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Somali survivor: The resilience of living through serial suicide attacks

BBC News - World - Wed, 01/19/2022 - 01:07
Former BBC reporter Mohamed Moalimu is recovering after being targeted on Sunday in Somalia.
Categories:

Winter Olympics 2022: China sells Xinjiang as a winter sports hub

BBC News - World - Wed, 01/19/2022 - 01:05
Many foreign firms hoping to ride the Olympics boom are investing heavily in the troubled region.
Categories:

Pro-choice PAC Emily's List will cease support for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over voting rights: 'She will find herself standing alone in the next election'

Businessinsider - Wed, 01/19/2022 - 01:04
Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
  • A prominent pro-choice political action committee said it will stop supporting Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
  • Emily's Choice issued a statement slamming the senator for blocking voting rights legislation.
  • The group warned that Sinema will "find herself standing alone" in her next election. 

One of the largest pro-woman, pro-choice PACS in the country has pulled its support for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over the Arizona lawmaker's refusal to support changes to the filibuster that would allow Democrats to pass voting rights legislation.

The president of Emily's List, a political action committee focused on electing Democratic pro-choice women, announced Tuesday the organization plans to no longer support Sinema in future elections.

"Right now, Sen. Sinema's decision to reject the voice of allies, partners, and constituents who believe the importance of voting rights outweighs that of an arcane process means she will find herself standing alone in the next election," Laphonza Butler wrote in a statement.

The announcement comes days after Sinema effectively killed President Joe Biden's push to pass legislation that would protect voting rights across the country. Doing so would have required every single Democrat in the 50-50 Senate to vote in favor of overhauling the filibuster, but Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia – two moderate Democrats who have long been opposed to gutting the Senate rule – reaffirmed their resistance last week.

"While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country," Sinema said in a Thursday floor speech. 

In Tuesday's statement from Emily's List, Butler said the group contributed to Sinema's 2018 campaign but has not funded her since she was elected. The organization added that it has lobbied Sinema to support voting rights legislation in the Senate ahead of the impending 2022 elections.

"So far those concerns have not been addressed," Butler wrote.

The organization said the country has reached an inflection point in the fight for both voting rights and reproductive freedom and emphasized the necessity of "free and fair elections" in their push to elect pro-choice Democrat women.

"So, we want to make it clear: If Sen. Sinema can not support a path forward for the passage of this legislation, we believe she undermines the foundations of our democracy, her own path to victory and also the mission of Emily's List, and we will be unable to endorse her moving forward," Butler wrote.

A spokesperson for Sinema did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In the aftermath of her Thursday floor speech, Sinema has faced an onslaught of criticism from progressives and voting rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s family, who called on the Arizona lawmaker to "ensure that the Jim Crow filibuster does not stand in the way" of voting rights. 

Her critics are fundraising off her speech and looking for a challenger to primary her in 2024, with Arizona Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego, emerging as a favorite.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Joe Biden: Scoring the US president's first year in office

BBC News - World - Wed, 01/19/2022 - 01:00
Highs and lows of the president's first year - in six charts.
Categories:

A Pacific volcano erupted with an explosive force more than 600 times the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, scientists said

Businessinsider - Wed, 01/19/2022 - 00:30
Eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai off Tonga.
  • An underwater volcano erupted on January 15, covering Tongan islands with ash and causing a major tsunami, NPR reported
  • Scientists say the eruption may be the loudest since Krakatau, which killed thousands in 1883.
  • The volcano blast had an explosive yield of around 10 megatons, scientists said.

An underwater volcano forcefully erupted near the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Saturday with a powerful blast that was heard thousands of miles away in Alaska. Scientists said that it was likely one of the loudest events on the planet in the past 100 years, NPR reported.

"This might be the loudest eruption since [the eruption of the Indonesian volcano] Krakatau in 1883," US Geological Survey geophysicist Michael Poland told NPR.

The eruption was so powerful it destroyed an island and triggered a tsunami. To measure its force, scientists used a scale also used to assess the blast yield of nuclear weapons.

James Garvin, the chief scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told NPR that they came up "with a number that's around 10 megatons of TNT equivalent."

