W50!
Thursday, February 20, 2020

T-Mobile and Sprint finalize new terms for megamerger

T-Mobile and Sprint finalize new terms for megamerger

T-Mobile and Sprint finalize new terms for megamerger

Sprint and T-Mobile said Thursday they've reached an agreement on new terms for their megamerger. This should pave the way for the companies to complete the $26.5 billion deal, following a ruling last week by a federal court that rejected claims that the merger would be bad for consumers.

As part of the new terms, T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, will get a larger stake in the new company. The German telecom giant will own 43% of the new company. Meanwhile, Softbank, which is the majority owner of Sprint, will own 24% of the new company, with the remaining 33% being held by public shareholders.

T-Mobile announced its plans to merge with Sprint in 2018. The deal was approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. As part of the DOJ's approval, the companies agreed to sell assets to satellite TV provider Dish Network, which is expected to build its own wireless network to become the nation's fourth-largest nationwide provide.

Since the deal was first announced, Sprint's stock has tanked and the company has continued to lose customers. News reports suggested that Deutsche Telekom was seeking to renegotiate.

Trump considering Doug Collins as nominee for director of national intelligence | TheHill

Trump considering Doug Collins as nominee for director of national intelligence

Trump considering Doug Collins as nominee for director of national intelligence

President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE on Thursday said he is considering Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsOn the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Trump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify House to vote Thursday on removing ERA ratification deadline MORE (R-Ga.) to serve as director of national intelligence.

Trump was joined in the press cabin by Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White.

Collins has emerged as one of the president's staunchest allies in the House. As head of the House Judiciary Committee, Collins staunchly defended Trump throughout the impeachment trial and was among the lawmakers who served as a messaging apparatus for his defense team during the Senate trial.

His nomination would likely draw scrutiny from Democrats who have raised concerns about politicizing the intelligence agency and staffing it with loyalists rather than career professionals.

Trump reportedly soured on Maguire as a potential nominee for the permanent role following a House briefing from a senior intelligence official who warned that Russia may try and meddle in the 2020 election to help the incumbent.

Judge Says Conditions at U.S. Border Holding Cells Violated the Constitution in 'Monumental' Ruling

Judge says conditions at U.S. border holding cells violated the constitution in "monumental" ruling

A federal judge in Arizona has ruled that conditions at U. S. border holding cells operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency violated the Constitution.

In a case first launched in 2015 over conditions at Tucson sector holding facilities, U. S. District Judge David Bury said on Wednesday that the conditions migrants and asylum seekers have had to face under CBP custody have been "substantially worse than detainees face upon commitment to either a civil immigration detention facility or even a criminal detention facility, like a jail or prison."

Bury also said the court was concerned about the lack of a universal medical questionnaire designed by medical professionals, particularly since medical screenings were being "performed by agents without any medical training."

Noting that migrants and asylum seekers had been held in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions for longer than 12 hours, Bury said CBP was not to hold migrants and asylum seekers for more than 48 hours at its Tucson sector going forward.

The ruling was celebrated by immigration rights attorneys, with Alvaro M. Huerta, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, hailing the judgment as an "excellent outcome."

"With the court's order we have secured a permanent solution and hopefully the sickening conditions in these facilities will improve," Huerta said. "After years of collecting evidence and preparing and trying this case, the border detention facilities will no longer be allowed to violate the Constitution. Civil detainees in Border Patrol stations have suffered for too long, and this decision will pave the way for systemic change across the country."

"The court found that these conditions violate standards of basic decency and puts migrants at risk of serious harm," the executive director added. "We will continue to ensure that this agency is held accountable for civil rights abuses against migrants in their custody."

2nd firefighter killed in Porterville library fire lauded for his passion

Firefighters died after rushing into Porterville library to ensure everyone was out, officials say

The two firefighters who perished battling a blaze that tore through a public library in Central California had rushed into the building to make sure that everyone else had gotten out safely, officials said Thursday.

Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, and Fire Capt. Ray Figueroa, 35, were killed fighting the Porterville library fire, which erupted about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Figueroa was found and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Bear said. Jones was initially reported missing, but his body was later located in the charred structure, Porterville Fire Department officials said Wednesday night.

“We continue to work with the families of the fallen firefighters to ensure that they are informed every step of the way during this tragic time,” Bear said.

“Patrick was quick to make friends with everyone in the department and known for always having a smile on his face,” the Fire Department wrote in a statement. “Patrick was always quick to help any of his fellow brothers or sisters on- or off-duty. His positive attitude was infectious around the fire station. His dedication to his training was seen in his work ethic, as he spent many evenings practicing and becoming proficient as a firefighter.”

Officials said Figueroa was known for his mantra: “KSA,” which stood for “knowledge, skill, ability.”

“The outpouring of support that we have received is indescribable,” he told reporters Thursday. “It’s just been heartfelt and we’ve needed it, absolutely.”

The city library, about 500 feet from the Fire Department, was built in 1953 and did not have a sprinkler system, Bear said.

Times staff writers Colleen Shalby and Jaclyn Cosgrove contributed to this report.

