Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski was charged by federal prosecutors on 33 counts of stealing trade secrets around self-driving car technology, ultimately providing them to Uber. Levandowski was an early employee in Google's autonomous vehicle unit - ultimately spun-off into what is now Waymo - before launching Otto, his own self-driving startup, in 2016. That company was acquired by Uber, which was closely followed by a 2017 lawsuit brought by Google's parent company Alphabet alleging Levandowski downloaded close to 10GB of intellectual property and other proprietary information before departing Waymo. The files reportedly contained details of Waymo's LIDAR technology, the core component of real-time vision systems used by autonomous vehicles (see 101). While Uber settled the suit with Google for a whopping $245M, Levandowski faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count.
Separately, Uber and Lyft drivers rallied in San Francisco to support a bill reclassifying them as employees instead of contractors.
Epstein Victims Speak Out.
16 women recounted their experiences of being sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein yesterday, nearly two weeks after the financier died by suicide in a jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The hearing was in part symbolic given Epstein's death, but US District Judge Richard Berman opted to hold a hearing before dismissing the indictment to provide victims a day in court. Epstein, who previously served 13 months for underage solicitation, was accused of shuttling young girls between his New York City and Palm Beach residences. The 66-year-old billionaire had established a network of dozens of underage girls, often with the help of associate Ghislaine Maxwell, luring them in with offers of jobs as personal masseuses.
Separately, an unspecified glitch has apparently made some of the footage from outside Epstein's cell unusable, adding to the list of failures at the New York facility the night of his death.
Brazil Turns Down Relief Funds.
Brazil appeared to reject $22M in foreign aid meant to help fight ongoing fires in the Amazon rainforest yesterday, one day after G7 leaders agreed to set aside the funding. President Jair Bolsonaro - who has been criticized for policies enabling the record number of blazes - rebutted the offer in a series of tweets, effectively telling world leaders to mind their own business on the matter. Satellite data has recorded close to 73,000 fires raging across the 2.1-million-square-mile rainforest - an 80% increase from last year - largely due to land-clearing fires that spiral out of control. Bolsonaro's administration has taken heat for encouraging excessive deforestation for uses like livestock, agriculture, and logging. Bolsonaro did leave the door slightly open, saying he would reconsider if French President Emmanuel Macron apologized for what he called personal insults against him.
Read why some scientists believe a tipping point exists after which the forest stops producing its own rainfall, leading to desert-like conditions in much of the region.
> Scarlett Johansson ($56M) tops Forbes magazine's list of highest-paid actresses for 2nd consecutive year; Sofia Vergara ($44M) and Reese Witherspoon ($35M) round out the top three (More)
> Rapper Meek Mill pleads guilty to misdemeanor gun charge, will not be further punished for 2007 arrest; Mill's case galvanized support in the entertainment industry, leading to his original conviction being thrown out in July (More)
> US soccer star Carli Lloyd considering tryout offers from two NFL teams after she made 55-yard field goal at Philadelphia Eagles practice last week (More) | See viral video of Lloyd's kick (More)
Science & Technology.
> Researchers use modified E. coli strain to develop prototype vaccine against superbug version of Klebsiella bacteria (More)
> US Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane breaks record for longest duration spaceflight by a reusable spacecraft at 719 days (More)
> Scientists fertilize seven northern white rhino eggs using sperm taken from the last two remaining males; team hopes to grow embryos in lab, ultimately reintroducing a herd of at least five back into nature (More)
Business & Markets.
> Philip Morris and Altria are discussing merger that would reunite the tobacco giants who split apart in 2008; combined company would be worth ~$200B; sources say firms would share resources in consumer shift to e-cigarettes (More) > US consumer confidence falls slightly in August, but beats lower projections stemming from trade war concerns (More)
> Papa John’s Pizza shares up 10% after hiring former Arby’s president as new CEO (More)
With average annual returns of 10.6%, it’s no wonder that art has been the top luxury investment of the last 20 years. Investor spots are limited, so request a membership today (More) #Ad
Politics & World Affairs.
> Missouri's 8-week abortion ban blocked by federal judge one day before going into effect; law is part of an overall push to get Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade (More)
> Reports say Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the Sackler family offer to set aside $10B-$12B to settle slew of opioid lawsuits (More)
> UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask Queen to suspend Parliament in run-up to October 31st break from the European Union (More)
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Historybook: Black teenager Emmett Till is brutally lynched for allegedly flirting with a white woman (1955); MLK delivers ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in DC (1963); HBD Shania Twain (1965); HBD LeAnn Rimes (1982); Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorce (1996).
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King Jr.
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