Newsworthy – June 21st, 2019

President Trump to force the disclosure of prices in health care, difficulty in enforcing firearms restrictions, Facebook to launch cryptocurrency, and British advertisements to ban gender stereotypes.

These are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

World

  • Shrugging off opposition from the international community, Israel’s government unveiled a new Jewish settlement in the disputed Golan Heights named after President Trump.

    From The Wall Street Journal

Government and Politics

  • President Trump plans to issue an executive order Monday to compel the disclosure of prices in health care, according to people familiar with the matter. The order will direct federal agencies to initiate regulations and guidance that could require insurers, doctors, hospitals and others in the industry to provide information about the negotiated and often discounted cost of care.

    Industry groups including hospitals and insurers say it could cause costs to climb if some businesses learn competitors are getting bigger discounts. They also say consumers really want to know their own out-of-pocket costs and won’t benefit from full disclosure of negotiated prices.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The U.S. was preparing to launch a retaliatory strike against Iran for shooting down an American reconnaissance drone, but the mission was called off at the last minute, U.S. officials said. Details about the mission or the reason for the abrupt reversal of plans weren’t immediately known, but officials said a future military response hasn’t been ruled out.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Oregon’s Democratic governor has sent the state police in search of the entire GOP Senate delegation, who left the state and went into hiding Thursday in an effort to stop a cap-and-trade bill to address climate change from passing.

    Democrats have a supermajority in the Oregon Senate, leaving the chamber’s 11 Republicans with few options to stop legislation. But the Senate cannot achieve a quorum without at least some of the Republicans and therefore cannot vote on the climate legislation without them.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The proliferation of guns sold legally that operate nearly identically to banned models shows how difficult it can be to make firearm restrictions effective.

    Initially, California banned certain gun models, but manufacturers just changed their names.

    Now, state law bans certain features that lawmakers say make them dangerous. Manufacturers have responded with products such as the featureless AR-15 or modification kits for other guns.

    From The Wall Street Journal

Business and Economics

  • Executives at YouTube are debating moving all children’s content into a separate product, the existing stand-alone YouTube Kids app, to better protect young viewers from objectionable videos.

    That would be a risky switch, as children’s videos are among the platform’s most popular and carry millions of dollars in ads.

    In addition, some employees are encouraging the company to switch off for children’s programming a feature that automatically plays a new video after one has been completed.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • After nearly a year of speculation, Facebook today unveils its plans to create a cryptocurrency, which will be called Libra and debut in 2020.

    Unlike the pioneering cryptocurrency and many of the other digital-token experiments, the goal here is not to supplant the traditional financial system but rather to extend it to serve people without access to conventional banking or stable currency.

    From Axios
  • Federal Reserve officials held interest rates steady but strongly suggested they would cut them in the months ahead if an economic outlook clouded by uncertainty over trade policy didn’t improve.

    From The Wall Street Journal

Environment

  • Flying, trucking and delivering millions of packages a day comes with a cost. As shoppers demand faster and faster speed, there could be a sharp environmental impact.

    The annual sustainability report from UPS, one of the biggest enablers of the e-commerce boom, says it emitted 13.8 million metric tons of CO2 while delivering 5.1 billion packages in 2017, by ground and air.

    Emissions from FedEx, the other major shipper, were 15.1 million metric tons in 2017.

    The Postal Service emitted about 4.3 million metric tons of CO2 in 2016.

    From Axios
  • The oil and gas industry is ramping up petrochemicals, the building blocks of plastics, right as the global outcry intensifies over plastic waste.

    Most people associate oil companies’ products mainly with gasoline. But they also generate plastics that are interwoven into all facets of our lives. This durable material is, more and more, leaving waste virtually everywhere on Earth.

    From Axios
  • Some are calling for legislation and regulation to make the U.S. more resilient to threats from solar weather.

    Although rare, an extreme coronal mass ejection (CME) — a large burst of solar plasma sent out after a solar flare — could cause a months-long blackout, knock out communications satellites and cause billions in damage.

    Perhaps the most extreme example of a damaging solar storm occurred in 1859 when a CME hit the Earth, lighting telegraph lines on fire and creating auroras that could be seen almost everywhere on Earth.

    From Axios

Society

  • Men unable to change diapers; women cleaning while men kick their feet up on the couch; women having trouble with parking: Scenes like these, which play on gender stereotypes, are now banned in British advertisements.

    The guidelines were developed after a report from the regulator found that gender-stereotypical imagery and rhetoric “can lead to unequal gender outcomes in public and private aspects of people’s lives.”

    From The New York Times
  • New research suggests that over thousands of years of dog domestication, people preferred pups that could pull off that appealing, sad look known as “puppy-dog eyes”. That encouraged the development of the facial muscle that creates it.

    From AP

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