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Senate Democrats will push for new voting right protections today that combine two key bills already passed by the House of Representatives. So far Democrats do not have the support needed to pass the bill. Still, the Senate cancelled its MLK Day recess in an effort to push ahead. Meanwhile, in a news conference yesterday with the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed lawmakers to take action on the legislation. NY TIMES
Dozens of Activision Blizzard employees have reportedly been fired or pushed out since last July as part of the company’s efforts to crack down on sexual harassment and misconduct. The Wall Street Journal reported the company received about 700 concerns of workplace misconduct, some of which were complaints about the same incidents, but a spokesperson disputes that number. The company was supposed to release a report on its investigation last year, but WSJ reported CEO Bobby Kotick, who has been accused of threatening a former assistant, turned it down, saying it could make the company's problems seem worse than they already did. WSJ
The kids playing their video games are better behaved than the adults making them.
OLYMPICS TICKET SALES SCRAPPED
Days after reporting its first Omicron case in Beijing, China is discontinuing ticket sales for this year’s Winter Olympics in an effort to protect viewers from catching or spreading COVID. The country had already barred tourists from spectating, leaving little room for live viewing. Only selected invited spectators, who are thoroughly screened and tested, will have a front row view to this year’s games. Japan also cancelled tickets for spectators ahead of last year's summer games over COVID concerns. SCMP
We hope they at least have those creepy cardboard cutout crowds.
AIRLINES ASK FOR ANOTHER 5G DELAY
Airlines are again asking the feds to push back the release of 5G wireless near airports. Service is set to begin on Wednesday, after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg personally intervened earlier this month. Companies warned the deployment could possibly ground thousands of flights and delay the global supply chain. Some airlines are now debating whether to cancel a number of international flights set to arrive in the U.S. tomorrow. REUTERS
5G. The G stands for grounded.
SEA OF STOLEN PACKAGES
Missing a package? It might be on a Los Angeles train track. Thieves have been raiding cargo containers for months, stealing packages from Amazon and REI and leaving behind hundreds of empty boxes and unwanted items on train tracks. Seventeen train cars derailed in the city over the weekend, though it's unclear whether it was caused by the debris. No injuries were reported, and authorities said the derailment is currently under investigation. AP
AMAZON DROPS VISA DISPUTE
Amazon backed off on a proposed ban that would stop customers from paying with UK-issued Visa credit cards on its UK site. The tech giant originally complained over high processing fees associated with the credit card transactions, but then walked back on its quibble, saying it would work with the payment card corporation to resolve the dispute instead. WSJ
You can afford it, Amazon.
Florida orange prices are blooming, as the fruit experiences its shortest crop since World War II. The major cause is citrus greening, which spreads tree lice on the fruit and lowers its lifespan. Frozen concentrated orange juice prices have surged 50% since the pandemic began and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported an increase in unusually small oranges this season. WSJ
And you thought mimosas were pricey before.
A Dubai auction house unveiled a 555.55-carat black diamond, believed to have come straight from outer space. While the rare black diamond is naturally found in Brazil and Central Africa, experts believe the gem was formed by meteorites or its impact in colliding with Earth. The diamond, dubbed “The Enigma,” will be auctioned off in London, where it's expected to go for at least $6.8 million. AP
JUST out of our price range.
Silicon Valley authorities have turned to $20 lasers to get rid of crows they say have been terrorizing Sunnyvale streets for years. For three weeks, city employees are spending hours scaring away crows with green lasers while also using a boombox to play the sounds of the birds in distress. The city says it had already tried chasing the crows away with a falcon before, but that only resulted in “limited success.” NY TIMES
Maybe some of these tech companies should pivot to crow defense systems.
LEFTOVERS: GOLDEN GIRL
Bar patrons in Mineral Point, Wisconsin have been buying pints in honor of Betty White since 2019, hoping that one day the star would make an appearance. The town is where her third husband, Allen Ludden, grew up. White never came by, but even with her passing, they’re still carrying on the tradition by donating proceeds to animal charities, a cause that was close to White’s heart. Yesterday would have been her 100th birthday. WASH POST