The White House announced another round of tariffs against China yesterday, slapping a 10% tariff on an additional $300B worth of Chinese imports. The move - which comes in addition to an existing 25% tariff on about $250B of Chinese goods - means that nearly all Chinese goods coming into the US have an effective tax placed on them (nearly one-third of which are computer electronics). The net result is to make Chinese imports less competitive in the US marketplace (tariffs 101), and comes amid rumors that China is slow-walking trade negotiations until the 2020 election. In particular, the administration has said China has so far failed to live up to a promise to buy more US agricultural products - though some say the market share has been permanently lost as Beijing has turned to other suppliers. The decision reverses statements made by President Trump in June, saying he would hold off on additional tariffs as trade negotiators renewed talks. Markets dipped roughly 1% on the news (S&P 500 -0.9%, Dow -1.1%, Nasdaq -0.8%).
Separately, the Senate passed a sweeping two-year budget deal, sending a bill to the President that would avoid a fiscal showdown in September.
College Football Kickoff.
The preseason coaches' ranking of college football teams was released yesterday, with the top of the polls largely mirroring last season's final results. Defending champions Clemson, led by sophomore phenom quarterback Trevor Lawrence, were ranked #1, with 2018-2019 runner-up Alabama sitting at #2. Following the two heavyweights are Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio State - though the latter two will both feature heralded incoming transfers at quarterback in Jalen Hurts (transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma) and Justin Fields (from Georgia to Ohio State). Lawrence - who threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns while leading the Tigers to a 44-16 win over the Crimson Tide in last year's championship - is a runaway favorite to win the Heisman, honoring the sport's best player. The season officially kicks off on August 24th when Florida takes on Miami (7pm ET, ESPN).
In the pros, the Denver Broncos notched a 14-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the first preseason game of the year.
The US is preparing to remove nearly half of its current forces from Afghanistan following talks with the Taliban, according to reports yesterday. The plan, which requires Taliban leaders to continue peace talks with Afghan leaders while renouncing all ties to al-Qaeda, would drop troops levels from about 14,000 to around 8,000. The withdrawal represents the culmination of months of talks between Defense Department officials and the Taliban and brings the 18-year war one step closer to an end. US forces in the country peaked near 100,000 in 2011, during a highly-publicized "surge" (see timeline here). The talks come at a time when the group controls or is contesting over 50% of the country (see map).
Need a refresher on who the Taliban are and how they operate? Start here.
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> Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner says she was sexually assaulted by fellow figure skater John Coughlin in 2008; Coughlin committed suicide in 2019 following initial investigations into sexual misconduct (More)
> E-sports megastar Ninja, with reported net worth around $10M, leaves streaming platform Twitch for Microsoft's Mixer (More)
Science & Technology.
> Study produces most-detailed 3D map of the Milky Way ever, finds solar system is more "warped" than previously thought (More)
> Reports say US defense agencies are developing "artificial brain" for intelligence purposes based on large swaths of geospatial data (More)
> Impossible Foods receives approval from FDA to use heme - its genetically-engineered additive that helps its plant-based products mimic meat - as a color additive, clearing a critical regulatory hurdle (More) | ...and the Impossible Burger will be available at Burger King starting next week, after boosting traffic 18% in pilot tests (More)
Business & Markets.
> London Stock Exchange (LSE) to acquire financial info provider Refinitiv for $27B (More) > Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook’s acquisitions as part of antitrust investigation, to determine if Facebook acquired potential future rivals preemptively (More)
>Earnings Season: General Motors beats expectations on strong North American truck sales (More) | Verizon beats expectations, adding more phone subscribers than expected (More)
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Politics & World Affairs.
> Saoirse Hill, granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, dies at age 22; cause of death undisclosed (More)
> Iran-backed Houthi rebels kill 51 in coordinated attack on Yemen's port city Aden; attack is latest in bloody four-year civil war that has displaced an estimated 2 million and caused widespread famine (More)
> Rwanda temporarily closes border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo after a third death in the border city of Goma; over 1,800 Congolese have died in the past year during the current epidemic (More)
The Business of Sleep.
British GQ | Stuart McGurk. Scientists have discovered that bad sleep can seriously increase the risk of weight gain and a host of mental health issues. The upside is an industry valued at over $120 billion, always promising the ultimate wellness cure. (Read)
Victims, Families and America’s Thirst for True-Crime Stories
Washington Post | Britt Peterson. As popular true-crime podcasts and television shows rake in millions of downloads and views, real tragedies have been transformed into dark entertainment. (Read, paywall)
Illusion of Choice.
Guardian | Richard Reeves. What is choice? As a consumer in America, you may have less than you think, with a handful of large companies dominating the products we use in our day-to-day lives. (Read)
Etcetera - Best of July '19.
Editor's note: Over 400,000+ clicks can't be wrong - here are the most-read articles from last month!
Historybook: Declaration of Independence is signed (1776); American actress Myrna Loy born (1905); RIP Alexander Graham Bell (1922); Author and activist James Baldwin born (1924); Iraq invades Kuwait, leading to Gulf War (1990).
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