Everything You Need to Know, In a Single Daily Email.

8.21.2019

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Need To Know.
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Italy's PM Resigns.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation yesterday, just hours ahead of a no-confidence vote. Formerly a well-known law professor with no political experience, Conte was elevated to the office last June to lead a coalition of the nationalist-populist Five Star Movement and the center-right multiparty League, neither of which captured a majority of parliamentary seats in the 2018 national elections. The ousting was seen as a power play by League chief and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. Though the League finished second in last year's elections, observers say its surging popularity, driven by anti-immigrant sentiment, has Salvini angling to become Prime Minister. During a prepared statement to the Italian Senate, Conte skewered Salvini - who sat directly to his right - as opportunistic and overly ambitious. President Sergio Mattarella will attempt to determine whether a new coalition government can be formed or to call new elections in October.  

Political chaos is the norm in Italy, which has been ruled by 65 governments in the past 73 years.  
Payroll Taxes.
President Trump said the White House was examining tools to potentially stimulate the economy, including a temporary reduction in payroll and capital gains taxes. The former refer to taxes on wages that go to fund various programs like Social Security and Medicare (deep dive here), while the latter generally refers to tax on the sale of assets. Officials struck an optimistic tone despite recent fears of a looming recession - an ominous market signal known as an inverted yield curve briefly appeared last week, and 74% of economists in a recent survey said they believe a recession will occur before the end of 2021. Compounding fears has been uncertainty around trade tensions with China, signals that Germany is heading into a recession, and a looming Brexit crisis expected to have a significant economic impact on the United Kingdom and European Union. 

Any tax cuts would likely need Congressional approval.   
Cardinal Loses Appeal in Sex Abuse Case.
George Pell, the Vatican's former treasurer and adviser to Pope Francis, will remain in jail for at least three more years after an Australian appeals court upheld his conviction on sex abuse charges. Pell, found guilty in March of molesting two 13-year-old choir boys in the late 1990s, is the highest-ranking Church official to be charged with such crimes. The original six-year sentence drew widespread criticism from victim advocate groups, falling far short of the maximum 50 years that Pell faced. Pell actually helped establish the Catholic Church's formal system to handle sex abuse claims in 1997 (see timeline), though he was originally accused of mishandling sexual misconduct cases from other clergy members in 2016, prior to his own charges surfacing in 2017. 

The case has had a resounding impact (paywall, NYT) on the Church in Australia, where officials say they've lost "two or three" generations of young people. 
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Warner Bros. announces 4th Matrix film; will feature original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss (More) | No Time to Die announced as title of latest James Bond film (More)
> St. Louis announced as newest Major League Soccer franchise city; team is first majority female-owned franchise in MLS (More)
> Apple TV Plus, Apple's new streaming service, to launch in November at $9.99/month (More) | ...and Apple credit card launches in US (More)
Science & Technology.
> Study finds beta-amyloid, a molecule believed to play a key role in Alzheimer's, has a normal version and an age-damaged version; the age-damaged version is thought to be more critical in development of Alzheimer's-linked brain plaques (More)
> Mercedez-Benz likely to join Ford, BMW, VW, and Honda in California pact preserving Obama-era emissions standards; 13 other states plan to enforce stricter requirements after White House rolled back guidelines (More)
> Researchers create 10-atom-thick graphene-based film that provides heat shielding equivalent to a sheet of glass 100x thicker; can be used to protect heat-sensitive electronic components (More)
Business & Markets.
> US regulators ease "Volcker Rule", which aims to ban banks with taxpayer-insured deposits from potentially risky trading activities; new rule provides more flexibility of trading activity (More)
> Walmart sues Tesla for “widespread negligence” due to fires from solar panels, asks court to have Tesla remove solar panels from 240+ stores (More)
> Meet the promising startups from Y Combinator’s Summer Demo Days (Day 1, Day 2) |  Y Combinator 101 - the world’s leading startup accelerator (More)

Frugal flyer? First class fanatic? TPG has the cards and tactics to get you to your next vacation destination (More) #Ad
Politics & World Affairs.
> Facebook releases results of independent audit of bias against conservatives on the social media platform; led by former Sen. John Kyl (R), the report showed concerns from groups but only influenced small tweaks in company policy (More) |...and company rolls out new privacy tool (More)
> Election 2020: Former Housing Secretary Julian Castro becomes tenth Democratic presidential candidate to qualify for September 12th debate (More)
> White House cancels trip to Denmark amid spat over whether the US could potentially buy Greenland (More)
Etcetera.
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A look back at the theft that made the Mona Lisa famous

Five decades after Mister Rogers began, five facts about Americans and their neighbors
A poignant request to a food critic goes viral.
Robert De Niro's company files $6M lawsuit against former employee
The mystery of the Himalayan skeleton lake (paywall, NYT). 
Soccer Star Carli Lloyd drops by Eagles training camp and drills a 55-yard field goal
That Feeling When: You forgot to tie down dozens of air mattresses during high winds (w/ video). 
A Soviet sailor's 1969 message-in-a-bottle just washed up in Alaska
Study says people who use emojis get more dates
Clickbait: When you feed a watermelon to a 13-foot alligator...
Historybook: Nat Turner leads slave rebellion (1831); Mona Lisa stolen from Louvre, is recovered 2 years later (1911); Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain born (1936); Hawaii becomes 50th US state (1959); HBD Usain Bolt (1986)
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