March 5, 2020

Apple and Netflix have become the latest companies to ditch South by Southwest 2020 amid coronavirus fears, though the event is still expected to proceed as scheduled.

Netflix has canceled all of the screenings and events it had planned for the annual festival in Austin, Texas, The Associated Press reports. The company had been set to screen five of its films, per Deadline. At the same time, Apple is also dropping out of South by Southwest, Variety reports, canceling plans to show several Apple TV+ originals.

Apple and Netflix join a growing list of companies to pull out of South by Southwest amid fears over the spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus. Amazon Studios, Facebook, Twitter, and more have also ditched plans for the event.

But South by Southwest is still set to begin on March 13. Austin public health officials said in a press conference on Wednesday that "right now there's no evidence that closing South by Southwest or other activities is going to make this community safer," CNN reports. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and dozens of high-profile speakers are scheduled to attend.

On Monday, the organizers of South by Southwest said they would proceed and are "working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event." Brendan Morrow

January 16, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants a raincheck on President Trump's State of the Union.

The Democratic leader on Wednesday officially requested that the president delay his annual address, which is currently scheduled for Jan. 29, because of the partial government shutdown. She cites "security concerns," pointing out that the event requires "weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies" that would be difficult to accomplish since "critical departments" are currently "hamstrung by furloughs."

Pelosi suggests she and Trump work together to come up with a new date for the State of the Union that would be after the government re-opens. Alternatively, she suggests Trump simply deliver his address in writing instead of in person, as presidents did before former President Woodrow Wilson's administration. She notes that this is all assuming the government doesn't re-open this week, and with negotiations stalled, there is virtually no chance it does.

That latter suggestion will probably be a non-starter with Trump, whose conservative allies in the media had suggested use the address as an opportunity to rally the nation to his side in the shutdown battle. Fox News' Sean Hannity, for instance, had argued earlier this month that Trump should continue the shutdown until the end of January and, in his State of the Union address, "take his case directly to you, we the people," reports HuffPost.

Read Pelosi's full letter below. Brendan Morrow

November 29, 2018

When it comes to President Trump's planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a lot has changed in very little time.

Trump announced on Twitter Thursday that he has canceled a meeting with Putin that was scheduled to take place at the G-20 summit on Saturday. This is in response to Russia on Sunday opening fire on Ukrainian ships and seizing their crews, per BBC News. The president had suggested in a Washington Post interview on Tuesday that he might call off the meeting because of this incident, saying "maybe I won't even have the meeting" because "I don't like that aggression. I don't like that aggression at all." Ukraine imposed martial law, citing a "highly serious threat" from Russia.

But Russia on Thursday said the meeting was good to go and had been confirmed with the White House for Saturday. Trump's decision to cancel it also came about an hour after he told reporters that the meeting would "probably" take place because "I think it's a very good time to have the meeting." Brendan Morrow

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