WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND
Venezuela does away with democracy. Through a referendum on Sunday the government aims to establish a constituent assembly that will replace the constitution and be powerful enough to overrule all other bodies (paywall) Months of street protests have failed to halt president Nicolás Maduro’s drive toward dictatorship. The US has ordered embassy families out of the country.
The Tesla Model 3 hits the road—finally. Today the automakerwill hand the keys of its mass-market electric car to 30 customers. That’s just the first step in an ambitious rollout by Elon Musk to produce 5,000 sedans a week by the end of the year, and twice that many in 2018.
The US Commerce Department releases an advance estimate of second-quarter GDP. Economists expect an increase of about 2.6% (pdf). Last month the Commerce Department revised the first-quarter GDP from 1.2% to 1.4%—still a lackluster performance.
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Trump’s new communications director spewed bile at his colleagues. In an interview with The New Yorker, Anthony Scaramucci went on a profanity-laced tirade against White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon. He also expressed anger over leaks and threatened to “eliminate everyone” in the White House communications team.
California approved a VW plan for expanding clean-vehicle infrastructure. The carmaker will install hundreds of charging stations around the state in the plan’s first phase, which will involve investing $200 million of the $800 million it must invest as penalty for the diesel-emission cheating scandal. Governor Jerry Brown wants 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2025.
Japan’s defense minister said she’ll resign. Tomomi Inada’s announcement follows a cover-up of a botched UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, and comes amid plunging public support for prime minister Shinzo Abe. Inada was viewed as a possible future premier.
Amazon results fell way short. Quarterly net income plummeted to $197 million from $857 million, well below analyst expectations, due to expensive investments in video content and Indian expansion. Shares fell more than 2%, dinging the net worth of CEO Jeff Bezos, who earlier in the day briefly claimed the title of the world’s richest man.
The Pentagon took no steps to enforce Trump’s transgender ban. The Defense Department said there would be “no modifications” to the current policy permitting transgender people to serve in the US military until it receives formal instructions from the White House. The presidential tweets announcing a ban earlier this week caught military leaders by surprise.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Moses K Gahigi on the transformative rise of mobile money in Africa. “Mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa have surpassed bank accounts… It gives a fighting chance for millions of un-banked rural poor to be financially included and benefit from products like savings and loans for their small and mostly informal businesses.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
The economy has created a workforce of quitters. Short-term gigs have encouraged employees to see themselves as marketable goods.
Employers should reconsider drug tests. As marijuana is decriminalized, companies must admit that some good workers smoke pot.
Meg Whitman is the CEO that Uber desperately needs. The seasoned tech leader would be a shrewd pick for a company thatbadly needs stability.
Blowing out birthday candles spreads bacteria. A single puff increases bacteria by up to 1,400%—but it’s probably harmless.
British food is suffering from shrinkflation. Manufacturers havedownsized some 2,500 products as they cope with higher costs and a weak currency.
Fraudsters are selling fake eclipse glasses. Relying on the phony eyewear could result in serious injuries during the Aug. 21 celestial event.
A professional video-game league is mandating health insurance. Overwatch pros will receive a $50,000 salary plus health and retirement benefits.
German condoms funded the Russian Revolution. Vladimir Lenin could not accept direct payments, so instead he profited fromthe resale of commodities (paywall).
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