Tech

Amazon

Jeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO, Andy Jassy to take over in Q3

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will step down later this year, turning over the helm to the company's top cloud executive Andy Jassy, the company announced Tuesday. Bezos will transition to executive chairman of Amazon's board.^

Rudy Giuliani

Dominion Voting Systems sues for $1.3bn over baseless election claims

Dominion Voting Systems, the voting equipment manufacturer at the centre of baseless election fraud conspiracy theories pushed by Donald Trump and his allies, has sued the former president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in a $1.3bn defamation lawsuit. The 107-page complaint, filed in federal court on Monday, accuses the former New York City mayor of having “manufactured and disseminated” a conspiracy theory related to the company’s voting machines.

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Shortnews

COVID-19

CDC signs off on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday formally accepted the recommendation from its advisory panel that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older in the United States. The announcement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will allow vaccinations to begin as soon as the doses are received. Walensky called the decision "another milestone toward an end to the pandemic."

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COVID-19

CDC signs off on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday formally accepted the recommendation from its advisory panel that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older in the United States. The announcement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will allow vaccinations to begin as soon as the doses are received. Walensky called the decision "another milestone toward an end to the pandemic."

"This vaccine is also another important tool in our toolbox to equitably vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible," Walensky said in a statement.

A senior administration official told reporters Sunday evening that Johnson & Johnson will ship 3.9 million doses immediately, and vaccine distribution centers will start receiving them as early as Tuesday.

Experts have said the vaccine could be targeted at places like rural communities, health centers or individual physician offices because of its relatively easy storage requirements.

However, senior administration officials said the goal is equitable distribution, and doses will be allocated to states by population, just as the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are.

Most communities will have doses of all three vaccines, but not every vaccination site will because of limited availability. Officials stressed people should take whatever vaccine is available.

An administration official said the 3.9 million doses are Johnson & Johnson's entire inventory. There will not be any additional deliveries next week, and the official said governors are aware distribution through the early and middle parts of March will be "uneven."

A total 20 million doses of J&J's vaccine will be sent in March, but they will be concentrated more toward the end of the month. The U.S. has paid for 100 million doses, which the company has pledged will be delivered by June.

The U.S. paid more than $1 billion to aid in the manufacturing and delivery of J&J's vaccine. Nearly a year ago, the company also won $465 million in federal funding for vaccine research and development, bringing its U.S. funding total on the project to almost $1.5 billion.

The nation's third coronavirus vaccine arrives days after the United States surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

While nursing home deaths have sharply dropped, as have overall cases and deaths, the CDC is warning the decline in new cases has stalled amid a rise in more contagious variants of the virus.

At the same time, governors across the country are lifting coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates and capacity limits, despite warning signs of a new spike from the virus mutations.

"This third safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine comes at a potentially pivotal time," Walensky said in the statement.

"CDC’s latest data suggest that recent declines in COVID-19 cases may be stalling and potentially leveling off at still very high numbers. That is why it is so critical that we remain vigilant and consistently take all of the mitigation steps we know work to stop the spread of COVID-19 while we work our way toward mass vaccination," Walensky said.

CPAC

News outlets diverge over airing Trump's speech

CNN and MSNBC did not air former President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday while Fox News and other conservative outlets such as Newsmax and OANN carried his remarks live. Fox News began airing Trump's speech after the former president took to to the stage at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. CNN continued on with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and MSNBC continued to air its "PoliticsNation" program, though it aired a short clip from the speech.

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CPAC

News outlets diverge over airing Trump's speech

CNN and MSNBC did not air former President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday while Fox News and other conservative outlets such as Newsmax and OANN carried his remarks live. Fox News began airing Trump's speech after the former president took to to the stage at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. CNN continued on with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and MSNBC continued to air its "PoliticsNation" program, though it aired a short clip from the speech.

Trump was the last scheduled speaker to at CPAC. During his first major post-presidency address, the former president attacked the Biden administration, the media and immigrants, in many ways echoing the first campaign speech he made when announcing his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's relationship with media has largely been combative, with the former president sometimes even attacking outlets that were sympathetic to him. He attacked Fox News over its polling and after the outlet declared Biden the winner of the Arizona in the 2020 election.

During his speech, Trump also attacked the multiple changes the Biden administration made after assuming office, many of which reversed the actions of the Trump administration, including ending the transgender military ban, rejoining the Paris Climate agreement and reversing Trump's visa ban on legal immigration.

He also repeated numerous false claims about voter fraud and the results of the 2020 election.

Trump revealed in his speech that he would not be starting a new political party, ending speculation that he was starting a separate party.

Payments

Federal Reserve suffers widespread disruption

The Federal Reserve suffered a widespread disruption in multiple payment services Wednesday, including a system that banks and businesses rely on to zip trillions of dollars around the financial system each day. After experiencing problems for several hours, the crucial payment system, known as Fedwire, resumed normal operations shortly before 3 p.m. ET, according to the Fed's website.