NC weather forecast: Snow begins to move out of North Carolina; Raleigh, Durham sees several inches Thursday

More than 11,000 without power as snow moves out of Central NC

Winter storm about to get underway. Let us know what you're seeing in your neighborhood! #ncwx #snow #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/gAPIqBxy2i

— Chris Hohmann (@HohmannABC11) February 20, 2020

Flu makes another surge in Minnesota

Flu makes another surge in Minnesota

Flu makes another surge in Minnesota

The coronavirus might be grabbing headlines, but seasonal influenza is doing the damage in Minnesota right now.

The latest flu surveillance data from the Minnesota Department of Health showed a surge last week in hospitalizations and patients showing up in clinics with flu-like illnesses — and the second flu-related death of a child this season. The uptick comes as an unusual early spread of a B strain of influenza, historically tougher on children, has given way to an A strain of the virus.

More than 640 people were hospitalized due to influenza in the first two weeks of February — the highest two-week tally of the season, according to state flu data released Thursday. The share of patients coming into clinics with flu-like symptoms reached 7.3% last week, the second-highest rate of the season.

The surge in cases comes despite initial estimates released Thursday by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that this year’s vaccine has been 45% effective. That is considered average; the effectiveness rate has ranged from 10 to 60% in prior years.

“It has been a particularly bad year for kids,” she said. “It would have been quite a bit worse if people had not been vaccinated.”

The late-season emergence of A strains of influenza has caused only a slight increase in outbreaks among the most vulnerable adults in long-term care facilities. Martin said the worst seasons in these facilities involved A3 strains, not the A1 strain that is spreading now.

Last year showed flu can linger, as infections and one death were reported in June 2019.

Opinion | SARS-CoV-2: A preprint provides ammunition to conspiracy theories about virus origin

A preprint provides ammunition to conspiracy theories about SARS-CoV-2 origin

A preprint provides ammunition to conspiracy theories about SARS-CoV-2 origin

In a preprint that was posted on Research Gate (but now available only in the Wayback Machine), two researchers — Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao —from Chinese institutions have claimed without attributing scientific evidence, that the “killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan”. The claim has provided much ammunition to the conspiracy theory that is already circulating on the Internet.

The authors are from South China University of Technology in Guangzhou and Wuhan University of Science and Technology in Wuhan.

The bats were never sold in the market either, based on several testimonials, they say. The authors then talk of an intermediate host but quickly add that “little proof has been reported” on this.

COVID-19 | China once again changes how new cases are counted in Hubei Province | South Korea reports 1st virus death | Two elderly passengers taken off cruise ship die in Japan | Death toll in China exceeds 2,100

“We sign this statement in solidarity with all scientists and health professionals in China who continue to save lives and protect global health during the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are all in this together, with our Chinese counterparts in the forefront, against this new viral threat,” they write in the open letter.

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife,” they add.

“COVID-19 is what’s called a coronavirus, it’s a class of viruses that are primarily what we call zoonotic, that they come from the animal kingdom,” he explained.

'By any means necessary': Vice President Pence urges NASA on moon-Mars goal

Vice President Pence urges NASA on moon-Mars goal

Returning American astronauts to the moon in 2024, and then sending pioneers on to Mars in the next decade, remains a top priority for the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence stressed.

"The president has made it clear that we're going to accomplish this goal by any means necessary," Pence said Wednesday (Feb. 19) during a speech to employees at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia.

Related: Presidential visions for space exploration: From Ike to Trump

In December 2017, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1, which officially instructed NASA to work toward returning people to the moon for the first time since 1972, and to use Earth's nearest neighbor as a stepping-stone to Mars.

Three big pieces of infrastructure are key to the moon plan, which NASA is pursuing via a program called Artemis: the Orion crew capsule, the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket and the Gateway, a small, moon-orbiting space station that will serve as a hub for lunar surface operations and sorties.

Orion made an uncrewed test flight to Earth orbit in December 2014, but the SLS still hasn't gotten off the ground; development of the huge rocket has been beset by delays and cost overruns.

The vice president repeatedly praised the "incredible entrepreneurial energy" in American spaceflight and stressed that NASA should tap that resource to the extent possible.

"We encourage you to reach out, to engage them [private-sector employees] in every appropriate way to help us achieve our mission," Pence told the Langley crowd. "Keep building on the partnership that the American space program has always been in this country."

Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

SpaceX aims to launch tourists into super high orbit

SpaceX aims to launch tourists into super high orbit

SpaceX aims to launch tourists into super high orbit

THE SPACEX CREW DRAGON HAS LAUNCHED TWICE FROM THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, CARRYING SIMULATED ASTRONAUT TO THE SPACE STATION LAST YEAR, AND PERFORMING A SPECTACULAR IN-FLIGHT ABORT TEST THIS YEAR. >> THEY’VE REALLY DEMONSTRATED A VERY GOOD TRACK RECORD OF ACTUAL FLIGHTS AND THEIR TEST FLIGHTS AS WELL. DAN: THAT’S WHY A COMPANY CALLED SPACE ADVENTURES IS NOW BOOKING TOURIST FLIGHTS ON THE SAME TYPE OF SHIP NOW EXPECTED TO LAUNCH U. S. ASTRONAUTS AS EARLY AS MAY 7. THE FIRST TOURIST FLIGHT MIGHT BE NEXT YEAR. >> IT’S EXCITING. IT’S HAPPENING A LOT SOONER THAN WE THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO.

