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22 men own more wealth than all of Africa’s 326 million women, international charity says

Thousands of protesters march on a demonstration against climate change on January 17, 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The protest was taking place ahead of the upcoming annual gathering of world leaders at the Davos World Economic Forum. (Photo by Ronald Patrick/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Global inequality is “out of control” because of biased economic systems that exclude many women while allowing billionaires to amass huge fortunes that do little for society, according to Oxfam International.

The charity is calling on governments to implement policies that ease the burden on women who provide care for children and the elderly, often for little or no pay. Oxfam suggests higher taxes on the wealthy, and more spending by national governments on child- and health care.

Oxfam’s annual report on inequality was released ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which each year brings together many of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people. Among the report’s key findings:

  • The world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people.
  • The 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa. According to the UN, there are 326 million aged 20 and over.
  • The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.
  • The value of unpaid care work by women aged 15 and over is $10.8 trillion annually.
  • The number of billionaires has doubled over the past decade.

The 63-page report argues that world leaders are not doing enough to address the widening gap between the poor and the rich. It focuses this year on policies that allow men to dominate the top ranks of business and government. Economic inequality, the report argues, is built on gender inequality.

“Women are supporting the market economy with cheap and free labor and they are also supporting the state by providing care that should be provided by the public sector,” the report states. “This unpaid work is fueling a sexist economic system that takes from the many and puts money in the pockets of the few.”

Oxfam warns that aging populations and cuts to public services threaten to increase the burden on care workers and stoke further inequality.

“Both the dramatic level of economic inequality and the looming care crisis can be tackled, but it will require concerted efforts and bold policy decisions to mend the damage done and to build economic systems that care for all citizens,” says the report.

The group recommends that governments work to build national care systems, provide free public services and increase taxes on the wealthy. It also suggests countries should try to limit the influence of corporations and the super rich.

The report comes amid a growing debate, including in the United States, over whether billionaires are good or bad for society.

Some people argue that the super rich are a byproduct of a successful capitalist system that created the middle class. Others say that taxing billionaires much more heavily would lead to a more just and equal world. The issue has divided Democratic presidential candidates, two of whom, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, are themselves billionaires.

Oxfam argues that the capitalist system is broken because it allows monopolies to flourish and concentrates wealth in the hands of the few.

“Examining the origins of the wealth of the super rich, and how that wealth is deployed, casts serious doubt on their value to our economy and our society,” the report says.

How Illinois State Police are looking out for people driving high

MOLINE, Illinois-- Illinois State Police are remaining diligent to keep roads safe a month into the legalization of marijuana.

Trooper Jason Wilson said police aren't specifically trying to pull over high drivers, rather, they're still looking for people who break traffic laws like speeding or running red lights.

He said the trooper would then assess their interactions with the driver to determine if they're under the influence of any drug. Troopers consider how the driver speaks, how focused they are and how they move, but these are things they're always considering whenever they pull someone over.

"The average police officer out there isn't going to be able to say 'This person is under the influence of this, and that person's under the influence of that,'" Wilson explained. "We have drug recognition experts who are trained very well to do that, but for the average police officer, when we're doing this bank of tests, it's just determining if they're safe to drive."

Wilson said if the trooper starts to suspect the driver is under the influence, they could ask them to step out of the car to do some field tests.

"If we decide that, 'Okay we're gonna let that person go because they might be under the influence but they seem like good people,' if they get into a crash later, guess who's gonna be in trouble? It's gonna be the police."They could ask the driver to say when 30 seconds have passed because when someone's high, their internal clock is slower and it'll take longer for them to determine the passing of time. Troopers will also look at people's eyes because they tend to move involuntarily when under the influence of a drug.

"If we decide that, 'Okay we're gonna let that person go because they might be under the influence but they seem like good people,' if they get into a crash later, guess who's gonna be in trouble," Wilson said. "It's gonna be the police."

If someone is caught driving high, the penalties will be the same as any other DUI. Trooper Wilson says on average it costs people $1,600 in court fees, lost wages, insurance hikes and fines.

The Eric Factor: The strange occurrence that happens to the sun when it gets really cold

Have you ever seen more than one sun in the sky? If you're from the Midwest, you may say "yes" while most people on Earth answer differently. That's because most people on our planet live in warm climates, where the "Parhelion" doesn't occur. Another reason why most people have never seen the Northern Lights.

Learn more about the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

There are several terms used to describe this optical phenomenon of the Parhelion, where three suns are seen on the horizon. It can be called a "sun dog" or a "22-degree halo."