With an estimated explosive yield of 10 megatons of TNT equivalent, the volcano blast was equivalent to the force of roughly 667 "Little Boy" atomic bombs.

—US StormWatch (@US_Stormwatch) January 15, 2022

"Little Boy" was the nickname assigned to the first of only two nuclear weapons ever used in combat. The bomb was a highly-enriched uranium bomb that was dropped from a B-29 Superfortress bomber, exploded in the air with an estimated force of 15,000 tons of TNT, and leveled Hiroshima, Japan.

Throughout the Cold War, the US, alongside the Soviet Union, tested far more powerful nuclear weapons. The most powerful nuclear weapon the US ever tested was Castle Bravo, which detonated with a force of 15 megatons on March 1, 1954.

—NASAEarthdata (@NASAEarthData) January 18, 2022

In the wake of the blast, Tonga's 170 islands were covered in ash, including the airport at the capital city, Nuku'alofa, which is preventing relief flights from landing, NPR reported

Communication with the islands reportedly remain problematic due to underwater cable damage negatively impacting both international and inter-island calls.

A satellite image shows the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano before its main eruption.

The Tongan government has confirmed that along with many injuries, at least three people were killed in this event, specifically a British national, a 65-year-old woman from Mango island, and a 49-year-old man from Nomuka island.

Tsunami waves up to 15 meters ravaged Togatapu, the nation's main island, as well as the 'Eua and Ha'apai islands. All homes were destroyed on Mango island, the government report continued, also noting extensive damage on Fonoifua and Nomuka islands. 

A view through the window of a New Zealand Defence Force P-3K2 Orion surveillance flight shows heavy ash fall over Nomuka in Tonga.

Despite its massive force and destruction, the eruption was relatively small, USGS scientist Poland told NPR. Other explosions can expel ash for hours – like the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo – but this eruption spewed ash for less than 60 minutes, NPR reported.

"It had an outsized impact, well beyond the area that you would have expected if this had been completely above water," he told the outlet. "That's the thing that's just a head scratcher."

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Virgin Galactic says that remarks by its chairman Chamath Palihapitiya that 'nobody cares' about the Uyghur genocide 'do not reflect' the company's views

Businessinsider - Wed, 01/19/2022 - 00:07
Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO of Social Capital, presents during the 2018 Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., April 23, 2018.
  • Chamath Palihapitiya said on a recent podcast "nobody cares" about China's Uyghur genocide.
  • Virgin Galactic, where he is chairman, told The New York Post his remarks "do not reflect" the company's views.
  • The Golden State Warriors, of which Palihapitiya owns a minority stake, also distanced itself from his comments.

Virgin Galactic has spoken out disavowing recent remarks from its chairman, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, saying he didn't care about the Uyghur genocide in China.

In a statement Tuesday, a company spokesperson told Insider, "Virgin Galactic believes that every human being is entitled to fundamental human rights. Chamath Palihapitiya's comments do not reflect the views of Virgin Galactic and he does not speak on behalf of the company."

The New York Post previously reported Virgin Galactic's response to Palihapitiya's remarks.

Palihapitiya said on a recent episode of the "All-In" podcast, which he co-hosts, that "nobody cares about what's happening" to Uyghur Muslims in the country.

"You bring it up because you really care, and I think that's nice that you care; the rest of us don't care," Palihapitiya said while discussing human rights with his co-hosts. "I'm telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line."

"If you're asking me, do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country? Not until we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us," he added.

Human Rights Watch has estimated China is arbitrarily detaining as many as 1 million Uyghurs, an ethnic minority group whose people are predominantly Muslim, in the region of Xinjiang. In a report last year, the human rights organization said China's treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang amounted to "crimes against humanity" and included torture, labor camps, and forced sterilization.

The Golden State Warriors, of which Palihapitiya owns a minority stake, also tried to distance itself from Palihapitiya following his remarks.

"As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don't reflect those of our organization," the basketball team said in a tweet on Monday.

After drawing backlash, Palihapitiya tweeted to offer "clarifying comments" but stopped short of apologizing for his remarks.

"In re-listening to this week's podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy," he said. "I acknowledge that entirely. As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere."

