Microsoft wants

Microsoft wants to make it easier to run Android apps on your PC – CNET


Microsoft is improving its Your Phone app.


Microsoft has released an update of Windows 10 to help improve the Your Phone app. Build 20226, released Wednesday to Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel, makes it easier to set up the app you can use to control your Android phone from your Windows 10 desktop

There’s a new settings page where you can link a new device and remove a device more easily, as well as switching between active devices through the app. “Now each device is identifiable on its own device card with your personally sync’d wallpaper,” Microsoft said.

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The new functionality will “gradually” roll out to Windows Insiders using Windows 10. For now, here’s how to run Android apps on your PC and how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

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ideas wants

NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark – Engadget

If NASA is going to have a long-term presence on the Moon, it’s going to need an alternative to typical solar power — lunar nights can last for over two weeks in some cases. And the agency is turning to outsiders for help. It’s partnering with HeroX on a “Watts on the Moon” crowdsourcing challenge that offers up to $5 million in total prizes if you can create energy solutions for Moon missions. The frontrunners won’t even have to wait until the technology is approved before it goes on a lunar trip.

The three-phase challenge starts with creators providing solutions that can power a mission with three activities. NASA judges will pick up to three winners for each activity and hand them $100,000 each, with as many as four runners-up getting $50,000 each. Phase 2 will task the victors with developing prototypes, and will hand out prizes worth up to $4.5 million. If one or more companies reach the third phase, they’ll team with NASA to build hardware for an “operational demonstration” on the Moon.

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Trump wants

Trump wants $5 billion from TikTok deal to teach people ‘the real history’ of US – CNN

New York (CNN Business)The back-and-forth of the TikTok deal has been rocky, but President Donald Trump is certain that he wants to use the deal to create a $5 billion fund to “educate people” about the “real history of our country.”

“I think Walmart is going to buy it along with Oracle,” Trump said on Saturday at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He went on to say that as part of the deal, he requested “$5 billion into a fund for education so we can educate people as to real history of our country — the real history, not the fake history.”
President Trump in August issued an executive order requiring the sale of TikTok by ByteDance, its Chinese parent company, to an American company. The proposed deal would see Oracle and Walmart collectively taking a 20% stake in a newly created entity, TikTok Global, which would operate in the US.
The president previously expressed a desire for the companies to make a payment to to the US Treasury as part of the TikTok deal. Now he has focused instead on the creation of a $5 billion education fund. It is not yet clear which companies would pay into such a fund.
Trump told rally attendees that TikTok is going to move to the United States — likely Texas — which will create 25,000 jobs, if it all goes as he planned.
“My only problem is they did it so fast I should have asked for more,” Trump said of the TikTok deal.
Trump also addressed education last week when he talked about “the liberal indoctrination of America’s youth” during a Constitution Day speech.
In his speech, Trump attacked the 1619 Project, an ongoing New York Times project created in August 2019 on the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. The project “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative,” according to the New York Times.
Trump, reacting to reports that the 1619 projects would be taught in California schools, wrote on Twitter in early Sept., “Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!”
It’s important to note that, if the deal proceeds, the newly created TikTok company would control the money in the fund and decide how it’s invested.

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Stuff wants

NASA wants you to dig up stuff on the Moon in pursuit of lunar exploration architecture – Teslarati

As part of NASA’s ramp up to its Artemis Moon mission in 2024, a few technologies are being sought out for development by private entities. The latest request is for the collection of a Moon sample, any sample will do, and bidding is open to any commercial entity in the world. NASA’s proposal went out on Thursday (September 10th) and was followed up with a blog post by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“As we at NASA are working aggressively to meet our near-term goal of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, our Artemis program also is focused on taking steps that will establish a safe and sustainable lunar exploration architecture,” Bridenstine explained. “Today, we’re taking a critical step forward by releasing a solicitation for commercial companies to provide proposals for the collection of space resources.”

