Seattle loses its nerve; Amazon, Starbucks win tax battle
— Weeks after passing a tax on big businesses, Seattle political leaders signaled they would reverse course and repeal it.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan and city council President Bruce Harrell said they would end the tax, initially meant to combat rising homelessness.
— Business groups, led by the city’s largest employers like Amazon and Starbucks, had raised $200,000 to gather signatures for a referendum challenging the new tax. They had planned to submit those signatures on Tuesday in an effort to place the referendum on the November ballot.
Haunted by a mugshot
Predatory web sites profit from shame of arrest
— Sites are collecting people’s mugshots, then charging huge sums to remove them. Should Google be doing more to stop it?
Couple go to prison in $1.2 million Amazon return fraud
— US Attorney Josh Minkler says married couple Erin and Leah Finan stole more than 2,700 electronics items from Amazon, including Apple MacBooks, Samsung smartwatches, and GoPro cameras, by demanding free replacements for products they wrongly claimed as faulty.
— The 38-year-olds used “hundreds” of false identities to order and pick up items at locations across the state.
Landlords hoping to dump shopping malls, but nobody’s buying
— Prices for malls fell 14 percent in the past 12 months, even as values for other types of commercial properties, such as warehouses and office buildings, rose or held steady, according to Green Street Advisors LLC. At least four properties have been pulled from the market in recent months because the bids were too low.
Elizabeth Warren: Not enough Democrats willing to take on billionaire class
… “until we have all of the Democrats who are willing to fight for the American people and not for a handful of billionaires and giant corporations, then it’s going to stay an uphill fight.”
Feds arrest 74 in global email scam
… targeted scammers who trick people into transferring them money, for example by impersonating a business partner or colleague.
— In one case, the US alleged that two Nigerians living in Dallas posed as a property seller when requesting a $246,000 wire transfer from a real estate attorney.
— Authorities also went after “money mules” – “witting or unwitting accomplices” who receive the money from the victims and transfer it as directed by the fraudsters.
Corporate execs using stock buybacks to pad their own bank accounts
… “the Trump tax bill has unleashed an unprecedented wave of buybacks, and I worry that lax SEC rules and corporate oversight are giving executives yet another chance to cash out at investor expense.”
— Robert Jackson Jr., SEC official
Detroit’s ruined train station to house
Ford’s futuristic car unit
— The station and an adjoining book depository in the city’s Corktown neighborhood will be the centerpiece of Ford’s new campus for its self-driving and electric-car divisions.
A serious hurdle for CRISPR:
Edited cells might cause cancer
— Editing cells’ genomes with CRISPR-Cas9 might increase the risk that the altered cells, intended to treat disease, will trigger cancer, two studies published on Monday warn — a potential game-changer for the companies developing CRISPR-based therapies.
— In the studies, published in Nature Medicine, scientists found that cells whose genomes are successfully edited by CRISPR-Cas9 have the potential to seed tumors inside a patient. That could make some CRISPR’d cells ticking time bombs, according to researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and, separately, Novartis.
US to turn away victims of gangs, domestic violence
— US immigration courts will be ordered to stop granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence who come to the country seeking safety.
— The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, signaled that he would issue a directive to immigration judges. The policy is expected to affect tens of thousands of migrants fleeing violence in Central America and seeking to claim asylum in the US.
Private prison company seeks to make $$$
by locking up immigrant kids
√ Yup, it’s the American Way.
Texas Representatives John Raney, John Cyrier and Mark Keough—all Republicans—have authored legislation that, if passed, would allow immigration detention centers to obtain child care licenses. Equipped with the permits, the centers would then be able to circumvent a 2015 federal ruling that said detained immigrant children must be transferred to a child care facility after 20 days in detention.
China the big winner in Trump-Kim summit
— The biggest winner from President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — aside from Kim himself — was unquestionably the government of President Xi Jinping, which had been advocating the very process that Trump has now embarked upon.
— Trump committed to an open-ended negotiating process and said the U.S. would also suspend military exercises with South Korea. Given that North Korea has halted missile and nuclear tests, that amounted to the dialogue and “suspension-for-suspension” model that China has advocated for years.
“NO BELL PRIZE”
FOR ACCOMPLISHING NOTHING TO …
Donald J. Trump
so-called President of the United States
For overcoming a disability
and getting his picture taken
with a Little Rocket Man.
You are hereby awarded
one bag of hot air
which you so richly