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Payments

Federal Reserve suffers widespread disruption

The Federal Reserve suffered a widespread disruption in multiple payment services Wednesday, including a system that banks and businesses rely on to zip trillions of dollars around the financial system each day. After experiencing problems for several hours, the crucial payment system, known as Fedwire, resumed normal operations shortly before 3 p.m. ET, according to the Fed's website.

Other Fed services are still down, however.

In a statement, the Fed blamed an "operational error" and said it is working to restore services and communicate with customers.

Banks, businesses and government agencies rely on Fedwire to transfer vast sums of money around the US banking system. More than $3 trillion was transferred daily using Fedwire during the fourth quarter.

The problems were widespread. Fed staff "became aware of a disruption for all services" beginning around 11:15 a.m. ET, according to a message on the Fed website.

"Our technical teams have determined that the cause is a Federal Reserve operational error," the message said.
In an update, the Fed said that it has "taken steps to help ensure the resilience" of Fedwire and national settlement service applications "including to the point of failure."

It's not clear how many banks or companies are affected by the outage.

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange backed by the Winklevoss twins, said some of its systems are experiencing outages because of the Fed disruption. "All funds remain secure while we investigate the issue," Gemini said in a status update.

A person familiar with the matter at a major bank told CNN Business that Fedwire flows have resumed. There are few concerns that any payments will fail to be executed due to the outage, the person added.

Neo Fascist Organization

Twitter permanently suspends 'Project Veritas' group

Twitter permanently suspended an account belonging to Project Veritas on Thursday, citing repeat violations of the site's policies against publishing private information. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the main Project Veritas account was permanently suspended, while founder James O'Keefe had his account temporarily locked. Several recent tweets on O'Keefe's timeline appeared to have been deleted by Thursday afternoon. Twitter did not immediately return a request for comment regarding private information shared by Veritas and O'Keefe.

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Neo Fascist Organization

Twitter permanently suspends 'Project Veritas' group

Twitter permanently suspended an account belonging to Project Veritas on Thursday, citing repeat violations of the site's policies against publishing private information. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the main Project Veritas account was permanently suspended, while founder James O'Keefe had his account temporarily locked. Several recent tweets on O'Keefe's timeline appeared to have been deleted by Thursday afternoon. Twitter did not immediately return a request for comment regarding private information shared by Veritas and O'Keefe.

Founded in 2010, Project Veritas is a right-wing group that routinely published undercover sting videos, some of which have been accused of deceptive editing. Last October the group was criticized after claiming to have uncovered a witness to voter fraud in Minnesota only for the witness to backtrack on his claims days later and accuse Project Veritas operatives of trying to bribe him, according to multiple reports.

The group, which frequently targets Democratic politicians and media organizations, scored a victory last year when an ABC News correspondent was suspended after a Veritas video showed him claiming that the network does not care about newsworthy issues.

They have also published videos of a "Good Morning America" anchor complaining about the network ignoring her story on disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

COVID-19

Democrats blast Facebook over anti-vaccine pages

Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) blasted Facebook over anti-vaccine pages on its platform. The Democrats wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding to know why anti-vaccination pages are allowed to spread misinformation on the platform, and how the company plans to remove them. The letter comes after anti-vaccine demonstrators staged a protest at Dodgers Stadium on Saturday, forcing the Los Angeles Fire Department to close the gates for roughly an hour.

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COVID-19

Democrats blast Facebook over anti-vaccine pages

Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) blasted Facebook over anti-vaccine pages on its platform. The Democrats wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding to know why anti-vaccination pages are allowed to spread misinformation on the platform, and how the company plans to remove them. The letter comes after anti-vaccine demonstrators staged a protest at Dodgers Stadium on Saturday, forcing the Los Angeles Fire Department to close the gates for roughly an hour.

The Washington Post reported that a Facebook page with nearly 3,000 followers organized the protest.

“California is currently being ravaged by COVID-19. Among those affected, communities of color, immigrant communities, frontline low-wage workers and other vulnerable communities bear the brunt of the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote.

“It is crucial to the fight against COVID-19, and to ensuring society can move beyond this pandemic, that such public health efforts are not interrupted. Any disruption to similar mass vaccinations sites can easily lead to unnecessary infections and deaths,” they wrote.

Gomez and Pocan asked for information on how the Facebook group was able to organize, and had websites that linked to multiple sources of coronavirus misinformation, including the baseless “Plandemic” narrative.

They also asked what actions the platform is taking to ensure similar pages and efforts are removed from the site.

“Lives are literally hanging in the balance of your corporate actions and decisions, you must do more,” the lawmakers wrote. “Congress is closely watching your response. We will not hesitate to act in this matter should it be required.”

Facebook said in December that it would remove misinformation about coronavirus vaccines as vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were nearing approval.

In October, the platform also banned advertisements that discouraged people from getting vaccines, including those that paint them as useless, harmful or unsafe.