Hello! Welcome to the first edition of With Interest. Every Sunday, we’ll send you the most important business and tech news, highlighting essentials from the past week and what’s in store for the next. We’ll keep it concise, informative and hopefully entertaining — because we know your time is precious, especially on the weekend.
So have a read, tell us what you think, forward to a friend and then get back to your other Sunday standbys — perhaps you’ll attempt one of these mesmerizing pies, gawk at Central Park’s handsome celebrity duck or peruse Oprah’s new “Favorite Things.” After all, don’t we all deserve a “snuggle lounger” — whatever that is?
A Government Divided
The most expensive midterm elections are behind us. So what now, besides a stock market that breathed a sigh of relief? With Democrats in control of the House, the Republicans’ promise of future tax cuts look dicey, unless they can compromise by raising corporate taxes to pay for lower rates for the middle class. (President Trump said he’d consider it.) But don’t expect much else in the way of bipartisanship. Now that Representative Maxine Waters of California is primed to lead a more hawkish House Financial Services Committee, buckle up for investigations into the President’s real estate and financial dealings, starting with his dealings with Deutsche Bank.
Facebook Fends Off the Trolls
Facebook claims to have won its latest battle against fake news. Its “war room” of employees working around the clock to fight false news stories collaborated with the F.B.I. last week to thwart a Kremlin-backed group of trolls that had meddled in the 2016 election. As a result, Facebook says, the midterms were relatively free of smear campaigns from foreign entities, at least on its platforms. But are Facebook’s efforts sustainable — and are they enough? The network also released an independent report on its role in deadly hate crimes in Myanmar, and admitted that it “can and should do more” to prevent “being used to foment division and incite offline violence.”
Tech Giants Think Bigger
After a yearlong (and much-publicized) quest to find a home for “HQ2,” Amazon may split its second headquarters between two new locations. The two are expected to be New York City — namely, the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens — as well as Crystal City in Arlington, Va. (In other offline news, an Amazon toy catalog — in print! — is scheduled to thump on your doorstep this month.) Meanwhile, Google is quietly buttoning up a deal to grow its Manhattan footprint, potentially adding space for more than 12,000 additional workers. The company also announced an overhaul of its sexual misconduct policy.
Pence Heads to Asia
On Monday, economic leaders from 21 nations will gather for the weeklong Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea. China will have a flashy presence, literally, as it given tens of millions of dollars for a swish renovation of the summit’s convention center, as well as the country’s main highway. Mr. Trump, who made his “America first” stance clear at last year’s APEC meeting, will not attend; instead, he’s sending Vice President Mike Pence. Which is just as well, perhaps, since the convention’s hottest topics will include trade and climate change, and the president’s views on these issues are not winning the United States many friends these days.
The Fate of the New Nafta
On Thursday, the United States International Trade Commission will submit a report to Mr. Trump on the impact of his United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on the economy and American consumers. This replacement of Nafta needs congressional approval to pass, which may be tricky now that the Democrats are about to have a majority in the House. The agreement focuses mainly on new rules for exporting cars, dairy products, wine and pharmaceutical drugs, but critics worry that some provisions will backfire. Auto production is one concern: If the deal makes this more expensive, it could raise prices for American car buyers and give incentives to manufacturers to move production elsewhere.
Going Once! Going Twice!
The sale of David Hockney’s 1972 painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures),” is estimated to fetch $80 million at a Christie’s auction this Thursday. If the bidding does go this high, the piece will become the most expensive work sold by a living artist, a record held by Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog” since 2013, when it sold for $58.4 million. Hockney not your taste? Edward Hopper’s “Chop Suey” will be at Christie’s too, expected to sell for $70 million to $100 million.
The China trade war has trickled down to the lobster market, leaving Mainers high and dry with millions of pounds of unsold crustaceans. And speaking of weird-looking animals: The oldest known figure drawing — found in a cave in Borneo — depicts a reddish creature with spindly legs. Finally, Bill Gates is giving millions of dollars to teams trying to invent a better, more sanitary toilet for the good of humankind — and held up a jar of poop to announce it. The man knows how to make a point.
7.3 inches: The full width of Samsung’s new foldable-screen smartphone, which opens like a book to reveal a screen the size of a tablet.
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