×
November 16, 2018

Amazon's HQ2 means up to 25,000 new workers could end up in New York City. It also means there will be nearly 5,000 fewer homes for the city's residents.

Queens-based manufacturer Plaxall had developed an in-depth plan to build 4,995 new homes in Long Island City, "1,250 of which developers would have set aside for low- and middle-income New Yorkers," Politico reports. But Amazon's imminent arrival has zapped much of their plans.

On Tuesday, Amazon confirmed it would split its second headquarters between Long Island City, Queens, and Crystal City, Virginia. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio discussed the plan in a press conference later that day, saying that putting "one of the biggest companies on Earth next to the biggest public housing development in the United States — the synergy is going to be extraordinary." The mayor promised to create 300,000 affordable apartments by 2026.

But the massive Amazon deal doesn't exactly match up with De Blasio's words. Plaxall will be left with just two of the 14.7 acres it originally slated for housing, and the company might just turn those leftovers into office space, Politico says. Another developer will lose space it set aside for 1,000 new units, including 250 that would've been designated as affordable.

Queensbridge public housing residents have mixed feelings about their new neighbors, especially since "the deal does not require Amazon give preferential hiring treatment" to public housing tenants, writes the New York Post. The deal will also cost New York $1.525 billion in tax incentives, leading Long Island City's state Sen. Michael Gianaris to tell Politico "the more we learn about this deal, the worse it gets." Kathryn Krawczyk

2:21 p.m.

For those who say the midterms just ended and 2020 talk is too early: We hear you. Nevertheless, a CNN/SRSS poll is here, and we must listen.

A Democratic primary poll released Friday puts former Vice President Joe Biden on top of the list of potential Democratic candidates, with a convincing 30 percent of voters supporting him. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) comes behind him with 14 percent, and Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) is next in line with 9 percent.

Of course, none of these top candidates have fully committed to running for president. And in December 2014 — a little less than 2 years ahead of 2016's election — that race's winner hadn't announced his candidacy either. In fact, a CNN poll from four years ago predicted we'd see some now-forgotten faces on top of a GOP primary.

That's right, remember Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Ben Carson? Since topping this poll, they've most recently gained attention for doing nothing, turning down White House jobs, and purchasing a very expensive table, respectively. Eventual President Trump doesn't even appear on the list, suggesting Democrats' next leader could still be yet to come.

CNN's most recent poll surveyed 1,015 people — 463 of whom were Democrats — from Dec. 6-9 via landline and cell phone, with a 3.8 percent margin of error. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:11 p.m.

Apple just signed a massive deal that will surely make executives at Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon let out a collective "good grief."

Apple has purchased the rights to new Peanuts shows, specials, and shorts for its upcoming streaming service, per The Hollywood Reporter. The classic comic-inspired content will be produced by DHX Media, and it will reportedly include educational programming for kids, such as shorts with an astronaut Snoopy. Details about the other shows and specials haven't been revealed yet, but this will be the first new Peanuts material since the 2015 feature film The Peanuts Movie, which was released by Fox and made $246 million at the box office.

This is a huge get for Apple, which has been making moves this year to build up a library of original content with plans to launch its own streaming service to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. The details of this service, such as whether it will be a standalone app or will live on existing Apple platforms like Apple TV, haven't yet been confirmed, but one recent report suggested it will roll out within the first half of 2019, per The Information.

Ahead of the platform's launch, Apple has already reeled in talents like M. Night Shyamalan, Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, and Oprah Winfrey for other shows on the service. The company also signed a deal for new content from the Sesame Workshop in June, per The Hollywood Reporter. Needless to say, expect the escalating streaming wars, which resulted this year in more scripted content on streaming than on broadcast or cable TV for the first time ever, to become even more competitive in 2019. Brendan Morrow

1:42 p.m.

Santa Claus is not the only one coming to town this season.

It's also time for the return of a comet we only see once every five years — 46P/Wirtanen, or as it's more commonly known, the Christmas comet. This glowing green speck has been growing brighter in the sky since November, but on Sunday it will reach its peak, becoming visible even to the naked eye.

At its closest, comet 46P will be less than 7 million miles from the Earth, the tenth-closest comet we've seen since 1950, CNN reported. It won't get this close again for another 20 years, so grab your binoculars or telescope, find a patch of clear sky, and start looking.

