News Headlines - 16 February 2020

No 10 tells BBC licence fee will be scrapped | The Sunday Times

Downing Street turned on the BBC last night - vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.
In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

New York Drops Fight Against T-Mobile-Sprint Merger - The New York Times

New York on Sunday dropped its fight against the $40 billion merger of U.S. wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp, saying the state would not appeal a judge's approval of the deal.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office would end the court challenge to the 2018 merger agreement between the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers.
Instead, she said her office hopes "to work with all the parties to ensure that consumers get the best pricing and service possible, that networks are built out throughout our state, and that good-paying jobs are created here in New York."

Former Justice Dept. Lawyers Press for Barr to Step Down - The New York Times

More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.
They also urged current government employees to report any signs of unethical behavior at the Justice Department to the agency’s inspector general and to Congress.

Henoko base work should halt after report of unstable seabed : The Asahi Shimbun

Data has been revealed to show that the extremely soft ground under the seabed in parts of the reclamation area may be deeper than 70 meters, the maximum possible depth for work to shore up the ground, according to the government.
At a location in the eastern tip of the reclamation area where embankment work is to be conducted, a Defense Ministry contractor used the samples it had collected for a “physical test” to identify the type of underground soil also for checking the strength of the seabed. The contractor found that the strength of the ground was the second lowest on a scale of six in some parts deeper than 70 meters.
The Defense Ministry has downplayed the implications of the finding, pointing out that the samples were collected for a different purpose and that the test was a simple one carried out on a ship.

Elton John cuts short New Zealand gig after catching pneumonia | The Guardian

Sir Elton John has said he is “deeply upset and sorry” for cutting short a concert in New Zealand after being diagnosed with a mild form of pneumonia.
The musician, 72, was performing at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday when he lost his voice and broke down in tears on stage.
In footage shared by fans on social media, he is seen crying as he is escorted from the stage while thousands of concertgoers give him a standing ovation.







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