Here's how it works! Normally, the sun's rays shine directly into your eyes. However, when there are hexagonal ice crystals high up in the atmosphere (but not enough to shield the rays of the sun), the light is refracted at precisely 22 degrees, essentially bending some of the light toward our eyes. Because of the "Bernoulli Effect," these ice crystals only rotate one way. That creates the perfect optics where the light from the sun is bent toward our eyes, creating that three-suns illusion.

Because this phenomenon requires hexagonal ice crystals at high levels of the atmosphere, Parhelions are quite rare and only occur in frigid conditions. You're most likely to see these in the Upper Midwest and Canada, especially when the sun is close to the horizon. This past weekend's show was particularly vivid, thanks to near-perfect atmospheric conditions.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Washington man 1st confirmed US case of China coronavirus, O’Hare airport begins screening

The first U.S. case of a coronavirus originating from China has been reported, confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infected individual is a man in his 30's from Washington, according to Washington state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist, who spoke Tuesday at a press conference. The patient is in good condition and was hospitalized out of standard precautionary procedures.

In another incident, United airlines reported that health officials dealt with two passengers arriving on a United flight from China to Chicago according to the CDC's new orders Tuesday.

United said in a statement to TEGNA station WXIA in Atlanta, "health officials met United flight 836 upon its arrival at Chicago O’Hare earlier today and assisted and released two passengers. We continue to follow CDC guidelines and remain in close contact with authorities in the United States and Asia to further ensure the safety of our customers and employees."

United flight 836 arrived to Chicago O’Hare from Shanghai's Pudong airport Tuesday afternoon.

O'Hare Airport is now going to start screening passengers for the coronavirus. Hospitals say they're checking patients with flu-like symptoms for the virus, which is in the same family as the SARS virus and the common cold.

Health officials say the virus can spread from person to person. Atlanta airport will also begin to check passengers for the virus.

China says the number of cases of a coronavirus originating from China has risen to 440 and the death toll has risen to 9. Deputy Director of the National Health Commission Li Bin told reporters on Wednesday that the figures were current as of midnight Tuesday and all the deaths had been in Hubei province, where the first illnesses from the new coronavirus were reported in December.

Li said that marked an increase of 149 confirmed cases. He said Japan and South Korea had confirmed one case each and Thailand three. The U.S. and Taiwan also have reported one case each.

Coronavirus map. TEGNA

Chinese officials recently confirmed that the virus, which is also a mysterious respiratory infection, can be spread from person to person, although it is unclear how easily it spreads.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the travel-related spread of the illness has been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

The U.S. patient traveled to Wuhan, China where the virus is believed to have originated. The outbreak was initially connected to a seafood market in the mainland Chinese city, but human-to-human transmission could make the virus spread more quickly and widely. The patient in Washington did not visit any of the markets connected to the virus, and did not interact with anyone known to have been infected with the virus, according to CDC officials.

The CDC confirms the patient traveled through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Jan. 15 and developed symptoms shortly after. When he saw a doctor, a clinical specimen was collected and sent to the CDC for lab testing. The diagnostic test for the virus is currently only available via the CDC, but the agency has announced that in the coming days and weeks it plans to share the tests with domestic and international partners.

The World Health Organization is expected to meet Wednesday to decide whether to declare this an international public health emergency, the New York Times reported.

CDC staff have set up checkpoints at San Francisco international Airport, new York's JFK airport and at LAX in Los Angeles. More than 1,200 passengers traveling through San Francisco International Airport have been screened. Additional checkpoints will be added at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Despite the confirmed U.S case, Dr. Messonnier said the CDC "continues to believe the risk of this coronavirus on the American population is low right now."

Face masks are selling out and temperature checks at airports are the new norm as China tries to control the outbreak during the Lunar New Year travel rush.

The stock prices of some companies that sell masks have risen, but markets fell in much of Asia as investors worried about the potential impact on tourism and the economy. That prompted a selloff of for airline stocks and other travel industry-related stocks.

6-year-old New Jersey girl heard smoke alarm, saves family from fire

(CNN) -- A New Jersey firefighter and his family lost their home in a fire Sunday, but his daughter made sure the family remained safe.

Six-year-old Madalyn Karlbon heard a smoke alarm go off in her home in the middle of the night, according to the Avenel Fire Department's Facebook page. After seeing smoke, she woke up her dad, Avenel Fire Department Ex-Chief Jimmy Karlbon, and they helped get the family to safety.

Avenel Fire Department President Frank Strain told CNN Tuesday that the family's house has been deemed uninhabitable after a fire accidentally started in the Karlbons' kitchen.

In the meantime, toys, clothing and other donations have flooded in.

"We've gotten a few dollars," Strain said. "It's been quite a few. I haven't counted them up yet, but it's in the thousands."