SpaceX aims to launch up to four tourists into a super high orbit, possibly by the end of next year. The company has partnered with Space Adventures for the all-tourist flight. Officials announced the first-of-its-kind mission Tuesday. Space Adventures has already helped put tourists into orbit, working with the Russian space program. For this trip, paying customers will skip the International Space Station and instead orbit two to three times higher, or roughly 500 to 750 miles above Earth. Ticket prices are not being divulged but are expected to be in the millions.

SpaceX aims to launch up to four tourists into a super high orbit, possibly by the end of next year. The company has partnered with Space Adventures for the all-tourist flight. Officials announced the first-of-its-kind mission Tuesday.

Space Adventures has already helped put tourists into orbit, working with the Russian space program. For this trip, paying customers will skip the International Space Station and instead orbit two to three times higher, or roughly 500 to 750 miles above Earth. Ticket prices are not being divulged but are expected to be in the millions. SpaceX will use the same kind of Dragon capsule that will launch NASA astronauts to the space station.

Kyrie Irving to Miss Rest of Season for the Nets

Kyrie Irving to Miss Rest of Season for the Nets

Nets guard Kyrie Irving will have an operation on his ailing right shoulder and miss the rest of the regular season, Sean Marks, the team’s general manager, told reporters on Thursday.

Marks said the decision had been made after Irving spent the “last few days visiting with a specialist.” Irving is expected to return in time for the beginning of next season, but a more specific timetable will not be determined until after the operation.

“He’s obviously upset about this,” Marks said. “We’re here to support him, support the process, moving forward with him.”

Irving, one of the franchise’s marquee free agent signings from last summer, had already missed much of the season because of the injury, plus a few games because of a knee injury. He was limited to only 20 games, but when he was on the court, Irving was one of the most productive players in the N. B.A., averaging 27.4 points a game on a 59.5 true shooting percentage, in addition to 6.4 assists a game.

Marshawn Lynch has 'fun, pretty substantial role' in HBO's 'Westworld'

Lynch has 'substantial role' in 'Westworld'

Marshawn Lynch is all about those androids, boss.

Yes, that was Lynch flashing in HBO's trailer for Season 3 of the sci-fi series "Westworld," which premiered Thursday. In the trailer, the Seahawks running back walks behind actor Aaron Paul in a particularly dramatic scene about 54 seconds into the clip, sporting a T-shirt with the word "BORED" illuminated on it, along with the words "AMUSED," "ANGRY," "SAD" and "EXCITED."

HBO execs obviously couldn't reveal too much about Lynch's role, lest the plot also be exposed, but a spokesperson for the network said Lynch is expected to have a "fun and pretty substantial role" as he veers from his football persona.

Like he did this past season when he scored three touchdowns in two playoff games for Seattle after signing in Week 17. Before then, Lynch had last played in an NFL game for the Raiders in London on Oct. 14, 2018, when he suffered a season-ending groin injury. The Raiders did contemplate bringing Lynch back late last season with rookie Josh Jacobs banged up with a fractured shoulder, a source said, but ultimately decided to roll with fourth-year vets DeAndré Washington and Jalen Richard and the Raiders signed Rod Smith on Dec. 10.

The season premiere is on March 15.

Jennifer Garner Reacts to Ben Affleck Saying Their Divorce Is His 'Biggest Regret'

Jennifer Garner Reacts to Ben Affleck Saying Their Divorce Is His 'Biggest Regret'

Jennifer Garner Reacts to Ben Affleck Saying Their Divorce Is His 'Biggest Regret'

Ben Affleck has opened up about his divorce from Jennifer Garner, calling their split the “biggest regret of my life.” In a candid interview with the New York Times, the actor talked about the role his addiction to alcohol played in ending his relationship with Garner, with whom he shares three children.

“I drank relatively normally for a long time,” the 47-year-old said. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”

In an interview with Good Morning America that aired Feb. 20, the Justice League star also said he never expected his marriage would end.

“I never thought that I was gonna get divorced,” he said. “I didn’t want to get divorced. I didn’t want to be a divorced person. I really didn’t want to be a split family with my children.”

Affleck and Garner began dating in 2004 and married in 2005. They separated in 2015 and finalized their divorce in 2018. Garner has been dating tech CEO John Miler for more than a year. Affleck has previously been linked to producer Lindsay Shookus.

While Garner and Affleck are no longer together, they appear to have a friendly relationship that is focused on their children, Violet, 14, Seraphina, 11, and Samuel, 7. They’ve been spotted attending their children’s soccer matches together, attending church as a family, dropping their kids off at school, and picking out a Christmas tree.

“It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” he said. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”

Trump isn't pleased a South Korean film won best-picture Oscar

Trump isn't pleased a South Korean film won best-picture Oscar

President Donald Trump bemoaned this year's Academy Award winner for best picture, "Parasite," on Thursday because it's a South Korean film.

Fortnite Chapter 2: Season 2 - Cinematic Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Fortnite Chapter 2: Season 2

Fortnite Chapter 2: Season 2

Chapter 2 - Season 2 has arrived, and you've been activated! Play as a spy and join the forces of GHOST or SHADOW to secure intel, sabotage rival agents and take back the Island. The Agency is calling, will you join the fight?

Discover Top Secret Locations - Discover exotic new locations throughout the Island! Go off-the-grid and discover new POI hideouts on the map.

Surprise the Enemy - Break into hideouts with secret passages, take out auto turrets and security cameras, and use new gadgets like Decoy Grenades, Proximity Mines, and Disguise to sabotage rival Agents.

