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New York lawmakers vote to pause facial recognition in schools

PBS NewsHour

The New York Legislature has passed a two-year moratorium on the use of facial recognition in schools. The ban approved by the House and Senate on Wednesday follows an upstate district's adoption of the technology as part of its security plans and a lawsuit from civil rights advocates challenging that move. The legislation would prohibit the use of biometric identifying technology in schools until at least July 1, 2022, and direct the state's education commissioner to issue a report examining its potential impact on student and staff privacy and recommending guidelines. The Lockport Central School District activated its system in January after meeting conditions set by state education officials, including that no students be entered into the database of potential threats. Schools have been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Google says it won't build AI tools for oil and gas drillers

PBS NewsHour

Google says it will no longer build custom artificial intelligence tools for speeding up oil and gas extraction, separating itself from cloud computing rivals Microsoft and Amazon. A statement from the company Tuesday followed a Greenpeace report that documents how the three tech giants are using AI and computing power to help oil companies find and access oil and gas deposits in the U.S. and around the world. The environmentalist group says Amazon, Microsoft and Google have been undermining their own climate change pledges by partnering with major oil companies including Shell, BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil that have looked for new technology to get more oil and gas out of the ground. But the group applauded Google on Tuesday for taking a step away from those deals. "While Google still has a few legacy contracts with oil and gas firms, we welcome this indication from Google that it will no longer build custom solutions for upstream oil and gas extraction," said Elizabeth Jardim, senior corporate campaigner for Greenpeace USA.


Coronavirus has changed online dating. Here's why some say that's a good thing

PBS NewsHour

When California issued a stay-at-home order back in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Dana Angelo, a 33-year-old copywriter at an ad agency in Los Angeles, found herself with more free time. So, out of boredom, she turned to a social activity she could still do from home: She got back on the dating app, Bumble. Angelo said she's been rotating through online dating apps -- she's also tried Tinder and Hinge -- with minimal luck since getting out of a long-term relationship about a year ago, and had recently been taking a break. "You just see the same people on all of them and then it gets kind of depressing," Angelo said. But something surprising happened this time around: She actually met someone she genuinely likes.


House debates another round of pandemic aid as Trump vows, 'We're back'

PBS NewsHour

According to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, large-scale trials for a possible vaccine aren't expected until July. And now new questions about a COVID-19 test made by Abbott Labs and used daily at the White House. The Food and Drug Administration said late Thursday the test can sometimes give a false negative, clearing the person tested as virus-free, when he or she isn't. And, today, a blistering editorial from the "Lancet" medical journal, bashing the national pandemic response as -- quote -- "inconsistent and incoherent," accusing the Trump administration of -- quote -- "marginalizing and hobbling" the CDC, and calling on Americans to vote for a president who -- quote -- "will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics." Overseas, in China, officials said they marked one full month with no new COVID deaths.


Coronavirus has changed online dating. Here's why some say that's a good thing

PBS NewsHour

When California issued a stay-at-home order back in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Dana Angelo, a 33-year-old copywriter at an ad agency in Los Angeles, found herself with more free time. So, out of boredom, she turned to a social activity she could still do from home: She got back on the dating app, Bumble. Angelo said she's been rotating through online dating apps -- she's also tried Tinder and Hinge -- with minimal luck since getting out of a long-term relationship about a year ago, and had recently been taking a break. "You just see the same people on all of them and then it gets kind of depressing," Angelo said. But something surprising happened this time around: She actually met someone she genuinely likes.


FDA investigates COVID-19 test with false negatives

PBS NewsHour

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Steve Hahn says it will be up to the White House to determine whether it continues to use a coronavirus test that has falsely cleared patients of infection. Hahn Told CBS on Friday the FDA will keep "providing guidance to the White House regarding this test" but whether to keep using the test "will be a White House decision." The test is used daily at the White House to test President Donald Trump and key members of his staff, including the coronavirus task force. The FDA said late Thursday it was investigating preliminary data suggesting Abbott Laboratories' 15-minute test can miss COVID-19 cases, producing false negatives. Hahn told CBS the test is on the market and the FDA continues to "recommend its use or to have it available for use."


New U.S. plans reimagine fighting wildfires amid virus risks

PBS NewsHour

In new plans that offer a national reimagining of how to fight wildfires amid the risk of the coronavirus spreading through crews, it's not clear how officials will get the testing and equipment needed to keep firefighters safe in what's expected to be a difficult fire season. A U.S. group instead put together broad guidelines to consider when sending crews to blazes, with agencies and firefighting groups in different parts of the country able to tailor them to fit their needs. The wildfire season has largely begun, and states in the American West that have suffered catastrophic blazes in recent years could see higher-than-normal levels of wildfire because of drought. "This plan is intended to provide a higher-level framework of considerations and not specific operational procedures," the National Multi-Agency Coordination Group, made up of representatives from federal agencies who worked with state and local officials, wrote in each of the regional plans. "It is not written in terms of'how to' but instead provides considerations of'what,' 'why,' and'where.'"


5 tips for finding work during the COVID-19 pandemic

PBS NewsHour

This story was originally published by Next Avenue. Read all of Next Avenue's COVID-19 coverage geared toward keeping older generations informed, safe and prepared. Job hunting is never easy. But the coronavirus pandemic is creating challenges unlike any we've ever seen, with unemployment expected to hit 16% or higher and employers laying off or furloughing millions. The job search engine site Indeed says job postings in late April were more than a third lower than a year ago.


U.S. awards 29 Purple Hearts for brain injuries in Iran attack

PBS NewsHour

Six Army soldiers who were injured in a ballistic missile attack in Iraq in January have been awarded Purple Hearts, and 23 others have been approved for the award and will get them later this week, U.S. Central Command said Monday. Bill Urban said the awards were approved by Lt. Gen. Pat White, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, following a review. About 110 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the Iranian ballistic missile attack at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq on Jan. 8. More than a dozen missiles struck the base in an attack that Iran carried out as retaliation for a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed Tehran's most powerful general, Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 3. Troops at al-Asad were warned of an incoming attack, and most were in bunkers scattered around the base. Initially, commanders and President Donald Trump said there were no injuries during the attack.


How robots and other tech can make the fight against coronavirus safer

PBS NewsHour

Humans may sometimes regard robots with apprehension or resentment over the increasing automation of labor, but the coronavirus pandemic is showing how the two can work together in new ways that might save lives during a crisis. Around the globe, robots and other technologies, like drones and telehealth devices, are being used in a variety of settings and capacities to assist in the COVID-19 response since there is a level of elevated risk for human workers. Automated devices have delivered meals to quarantined travelers in a Chinese hotel; enforced curfews in Tunisia; scanned visitors for fevers entering a South Korean hospital; monitored patients in a hard-hit Italian city; and tracked social distancing compliance from the skies in a number of cities around the world, including Elizabeth, New Jersey. Many of the technologies were available commercially prior to the coronavirus outbreak, said Texas A&M University professor Robin Murphy, who studies how robots can be deployed during disasters. But now, "they are being used 24/7 and adapted to fit the needs of those using them," Murphy added.