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Here’s what you need to know
A whistleblower’s report against Twitter fueled Elon Musk’s fire. Peiter Zatko’s complaint appears to support some of the billionaire’s reasons for wanting out of the $44 billion takeover bid.
The Biden administration revised its economic forecast. US officials now expect slower growth and higher inflation this year.
Hackers used deepfakes of Binance executives to perpetrate scams. The crypto exchange warned that both crypto users and project teams risk being targeted.
TikTok influencers vowed to boycott Amazon over its anti-union stance. The social media stars demanded the company improve employment conditions.
Moviepass announced its sequel. The movie theater subscription service that shut down in 2019 crippled by debt is preparing to relaunch next month.
Brazilian police raided the homes of businessmen supporting president Jair Bolsonaro. The business leaders were reportedly considering a coup to keep the incumbent leader in power should he lose the October election.
What to watch for
Today, the US National Association of Realtors will release its pending home sales index for July. The index tracks home sale contracts that haven’t been finalized yet, and will provide more details on just how much the pandemic’s voracious demand for housing has waned.
Last month, sales of new homes plummeted by nearly 13% from June. But that doesn’t necessarily mean buying a home is becoming more affordable. In fact, the median price for a new house was $439,400 in July, compared with $402,400 in June. The reason why prices remain high despite lower demand is that there’s simply not enough houses in the US. And with a housing shortage, the budgets of the wealthy set the price.
Mortgage rates are still up and house affordability dropped to a 33-year low in June, so there’s never been a better time to consider a van down by the river.
Don’t call it a knockoff
If you’re looking for a side gig—perhaps to save for an even better van down by the river—have you considered parodying an iconic fashion brand? Last year, Nobuaki Kurokawa was granted a trademark to use the seemingly innocuous brand name CUGGL on apparel in Japan. But when the mark made its fashion debut, only half of it was visible:
Think this looks familiar? Italian fashion house Gucci did, too, and tried to get the trademark canceled on the grounds that it devalued its own trademark and brand. The Japan Patent Office, which tends to assume that the public knows how to recognize parody, dismissed Gucci’s claim. It was a surprising win for intellectual-property progressives who argue that companies have distorted the law to block harmless parodies and other remixes of their brands.
Kurokawa’s certainly banking on the public’s ability to recognize satire, as his other successful trademark applications indicate.
The murky waters of tonnage taxes
Despite reporting record-breaking profits during the pandemic, some huge EU shipping lines are paying virtually no taxes.
How did this happen? We can thank a special system called tonnage taxing, which taxes shipping lines based on the size of their fleets and not their profits. While it was a good deal for the government when earnings were choppy, it hasn’t held up well against a bullwhip effect that has sent freight prices, and shipping profits, soaring.
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