Strain, an ex-chief himself, said he's known Karlbon for 30 years and knew whose house he was responding to once the address came in.

"He's like a brother to me," Strain said. "We were just praying that everybody was out."

The Avenel Fire Department said in another Facebook post that the family is staying in a nearby hotel until renovations can be completed on their home, but they were quick to compliment Madalyn on her bravery and quick thinking.

"Way to go Madalyn," the department posted. "You're indeed a hero!!!"

COMING SOON: New Tennis-Themed Coffee Shop Coming to Moline

Ace, The Slice, The Tweener, Lucky Shot, Match Point.

These aren't just tennis terms. These are the names of drinks at a brand-new coffee shop coming to Moline called Kick Serve Coffee.

Crews are working on the building right now at the corner of 7th Street and 19th Avenue, filling an empty corner across from Shell, Walgreens, and The Salvation Army.

According to Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri, Tom and Jackie Slininger are the owners of the coffee shop and were inspired by the tennis theme because they met while playing the sport. They hope to open their business by June 2020.

According to Kick Serve's website, the coffee shop will be open seven days a week and the menu includes specialty espresso drinks, frappes, smoothies, and energy drinks - as well as all the usual items like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate - all with the goal to "kick start" your day!

Boston student from Iran deported, CBP says it was not aware of judge’s order

(CNN) -- An Iranian student planning to attend Northeastern University in Boston was flown out of the United States despite an emergency stay, and Customs and Border Protection said it was not aware a court had temporarily blocked the student's removal.

Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, was refused entry to the United States on his student visa when he arrived at the Boston Logan International Airport on Sunday. While he was detained, a Massachusetts district court judge granted him an emergency stay but he was deported Monday night, said his attorney, Kerry Doyle.

Customs and Border Protection was "unaware of the issuance of any court order barring the removal of the subject from the United States" when Dehghani boarded the flight and the aircraft's doors had closed, the agency said in a statement.

Judge Allison D. Burroughs ordered Monday that Dehghani's removal be stayed for 48 hours or until further order of the court, according to the court docket. A federal detention hearing for Dehghani was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, Judge Richard Stearns said the case is now "moot" because Dehghani was "never admitted into the United States, is no longer in custody, and the court does not have jurisdiction to order his return," CBP said in a statement.

Northeastern University said it has not received a "satisfactory explanation" from Customs and Border Protection for the student's deportation.

"We believe that a clear explanation is needed, especially because the deportation took place after a 48-hour extension was granted by a federal judge. Only in the most extreme instances should students have their academic pursuits interrupted by government intervention," the university said in a statement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it is not involved in the case.

The student's visa was revoked, his attorney says

According to an emergency petition filed by Doyle, the State Department issued Dehghani a student visa last week. But when Dehghani tried entering the United States on January 19, he was taken into secondary inspection and refused entry.

US Customs and Border Protection revoked Dehghani's student visa and issued him an expedited removal order, the court filing says.

"It is unclear why Defendants would now decide, after conducting a full visa issuance process, that Plaintiff's student visa should be revoked," the court document say."It is unclear why Defendants would now decide, after conducting a full visa issuance process, that Plaintiff's student visa should be revoked," the court document say.

The defendants in the filing include CBP and the Department of Homeland Security.

"Rather than being based in legitimate concerns over Plaintiff's admissibility to the United States, this revocation and expedited removal is a result of additional scrutiny targeting Iranian citizens," the filing says.

In a statement, CBP said it could not discuss individual proceedings.

"CBP officers are charged with enforcing not only immigration and customs laws, but they also enforce over 400 laws for 40 other agencies and have stopped thousands of violators of US law," the agency said in a statement.

"Applicants must demonstrate they are admissible into the US by overcoming all grounds of inadmissibility including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds."

Northeastern University also said it has been in touch with federal officials to learn more about the case and provide Dehghani with the appropriate assistance to "facilitate a successful return to Northeastern."

Dehghani was admitted to the university's undergraduate program starting in the 2018-2019 academic year and filed for a student visa in 2018. After an in-person interview and a full State Department review, he was issued his student visa last week, his court petition says.

Protesters rallied outside the airport

Meanwhile, a crowd of people including members of the ACLU of Massachusetts and the Muslim Justice League gathered at the Boston airport to protest Dehghani's detention.

"In America, nobody is above the law -- including Customs and Border Protection officials. Given the Trump administration's xenophobic policies and CBP's troubling practice at Logan Airport of sending students with valid visas back to Iran, it is shameful that the government defied a federal court order and deported Shahab without due process," ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose said in a statement.

