Jan 5, 2019

PG&E considers bankruptcy filing over potential wildfire liability

PG&E workers repair power lines destroyed by the Camp fire in November. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In an effort to shield itself from billions of dollars in potential liability costs for its role in California's deadly wildfires, utility company PG&E is considering filing for bankruptcy protection for parts or all of its business, Reuters reports.

Background: The company's equipment was linked to 17 wildfires in 2017, and PG&E has been in crisis mode since it disclosed an outage minutes before last year's Camp fire began. PG&E said on Friday that it's shaking up its board of directors and is reportedly looking to sell its natural gas division to raise cash, according to NPR. With Friday's losses, PG&E's share price has dropped 60% since the Camp fire broke out. A spokesperson told Axios that PG&E "does not comment on market rumor or speculation."

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Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.