Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Public Impeachment Hearings, Twitter Spies & Starbucks Red Cups

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Story Summaries

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...

Public Impeachment Hearings Next Week:
Public impeachment hearings will start next Wednesday. Diplomats William Taylor and George Kent are up first, followed by Marie Yovanovitch next Friday. All three witnesses have already testified behind closed doors. There’s also been lots of talk about the role of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has since lawyered up.
Read more: NPR, Washington Post, NYT, FOX News

Bipartisan Animal Cruelty Bill:
A new bipartisan bill just passed Congress and is headed to President Trump’s desk for his signature. Right now, it’s only a federal felony if someone records themselves hurting an animal and sells the video, but under the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT Act), it will be a federal crime to commit any extreme act of cruelty toward animals.
Read more: ABC News, CNN, USA Today

Hundreds of Prisoners Freed:
Nearly 500 low-level and non-violent prison inmates in Oklahoma were freed this week in the largest mass commutation in U.S. history. The state also hosted job fairs and educational sessions to help make sure they were ready for release.
Read more: ABC News, Vox, CNN

CRISPR Cancer Treatment:
Researchers revealed the data from the first study involving a powerful gene-editing technique that could help treat a variety of diseases, and so far, the results are encouraging. Doctors want to use CRISPR to turbocharge patients' immune systems to fight tumors. The study was meant to make sure the treatment is safe and feasible, but there’s still a lot of work left to do to ensure the treatment works.
Read more: NPR, LA Times , NYT

Twitter Employee Spies:
Two former Twitter employees are accused of using their jobs to spy for Saudi Arabia. Federal prosecutors say the former employees allegedly looked up the private data of several thousand Twitter users on behalf of the Saudi government. Twitter says the company keeps sensitive account information private, except to a limited number of vetted employees.
Read more: CBS News, Washington Post, CNBC

California Sues Facebook:
Another legal challenge for Facebook. The state of California is suing Facebook and claiming the company won’t cooperate with its newly-revealed investigation into the company's privacy practices. Facebook says it has cooperated.
Read more: Reuters, NBC News , Axios

Airbnb Verified Properties:
Airbnb will verify all 7 million of its listings to help ensure the address, photos and other safety standards all check out. It’s meant to give travelers peace of mind, especially after an unauthorized house party at a California home rental ended with a deadly shooting. Verification will be done through a mixture of company and community monitoring by December 2020.
Read more: Engadget, The Verge, USA Today

Costco Rx Deliveries:
Costco is partnering with Instacart to test out free prescription drug delivery. Costco members will be able to order prescriptions on the app and have them delivered for free within an hour. Unlike regular Instacart orders, delivery personnel will ask for identification to ensure they’re delivering the prescribed medicine to the right person. For now, it’s being tested in California and Washington only.
Read more: CNBC, Business Insider

Starbucks Reusable Red Cups:
The holidays are coming, which means Starbucks is switching from pumpkin spice to eggnog lattes. Starbucks’ red cups and holiday drinks are back starting today. You can even get a free reusable red cup when you buy a holiday drink today (at least until supplies run out).
Read more: USA Today

Thing To Know Thursday

Why American Workers are Moving to Smaller Cities

Read more: The Atlantic, WSJ, NYT


Today’s guest: Deb Fallows

Deborah Fallows is a Fellow at New America. Since 2013, Fallows and her husband, the writer James Fallows, traveled by their single-engine propeller plane to small and mid-size towns in America, reporting on innovation of all sorts. Their 2018 book on the project, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, was a New York Times Bestseller. They are currently in production with HBO on a documentary based on their book. Fallows grew up in small-town Ohio. She previously worked at the Pew Research Center, Georgetown University, and Oxygen Media.