Jan 25, 2017

Senators to AT&T: Show us benefits of Time Warner merger​

Senate Democrats want AT&T to prove to them that the benefits of the $85 billion merger will outweigh any harms to consumers.

Why? Typically, this kind of merger goes through an FCC review, during which the merging companies demonstrate how the deal will serve the "public interest." In this case, AT&T and Time Warner have opted not to transfer spectrum licenses, thereby skirting the FCC's review process. So Senators including Bernie Sander, Ed Markey, Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Patrick Leahy and Cory Booker — who are generally skeptical of industry consolidation — are trying to fill that void. They said:

AT&T is already the world's largest pay-TV provider and the largest telecommunications company. Combining it with one of the world's largest producers of content gives AT&T-Time Warner both the incentive and the ability to use its platform to harm competitors, and as a result, consumers.

AT&T says: "The merger will create more competition for cable TV providers, giving consumers more options and accelerating next generation wireless broadband."

Of note: AT&T also said it's handing over "millions of documents" as part of the DoJ's antitrust review of the deal. However, most documents in that process aren't made public.

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South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures as coronavirus cases jump

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures, with several towns in the north effectively placed in lockdown, as it confirmed two deaths and infections rose to 79.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).