Jump in and experience Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 2 on Nintendo Switch – available now for free.

Visit Nintendo.com for all the latest! http://www.nintendo.com/

Like Nintendo on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Nintendo

Follow us on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/Nintendo

Samsung Galaxy Owners, Your Phones Haven't Been Hacked

Samsung Galaxy Owners, Your Phones Haven't Been Hacked

If you own a Galaxy device from Samsung, it’s possible that last night you received a notification from Find My Mobile, an app that comes preloaded onto some Galaxy phones. The notification was very vague, just reading “1” in the subject line of the notification, followed by another “1” in the body. When you tapped on the notification, it vanished and nothing happened. According to Samsung, no, your phone hasn’t been hax0red.

In a bit of damage control on social media this morning, internal testing is said to be the cause of the notification going out to tons of Galaxy users, who took to Twitter to irrationally tweet that their phones may be hacked by the government or worse. Samsung went on to say that the notification shouldn’t affect your device in any way.

This notification was confirmed as a message sent unintentionally during internal testing and there is no effect on your device. Samsung apologises for any inconvenience this may have caused to our customers and will work to prevent similar cases from occurring in the future.

I woke up to this notification and honestly didn’t assume the worst. I just tapped on it, it went away, then I went on with my day. Glad to know it’s nothing.

Surging Dollar Reflects the Standout U.S. Economy

Surging Dollar Reflects the Standout U.S. Economy

Surging Dollar Reflects the Standout U.S. Economy

The U. S. dollar index, which measures the dollar’s value against six currencies of major trading partners, is up more than 3.6 percent this year, pushing it to its highest level since April 2017. It was up 0.2 percent on Thursday.

The dollar has risen more than 1 percent against China’s government-managed currency, the renminbi, in February alone. For the year, it’s up more than 3.5 percent against the euro, 3 percent against the yen and more than 2.5 percent against the British pound.

Those regions have faced a flurry of lackluster economic results.

Official reports this month showed that the British economy flatlined during the fourth quarter. A report last week showed that the Japanese economy shriveled at a 6.3 percent annual clip during the fourth quarter, in part because of a tax increase. And this week, survey data about economic sentiment in Germany tumbled anew, as the country’s manufacturing sector copes with the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak in China, a key customer for its industrial goods and automobiles.

“Currencies are weakening on incoming bad data that leads to inflows into dollar assets,” wrote Ben Emons, global macro strategist at Medley Global Advisors.

Former US ambassador to Syria: Idlib is 'worst case scenario' | TheHill

Idlib is 'worst case scenario'

A top diplomat in the Obama administration is calling on the U. S. and NATO to push for a cease-fire between Turkey and Russia in Syria, saying the battles in the Idlib province are resulting in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

“Idlib is the worst case scenario we have worried about in Syria since 2011,” said Robert Ford, who served as U. S. ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014, during a briefing Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Ford said if fighting in Idlib crosses over to the border with Turkey, NATO members would be faced with considering assisting Turkey against Russia under Article V of the NATO treaty.

“Turkey, I think, is seeking assurances from NATO that if Russian or Syrian forces attack Turkish forces inside the Turkish border… under article V of the treaty, it can request assistance from fellow members of the alliance,” Ford said.

Lowcock appealed for $500 million in immediate humanitarian assistance.

Ford on Thursday called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE and Congress to increase humanitarian assistance out of a desperate need for relief.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations, speaking on Capitol Hill, called on the U.S. and international community to make Syria a priority.

“The biggest crisis we should never be numb to is the Syrian crisis,” he said. “I blame myself for becoming numb for some time.”

Other organizations represented included the Muslim Public Affairs Council; the American Relief Coalition for Syria; Syrian American Council; Human Rights Watch; Medglobal, which provides medical treatment in conflict zones; Emgage Action, the American Muslim Political Action Committee and the Syrian Emergency Task Force.

Germany shooting: Vigils held for victims of racist attack

Vigils in Germany for victims of racist shooting

Tens of thousands of people attended vigils for the nine victims of a far-right extremist who opened fire on two shisha bars in Hanau, Germany.

At the vigils on Thursday in Hanau and Berlin people carrying candles and white roses gathered in silence.

Wednesday evening's attack is being treated by investigators as an act of terrorism.

In her response to the attack Chancellor Angela Merkel talked of the "poison of racism", while attending one of the vigils President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany "won't be intimidated".

The shootings began around 22:00 (21:00 GMT) on Wednesday, and the first target was the Midnight shisha bar in the city centre of Hanau.

The suspect then travelled by car to the Kesselstadt neighbourhood, some 2.5km (1.5 miles) away, and opened fire at the Arena Bar & Cafe.

Ali Can, a German-Turkish anti-racism activist, posted a photo of a friend of his cousin, saying that the friend was among those killed.

Writing on Twitter he said: "We can't spend a peaceful evening out, we're scared for our lives. What is happening in Germany? Where is the protection?"

Tobias R had posted videos and a kind of manifesto on his website, the federal prosecutor said.

