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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

16 mins ago - World

Jamal Khashoggi murder suspect arrested in Paris

A person holding a candle and a picture of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a vigil outside of the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A suspected member of the hit squad that murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018 was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on Tuesday, according to AP.

Why it matters: Khalid Aedh Al-Otaibi — who is one of several people sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries over Khashoggi's murder — was trying to board a flight to Riyadh and is now being held on an arrest warrant from Turkey, AP reports, citing a French judicial official.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

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