The technology desired by NASA seems pretty straightforward: Get to the Moon and dig up some rocks and/or surface regolith, send a picture proving you did that, then transfer ownership of said rocks/regolith to NASA. The company doing the digging doesn’t even have to get the sample back to Earth – NASA will take care of that, too. The only hitch seems to be the timeline, meaning the feat has to be accomplished prior to Artemis’s launch year of 2024. Perhaps the space agency will plan to pick up its lunar property using astronauts? Considering that the sample can also be collected from anywhere on the Moon rather than limited to where Earth arrivals will be, though, maybe not.

SpaceX has its own lunar plans in cooperation with NASA. (Credit: SpaceX)

Award amounts were not specified, but some details about disbursement have been provided. NASA will award 10% of the total purchase amount when the contract is awarded, 10% after the mission launches, and the remaining 80% after the collection is complete.

“The requirements we’ve outlined are that a company will collect a small amount of Moon “dirt” or rocks from any location on the lunar surface, provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material, along with data that identifies the collection location, and conduct an “in-place” transfer of ownership of the lunar regolith or rocks to NASA,” Bridenstine detailed. “After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for our use… NASA’s goal is that the retrieval and transfer of ownership will be completed before 2024.”

It’s a bit of an unusual challenge at first glance – just dig and be done. However, NASA plans to bring back samples that its 2020 Mars Perseverance Rover (currently on the way to the red planet) will soon be digging up. The technology for Moon samples and Mars samples will almost certainly overlap, hence the investment in a lunar sample mission.

NASA has also asked commercial partners to help shuttle payloads to the Moon in a proposal published a few days before this latest sample mission. Altogether, it seems things very well may be making progress towards humans leaving Earth orbit after a near 50-year stalemate.

NASA wants you to dig up stuff on the Moon in pursuit of lunar exploration architecture

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sanctions wants

US Wants To Snap Back Sanctions On Iran Despite Ditching Nuclear Deal – NPR

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters Thursday after meeting with members of the U.N. Security Council and calling for the restoration of sanctions against Iran.

Mike Segar/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

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Mike Segar/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters Thursday after meeting with members of the U.N. Security Council and calling for the restoration of sanctions against Iran.

Mike Segar/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Six days after the Trump administration saw its effort to extend expiring U.N. weapons sanctions on Iran collapse in an embarrassing defeat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to U.N. headquarters on Thursday to try again.

This time, Pompeo went even further, pushing for a reinstatement by the U.N. Security Council not just of the arms restrictions set to expire Oct. 18, but of all the Iran sanctions that were terminated five years ago by that 15-member body.

That suspension of sanctions was part of U.N. Resolution 2231, which endorses the multination agreement — known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — that restricts Iran’s nuclear program.

Pompeo informed reporters that he had just delivered letters to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and the Security Council president, Indonesian Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani. The notifications are meant to start the clock on restoring the punitive measures against Iran the United Nations lifted in January 2016.

“This process will lead to those sanctions coming back into effect 30 days from today,” Pompeo declared. “Our message is very, very simple: The United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles and other kinds of conventional weapons.”

In his letters to the U.N. leaders, Pompeo cited, among other “incontestable” examples of Iran’s noncompliance with the nuclear agreement, Tehran’s enrichment of uranium beyond the JCPOA’s limit of 3.67%, its accumulation of an enriched uranium stockpile that exceeds 300 kilograms, and its accumulation of “excess” heavy water.

With those missives, Pompeo has invoked for the first time what’s known as a “snapback.”

It’s a provision in the U.N. resolution stipulating that if any “JCPOA participant State” notifies the Security Council of significant violations of the nuclear deal by Iran, the sanctions lifted in January 2016 will automatically be reimposed within 30 days unless the council passes a resolution in opposition.

The Trump administration, however, withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and then unilaterally reimposed sanctions as part of what it called a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

Stepping up to the same podium where Pompeo had just spoken, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations declared the U.S. had disqualified itself from invoking any snapback by pulling out of the nuclear deal.

“The U.S. is not a participant of the JCPOA and has no right to trigger the so-called snapback mechanism, and its arbitrary interpretation of resolution 2231 cannot change this reality,” Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said. “We are of the firm conviction that the letter sent by the U.S. today to the Security Council’s president and all the references therein is null and void and has no legal standing.”

The Iranian envoy pointed to the council’s Aug. 14 vote, in which only the Dominican Republic supported the U.S. push for extending the arms embargo against Iran, as showing scant desire to back Pompeo’s demand for a snapback of sanctions.

“It was a disaster. It was really something that the U.S. should have avoided because that was a clear case of isolation at the international level,” Ravanchi said of the vote’s tally of two in favor, two against and 11 abstentions. “So the permanent member of the Security Council is acting like a child who is being ridiculed by the other members of the international community.”

Pompeo, for his part, thanked the Dominican Republic for standing with the U.S. in that vote and said Germany, France and the United Kingdom — all three members of the Security Council and signatories to the JCPOA — had assured him privately that, despite their own abstentions, they did not want to see the arms embargo against Iran expire.

“And yet today, in the end, they provided no alternatives, no options,” Pompeo said of Washington’s three European allies. “Instead, they chose to side with the ayatollahs. Their actions endanger the people of Iraq, of Yemen, of Lebanon, Syria and indeed their own citizens as well.”

Pompeo insisted the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal has no bearing on its status as a participant in what he called “a political agreement” and that what matters is the language in the U.N. resolution.

“It says this set of states has the right to execute snapback. That’s not conditioned on any other activity,” Pompeo explained. “It doesn’t require compliance. It just says these countries can execute snapback. It’s very plain. It’s very simple.”

Other key members of the Security Council disagreed. One of Russia’s top diplomats on Thursday called the U.S. push to reimpose sanctions on Iran “absurd.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by Reuters as telling Russian news agencies that the U.S. has no legal or political grounds to reimpose sanctions and that attempting to do so would lead to a Security Council crisis.

And the foreign ministers of the three European nations on the council declared in a joint statement sent to NPR that they too oppose Washington’s claimed right to invoke a snapback of sanctions.

“France, Germany and the United Kingdom note that the US ceased to be a participant to the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the deal on May 8, 2018,” the trio of foreign ministers wrote after Pompeo’s presentation at the United Nations of the letters meant to initiate the snapback process. “We cannot therefore support this action which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA.”

Even John Bolton, the former national security adviser who had urged President Trump to quit the nuclear deal, endorsed the contention by the agreement’s backers that the U.S. lacks legal standing after having withdrawn from the deal.

“They’re right,” Bolton wrote Sunday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “It’s too cute by half to say we’re in the nuclear deal for purposes we want but not for those we don’t. That alone is sufficient reason not to trigger the snapback process.”

One expert on U.N. Security Council procedures noted that a resolution calling for the continued lifting of U.N. sanctions on Iran would likely be introduced in the next 30 days, and that it could be vetoed by the United States.

“You can have a resolution — it’s just never acted on,” said Columbia Law School adjunct professor Larry Johnson, a former assistant secretary-general for legal affairs at the United Nations. “Every meeting begins with, ‘Here is the proposed provisional agenda,’ and that has to be adopted by nine yes votes. So if they don’t adopt it, the meeting ends and that’s the end of it. Finished.”

Or, Johnson added, the Security Council could avoid a U.S. veto of a resolution extending the sanctions relief by considering a vote on the matter procedural — and procedural votes by the council “are not subject to a veto.”

But America’s top diplomat is confident the U.N.’s suspended sanctions against Iran will soon snap back.

“These U.N. Security Council resolutions will come back into place 31 days from now,” Pompeo predicted to reporters Thursday, “and the United States will vigorously enforce them.”