June 2019: Walter Lübcke, a pro-migrant politician, is shot in the head at close range and found dead in his garden. A suspect with far-right links later confesses to the murder

July 2016: An 18-year-old shoots dead nine people at a shopping mall in Munich before killing himself. Bavarian authorities later classify the attack as "politically motivated", saying the teen had "radical right-wing and racist views"

Trump says he will let 'the process play out' in Roger Stone case l ABC News

Trump says he will let ‘the process play out’ in Roger Stone case l ABC News

Trump says he will let ‘the process play out’ in Roger Stone case l ABC News

The president addressed Stone’s sentencing during his commencement speech at the “Hope for Prisoners” graduation ceremony in Las Vegas. READ MORE: https://ab...

Trump Rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Live Stream: How to Watch President's 2020 Campaign Stop

How to watch, live stream Trump's rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado

How to watch, live stream Trump's rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado

For the second night in a row, President Donald Trump will hold a rally to energize his supporters about the presidential election.

As was the case on Wednesday night, the president's rally will be live streamed on his YouTube channel. The Colorado event will also be broadcast live on C-SPAN's website and respective channel. To access C-SPAN's content online, viewers need to log in with valid television provider credentials.

Whipple told KDVR he planned to tell Trump: "Mr. President, I was excited when you first came down that escalator, and I've prayed for you since that time on."

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner is expected to join Trump at the rally, and his spokesperson, Jerrod Dobkin, told The Denver Post they'll tout the "great accomplishments" they've delivered to the state. Those include the creation of the Space Force, "delivering clean drinking water to 50,000 Coloradans" and "record-low unemployment."

Gardner wanted Trump to "step aside" in October 2016 and let Indiana Governor Mike Pence be the GOP nominee. The senator made good on his promise to not vote for Trump but has since changed his tune. While he's broken with the president on some issues, he's been supportive in other areas, including voting for his two Supreme Court nominees and tax plan. He also endorsed Trump for president in January 2019.

11 Americans at Omaha facility tested positive for coronavirus, hospital says

11 Americans at Omaha facility tested positive for coronavirus, hospital says

Most of the Americans who were being monitored at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for coronavirus after evacuating a cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus, the hospital says.

USC unveils major expansion of financial aid

USC offers free tuition to families making under $80,000 and a break for homeowners

USC offers free tuition to families making under $80,000 and a break for homeowners

In a “high-octane” drive to widen access for more middle- and low-income students, USC will eliminate tuition for families earning $80,000 or less annually and will no longer consider home equity in financial aid calculations.

The new policies, announced Thursday by USC President Carol Folt, will place the private campus on par with the public University of California, long known as a national leader in generous financial aid policies and high numbers of low-income students.

And while other elite private universities, such as Harvard and Stanford, provide tuition-free educations to families earning as much as $150,000 annually, their endowments are far larger. Harvard’s endowment is $40.9 billion and Stanford’s is $27.7 billion, compared with USC’s $5.7 billion.

The cost of a private college education has reached staggering heights for many families. At USC, the total cost of attendance for 2019-20, including housing, food, books and materials, is $77,459, with tuition alone at $57,256. By comparison, annual costs at the University of California total about $36,100, with resident tuition at $12,570.

USC’s action comes amid a general slowdown of efforts by some other universities across the nation to widen access for low-income students. The American Talent Initiative, launched in December 2016 to enroll 50,000 additional low- and moderate-income students at high-performing institutions, made brisk progress in the first two years but stagnated in 2018-19, a recent report found.

Richard Kahlenberg, a senior associate at the Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, said many universities rushed to expand their economic diversity in the last few decades. But some have hit the “reality” that financial aid for low-income students is expensive, he said, and doesn’t necessarily result in higher college rankings by such organizations as U. S. News & World Report.

One possible goal, she said, would be loan-free financial aid packages, which only a handful of elite universities with large endowments currently offer. She said she also wants to increase support for several USC programs, such as the Neighborhood Academic Initiative, which help students in surrounding low-income communities gain the skills and know-how to attend college.

Aiming to increase “experiential equity,” USC is also funding more summer internships, study abroad programs and student travel so lower-income students can benefit from the same kinds of enriching experiences routinely enjoyed by their more affluent peers.

Trenton Stone, USC student body president, said college affordability is the top issue of concern for many students who are struggling with rising tuition and growing student debt. The new financial aid policies would be a godsend to students like him, he said.

“A great education should not be limited by the ability to pay,” Folt said.

More than 12M in Southeast bracing for snowstorm; Charlotte, Raleigh under winter weather alerts

More than 12M in Southeast bracing for snowstorm; Charlotte, Raleigh under winter weather alerts

More than 12M in Southeast bracing for snowstorm; Charlotte, Raleigh under winter weather alerts

* The storm will bring dangerous conditions for drivers.

* AccuWeather is predicting a 1- to 3-inch snowfall over a large part of North Carolina and southern Virginia.

The storm will bring dangerous conditions for drivers, CNN said, as black ice and snow accumulate on roads. Many school systems in North Carolina closed on Thursday in advance of the storm.

Government offices in Durham County closed early, and Durham Public Schools, a district with more than 32,000 students, closed its schools Thursday.

"Portions of North Carolina are forecast to get more snow today than Washington or Philadelphia have received all season," CNN meteorologist Monica Garret said.

Winter snow totals in the I-95 corridor of the mid-Atlantic are way below normal – 0.6 of an inch in Washington, 0.3 of an inch in Philadelphia, and 4.7 inches in New York City thus far, AccuWeather said.

Weeks of heavy rain have inundated a large portion of the southern U. S., bringing near-record flooding to portions of Mississippi and Tennessee. Jackson, Mississippi, was especially hard-hit as the Pearl River rose to its third-highest level on record, flooding hundreds of homes.

