Newsworthy – July 5th, 2019

President Trump holds an Independence Day celebration, US soybean farmers are hurt by Chinese tariffs, drugmakers increase prices, and the US and China face the economic consequences of an aging population.

These are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

Politics and Government

  • A day after President Trump surprised his advisers by tweeting an offer to “say Hello(?)!” to North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas, the pair met there, and Mr. Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in the north.

    In an unexpected burst of diplomacy resulting from the impromptu meeting, the U.S. and North Korea agreed to designate nuclear negotiating teams that will begin work over the next few weeks. Talks had stalled after a February summit ended without a deal.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The National Park Service diverted nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks to cover costs associated with President Trump’s Independence Day celebration on the Mall.

    From Washington Post
  • President Trump avoided politics in his speech at the Independence Day celebration as he praised the story of America as “the greatest political journey in human history.” The event also featured flyovers of booming jet fighters, military bands, tanks, armored vehicles and fireworks.

    From Axios

Business and Economics

  • Walmart is turning to virtual reality to help pick middle managers. When some store workers want to apply for a higher-paying management role, the company fits them with a $250 VR headset for a skills assessment, watching how they respond in virtual reality to an angry shopper, underperforming worker or messy aisle. Executives hope the technology will limit bias, increase diversity and reduce turnover in a tight labor market.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • U.S. farmers are fighting to save their China-centered soybean-export empire. Total U.S. soybean exports in 2017 hit $21 billion—far exceeding the value of any other farm export—and China accounted for substantially more than half that.

    But the bitter trade dispute threatens decades of market-building work: Last year, American soybean exports to China were down 74% by volume, with Brazil filling the gap.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Drugmakers initiated a new round of price increases on their products Monday, with some of them affecting generic hospital-administered injectable drugs that are in short supply.

    All told, 20 companies increased the list prices of over 40 prescription drugs by an average of 13.1%, according to Rx Savings Solutions, which sells software to help employers and health plans choose the least-expensive medicines. On July 1 last year, 16 companies raised the list prices of dozens of drugs by an average 7.8%.

    From The Wall Street Journal

Health and Society

  • Exceptionally warm ocean temperatures have melted sea ice off Alaska’s coasts far earlier than normal this year, alarming residents about the impacts to seals, seabirds and fish they hunt.

    From Anchorage Daily News
  • Pollutants running off booming farms, aided by record wet weather, are contaminating the Mississippi, which provides drinking water for millions of people.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Europe’s widespread measles outbreak has health officials considering obligatory vaccines for school-age children. But the 4.6 million unvaccinated Europeans who were born in the past 20 years also include harder-to-reach teens and young adults, and authorities there, like their counterparts in the U.S.—suffering its worst outbreak in decades—face resistance to vaccines.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The U.S. and China are both battling a largely invisible force, a global demographic shift toward an aging and shrinking population that could sap their economic vitality.

    The United State’s historic openness to immigration provides a fix that China lacks.

    From Axios
  • Exuberant crowds rocking rainbow colors filled New York streets for one of the largest pride parades in the history of the gay-rights movement — a dazzling celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the infamous police raid on Stonewall Inn.

    From AP

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