☀ July 29: Facebook CEO questioned by Congress, watching tropical weather, inside first commercial space flight

[Your Morning]

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Here’s a look at your news across the nation:

1️⃣🍎 One of the nation’s largest teachers unions is authorizing its members to strike if their schools plan to reopen without proper safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic. Although the measure says strikes should be considered only as a “last resort,” it lists conditions the organization wants met for schools to reopen. Why it matters: The American Federation of Teachers represents 1.7 million school employees.

2️⃣💻 Four Big Tech CEOs — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple — are set to answer for their companies’ practices before Congress. Subcommittee chairman Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, has called the four companies monopolies, although he has said breaking them up should be a last resort. Why it matters: Lawmakers will be discussing whether existing competition policies and century-old antitrust laws are adequate for overseeing the tech giants, or if new legislation and enforcement funding is needed.

3️⃣🌀 Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday and is forecast to become a tropical storm that could impact Florida. The system is about 385 east-southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, as of Wednesday morning. It’s moving west-northwest at 23 mph. Why it matters: The storm is forecasted to become Tropical Storm Isaias, the ninth named storm, sometime this week.

“It just [shows] how fast this hurricane season has ramped up. Last week, Hanna was the earliest ‘H’ storm — the earliest H-named storm of the season that we’ve had on record. Before that, it was Harvey in 2005. And 2005 is kind of the hurricane season of record with just how destructive and busy it was. And this isn’t Isaias yet, but it looks like it’s going to be later this week.”

Albert Ramon, News Nation Chief METEOROLOGIST

4️⃣⚖ The Trump administration said it will reject new applications and shorten renewal periods for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is an Obama-era program that shields young people from deportation. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to let it be scrapped completely. Why it matters: The acting Homeland Security secretary said the federal government needs more time to consider next steps for the program, presenting these measures as a temporary change. About 650,000 people are part of DACA.


📱 [Trending] across the nation

The interior cabin of billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism firm Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is seen in an artist’s rendition released July 28, 2020. Virgin Galactic/Handout via REUTERS

🚀👨‍🚀 We’re getting a first look inside the future of commercial space flights. Virgin Galactic has unveiled its space plane’s cabin.

For $250,000 a ticket, passengers who have signed up for the suborbital flight aboard the air-launched plane VSS Unity will strap into six tailored, teal-colored seats and peer out of the cabin’s 12 circular windows as they ascend some 60 miles above Earth. The plane has five other windows up front.

Virgin Galactic is on track to clear its final testing milestones to obtain a commercial operating license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration after it conducts “a small number of flights” carrying four test passengers, the company said.


📅 What to watch for today

🔴 President Donald Trump will be in Texas on Wednesday. He will be touring an oil rig shortly before 3 p.m. (CT) in Midland. Trump is supposed to meet with the family of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who, investigators believe, was bludgeoned to death at Fort Hood in Texas by fellow soldier Spc. Aaron Robinson in April.

This combination of 2019-2020 photos shows Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, the four Big Tech leaders will answer for their companies’ practices before Congress at a hearing by the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Evan Vucci, Jeff Chiu, Jens Meyer)

🔴 The Four Big Tech CEO’s will begin testifying in the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust at 12 p.m. (ET).

🔴 A rate decision from the Federal Reserve could come at 2 p.m. (ET). Chair Jerome Powell is expected to speak at 2:30 p.m. (ET). There may be no changes, however, as some Fed watchers expect no rate increase until 2024.


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