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Amazon wants

Amazon wants to turn shuttered JCPenney and Sears stores into fulfillment centers, report says –


Amazon fulfillment centers are used to store inventory like electronics, kitchen appliances and face masks, until orders are shipped to customers. (Ross D. Franklin | AP)AP

Simon Property Group Inc., the largest mall operator in the U.S., has been in talks with Amazon about transforming shuttered department stores into fulfillment centers, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon is targeting shuttered JCPenney and Sears stores operated by Simon Property Group Inc., the report says. Both companies have filed for bankruptcy, while Sears has closed just about all of its New Jersey stores.

Fulfillment centers are used to store inventory like electronics, kitchen appliances and face masks, until orders are shipped to customers, Amazon’s website says.

Simon Property Group Inc. currently has 63 JCPenney and 11 Sears stores, the report says. There are 13 Simon-owned malls and shopping centers in New Jersey, according to the company’s website.

The Wall Street Journal report did not list the potential locations that Amazon was interested in converting to fulfillment centers. An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In June, Amazon signed leases in New Jersey for 14 delivery stations, with plans to open them this year.

The online retail giant officially postponed its annual Prime Day shopping event, but is making up for it with a “Big Summer Sale” currently ongoing.


Amazon’s ‘Big Summer Sale,’ offers discounts on electronics, kitchen items, home goods, face masks

What you can buy right now to prepare for the next major storm

Walmart to offer free drive-in movies in parking lots at 160 stores (but only 1 in N.J.)

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Trump wants

Trump Wants Schools to Reopen. Americans Worry It’ll Happen Too Fast. – The New York Times

Welcome to Poll Watch, our weekly look at polling data and survey research on the candidates, voters and issues that will shape the 2020 election.

President Trump’s tone on the coronavirus changed noticeably this week. He expressed a new level of concern about the outbreak, said things would “probably, unfortunately, get worse,” and called mask-wearing a “patriotic” act.

But his heels still appear to be deeply dug in on one increasingly pressing question, despite broad public opposition: He continues to insist that schools must reopen in person.

On Thursday evening, Mr. Trump argued that schools ought to be able to “reopen safely,” even as he abandoned plans to hold the Republican National Convention in Florida because of concerns over spreading the virus.

“We cannot indefinitely stop 50 million American children from going to school, harming their mental, physical and emotional development,” he said, arguing that federal funding should be rerouted away from schools that don’t reopen in person and put toward voucher programs. “Reopening our schools is also critical to ensuring that parents can go to work and provide for their families.”

But polls show that Americans — parents in particular — remain gravely worried about sending students back to school.

An Associated Press/NORC poll this week found that most Americans said they were very or extremely concerned that reopening K-12 schools for in-person instruction would contribute to spreading the virus. Altogether, 80 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat concerned, including more than three in five Republicans.

“I have yet to see any data where there are appreciable numbers of people who say, ‘Yes, I want my kids back in school,’” Glen Bolger, a veteran Republican pollster, said in an interview. “They want their kids back in school, but not right now. I think safety is taking priority over education.”

“It shows you how nervous Americans are about coronavirus,” he added. “Because let’s face it, virtual learning couldn’t be worse — yet large numbers of parents say, ‘We’re not putting our kids back in school.’”

Sixty percent of respondents to the A.P./NORC poll said it was “essential” that schools be able to provide a mix of in-person and virtual learning. Another 24 percent viewed this as important, though not essential.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans said in the poll either that K-12 schools should reopen only if they made major adjustments (46 percent), or that they shouldn’t reopen at all (31 percent). Even among Republicans, 57 percent of respondents chose one of those options.

By a two-to-one margin, Americans said in a Quinnipiac University poll released last week that they thought it would not be safe to send children back to elementary school in the fall. And by roughly the same spread, they said they disliked how Mr. Trump was dealing with the reopening of schools.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released on Thursday, 60 percent of parents with children in elementary school said that they would rather schools reopen more slowly to ensure safety, versus 34 percent who said they wanted schools to prioritize reopening swiftly so that parents can get back to work and students can return to a normal learning environment.

