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Antarctica registers record temperature as climate change progresses

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A frozen section of the Ross Sea at the Scott Base in Antarctica on November 12, 2016.

Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

Antarctica just broke its hottest temperature ever recorded at 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit as climate change continues to accelerate, according to measurements from an Argentinian research station thermometer.

The reading was taken at the Esperanza Base along Antarctica’s Trinity Peninsula on Thursday. It beats the continent’s previous record of 63.5 degrees tallied in March 2015, and comes shortly after the Earth saw its hottest January on record and hottest decade on record in the 2010s.

Scientists say that they see no end to the way climate change continues to shatter temperature records across the world, including in Antarctica, which is one of the fastest-warming regions in the world.

Antarctica’s record-breaking temperature has not yet been verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WHO), which will have a committee confirm the new Esperanza record.

“Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record, but we will of course begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event,” said WMO’s Weather and Climate Extremes rapporteur Randall Cerveny.

Research shows that Antarctica’s glaciers are rapidly melting as the planet warms, releasing enough water to significantly raise global sea levels. The amount of ice lost each year from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017, according to the WHO.

Roughly 87% of glaciers along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have retreated over the last half-century, with most showing an accelerated retreat in the last 12 years. The Peninsula is expected to see additional extreme warmth in the upcoming days.

Ice floats near the coast of West Antarctica as viewed from a window of a NASA Operation IceBridge airplane on October 28, 2016 in-flight over Antarctica.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

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Stock futures positive as market tries to rebound from second quarter’s rocky start

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U.S. stock futures rose in overnight trading and pointed to gains at the open on Thursday, as markets try to rebound after kicking off the second quarter in the red.

Dow futures rose 104 points, indicating a 41-point gain at the open on Thursday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were also set to open modestly higher.

Stocks posted steep losses on Wednesday to begin the second quarter, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc on global markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 4.4%, or 973.65 points, lower at 20,943.51. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also closed 4.4% lower, at 2,470.50 and 7,360.58, respectively. Stock losses accelerated minutes before the close, although the major averages did manage to end the session off the lows of the day. The Dow briefly fell more than 1,100 points.

The utilities, real estate and financials sectors dragged the S&P 500 lower, while Boeing and American Express were the Dow’s biggest underperformers, falling 12% and 9%, respectively.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he is closing all New York City playgrounds, and said that the state’s model projects a high death rate through July. He also said cases in New York state now total more than 83,000.

His comments came after President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening that the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks.” White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S.

The coronavirus outbreak, which sent global markets tumbling in the first quarter, continues to act as a headwind for the market as investors grapple with the ongoing uncertainty around how long the economy will be closed.

“While April will be an extremely volatile month in terms of both the news flow and stock market reactions, I do think many are anticipating this,” Bleakley Advisory Group chief investment officer Peter Boockvar said Wednesday. “What is not priced in I believe because it’s obviously hugely unknown is what is on the other end come May. How contained will this virus spread be by then? To what extent will things begin to reopen, if at all?” 

On Tuesday, the Dow and S&P 500 closed out their worst first-quarter performances of all time. The Dow fell more than 23% in the first quarter; that was also its biggest quarterly fall since 1987. The S&P 500 fell 20% in the first quarter, its biggest quarterly loss since 2008.

“While we have not seen announcements yet, dividend cuts could be on the horizon for U.S. companies,” said New York Life Investments multi-asset portfolio strategist Lauren Goodwin.

“With a heavy hit to revenues, businesses may opt to prioritize employees and lower borrowing loads over paying dividends. This could present a risk for equities. Announcements of temporary (1-2 quarters) of dividend cuts could be priced in, but longer cuts would likely contribute to negative sentiment,” she added.

Amid the market rout, Congress passed a massive $2 trillion stimulus package in an effort to halt the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. Already, there are calls for even more stimulus.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren said Wednesday that Congress likely will have to deliver more stimulus to help those at the lower end of the economic spectrum and to boost small business.

Unemployment is likely to “rise pretty dramatically over the next couple of months” and the economic damage won’t abate until the coronavirus is brought under control, he said. “I don’t think we’ll turn a corner until people feel comfortable taking mass transit again,” he said.

– CNBC’s Jeffrey Cox and Nate Rattner contributed reporting.

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Trump says he doesn’t know if China underreported numbers

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily White House coronavirus press briefing while flanked by Attorney General William Barr April 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. doesn’t know whether the Chinese government has underreported the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country.

“I’m not an accountant from China,” Trump said when asked at a White House press briefing whether China’s numbers are accurate.

Still, Trump said that Beijing’s tally appeared “to be a little bit on the light side, and I’m being nice when I say that, relative to what we witnessed and what was reported.”

The president’s remarks came hours after a news report said the president did receive a secret intelligence brief noting that China deliberately underreported the extent of its COVID-19 outbreak.

Bloomberg, citing three U.S. officials, reported that the intelligence community made that assessment in a classified report that the White House received last week.

Trump said that “we have not received” any intelligence reports showing that China underreported its coronavirus numbers.

The president has previously cast doubt on China’s numbers. But at the briefing Wednesday evening, he opted instead to talk up America’s trade relationship with Beijing, boasting that China will be buying billions of dollars’ worth of products from U.S. farmers.

“We really don’t know. How do we know whether they underreported or reported however they report,” Trump said of China’s reported coronavirus numbers.

“But we had a great call the other night. We are working together on a lot of different things including trade. They’re buying a lot, they’re spending a lot of money. They’re giving it to our farmers.”

The coronavirus pandemic began around the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province – though Beijing’s foreign ministry has claimed that it didn’t necessarily originate there.

China has reported 82,361 coronavirus cases, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. That number is less than half of the total cases confirmed in the U.S., which has become the country with the highest number of reported infections in the world.

Trump said at the briefing that “the biggest communication is myself and President Xi” Jinping, and “the relationship’s very good.”

“We have a great trade deal” with China, Trump continued. “We’d like to keep it. They’d like to keep it. And the relationship is good.”

“As to whether or not their numbers are accurate, I’m not an accountant from China,” Trump said.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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Apple agreement with Amazon lets you rent movies through Prime Video

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Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, in Sun Valley, Idaho, United States, on July 12, 2019.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Amazon Prime Video app on iPhone and Apple TV now allows users to rent and purchase movies inside the app using a credit card on file with Amazon. It’s a big change.

For most apps, Apple‘s App Store policies require that digital content be purchased and paid for through Apple’s payment system, which takes 30% of the purchase price. Amazon had previously declined to offer in-app purchases in its iOS apps.

“Apple has an established program for premium subscription video entertainment providers to offer a variety of customer benefits — including integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, tvOS apps, universal search, Siri support and, where applicable, single or zero sign-on,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC.

“On qualifying premium video entertainment apps such as Prime Video, Altice One and Canal+, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription.”

You can now rent videos on iPhone through the Amazon Prime Video app.

Kif Leswing | CNBC

Apple’s typical 30% cut from digital purchases has frustrated some developers who say that the fee hurts their margins. It’s one of the core parts of Spotify’s antitrust complaint with EU regulators, for example.

Altice One had been on the program since earlier this year. Canal+ customers have been able to use their card on file to buy or rent movies since 2018. Amazon’s participation in the program went live on Wednesday, according to Apple. An Amazon representative didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

The current limit to “premium subscription video” services may encourage developers who make game and other content to push for the same benefits.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been vocal about this issue in the past, for example. Fortnite, one of Epic’s titles, is monetized through in-app purchases.

“Epic Games wholeheartedly supports smartphone platforms and their digital stores opening up to payment processing competition,” Sweeney told CNBC.

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