CNN noted that the comet, while visible, usually appears with a fuzzy halo. Because comets are made of ice, as 46P passes the sun, parts of it melt and are absorbed into the expansive atmosphere that travels with it, creating the glowing green cloud that we'll be able to see this weekend.

You can check Time and Date to figure out when is best to try to see the Christmas comet for your location. But if you're worried that light pollution will hurt your chances, the Virtual Telescope Project will also be livestreaming the comet's trajectory on Sunday starting at 5 p.m. ET. Read more about the Christmas comet at CNN. Shivani Ishwar

1:28 p.m.

President Trump has just lost yet another potential chief of staff candidate.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday released a statement taking himself out of consideration to replace White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

"I've told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment," said Christie. "As a result, I have asked not to be considered for this post." He called it "an honor" to be considered.

Christie reportedly met with Trump about the role on Thursday evening, and Axios reported that he was a top contender. Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs reported later in the day that Christie was a "leading candidate," and The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey reports Trump considered him "a front-runner." CNN says, however, that Trump did not formally offer Christie the job.

When Trump announced that Kelly would be leaving the administration, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, was reportedly the only person he had in mind to replace him, but Ayers turned down the job. Trump said Thursday he has five candidates in mind — apparently, according to one report, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It remains to be seen when a decision will be made, but White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway recently suggested Kelly could end up staying in the job longer than expected. Brendan Morrow

1:10 p.m.

Two chiefs of staff walked into the White House Christmas party and, naturally, they had to capture the moment.

Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus popped up at the White House Christmas party Thursday night, despite not being an administration employee for more than a year now. Current Chief of Staff John Kelly was also there, and seeing the man he replaced drew a rare smile from Kelly as they posed in front of Christmas trees that would not make Nancy Reagan proud.

Perhaps Kelly cracked a grin because he realized Priebus is exactly where he'll be in a few weeks: anywhere but the White House. Perhaps Priebus looks more reluctant because he's reportedly still President Trump's phone buddy, and often hears about Trump's frustrations with Kelly. Perhaps neither of them should be smiling on Twitter because this pleasant party memory is better suited for Instagram.

Regardless, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wanted to make it very clear that Kelly and Priebus weren't hanging out with him.

12:58 p.m.

Johnson & Johnson had evidence for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos but did not disclose these findings with the Food and Drug Administration, a Reuters investigation discovered.

This investigation comes as the company is being sued by thousands of plaintiffs who say the talc in its products causes cancer. According to the report, Johnson & Johnson told the FDA in 1976 that asbestos was not "detected in any sample" of talc, but they didn't mention three tests that did find asbestos in its talc. In one of the tests, the amount of asbestos was reported to be "rather high." One professor looked at a sample of Shower to Shower powder and wrote that there was "incontrovertible asbestos."

Johnson & Johnson disputed the findings of this report, saying that "thousands of independent tests prove our talc does not contain asbestos or cause cancer" and that these findings were outliers. A New Jersey judge in June said that "providing the FDA favorable results showing no asbestos and withholding or failing to provide unfavorable results, which show asbestos, is a form of a misrepresentation by omission." Following the publication of this piece, Johnson & Johnson stock dropped 10.8 percent, and CNBC reports it's on pace for its worst day since 2002. Read the full investigation at Reuters. Brendan Morrow

11:59 a.m.

Friday marked six years since 28 people, mostly children, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On the same day, another threat to the school forced its evacuation.

At around 9 a.m. Friday, police say the Newtown, Connecticut school received a bomb threat and evacuated everyone inside, local ABC affiliate WCVB reports. Police later said the threat was likely not credible, but school was still canceled for the rest of the day, per local station Fox 61.

A wave of bomb threats were emailed to businesses, schools, and government buildings across the U.S. on Thursday, but were determined to be a hoax. Sandy Hook's threat didn't seem to be connected to these widespread threats, police told Fox 61. The building where the Sandy Hook shooting happened in 2012 was previously demolished and a new school was rebuilt. Police began sweeping the existing school after everyone was evacuated.

Local gun control group Newtown Action tweeted the news and asked readers to "please stand with our community as we attempt to survive another tragic anniversary." Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) quickly responded with the tweet below. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads