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Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo rides a Velib Metropole self-service public bike by Smovengo on the newly created secure bicycle facilities in Paris, France, September 4, 2019.
Image copyright: Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo riding self-service public bike in September 2019.

Here’s what you need to know

The first freight rail linking Canada, the US, and Mexico looks likely. Canadian Pacific Railway secured a $27 billion deal to take over Kansas City Southern in the first major rail merger in the US for decades.

El Salvadorians protest against Bitcoin. Demonstrators are worried that the recent introduction of the cryptocurrency as legal tender will lead to instability and inflation.

China’s property giant Evergrande applied to suspend trading. The request indicates an increasing likelihood of defaults and restructuring at the company, which already owes over $300 billion.

A shoe company backed by Roger Federer is valued at $11 billion. The Swiss brand On, which teamed up with the tennis champion to develop the Roger Pro tennis shoe, listed in New York yesterday.

Joe Biden appealed to Disney and Microsoft CEOs for vaccine help. The US president hopes that big employers being on board with vaccine mandates will help move the needle, as the country’s Covid inoculation rate slows.

SpaceX sent its first private flight into orbit. Four tourists and no professional astronauts are on board the Dragon, which will orbit the earth for three days before splashing down near Florida this weekend.

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What to watch for

Image copyright: Giphy

Lawyers for Robinhood will try to get a judge to dismiss (again) Ice Cube’s claim that the brokerage misused his image and lyrics (pdf) in its Snacks newsletter in March. The rapper earlier argued that Robinhood paraphrased his lyric—“Check yo self before you wreck yo self”—without his permission. (Robinhood’s version was “Correct yourself before you wreck yourself,” referring to a correction in tech shares.)

The rapper’s complaint was frosty: he argued Robinhood’s “horrible” products and services are “the last things in the world to which Ice Cube would ever attach his image and likeness.”

The judge dismissed the rapper’s claims in June, saying a newsletter isn’t an advertisement and that Robinhood hadn’t indicated that Ice Cube endorsed the company. But the judge allowed an amended complaint, in which Ice Cube went on to argue that the newsletter is part of the brokerage’s marketing efforts.


Markets haiku: ETFs are so hot right now

“ETFs just fit
Like perfect puzzle pieces
In this 📱 culture.”

So says Eric Balchunas, senior exchange-traded funds analyst at Bloomberg, who likens the current ETF boom to the shift from tapes and records to MP3s. Compared to mutual funds, ETFs are cheaper, more flexible, and more convenient. 

ETFs are now a $7 trillion industry—and they’re growing faster than ever.

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Europe’s most famous mayor is running for president

On Sunday, Anne Hidalgo, Paris’s first female mayor, announced her intention to run for president. While Hidalgo has already garnered attention on the international stage and she’s the favored choice to win the nomination of her Socialist Party, she faces stiff opposition from current president Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

If she’s elected, Hidalgo has indicated that she plans to expand on climate policies pioneered in Paris, turning France into a low-carbon economy while reducing inequality and bridging class divides. Here’s a quick rundown of what she’s accomplished as mayor:

20%: Decrease in car ownership in Paris since 1999

54%: Increase in bike usage from 2018 to 2019

1,000 km (620 miles): New bike lanes created

30 km/h (18 mph): The new city-wide speed limit for cars

Like Mayor Hidalgo, Quartz is obsessed with rethinking cities.

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What we’re reading

💉 The best way to avoid new Covid variants is to delay booster shots. Everyone in the world needs to get their first doses.

👮‍♂️ The Democratic Republic of the Congo suspended Chinese companies over illegal activities. Beijing said it will impose sanctions on the businesses if they are found guilty.

⚽️ The US women’s soccer team got the same contract as the men. The announcement comes amid female players’ ongoing legal battle for pay equity.

💣 A Chinese property giant is a $300 billion time bomb for Beijing. Evergrande’s liabilities are roughly the equivalent of the overall public debt of Portugal.

🏭 A Nigerian oil palm startup raised $4 million to build a “smart” factory. Releaf aims to boost processing in the country to meet local demand.

👁 The new generation of contact lenses is designed to help eyes glued to screens. Millennials don’t want to switch to reading glasses.


Surprising discoveries

A sacred Native American site was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Osage Nation leaders were dismayed at the $2.2 million sale of the cave, which features ancient art.

Fireball Whiskey now comes in kegs. But just because it exists, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

British TV talks more about cakes than it does about climate change… A study counted the mentions.

and the British PM got in a Twitter fight with Nicki Minaj. The American rapper’s vaccine hesitancy could be harmful to inoculation efforts.

Massachusetts called in the National Guard to drive school buses. The shortage of drivers across the US prompted the move to get Guard members trained to shuttle kids.


Buckle up! You’ve got some stories to read.

Image copyright: Giphy