Mollyann Brodie, the director of Kaiser’s polling operation, said her team’s research showed that many Americans — particularly working-class people — were indeed worried about getting the economy back up and running. But safety concerns won out.

“Getting parents back in the work force and getting the economy going again — he has a lot to gain from that, right?” Dr. Brodie said, referring to Mr. Trump. “But the problem is that before you get that win, 60 percent are worried about coming back.”

“Parents are between a rock and a hard place,” she said.

From a political perspective, this issue touches on a more deeply seated problem for Mr. Trump, one that his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., has worked to exploit: the degree to which Americans do — and more frequently, do not — see the president as empathetic and understanding.

In a recently filmed conversation with former President Barack Obama, Mr. Biden tweaked Mr. Trump for his “inability to get a sense of what people are going through” when it comes to the virus.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week, when asked to choose between Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden on who better “understands the problems of people like you,” 52 percent of Americans chose Mr. Biden; 35 percent chose the president.

Since the pandemic began, approval of Mr. Trump’s response has flipped from being generally positive to decidedly negative. Most polls now show the president’s coronavirus approval rating about 20 percentage points in the red.

Looking ahead to November, the issue of school reopenings could become an especially hot topic in key battleground states, particularly those like Florida and Texas where the virus continues to surge.

A Quinnipiac poll of Florida released Thursday found that 62 percent of voters there thought it would be unsafe to send students back to elementary school in the fall.

The state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has echoed Mr. Trump’s insistence that schools come back for in-person classes, drawing rebukes from Democrats and a lawsuit from teachers’ unions.

By a 19-point margin, Florida voters tended to disapprove of how their governor was handling reopening schools. They disapproved of the president’s approach by 23 points.

In Texas, recent polls have shown Mr. Biden with a roughly even shot at becoming the first Democrat since 1976 to win the state’s plentiful Electoral College haul. Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, backed off a demand that all schools return to in-person classes within the first three weeks of the semester.

Fifty-two percent of Texas voters told Quinnipiac interviewers that Mr. Abbott had pushed to reopen the state too quickly, versus just 13 percent saying he had moved too slowly, according to a poll of the state released this week. As in Florida, roughly six in 10 Texas voters said they thought it would be unsafe to bring K-12 schools back in person.

Updated July 23, 2020

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Trump wants

Trump wants a payroll tax cut in the next stimulus package. It’s a bad idea. – The Washington Post

There are things that make great sense in theory but make no sense in the actual world in which we live. President Trump’s idea of eliminating (or modifying or who-knows-what-ing) the Social Security-Medicare payroll tax as part of an economic stimulus package is a classic example of something that makes no sense in the real world.

In theory, eliminating or reducing payroll taxes is the quickest and cleanest way to stimulate the economy for people who have jobs. Suddenly, those people are taking home more money than they were. That’s why payroll taxes have been cut before to stimulate the economy, and it seems to have worked.

But in our current environment, it makes no sense to cut or eliminate the payroll tax — paid equally by employees and employers — to provide emergency assistance to people in need and boost the economy, which needs all the stimulus it can get.

Let me show you why I say that.

For starters, eliminating the payroll tax — which is levied on employment income — wouldn’t help the tens of millions of people who have lost their jobs since the novel coronavirus upended the economy.

It’s sort of obvious, if you think about it. If you don’t have a job, you’re not paying payroll tax. So eliminating the payroll tax wouldn’t put any more money in your pocket.

And as a class, recently unemployed people are the ones most in need of a quick financial fix. That’s especially true given the looming July 31 end for some of the benefits they’ve been getting under the Cares Act. Cutting or eliminating the payroll tax wouldn’t help them in any way that I can see.

Even if Congress decides to go along with what Trump proposes, once we get to see what it is, implementing a payroll tax cut more than halfway through the year would be incredibly messy.

Let me explain.