"We are looking at all options to hold CBP accountable for wrongfully deporting Iranians and other students who hold valid visas."

The ACLU of Massachusetts says at least 10 students have been sent back to Iran upon arriving to US airports, with seven of them having flown into the Boston airport.

Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also weighed in, tweeting Monday: "His deportation must be halted, and we must fight the Trump administration's xenophobic policies."

Shahab Dehghani is an Iranian student with a valid F1 visa, returning to finish his education. CBP already held him overnight. His deportation must be halted, and we must fight the Trump administration's xenophobic policies. https://t.co/ZCKVo5fwvM

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 21, 2020

Light snow begins this afternoon, won’t end until early Saturday

This will be the third week in a row with wintry weather. But this system should be a little easier to deal with because the snow will be lighter and it will last longer.

A longer duration snow does bring its challenges because it will be harder for road crews to constantly take care of plowing and salting. Temperatures will be right around freezing so salt will be very efficient at making roads wet instead of icy.

Total snowfall accumulations will be less than 5 or 6 inches at the most by the time this wraps up early Saturday.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Local developer offers to buy Rock Island County Courthouse, but the county says the plan is still to demolish

ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS  --  Local real estate developer, Joe Lemon, made an offer buy the old Rock Island County Courthouse at the January 21st county board meeting. Lemon offered to pay half a million dollars to the county and spend 8 million dollars renovating the 123 year old building.

"We think it is a natural asset for our community that we would like to preserve and reuse for hundreds of more years in the future," Lemon said.

Lemon says he has made multiple attempts and offers to the county.

"The county has refused to meet with me," Lemon said. "It's very discouraging."

County Board Chairman, Richard Brunk, says the board has never been interested in selling the building.

"There have been loose proposals, if you will, that have been floated," Brunk said. "There has been nothing very formal, with any type of financing, documentation, or anything of that sort."

Demolition of the courthouse was approved last January, but a preservationist group filed a lawsuit one-month later to stop it from coming down.
That lawsuit, is currently being appealed by the county.

 

"I don't see a reason that the board would want to back pedal, because in the last year and a half or so, the board has been making solid decisions, in the long term best interest of the tax payers and the residents of the county," Brunk said.

Brunk said one concern about the old courthouse being owned by a private buyer is security to the Justice Center next door.

"it is a security concern with that building being so close to the Justice Center," Brunk said. "The threat and the concern is real."

Chairman Richard Brunk says there's already a plan for that property

"Eventually, whether its 2,3,5, possibly 10 years down the road, the county will be able to utilize that property to consolidate facilities, creating huge long term efficiency. The savings to the taxpayers with those efficiencies would dwarf any property tax revenue that that building would provide as a private property."

Brunk says he does not anticipate Lemon's offer to sway any board members away from the plan to demolish.

Lemon said he would be willing to renovate the courthouse into office space in a way that would benefit the city and the county.

Brunk says they are expecting a decision from the appellate court judge any day now.

Delta gives its employees 2 months of extra pay

Delta Air Lines had a very good year last year. Instead of just verbally thanking its employees for the company’s strong performance, it announced it would pay them $1.6 billion in profit-sharing bonuses.

That means every eligible employee will receive a check next month for 16.6% of their annual salary, which is the equivalent of an additional two months’ pay.

“Delta would be nothing without our 90,000 people. They deserve all the credit,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said on LinkedIn.

The profit payout to employees for 2019 is a record amount. It is also the sixth year in a row that the company has paid out more than $1 billion to workers, a Delta spokesperson said. The profit-sharing plan started in 2012 following Delta’s merger with Northwest.

The company’s profit-sharing bonus is on top of all the other financial benefits it normally provides employees, such as a 401(k) match and other bonus programs for rank-and-file workers, according to the spokesperson.

Full-time and part-time workers, whether or not they’re unionized, will be getting checks. The only people excluded from the profit-sharing plan are the company’s officers, directors and general managers, although they will be paid their own performance-based bonuses.

Delta’s employee payout is good business, said Joseph Blasi, director of the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University.

“Research shows that cash profit-sharing plans, combined with a supportive corporate culture that encourages employees to offer suggestions and participate in solving company problems, can reduce turnover and improve corporate performance and personal motivation.”

Direct cash payments are not the only way companies can share profits with workers. Some make profit-sharing contributions to workers’ retirement accounts or pay them in stock.

Profit-sharing is one way to demonstrate what members of the Business Roundtable have said is a corporation’s purpose: to serve all stakeholders, including employees.

“For years I would get beaten up by Wall Street. They thought the profits were theirs. … [But] Wall Street has actually come full circle and they realize Delta is the most awarded airline because of its employees. And they’re happy we’re making certain that our employees know that,” Bastian said at a local chamber of commerce event in Marietta, Georgia, last week.