Mother of missing Idaho children arrested in Hawaii

Mother of missing Idaho children arrested in Hawaii

The mother of two missing children has been arrested by police officers in Hawaii on a warrant issued by Madison County, Idaho, according to a statement from law enforcement.

'The American people cared. And I care.' Top lines from Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the Roger Stone sentencing

Top lines from Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the Roger Stone sentencing

'The American people cared. And I care.' Top lines from Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the Roger Stone sentencingChat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, as she sentenced Roger Stone to 40 months in prison, gave a lengthy speech extolling truth and the rule of law to a rapt courtroom on Thursday.Jackson appeared to criticize President Donald Trump and others promoting conspiracy theories about the Russia probe. And she decried what she saw as efforts to undercut truth and democracy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Why Mediterranean diet is good for you – it’s all in the gut

Why Mediterranean diet is good for you – it’s all in the gut

Why Mediterranean diet is good for you – it’s all in the gut

Experiment moving elderly people from a bland, unvaried diet to Mediterranean diet promotes ‘good’ gut microbes linked to better brain function and suppresses others thought to cause inflammation and increased frailty.

How the coronavirus can kill people

How the coronavirus can kill people

The latest: China tallied a total of 1,749 new infections and 136 deaths through the end of Tuesday, making the cumulative total 74,185 infections and 2,004 deaths.

How does the coronavirus make people sick, and why does it kill some of them? When people die of the coronavirus, it’s not just the virus that kills them — it’s their own immune system.

Mapping the spread of the new coronavirus: More than 25 countries have reported at least one case of coronavirus. Infections have been confirmed in France, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Spain, Cambodia, Belgium, Singapore, Sweden, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Vietnam, Taiwan, Canada and Sri Lanka.

What is coronavirus and how does it spread? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses whose effects range from causing the common cold to triggering much more serious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. These are the biggest questions surrounding the virus.

Are you in isolation or quarantine because of the coronavirus? We want to hear about it. Have you seen or experienced any discrimination, racism or xenophobia connected to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic? Share your story.

SpaceX looks to launch space tourists to record heights

SpaceX looks to launch space tourists to record heights

SpaceX looks to launch space tourists to record heights

SpaceX has signed an agreement with a space tourism company that could see its Crew Dragon spacecraft take space tourists to heights unmatched by astronauts in half a century.

On Tuesday, February 18th, Space Adventures announced the agreement, revealing that it is now officially looking for wealthy private customers interested in launching to orbit on a SpaceX rocket and spacecraft. Known as Crew Dragon, that spacecraft is perhaps just two or three months away from SpaceX’s inaugural astronaut launch, in which two NASA astronauts will be sent into orbit to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station (ISS) before returning to Earth after several weeks or months in space.

As noted, it must be stated that the February 18th agreement doesn’t actually mean that private customers will definitively launch into orbit in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Instead, it serves as a semi-contractual confirmation that the spaceflight company is officially willing and ready to support such a mission in the event that Space Adventures is able to secure enough customers to purchase the necessary launch services. While not out of the question, that will be no easy feat.

Thankfully, several aspects of this new agreement should work in SpaceX and Space Adventures’ favor. As a unique ‘free-flying’ mission, Crew Dragon and its space tourists would not actually rendezvous with the ISS – instead serving as its own miniature outpost in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for several days. Relative to SA’s past tourist flights to the ISS, this will save a large portion of the time and cost associated with both training civilians for spaceflight and ISS operations and working with NASA and Roscosmos to arrange the complex mission.

As noted above, the use of a thoroughly flight-proven Falcon 9 booster and Crew Dragon capsule could dramatically cut the cost of private astronaut launches relative to the NASA baseline. It’s conceivable that – having effectively amortized the cost of the spacecraft and booster with a NASA astronaut launch – such a private mission’s price could be little more than the cost of building a new Falcon upper stage and Crew Dragon trunk, as well as booster/capsule refurbishment and general operations. Conservatively, the ultimate price SpaceX offers or offered Space Adventures could thus be as low as $100-200 million per launch.

Space Adventures says it could support as many as four space tourists on one flight, translating to a cost of $25-50 million per person if all seats are filled. This would compare reasonably well with the $20-50 million it typically charged its seven orbital tourism customers. That is still a vast sum of money and cuts the pool of potential customers to perhaps a few tens of thousands of people worldwide. Nevertheless, Google co-founder Sergey Brin (and possibly others) is on a sort of waiting list (requiring a $5 million deposit) for future orbital Space Adventures flights, giving the company at least one strong prospective customer.

Check out Teslarati’s newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes.

How the British royal family makes money

How the British royal family makes money

How the British royal family makes money

This is what Harry and Meghan are giving up.

Become a Video Lab member! http://bit.ly/video-lab

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are breaking free from the rules of how royals make money, which just might be a savvy financial decision.

Note: The properties illustrated on our map are only the properties we were able to geo-locate precisely from the following sources.

https://duchyofcornwall.org/

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

Or Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H

Weinstein's legal problems extend beyond New York criminal trial

Weinstein's legal problems extend beyond New York criminal trial

Weinstein's legal problems extend beyond New York criminal trial

(Reuters) - A New York jury began deliberations on Tuesday in the rape trial of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Regardless of the verdict, Weinstein’s legal problems are far from over.

