people are trying to leave the country.


The number of people with measles just hit a record high in Europe. Experts told the BBC it’s because not as many people are getting vaccinated.
The World Health Organization says more than 41,000 people were infected in the first half of this year. That’s almost double the number of cases for the entire year of 2017.
Measles is highly contagious, but discredited research persuaded a bunch of people not to trust the vaccine. Doctors and other experts are trying to change that and stop these outbreaks.
Read More: BBC


Pepsi plans to buy SodaStream. 

If you haven’t heard of SodaStream, it makes the at-home machines that can carbonate water or other drinks on the spot.
NBC News says Pepsi knows the younger generation wants healthier, more environmentally friendly options, so it’s trying to get on board. It means less sweetened soda and more sparkling water made at home, without single-use plastic bottles.
Read More: Wall Street JournalNBC News


Apple may be coming out with a new low-cost laptop later this year. Bloomberg is reporting the new laptop will likely look similar to the current MacBook Air, but with some upgrades.
The rumor is to expect its release in October shortly after new iPhones, Apple Watches and iPad Pros are launched this fall.
Read More: Bloomberg


The MTV Video Music Awards aired last night, so here are a few momentsto know about:
Jennifer Lopez was the first Latina winner of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for her work over the last two decades. Her performancereminded us of many of her hit songs.
Some cast members from the old MTV reality show The Hills are back, saying a reboot is coming…
Madonna was in charge of the Aretha Franklin tribute, since the 'Queen of Soul' died last week. Madonna told a story about singing an Aretha Franklin song to get her big break. Now some say Madonna made the moment too much about... Madonna.
There were other presenters like Tiffany Haddish, and several performances from stars like Ariana Grande. Camila Cabello won Video of the Year and Artist of the Year.
Read More: The Hollywood ReporterABC NewsPeopleVox (watch 3 performances)


There’s a new best-selling album in the US. The Eagles’ album, called Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 took the top spot from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
The Recording Industry Association of America reported the new numbers. The Associated Press says those figures now include both traditional sales and streaming from digital sources like YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.
Read More: Rolling StoneAssociated Press

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