The payroll tax this year consists of 12.4 percent of an employee’s first $137,700 of salary for Social Security, and 2.9 percent of all salary for Medicare. It’s split evenly between employer and employee: 6.2 percent each for Social Security up to $137,700; 1.45 percent each on all salary for Medicare.

If the year were just starting or just about to start, it would be relatively simple for employers to cut back or eliminate the payroll tax to put more money in employees’ pockets. And possibly in their own pockets as well.

But we’re in the second half of July. Which means that employees who’ve managed to keep their jobs have been paying payroll tax for close to eight months. As have their employers.

Are you going to have the Treasury send employees (and possibly employers) refunds of the Social Security and Medicare taxes they’ve paid so far this year? Good luck with making that work.

Are you going to have employers cut checks to current employees and to former employees who’ve lost their jobs this year, and get the Treasury to reimburse employers for the cost? Good luck with that, too.

And finally: The higher your salary, the more you and your employer pay in Social Security and Medicare taxes — and the more benefit you derive from reductions in those taxes. Should we cut taxes for the highly paid as part of an emergency stimulus package to help people in need? I don’t think so.

I don’t know where Trump got his cut-the-payroll-tax idea, but he ought to send it back where it came from. Along with a tweet saying IT’S BEEN VETOED.

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bases wants

ESA wants to make Moon bases out of astronaut pee – BGR

  • The European Space Agency says urine could play a major role in the construction of lunar bases.
  • The urea in urine makes it an ideal ingredient to combine with lunar soil, creating a sort of ‘lunar concrete’ that hardens into rigid shapes. 
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Not long ago, researchers published a study revealing that a combination of pee and lunar soil may provide suitable building material for space travelers. The study suggested that the urea in astronaut urine could play a crucial role in mixing a concrete-like material for construction purposes. Now, the European Space Agency is doubling down on the idea, noting that astronaut pee will likely play a big role in space exploration.

With NASA, China, and the ESA all eyeing Moon missions in the coming years, the idea of setting up semi-permanent lunar bases is getting some serious attention. Many possible options have been proposed, including using hollow lunar lava tubes as makeshift homes.

While Moon caves might work in a pinch, it would be ideal if astronauts could rapidly build shelters that would protect them while offering them an opportunity to carry out scientific objectives. That means having material readily available to use for construction, but hauling supplies into space is already a challenge, and it wouldn’t be feasible to expect a mission to carry building materials on top of everything else.

The good news is that the Moon is big, rocky, and covered in loose lunar soil called regolith. It’s a material that may have many uses, but in this context, its most important attribute is that, when combined with urine, it becomes a workable substance that eventually hardens. Like concrete, it could be formed into foundations for structures or even bricks to provide support and protection.

“The science community is particularly impressed by the high strength of this new recipe compared to other materials, but also attracted by the fact that we could use what’s already on the Moon,” Marlies Arnhof of the ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team said in a statement. “Urea is cheap and readily available, but also helps making strong construction material for a Moon base.”

In the study, scientists used simulated lunar regolith and experimented with various mixtures to find the right consistency. Once that ratio was nailed down, they tested the properties of the resulting “lunar concrete.” One of the big benefits of using a material that is already present on the Moon is that it holds up well against the harsh conditions present there. In their testing, the researchers noted that the samples withstood temperatures ranging from -112 degrees to 237 degrees Fahrenheit.

We’re obviously still not at a point where we can even begin to plan for lunar base construction, and even if NASA manages to achieve its lofty goal of sending humans back to the Moon by 2024, they definitely won’t be doing any base building while they’re there. Still, lunar bases may be a possibility in the not-so-distant future, and if they are, pee will probably be part of the plan.

Image Source: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today,, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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Trump wants

Trump says he still wants to terminate Obamacare ‘because it’s bad’ – Reuters

Asked if he still supported the lawsuit calling to invalidate Obamacare, President Donald Trump said he did.


Reuters brings you the latest business, finance and breaking news video from around the globe. Our reputation for accuracy and impartiality is unparalleled.

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