The producer of “Shakespeare in Love” and “The English Patient” has pleaded not guilty to raping Jessica Mann, a one-time aspiring actress, and sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi. He faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.

In California, Weinstein is accused of attacking two women on consecutive nights in 2013. One of the unidentified woman was allegedly raped.

The second woman, model and actress Lauren Young, testified in the New York trial that she was trapped in a bathroom by Weinstein, who groped her while he masturbated.

A lawyer for Robert Weinstein did not respond to a request for comment.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection and sold its operations in 2018.

Several accusers criticized the settlement as low, while also acknowledging the statute of limitations for allegations such as workplace sexual harassment often requires a woman to take action within two years or less. Many alleged incidents happened many years ago, making it difficult to sue, and judges have dismissed claims against board members.

Lawyer Jeff Herman said he hoped women would feel a measure of justice with the criminal trial of Weinstein, regardless of the outcome. The proposed settlement has the support of Herman’s client, actress Kadian Noble, who accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her.

“She thought she won the day we filed a lawsuit,” said Herman. “She thought she would never have a voice.”

EVE Online Shooter Cancelled, EVE Online Shooter Announced

EVE Online Shooter Canceled, EVE Online Shooter Announced

EVE Online Shooter Canceled, EVE Online Shooter Announced

The King is dead. Long live the King!

Last week, EVE Online developers CCP said that Project Nova, their long-in-development shooter based on the same universe as their famous space MMO, was being thrown in the bin.

In the same statement, though, he reveals that another EVE shooter CCP have been working on, this time multiplayer-focused and developed in London (Project Nova had been in development in Iceland), was going to essentially be taking over.

Whatever this new game is, it would be the third attempt at making a shooter set in the EVE universe, after Project Nova and PS3 FPS Dust 514 (which was shut down in 2016).

The best free antivirus for 2020: Keep your PC safe without spending a dime

Keep your PC safe without spending a dime

Keep your PC safe without spending a dime

We spend a lot of time looking at the best paid antivirus suites on this site, but we don’t spend a lot of time talking about free antivirus solutions. Part of the reason is that the free versions are based on their paid counterparts.

If you see a paid version you like that offers a free version, you can safely assume the antivirus protection level is similar, save for any specific malware types the free version doesn’t cover.

To create this list of the top free AV programs we looked at the top mainstream antivirus suites for Windows 10  and selected the ones that offer a free version, as not all of them do. After that, we looked at how well these suites performed in third-party detection tests. We also made sure they weren’t resource hogs, because the last thing you want is a piece of free software slowing down your PC while running in the background.

Avast is surprisingly useful in its free version and is one of the most flexible options around.

During installation Avast gets a little annoying. It tries to sneak an installation of Google Chrome past you, for example. Avast also hasn’t been a friend to privacy in recent years by sharing user data with its subsidiary Jumpshot.

That concern is coming to a close, however. The company recently said it will shut down Jumpshot. In the meantime, Avast makes it very clear during installation that you don’t have to share data with the company, as seen above.

There are essentially no limits on all the extras. The difference in protection is with the antivirus capabilities. The free version will scan your PC, and offers real-time protection for your desktop. But it lacks protection from ransomware, web threats, email threats, and advanced cloud protection. It also lacks the improved PC cleanup feature for clearing out old files in the Pro version.

Installation with Avira is easy, with no attempts to sneak in other software, and no requirement for creating an account. Uninstalling, however, is a pain since there are so many different components automatically installed, and each one must be removed one by one.

Most antivirus suites use the same desktop interface as their pro versions. The difference being all the premium features have some kind of lock icon over them to indicate that you can’t use them. The companies hope you’ll see all the great stuff their product has to offer and sign up to unlock the paid features.

Whether you want to stick with Microsoft’s homegrown option, take advantage of a free password manager or VPN, one of these five free antivirus suites will meet your needs.

Adobe celebrates Photoshop’s 30th anniversary with new desktop and mobile features

Adobe celebrates Photoshop’s 30th anniversary with new desktop and mobile features – TechCrunch

Adobe celebrates Photoshop’s 30th anniversary with new desktop and mobile features – TechCrunch

Adobe’s Photoshop celebrates its 30th birthday today. Over that time, the app has pretty much become synonymous with photo editing and there will surely be plenty of retrospectives. But to look ahead, Adobe also today announced a number of updates to both the desktop and mobile Photoshop experiences.

The marquee feature here is probably the addition of the Object Selection tool in Photoshop on the iPad. It’s no secret that the original iPad app wasn’t exactly a hit with users as it lacked a number of features Photoshop users wanted to see on mobile. Since then, the company made a few changes to the app and explained some of its decisions in greater detail. Today, Adobe notes, 50% of reviews give the app five stars and the app has been downloaded more than 1 million times since November.

Also new on the iPad are additional controls for typesetting. For now, this means tracking, leading and scaling, as well as formatting options like all caps, small caps, superscript and subscript.

As for the improved content-aware fill workspace, Adobe notes that you can now make multiple selections and apply multiple fills at the same time. This isn’t exactly a revolutionary new feature, but it’s a nice workflow improvement for those who often use this tool.

UK inflation at six-month high as petrol prices rise

Fuel prices push UK inflation to six-month high

Fuel prices push UK inflation to six-month high

UK inflation in January rose to a six-month high as petrol and house prices rose, official figures show.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) stood at 1.8% last month, up from 1.3% in December, the Office for National Statistics said.