Read the original article on Business Insider
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US launches website to provide free at-home COVID tests

Al Jazeera - Wed, 01/19/2022 - 00:00
With new website, launched one day ahead of official date, Americans can order up to four free test kits per household.
Categories:

January 6 select committee subpoenas Trump lawyers including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis

Businessinsider - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:49
Members of then-President Donald Trump's legal team (left to right), former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, attend a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, on November 19, 2020.
  • The select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot subpoenaed four Trump-aligned lawyers.
  • The panel wants documents and testimony from Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Boris Epshteyn.
  • Chairman Bennie Thompson said the lawyers pushed nonsense election fraud claims.

The select House panel investigating the January 6 Capitol riot on Tuesday subpoenaed four lawyers who were closely involved with then President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

The committee subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and Boris Epshteyn.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the bipartisan panel, said in a statement that the four lawyers "advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes."

The committee's announcement of the subpoenas also laid out why lawmakers are interested in talking to the four lawyers.

Giuliani "actively promoted claims of election fraud" on Trump's behalf "and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results," the statement said. The former New York mayor was also in direct contact with Trump at the time and spoke to lawmakers "regarding strategies for delaying or overturning the results of the 2020 election."

Ellis, meanwhile, wrote two memos outlining far-fetched legal theories for how then Vice President Mike Pence could reject certain Electoral College votes and throw the election to Trump.

Powell spearheaded a number of failed lawsuits that sought to overturn or nullify the election results in battleground states that Joe Biden won. She also "actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former President Trump" in both the lawsuits she filed and in her media appearances, the select committee said in its statement.

And Epshteyn is said to have attended a number of meetings at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, which were led by Giuliani and focused on installing Trump in the White House for a second term despite the fact that he lost the election to Biden.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Bernie Sanders says he would support primary challengers to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema if they continue to oppose scrapping filibuster

Businessinsider - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:48
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Bernie Sanders at the Capitol on July 29, 2020.
  • Bernie Sanders said he's open to supporting primary challengers to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
  • The moderate duo have been stalling Democrats' agenda for months and oppose changing the filibuster.
  • "They're gonna have to go home and explain to their constituents," Sanders said.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont opened the door on Tuesday to support primary challengers to Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin when both come up for reelection in 2024. 

Speaking with reporters ahead of a caucus meeting, Sanders said the stakes for changing the Senate filibuster rules — which require 60 votes to end debate and thus currently gives Senate Republicans the power to block major pieces of legislation — are high.

"What's at stake is the future of American democracy," said Sanders. "And the fact that all over this country, Republican governors and legislators are moving aggressively to suppress the vote and to impose extreme gerrymandering, among many other things."

"Anybody who believes in American democracy has got to vote to enable us to go forward with 50 votes to suspend the filibuster, at least on this vote," he added.

Democrats are pushing reforms to the Senate filibuster to ensure passage of major voting rights legislation, and are expected to vote on a rules change to return to the so-called talking filibuster. Both Manchin and Sinema, however, have made their opposition clear to lowering the current 60-vote threshold to end debate on legislation. And Manchin opposes making changes to the senate's rules along party lines. 

Sanders left it up to voters when asked by Punchbowl News what he thought about potential primary challenges for the duo, and any other senators who oppose changing filibuster rules.

"There's a very good chance that people in those states— it's up to the people in those states but it's not just even the voting rights," he said. Asked whether he himself would support a primary challenger, Sanders answered in the affirmative without elaborating further.

"Well, yeah, I would," he said.

Progressive Democrats are increasingly looking for a candidate to challenge Sinema in 2024 following her reaffirmation of her opposition to changing Senate filibuster rules last week, with Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona emerging as a strong potential primary contender. Another shoe dropped for Sinema on Tuesday when EMILY's List, a group that backs pro-choice Democrats for office, said it would not endorse Sinema for reelection in 2024 if she continued to oppose filibuster reforms. 

As for Manchin, he said at a press conference outside his office on Tuesday that he doesn't mind the prospect of a challenger.

"Bring it on," he said when asked about the idea.