Delta is hardly the only company to offer a cash-based profit-sharing plan. But such plans are most common in the airline and auto industries, Blasi said.

Since 2015, GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, for example, wrote nearly $5 billion combined in checks to their workers, which is the equivalent of six months’ extra pay per employee, according to Automotive News.

Such high payouts are not the norm, however.

According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 38% of adult U.S. workers said they receive cash profit-sharing, but the median amount reported was just $2,000, or 5% of pay.

3 children found dead in Phoenix home; mother held on murder charges

PHOENIX – A woman has been arrested in Phoenix on suspicion of killing her three children — her infant daughter, her 2-year-old daughter and her 3-year-old son — police said Tuesday.

Rachel Henry, 22. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

Police found Rachel Henry’s children dead in their Phoenix home Monday evening after someone there called 911 to report some kind of unspecified trouble, police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said.

“The … mother has admitted to harming her three children,” leading to their deaths, Fortune said.

Henry, a 22-year-old who recently moved to Arizona from Oklahoma, is being held on three counts of first-degree murder, Fortune said.

Fortune did not say how the children died, or how Henry allegedly harmed them.

Police have said there were no obvious signs of trauma, and that a medical examiner will determine the causes of death.

3 adults at the home when officers arrived, police say

When officers arrived after 7:30 p.m. Monday at the home near 24th Street and Vineyard Road, Henry, as well as the children’s father and another relative, were there, police said.

The 911 call came from the home, said Fortune, adding she didn’t know who made the call.

It could not be immediately determined if Henry has an attorney.

Migrants clash with Mexican troops at the Guatemala border

(CNN) — Tensions flared on Mexico’s southern border Monday as troops tried to intercept a large group of migrants who’d crossed into the country.

Video and photographs taken at the Mexico-Guatemala border showed Mexican National Guard troops chasing migrants who’d rushed across the Suchiate River.

Some images showed migrants scrambling to evade authorities. Others showed a migrant pinned to the ground, surrounded by men in camouflage.

The migrants — largely from Honduras — are part of a new caravan that’s been trekking north for days. It’s the first migrant caravan to form since the Trump administration hashed out a series of deals with Mexico and several Central American countries aimed at stemming migration.

And its arrival in Mexico is already testing authorities on both sides of the border.

For months Mexican authorities, facing mounting pressure from US officials, have stepped up their show of force at the country’s northern and southern borders. Dramatic visuals — like troops running after mothers and children or blocking large groups of migrants walking along a highway — have prompted many to say that Mexico, in effect, has already built Trump’s border wall by increasingly cracking down on immigrants.

Mexico says it welcomes migrants to stay

Mexico’s foreign minister defended the National Guard’s actions and downplayed Monday’s standoff in a press conference Tuesday, telling reporters that no one had been injured, that troops had handled the situation appropriately and that more than 2,000 other migrants traveling in large groups had followed migration laws, crossing peacefully and without incident in recent days.

“Yesterday there was a group of some 1,000 who tried to enter the country by force. A tragedy was avoided, because there can always be a lot of problems, above all when there are children and women,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.

Mexican officials earlier said migrants in the group had hurled projectiles at troops as they tried to enter the country “in an irregular manner.” More than 400 of them were intercepted and taken to migration stations.

“Despite the stones they were hit with, and a very tense situation, we can say that yesterday, if someone had the intention to provoke, they did not achieve that,” Ebrard said. “If someone is looking for violence in Mexico, they are not going to find it on the part of authorities.”

Asked by a reporter whether he would characterize the situation as a crisis or an emergency, Ebrard said he would not.

“It isn’t an emergency because it happens every year. The same thing happened last year,” he said.

But photos of the clashes at the border dominated the front pages of many Mexican newspapers on Tuesday.

It was another notable sign that Mexico’s approach to caravans, and to migrants in general, has changed over the past year.

Roadblocks on the journey north to the US

Officials are no longer giving migrants transit passes that would allow them to legally travel through Mexico on the way to the US border. Instead, they’re encouraging them to seek asylum in Mexico or temporary work permits. Those who don’t want to pursue the options available to remain in Mexico — or who don’t qualify — are given the option of “assisted return” to their home countries, Ebrard said.

Some 1,000 Honduran migrants, he said, have asked to be returned to their home country. Others are still being processed at different migration stations, Ebrard said.

“The instructions of the president have been categorical, to respect the human rights of migrants,” Mexican Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero said Tuesday.

“Mexico is a place of asylum, of refuge,” she said.

