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🌎 Juul pays up

The e-cigarette maker was accused of advertizing nicotine addictive products to minors.

A woman holds a Juul e-cigarette as she uses her phone in New York City, U.S., September 13, 2018.
Brendan McDermid/Reuters
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Here’s what you need to know

Juul agreed to pay a $438.5 million settlement in a marketing probe. The e-cigarette maker was accused of advertising nicotine-addictive products to minors.

Bed Bath & Beyond named a new interim CFO. Laura Crossen is taking on the role while remaining chief accounting officer.

The EU blocked Illumina’s $7.1 billion acquisition of biotech firm GRAIL. The US life sciences company will appeal the decision, which would force it to divest from GRAIL—a takeover also under scrutiny in the US.

Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes asked for a new trial. Her lawyers claimed a key witness felt guilty about his testimony.

A New Mexico county commissioner lost his seat for participating in the Jan. 6 riot. Couy Griffin is the first state official in more than a century to be constitutionally barred from public office over insurrectionism.

U.S. Soccer players signed an equal pay agreement. The athletes’ contracts now include identical pay structures, no matter their gender.


What to watch for

Apple will stage its annual September product launch event today, which is expected to announce four new iPhones, three new Apple Watches, and a new Airpods Pro model. Even as inflation begins to slow down consumer spending, Apple is expected to discontinue the iPhone mini, its cheapest smartphone model, and raise the price of the high-end iPhone Pro, which will get a big camera upgrade and may feature an “always on” display. Breathless rumors are also swirling that Apple will finally replace the iPhone’s maligned “notch,” which houses its front-facing camera, with…an almost identical pill-shaped screen cut-out.

Apple will also tout a software update that will apply to anyone who has bought an iPhone since 2017. With the arrival of iOS 16, users will be able to edit or unsend iMessages and customize a set of widgets that appear on their lock screen. Apple is also wading into the ”buy now pay later” business model with a new short-term loan scheme dubbed Apple Pay Later.


National Cinema Day buzzed the tower

The US’s first National Cinema Day wasn’t just a success for the movie theater business, it also helped Top Gun: Maverick soar higher, pushing it past Black Panther as the fifth-highest grossing domestic movie of all time, at $701 million.

Image copyright: Adario Strange

National Cinema Day allowed moviegoers to pay just $3 per ticket for any movie on over 30,000 screens at over 3,000 movie theater locations on Sept. 3. The promotion was launched by the Cinema Foundation, a non-profit created by the National Association of Theatre Owners to foster the growth of the movie theater business. And it worked. The association’s publication, Box Office Pro, claims that the promotion helped to generate $24.3 million in box office revenue, roughly 9% higher than the previous Saturday.

It’s further proof that fan-focused fake holidays are Hollywood’s best new marketing tool, especially for an industry still struggling to find its footing after the pandemic threw it for a loop.


This one trick to getting past Chinese censors

Let’s say you want to post something in China that’s critical of the government. Sure, you could get past Beijing’s sprawling internet censorship apparatus by using Martian, emojis, and even braille. Or, you could simply switch to Cantonese, the language spoken by close to a hundred million people. Officially, Beijing designates Cantonese as a dialect, and while many have long argued it’s a language in its own right, its very unofficialness is helping it citizens (relatively) freely express discontent.

Mary Hui looks into why posts cursing the mothers of some local officials—and other spicy examples—got past the censors.

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Surprising discoveries

A Japanese man is selling companionship for 10,000 yen ($71). Shoji Morimoto said he’s been booked about 4,000 times in the past four years.

Covid lockdowns had an impact on primates other than humans, too. Enclosed gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and baboons behaved differently when zoos were shut.

Aquatic salamanders are key to understanding cell regeneration. Axolotls’ self-regenerating brain cells share similarities with those found in humans.

Chinese motorcyclists gave “hell’s angels” a new meaning. The riders volunteered to help firefighters battling the Chongqing wildfire.

Spare a thought for the woman who claimed the Twitter handle @LizTruss. The user, active since 2009, is not the new UK Prime minister—but few bother to check before tweeting.


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