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A SXSW panel in March 2019. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

More than 15,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the cancellation of the upcoming SXSW festival in Austin, Texas — though organizers insist the event will go on as scheduled this month.

Why it matters: The show is a huge gathering that brings in tons of tourism revenue to the city, but also brings together people from all over the world into lots of tightly packed spaces.

What they're saying: SXSW organizers said they are "working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event."

  • "There is a lot about COVID-19 that is still unknown, but what we do know is that personal hygiene is of critical importance. We hope that people follow the science, implement the recommendations of public health agencies, and continue to participate in the activities that make our world connected ," SXSW said in a statement to Axios.
  • Change.org petition creator Shayla Lee said she is concerned about the hundreds of thousands of people who travel to Austin for the event. "I believe that having an event like this is irresponsible amid an outbreak."

The big picture: In addition to all the tech conferences being scrapped or delayed, such as Game Developers Conference, Facebook's F8 and Mobile World Congress, organizers have canceled the giant CERAWeek energy trade show that was scheduled for next week in Houston.

Go deeper

58 mins ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.

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