Jan 29, 2019

California utility PG&E files for bankruptcy protection

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California’s largest utility PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, expecting to face liability costs from its potential role in deadly wildfires across the state. The filing marks a significant milestone for corporations being forced to reckon with the consequences of climate change.

The backdrop: The company said it planned to file for bankruptcy protection earlier this month. Over the last few weeks, it maintained that the filing was necessary despite being cleared of fault for the 2017 Tubbs wildfire, which would lower potential liability costs. It also faced threats of a proxy battle from major shareholder BlueMountain Capital Management and a $4 billion proposal from a consortium of investors to help the company remain solvent. PG&E asked the court for access to the $5 billion debtor-in-possession financing to keep up services throughout the bankruptcy process.

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A reckoning for Russia's space program

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SpaceX's first attempt at launching astronauts from American soil this week is a historic moment that will stress the decades-long relationship between the U.S. and Russia in space.

Why it matters: Since the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia have collaborated intimately in space. As the U.S. regains the ability to launch people with its own rockets, the future of Russia's already struggling civil space program — and how the U.S. will collaborate with it — is unclear.

The coronavirus is making it even harder to care for seniors

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Caring for older adults was already expensive, emotionally taxing and logistically difficult — and the coronavirus is only making it worse.

Why it matters: People older than 65 have the highest risk of dying from the virus, and outbreaks have been rampant in long-term care facilities. That is creating anxiety for seniors and their families.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Countries where novel coronavirus cases are falling may be hit with a "second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon, World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned during a briefing Monday. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.