US officials have said they’re monitoring the latest migrant caravan. As migrants trekked through Guatemala last week, acting US Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said he saw the group as notably different.

“I will say that this caravan is not anything even remotely similar to what we saw in ’18 and a little bit in ’19,” Wolf told Fox. “A few folks here and a few folks there.”

Wolf said that agreements the US has made with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras have changed the equation when it comes to large groups of migrants.

“We have CBP agents, tactical agents, in Guatemala. And of course the government of Mexico at President Trump’s urging has deployed national guard to both their southern and northern border,” Wolf said. “So, should individuals make it through all of that, when they reach the Southwest border, they’re going to run into a number of programs that we put in place that will not allow them into the country without any legal reason to be there.”

Netflix adds subscribers as competition from Disney+ and Apple ramps up

(CNN) — Netflix released its earnings on Tuesday, finally giving itself a chance to calm the nerves of jittery investors who are concerned about the rise of rivals. So did Netflix shrug off its competitors or did its subscriber base take a hit?

The streaming giant exceeded its own expectations by reporting fourth quarter earnings showing that it added roughly 8.7 million new subscribers. That is above the 7.6 million that the company was projecting.

Netflix now has 167 million subscribers globally.

The service said it expects to add another 7 million subscribers in the next quarter, which was slightly weaker than what Wall Street was projecting.

While Netflix exceeded expectations overall, its numbers in the United States and Canada were sluggish at best. The streamer signed up 420,000 new members in those markets, fewer than the 600,000 it projected.

Netflix blamed the miss on recent price changes and streaming launches from competitors like Disney.

The company has been the king of streaming for years thanks to its massive global reach, seemingly endless content library and association with streaming itself.

However, the streaming market is crowded and will become more so in coming months as companies battle it out for consumers’ time and money.

Apple joined the so-called “streaming wars” when it debuted Apple TV+ in early November. The service comes with with a star-studded lineup of shows from the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey and even Snoopy. The service is also an affordable $4.99 a month, or free for a year with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or Apple TV. Netflix costs $12.99 per month for its standard plan.

About a week after the launch of Apple+ it was Disney’s turn.

Disney+ comes fully loaded with decades of films and series from the company’s massive vault, including its flagship series “The Mandalorian,” set in the Star Wars galaxy that follows a nameless bounty hunter and a cute little baby who resembles Jedi master Yoda.

Despite some day-one technical hiccups, Disney+ amassed 10 million subscribers on launch day. Like Apple, Disney comes with a price that won’t break the bank. It costs $6.99 a month.

And if Apple and Disney weren’t enough to spook Netflix investors, the streamer also competes with Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access and Hulu. Soon NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max will be added to the list of rivals as both services launch later this year. (HBO is owned by WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company.)

Netflix mentioned the growing number of competitors in its letter to investors on Tuesday.

“We have a big head start in streaming and will work to build on that by focusing on the same thing we have focused on for the past 22 years – pleasing members,” the company said. “We believe if we do that well, Netflix will continue to prosper.”

Wall Street’s anxiety around Netflix’s growth and future has hindered the stock, which is down nearly 4% over the past year. That may not seem like much of a drop but it’s glaring given that the S&P 500 gained about 29% in 2019. The stock has rebounded in the past several months.

Netflix closed out last year with a lot of buzzworthy content. Martin Scorsese’s crime epic “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach’s story of a dissolving marriage, hit the service in November and December, respectively. Both films are up for multiple Oscars at next month’s Academy Awards, including best picture.

“The Crown,” one of Netflix’s most notable and award-winning series that focuses on the British monarchy, also returned with its third season in November.

“Great content grows engagement among our members, which we believe drives word-of-mouth, improves retention and grows paid memberships,” the company said on Tuesday.

Cold snap brings chance of falling iguanas to South Florida

MIAMI (Tribune Media Wire) – Chilly with a chance of … falling iguanas?

With temperatures in South Florida set to take a rare drop into the 40s in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, and into the 30s near the gulf coast, the National Weather Service is warning that the cold air may cause the reptiles to stiffen and fall.

“This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s,” NWS Miami tweeted.

The low temperatures can create a hazard for pedestrians when the frigid air renders the cold-blooded animals immobile, causing some to fall out of trees or other high perches.

One Twitter user noted what appear to be oven mitts or mittens at the bottom of the NWS graphic, and jokingly asked if they were for catching the iguanas.

“Those are more for covering your hands…but interesting take,” NWS Miami replied. “We didn’t think of that!”