Manchin, who represents a deeply conservative state, easily defeated a progressive primary challenger, Paula Jean Swearengin, in 2018 with nearly 70% of the vote. Swearengin, whose run against Manchin was featured in the 2019 documentary "Knock Down the House," was endorsed by groups including Justice Democrats and The People for Bernie Sanders (though not Sanders himself). 

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also notably did not unequivocally oppose backing primary challengers to Manchin and Sinema when asked about the idea when taking questions from reporters on Tuesday evening. 

"I'm not getting into the politics," Schumer said, shaking his head in dismay at the question. "This is a substantive, serious issue." 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Tonga tsunami: Race for vital supplies to reach volcano-hit islands

BBC News - World - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:34
Teams work desperately to clear ash from runways so planes can deliver food and drinking water.
Categories:

Colombia’s Ingrid Betancourt announces presidential bid

Al Jazeera - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:27
Betancourt was kidnapped by FARC rebels in 2002 while campaigning for president, and held captive for six years.
Categories:

The feds asked about Trump's role in the January 6 attack, according to a Capitol rioter's latest court filing

Businessinsider - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:12
A composite image showing Straka in 2018 (R) and a screenshot sent to the FBI, allegedly showing him at the Capitol riot.
  • A Capitol rioter said DOJ was focused on establishing an 'organized conspiracy' with Trump.
  • Brandon Straka spoke at a "Stop the Steal" rally the day before joining the January 6 attack.
  • DOJ said Straka used his public profile to promote his involvement in the Capitol siege.

Federal investigators focused their questioning of a high-profile Capitol rioter on establishing an "organized conspiracy" between former President Donald Trump and his political allies to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden's electoral victory, a defense lawyer said Tuesday.

The assertion marked a rare mention — in the thousands of pages of court filings connected to the January 6 attack — of the Justice Department asking questions about a potential conspiracy involving Trump to interfere with the peaceful handoff of power. It came in a court filing from a defense lawyer representing Brandon Straka, a New York City hairstylist who is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday for his role in the January 6, 2021, breach of the Capitol.

Straka's lawyer, Bilal Essayli, wrote in the 14-page court filing that his client's cooperation with federal investigators included voluntarily submitting to three government interviews.

"During the interviews the government was focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between defendant, President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president, to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress on January 6," Essayli wrote, while adding that Straka had "answered all questions truthfully and denied the existence of any such plot."

The attorney also asserted that the FBI had found no evidence of a centralized effort to interfere with the peaceful handoff of power, citing an August 2021 Reuters story with the headline, "Exclusive: FBI finds scant evidence U.S. Capitol attack was coordinated – sources."

A spokesperson for the US attorney's office in Washington, DC, declined to comment. Essayli did not immediately respond to an interview request.

Essayli's filing came nearly two weeks after Attorney General Merrick Garland, on the eve of the first anniversary of the Capitol attack, said the Justice Department was "committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy."

President Donald Trump arrives at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.Trump-appointed judge to sentence January 6 rioter

Straka pleaded guilty in October to a single disorderly conduct charge stemming from his role in the Capitol attack that left five dead and more than 100 police officers injured. He also spoke at a "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington and on January 7 posted a nearly hour-long video recounting his role in the Capitol siege, according to an FBI affidavit.

"The plan was always to go to the Capitol. We were going to march from that event … to the Capitol, and there was going to be another rally. I was one of the speakers slated to speak at the Capitol," Straka said in the video.

More than 700 people have been charged in the year since the Capitol breach, but Straka is among the few speakers at pro-Trump events leading up to the attack who has faced prosecution so far.

The special House committee investigating the January 6 attack has also taken an interest in Straka. The panel named him in a request to the National Archives seeking records from the Trump White House.

Tuesday's submission from Straka's lawyer came in response to the Justice Department's recommendation that he receive a sentence including four months of home detention and three years of probation.  DOJ argued that its recommendation should be handed down because Straka is a social media influencer with a "significant public profile," which prosecutors said he used to promote his conduct on January 6.

Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee, is set to sentence Straka on Thursday. His attorney argues Straka should receive a sentence with a brief term of house arrest and community service.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Tom Cotton says Warriors co-owner should be forced to sell his stake in the NBA team following his comments that 'nobody cares about' the Uyghur genocide in China

Businessinsider - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:10
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.
  • Tom Cotton wants a Warriors co-owner forced out after he said that people don't really care about atrocities against Uyghur Muslims in China.
  • Chamath Palihapitiya has clarified his comments, but he has not issued a full apology.
  • Republicans have assailed the NBA over how it manages its relationship with China.

Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, called on the NBA to force Warriors co-owner Chamath Palihapitiya to sell his stake in the franchise following Palihapitiya's recent comments that "nobody cares about what's happening" to Uyghur Muslims in China.

"The NBA has investigated owners and forced a sale after outrageous comments before, and it even moved the All-Star game to protest a North Carolina law saying boys and girls shouldn't use the same bathroom," Cotton said in a statement. "The league will prove itself greedy, spineless, and hypocritical if it doesn't force Palihapitiya to sell his interest in the Warriors."

Palihapitiya, a billionaire investor who owns a 10% stake in the franchise, said during an episode of the "All-In" podcast that he was telling a "very hard ugly truth" about how little people care about how Chinese authorities are treating Uyghur Muslims. Human Rights Watch and other international watchdogs have documented repeated atrocities against Uyghurs, including forced labor, sexual violence, torture, and murder. Beijing, which has a history of not being truthful about its human rights record, has denied any such claims.

After an immense backlash, Palihapitiya clarified his remarks but stopped short of a full apology.

Cotton's demands lean on aggressive actions the league has made before against ownership. The league charged Clippers Owner Donald Sterling with damaging his reputation in 2014 after a series of racist comments, including some directed at Lakers legend Magic Johnson. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling, who had owned the team for decades, from the league and set in motion a process that forced the team's sale.

The NBA also moved its 2017 all-star game out of North Carolina after the state passed a controversial bill that limited transgender people's use of public restrooms. The professional basketball league was far from the only entity to distance itself from the state.

Top players and league officials view China as a key market for the game's future. The NBA's relationship with China became an intense focus for GOP lawmakers in 2019 after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for protesters in Hong Kong.

President Biden signed into law last year bipartisan legislation that bans the import of products made by Chinese companies in the region where atrocities against Uyghurs are being committed. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Apple tells US lawmakers antitrust laws will harm user privacy

Al Jazeera - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:07
If US legislation becomes law, it would make it difficult for Apple to collect its 15% to 30% App Store commission.
Categories:

CEO Brian Chesky says he's now 'living on Airbnb,' and that half of bookings on the platform are for a week or longer

Businessinsider - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:03
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky
  • Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, said he is now living on the platform.
  • "I'll be coming back to San Francisco often, but for now my home will be an Airbnb somewhere," he tweeted.
  • More Airbnb users are extending their stays beyond a week, some up to three months.

Brian Chesky is taking his show on the road.

"Starting today, I'm living on Airbnb," the CEO said in a tweet thread on Tuesday.

"This week I'm in Atlanta. I'll be coming back to San Francisco often, but for now my home will be an Airbnb somewhere," he added.

In his thread, Chesky said that the pandemic and the rise of remote work has allowed millions of people to live and work from anywhere.

He highlighted company data from the past year showing that half of the nights booked on Airbnb's platform were for stays longer than a week, roughly a fifth of nights booked were for stays of longer than a month, and about 100,000 Airbnb users booked stays of three months or longer.

"This trend is kind of like a decentralization of living, and it's changing the identity of travel," he said.

Chesky also said that his journeys will help the company better understand the customer experience and make improvements, a la Undercover Boss.

Last summer, the company rolled out new options for the digital nomad set, including a tool to verify internet speeds and an option to reserve bookings up to a year in advance.

"In 2022, I think the biggest trend in travel will be people spreading out to thousands of towns and cities, staying for weeks, months, or even entire seasons at a time," Chesky said.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Grammy Awards pushed to April due to coronavirus

Al Jazeera - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:00
Music awards ceremony is rescheduled to April 3 in Las Vegas amid rising COVID-19 infections linked to Omicron variant.
Categories:

In a first, a Tesla driver is facing felony charges for a fatal Autopilot crash

Businessinsider - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 22:50
Tesla's Autopilot system has come under fire from federal regulators over safety concerns.
  • A Tesla driver was charged with manslaughter following a crash involving Autopilot, the AP reports
  • It appears to be the first time a fatal Autopilot crash has led to felony charges for the driver. 
  • Tesla's driver-assistance features are under intense scrutiny by federal safety regulators. 

