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What to watch for today
John Bolton meets with Ukraine’s president. The US national security advisor’s visit to Kiev is the first by a top American official since Volodymyr Zelensky was elected in April. Bolton is reportedly warning Ukrainian leaders about the security risks posed by Chinese investment. He will next head to neighboring Belarus and Moldova.
Italy scrambles to form a coalition government. President Sergio Mattarella will meet with the leaders of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the opposition Democratic Party ahead of a deadline to form a new government. The two parties resolved a major sticking point yesterday after agreeing that Giuseppe Conte, who resigned as prime minister last week, should be reinstated.
Rodrigo Duterte takes a tougher stance. The Philippine president will make his fifth visit to Beijing. Though previous meetings with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have gone well, this time Duterte is likely to bring up an international tribunal’s ruling that refutes China’s claim on the South China Sea—something Xi has ignored.
Investors are eyeing Altria and Philip Morris. Shares plunged yesterday after it emerged that the tobacco giants are in talks to combine, a decade after they split up. Philip Morris investors are concerned about litigation and regulation in the US, according to the Financial Times (paywall), while Altria stockholders don’t think they’re getting compensated enough.
While you were sleeping
Deutsche Bank says it has some of Trump’s tax returns. The German lender’s disclosure follows subpoenas earlier this year by House committees that are seeking more information about the US president’s finances. The financial services committee says it wants to review Trump’s returns to determine whether he helped foreign buyers launder money through his properties.
Boris Johnson will ask the Queen to suspend the UK parliament. The move is designed to stop lawmakers from blocking a no-deal Brexit before the Oct. 31 deadline to leave the EU, according to the BBC, but could trigger a constitutional crisis instead. The British pound fell as much as 1% against the US dollar.
South Korea is officially not one of Japan’s favored trading partners. Japan’s decision to remove its neighbor from its preferred list took effect, potentially delaying export of more than 800 “strategic materials” to South Korea, whose high-tech economy relies on them.
Australia finished laying an undersea internet cable to its Pacific allies. The Coral Sea Cable, which brings high-speed internet to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, is part of Canberra’s plans to repel the influence of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in the region.
Purdue Pharma offered up to $12 billion to settle its opioid lawsuits. The OxyContin manufacturer and its owners, the Sackler family, face more than 2,000 cases alleging that they fueled a deadly addiction epidemic across the US. Under the terms of the settlement, Purdue would go into bankruptcy and the family would give up ownership of the company.
An ex-Google engineer was indicted for stealing trade secrets. Anthony Levandowski, who worked in Google’s self-driving-car division Waymo, faces 33 counts of theft and attempted theft. He allegedly downloaded 14,000 confidential documents and left Waymo to start his own company, which Uber promptly bought for $680 million.
Evidence of China’s rising power in Africa runs the length of Kenya’s new Standard Gauge Railway, which Beijing financed more than 100 years after the construction of the “Lunatic Express,” its earlier colonial train system. But Kenya is struggling to make its flagship runway a commercial success.
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The road to autonomous vehicles is longer than we thought. Just a few years ago they were supposed to combat congestion and prevent pollution; now experts warn they could put even more cars on the road, especially in the busiest parts of the biggest cities. And making them safe is proving harder than expected. Hop in to the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
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Workers would rather be replaced by a robot than a human. A new study found it’s less damaging to self-image if a robot takes over.
Complaining to someone else’s boss is an abuse of power. Venting anger by kicking a problem up the chain is questionable behavior.
A little piracy is good for everyone. Illegal downloads, in moderation, could be good for IP holders.
Fake-branded gold bars have slipped into world markets. Money launderers are stamping gold bars with fake logos of major refiners, according to Reuters.
Graphene turns clothes into mosquito armor. Fabric reinforced with the ultra-strong material keeps bugs at bay—but only when it’s perfectly dry.
Vikings invaded Aarhus’s crosswalks. Traffic lights in the Danish city now show a walking Viking when it’s time for pedestrians to go.
China is recruiting American spies on LinkedIn. Former intelligence officers are making it easy by listing their agencies and government clearances online.
Frenzied crowds in Shanghai swarmed Costco on its opening day. So many shoppers flooded the store that it was forced to shut in the afternoon.
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