Jan 21 – This isn't something we usually forecast, but don't be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr! #flwx #miami pic.twitter.com/rsbzNMgO01

— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) January 21, 2020

 

Star Wars spoiler discussion: Featuring a guy who got paid to watch all the movies

In this Podcast Brody Wooddell and Jordan Franks sit down to talk all things Star Wars with Aaron Fullan. Aaron was lucky enough to get paid to watch every star wars movie in the week leading up to the release of Rise of Skywalker. We talk about his experience and discuss the state of the franchise as well as the new movie!

Note: Due to the size of the file video is only available for the first few minutes but you can listen to the entire hour-long discussion!

Rock Island board to consider historic courthouse offer from local real estate developer

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- A local real estate developer plans to make an offer to buy the Rock Island County Courthouse during the January 21 county board meeting.

According to a release, Joe Lemon will offer $500,000 along with an agreement to invest 8-million dollars to restore the building.

Lemon says he's made similar offers in the past to buy the courthouse, but he was turned down.

Demolition of the courthouse was approved last January but a preservationist group filed a lawsuit one month later to stop it from coming down. Rock Island county continues to appeal the suit.

Rock Island County board to consider sale price for Hope Creek

MOLINE, Illinois-- The Rock Island County Board is expected to discuss setting a sale price for Hope Creek Care Center tonight.

The County listed the center for 19-million dollars, the amount needed to pay off the nursing home's debt.

The county says it's negotiating with a private company but that buyer only offered six-million dollars for Hope Creek.

 

Moline pushes for transparency in 2020 after previous staff had different priorities

MOLINE, Illinois – On Monday, people who live in Moline can watch the city council meeting live from their home for the first time.

Recording city council meetings for the public to see is what cities like Rock Island and Bettendorf have done for decades, but Moline decided to implement them this year.

“Previous administration it was a goal and they just weren’t responding to it,” says Sonia Berg, City of Moline Alderman-at-Large.

City Council members say it boils down to the two previous city administrations.  To them, transparency and video recording wasn’t a priority.

“We’re glad it’s finally here,” says Berg. “Like I said if we could have done this three years ago it would have been done three years ago.”

With a new interim city administrator and new finance director, the new $50,000 cameras make transparency a priority.

“None of us on city council are micro-managers,” Berg says. “There’s just priorities and we expect staff will get stuff done that we ask.”

In 2019, the City of Moline lost several city staff members.  Berg says this new implementation is not because of last year’s position vacancies, but to keep citizens in the loop.

“We don’t have a lot of residents come down to the city council meetings,” Berg admits. “This is going to be great for them to stay at home and view what’s happening at the city.”

Council meeting videos will be posted on the city’s website, Facebook page, and it will run on the city’s Mediacom channel.

The city has also partnered with LiveStories to clearly communicate how Moline’s tax dollars are being invested.

Senate impeachment trial: Republicans vote to table Schumer amendment seeking documents

(CNN) — Senate Republicans defeated an amendment from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday to subpoena the White House for Ukraine documents on the opening day of the bitterly fought impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The amendment was killed by Republicans on a party-line vote, 53-47. Schumer is proposing additional amendments — including to subpoena the State Department — which are also likely to be defeated by Republicans as the Senate debates a resolution to set the rules of the trial.

LIVE UPDATES: Impeachment trial of President Trump

The debate over the trial rules played out after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed the resolution detailing the procedures shortly before the trial gaveled in Tuesday amid concerns from some key Senate Republicans and an uproar from Democrats.

The new resolution will give the House impeachment managers and the President’s team three days each to make their 24 hours of trial arguments, instead of two as McConnell had initially proposed. There were also changes to the section of the resolution that would not have admitted the House’s evidence without a vote — now, evidence will be admitted automatically unless there is a motion from the President’s team to throw out evidence.

But the changes did little to satisfy Democrats in either chamber, who have accused McConnell and Senate Republicans of working with the President to rush through the impeachment trial.

Two GOP aides said the changes McConnell made were the result of concerns from moderate Republicans. The alterations were hand-written into the resolution — a sign they were hastily put together before the trial began early afternoon Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and other colleagues “raised concerns about the 24 hours of opening statements in two days and the admission of the House transcript is the record,” Annie Clark, a Collins spokeswoman, told CNN. “Her position has been that the trial should follow the Clinton model as much as possible. She thinks these changes are a significant improvement.”

The move is a sign of how closely McConnell, who cannot afford to lose more than four GOP senators to keep control of the trial, is keeping the pulse of the moderates in his conference.

Democrats erupted when McConnell’s four-page organizing resolution was released Monday night, dividing 24 hours over two days for opening arguments, delaying the question of witnesses until after the arguments were completed and requiring a vote for the House evidence to be submitted. Despite the changes, Democrats on Tuesday pushed for the Senate to obtain documents and witness testimony at the outset.