A Tesla driver in California was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter after crashing into another car and killing two people while his car was on Autopilot, the Associated Press first reported on Tuesday.

It appears to be the first time a driver using semi-automated driving technology has been charged with a felony in relation to a deadly crash, the AP said. State prosecutors filed charges against the driver, Kevin George Aziz Riad, in October, court records show, though detailed documents were only recently released.

The deadly events unfolded in a Los Angeles suburb in December 2019, when Riad's Model S sedan left the freeway, ran a red light, and crashed into a Honda Civic, the AP said, citing police reports. Two of the Civic's occupants were killed, and their families are suing Tesla and Riad separately from the criminal charges, the AP reported.

Riad has pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 23, court documents show. According to the AP, prosecutors did not mention Autopilot, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed the technology was engaged during the crash. 

The charges come amid intense scrutiny of Autopilot, Tesla's advanced driver-assistance system that uses an array of cameras to maintain a vehicle's speed, follow curves in the road, and keep a set distance to the car ahead.

Autopilot doesn't make vehicles autonomous — no commercially available technology does — and critics say it's too easy to abuse by not paying attention to the road. Safety advocates have also said Tesla's branding of Autopilot and a more advanced feature, Full Self-Driving, is misleading and overstates their capabilities. 

NHTSA has long investigated Autopilot's shortcomings. It's currently looking into a dozen crashes where Teslas with driver-assistance features switched on barreled into stopped emergency vehicles. The family of a 15-year-old boy who was killed when a Tesla crashed into his family's pickup truck is suing the electric automaker, alleging that Autopilot was partially to blame. 

Tesla did not respond to Insider or the AP's request for comment. The company says that drivers need to pay full attention when Autopilot is engaged and maintains that the technology makes roads safer

Do you have a story to share about your experience with Tesla Autopilot or other driver-assistance technology? Contact this reporter at tlevin@insider.com

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Microsoft is quietly bringing in billions from its Netflix-like Game Pass service as subscribers top 25 million

Businessinsider - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 22:39
  • Microsoft's subscription gaming service, Xbox Game Pass, has over 25 million subscribers.
  • At a minimum of $10 per month, Microsoft is bringing in a quarter billion dollars every month.
  • If subscriber numbers stay flat, Microsoft is on track to bring in approximately $4 billion on Game Pass in 2022.

Microsoft's video game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, has hit another milestone: It now has over 25 million monthly subscribers.

That's 7 million more monthly subscribers than the company reported a year ago in January 2021.

With a minimum subscription price of $10 per month, Microsoft is pulling in roughly $250 million every month from its video game subscription service. At that pace, Xbox Game Pass subscriptions are positioned to make approximately $4 billion between now and January 2023.

Game Pass has been so successful with video game players because the service offers access to a large library of games on Xbox and PC platforms for a comparatively low amount of money: Monthly plans cost only $10 or $15. At that price, the subscription is worth paying even if just one game you want is on the service.

There are a few exceptions: Introductory subscriptions cost $1 for the first month, and Microsoft has offered discounted pricing in the past for subscriptions. 

Even with those caveats, it's clear that Game Pass is a highly lucrative revenue stream for Microsoft — and it helps explain why the company was willing to shell out tens of billions of dollars on acquiring major game publishers like Zenimax Media and a planned acquisition of Activision valued at around $68.7 billion.

Soon after the acquisition of Zenimax Media closed, Microsoft added major games from its library to Game Pass — franchises like "DOOM" and "Wolfenstein," among others.

The Activision deal appears to be setting up for the same play: "We will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard's incredible catalog," Xbox head Phil Spencer said on Tuesday morning upon announcing the Activision deal, along with the updated subscriber numbers.

In the not-so-distant future, major franchises like "Call of Duty" and "Overwatch" are headed to the already popular subscription service.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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