However, some analysts said that the new figures were unlikely to "move the dial" on the central bank's next decision on interest rates in March.

Mike Hardie, head of inflation at the ONS, said: "The rise in inflation is largely the result of higher prices at the pump and airfares falling by less than a year ago. In addition, gas and electricity prices were unchanged this month, but fell this time last year due to the introduction of the energy price cap."

In turn, that means there is now less of an expectation that the Bank of England will have to try and support the economy by cutting interest rates any time this year.

The most recent wages data released on Tuesday showed that average weekly wages in the UK reached their highest levels since before the financial crisis. Weekly pay reached £512 in the three months to December, which - adjusting for inflation - is the highest since March 2008.

She said: "For the MPC, the fact that inflation is in line with its projections provides another reason not to cut interest rates in the near-term." The rate currently stands at 0.75%. The MPC is next due to meet on 26 March.

Robert Alster, head of investment services at Close Brothers Asset Management, said that a similar cautious approach might be taken by new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in his March Budget.

He said: "Rishi Sunak is likely to use the Budget to announce a welcome boost to longer-term investment, but abide by the fiscal rules for short-term spending until the fog has cleared" around Brexit.

Futures rise on China stimulus hopes, signs of slowing virus spread

S&P 500, Nasdaq scale new highs on China stimulus hopes, drop in new virus cases

S&P 500, Nasdaq scale new highs on China stimulus hopes, drop in new virus cases

Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Wednesday, February 19th

S&P 500, Nasdaq scale new highs on China stimulus hopes, drop in new virus cases

Twin Peaks For Gold And Palladium: Which Will Last Longer?

Twin Peaks For Gold And Palladium: Which Will Last Longer?

3 Stocks To Watch In The Coming Week: Walmart, Tesla, Deere & Company

With Over 2 Weeks Left Before OPEC Meets, Where Next For Oil?

"Market certainly believes that the worst of the economic impact will be felt in the first quarter," Brady said, adding that the more poorly the first-quarter economic data was, the stronger the v-shaped bounce would be in the next two quarters if the virus is contained.

Technology stocks (), which are sensitive to news related to China's growth, gained 0.8%, the most among major S&P sectors. Defensive real estate and utilities () were in the red.

U. S. stocks () () fell on Tuesday as a warning from Apple Inc (O:) that it would be unable to meet its current-quarter sales targets highlighted concerns about disruptions to global supply chains.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.49-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.23-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 53 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 92 new highs and 14 new lows.

Burger King is cutting artificial preservatives and it created a gross new ad to show it off

Burger King is cutting artificial preservatives and it created a gross new ad to show it off

Burger King is cutting artificial preservatives and it created a gross new ad to show it off

Burger King announced Wednesday it is removing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from its signature Whopper sandwich in the United States.

The Restaurant Brands International chain plans to highlight the change with a global advertising campaign that shows a photo of a moldy Whopper, supposedly 28 days old, with text that reads "the beauty of no artificial preservatives."

The campaign comes as consumers demand more transparency about the ingredients in their food. In 2018, McDonald's removed artificial additives from seven classic burgers, a change that included tweaking its iconic Big Mac sauce. The Chicago-based company also rolled out fresh beef Quarter Pounders, a change that saw it regain burger market share.

Murder of 7-year-old girl in Mexico fuels anger and protests over brutal killings

Murder of 7-year-old girl in Mexico fuels anger and protests over brutal killings

Murder of 7-year-old girl in Mexico fuels anger and protests over brutal killings

A young girl, known only as Fátima, was last seen being picked up from school by an unidentified woman in Mexico City on February 11.

Erdogan threatens 'imminent' Turkish operation in Syria

Erdogan threatens 'imminent' Turkish operation in Syria

Erdogan threatens 'imminent' Turkish operation in Syria

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch an operation in Syria's Idlib region by the end of the month if Damascus fails to withdraw behind Turkish military positions.

"An operation in Idlib is imminent," Erdogan told his party's legislators in Parliament on Wednesday. "We are counting down, we are making our final warnings".

Russia - the Syrian government's main ally in the nearly nine-year war - responded by saying any Turkish offensive against Syrian forces in Idlib would be the "worst scenario".

Erdogan's comments came as forces loyal to al-Assad pressed an offensive on the country's last major rebel enclave.

About 900,000 people have been forced from their homes and shelters in less than three months, including some 500,000 children, since Syrian government troops renewed the offensive on the region.

Erdogan's announcement comes a day after dire warnings by United Nations officials who warned of a humanitarian disaster in northwest Syria.

Syrian aid workers issued an urgent call on Wednesday for a ceasefire and international help for nearly a million people fleeing the onslaught.

At a news conference in Istanbul, the Syrian NGO Alliance said existing camps are overcrowded and civilians are forced to sleep in the open amid a bitter winter cold.

"We are facing one of the worst protection crises and are dealing with a mass movement of IDPs [internally displaced persons] who have nowhere to go," the Syrian NGO Alliance said in a statement.

The motorway between Syria's two biggest cities was being repaired and was scheduled to reopen in coming days, for the first time in eight years.

The Syrian Air flight landed at Aleppo airport after a 40-minute flight from Damascus and was received on the ground by a military band at the tarmac.