“If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager and a California Democrat, said during the trial debate Tuesday, “So to say, ‘Let’s just have the opening statements and then we’ll see,’ means let’s have the trial, and maybe we can just sweep this all under the rug.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer offered an amendment to McConnell’s resolution that would subpoena the White House and National Security Council for a host of documents related to Ukraine, including those related to the President’s calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, discussion of investigations related to the Bidens and Burisma, and the freezing of US security assistance to Ukraine. The Democratic leader may try to offer additional amendments on Tuesday, he said.

“The McConnell rules seem to be designed by President Trump for President Trump. It asks the Senate to rush through as fast as possible and makes getting evidence as hard as possible,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “The McConnell resolution will result in a rushed trial with little evidence in the dark of night.”

But McConnell said on the Senate floor before the trial began that he has the votes from Republicans to move forward. McConnell said his proposal tracked closely with President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial that was “fair, even-handed and tracks closely with past precedents.”

Impeachment guide: Voting on the trial rules

“Here in the Senate, the President’s lawyers will finally receive a level playing field with the House Democrats, and will finally be able to present the President’s case,” McConnell said.

Key GOP moderates like Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mitt Romney of Utah said Monday they would back McConnell’s proposed rules. McConnell worked with his moderate members to include language in the resolution that includes a vote on whether the Senate should subpoena witnesses and documents — but later in the trial.

“Overall, it aligns closely with the rules package approved 100-0 during the Clinton trial,” Romney said of McConnell’s proposed rules. “If attempts are made to vote on witnesses prior to opening arguments, I would oppose those efforts.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who is leading the President’s defense, said the President’s team backed the resolution.

“We believe that once you hear those initial presentations, the only conclusion will be that the President has done absolutely nothing wrong,” Cipollone said. “And that these articles of impeachment do not begin to approach the standard required by the Constitution.”

Trump is in Davos, Switzerland, for the Davos World Economic Forum, but he still weighed in on Twitter when the trial started on Twitter. “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!” he wrote.

Debate could go into closed session

Tuesday’s session will be the first substantive day in the Senate trial after the House impeached Trump last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. House Democrats charge that the President abused his office by withholding US security aid and a White House meeting while pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and then covered it up by obstructing the impeachment inquiry.

The House impeachment managers and the President’s legal team will debate the resolution on the Senate floor when the trial gavels in at 1 p.m. ET. There will be two hours of debate for the McConnell’s resolution and then two hours of debate for Schumer’s amendment. When senators want to debate the resolution themselves, they will have to go into closed session, removing the public and the media from the chamber, something that’s expected to occur on Tuesday.

While the main debate on Tuesday is over the rules of the trial, House Democrats also opened up another front in the fight with the President’s legal team, accusing White House counsel Pat Cipollone of being a “fact witness” in the President’s Ukraine scheme.

“You must disclose all facts and information as to which you have first-hand knowledge that will be at issue in connection with evidence you present or arguments you make in your role as the President’s legal advocate so that the Senate and chief justice can be apprised of any potential ethical issues, conflicts, or biases,” the House impeachment managers wrote to Cipollone.

The White House dismissed the House’s allegations.

“House Democrats are trying to run one of the President’s strongest advocates off the case before it even starts,” Ueland said. “They won’t succeed.”

From 1999 to now

Since the House passed the two articles of impeachment last month, McConnell has said he would follow the precedent of Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial. McConnell has pointed to the fact that the Senate put off the question of witnesses until later in the trial, after opening arguments and the senators’ period for asking questions had concluded. At that point, three witnesses were deposed, and portions of those depositions were played in the Senate chamber.

McConnell’s resolution similarly puts the question of witnesses until after each side has 24 hours for their opening arguments — split over three days now, instead of two — and 16 hours of Senate questions. At that point, the Senate will vote generally on whether it should seek witnesses and documents, and then it will consider individual witnesses.

But Democrats say there are key differences. The Senate’s Clinton witnesses had already testified before the grand jury, while the witnesses Democrats are now seeking — former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House budget official Michael Duffey and White House aide Rob Blair — refused to testify during the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Democrats have also pointed to other divergences from Clinton as a sign McConnell is trying to rush the trial. The Clinton trial still provided four days per side for opening arguments, though splitting it up over three days means it’s unlikely the sessions will stretch beyond midnight as initially expected.

Schiff on Tuesday cited the documents Democrats are seeking from the Trump administration as the most important pieces of evidence to still obtain.

“If we’re truly interested in fair trial, the first step ought to be the production of the documents,” Schiff said. “Those will reveal precisely who the most important witnesses are.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

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