Aug 16, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🇮🇱 Breaking: Israel announced today that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) will be allowed to enter on humanitarian grounds to visit her family in the West Bank, including her 90-year-old grandmother, Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

Happy Friday! Today's Smart Brevity count: 953 words ... < 4 minutes.

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1 big thing: Employees revolt over immigration

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Employees at several big companies, including Google and Whole Foods, are revolting against work from agencies that enforce Trump administration immigration policies, Axios' Sara Fischer and Courtenay Brown report.

  • Why it matters: The immigration debate has become so polarizing under President Trump that companies are finding themselves at odds with their workforces for being involved at any level with enforcement.

Employees at Google circulated a petition Wednesday demanding that the company publicly commit not to support government agencies that engage in practices they feel amount to "human rights abuses."

  • The petition calls for Google not to provide any "infrastructure, funding, or engineering resources, directly or indirectly" for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
  • The workers are worried because CBP is looking for a contractor to provide cloud computing services.

Whole Foods workers demanded this week that Amazon, their parent company, cut ties with Palantir, which provides software to ICE.

  • Ogilvy, a global PR agency, was forced to confront angry employees at a town hall meeting last month over a multi-million dollar contract with CBP.

Between the lines: Corporations and their leaders are increasingly being pressured by customers and employees to take stands on social issues.

  • Several big banks said they would no longer lend money to companies that run immigrant detention centers.

The big picture: Guns have also become more divisive for companies and their workforces.

2. Earth's hottest month in 140 years
This iceberg photo was taken Wednesday from the window of a plane carrying NASA scientists on a mission to track melting ice in Greenland. Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/AP

July was the hottest month measured on Earth since records began in 1880, NOAA reported. (AP)

  • NOAA said July was 0.95°C (1.71°F) warmer than the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F).
  • The previous record was July 2016.

Why it matters: The finding is the latest in a long line of peaks that scientists say backs up predictions for man-made climate change.

3. Danger for markets: If uncertainty turns to alarm
Courtesy The Economist

Despite bearish signs in every major economy, a global recession is so far a fear, not a reality, The Economist writes in its cover editorial:

  • "The world economy is still growing, albeit at a less healthy pace than in 2018."
  • "Its resilience rests on consumers, not least in America. Jobs are plentiful; wages are picking up; credit is still easy; and cheaper oil means there is more money to spend."
  • "The boards of public companies and the shareholders they ostensibly serve have [mostly] played it safe. Businesses in aggregate are net savers."

The bottom line: "[F]irms and markets are struggling to get to grips with uncertainty."

  • "This, not tariffs, is the greatest harm from the trade war between America and China."
4. Pics du jour: Ready to roll
Photo: Getty Images

With more protests expected this weekend, Chinese paramilitary vehicles — including two carrying water cannons — mass near the Hong Kong border. (Reuters)

  • Chinese border officers are searching the phones (including photos, messages and apps) of people entering the mainland from Hong Kong, raising concerns that Beijing is trying to identify protest sympathizers. (N.Y. Times)
Photo: Getty Images
5. Developer-in-chief
Scientists play soccer on ice in the sea around Greenland last year, while two armed guards watch for polar bears. Photo: Marius Vågenes Villanger/AFP/Getty Images

The idea of the U.S. purchasing Greenland has captured President Trump's imagination, The Wall Street Journal scooped (subscription):

  • "Trump has, with varying degrees of seriousness, repeatedly expressed interest in buying the ice-covered autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans."
  • "In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance."
6. Amazing Disney stat
Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) and Woody (Tom Hanks) in "Toy Story 4." Courtesy: Disney

Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 4" crossed $1 billion at the box office, making Disney the first studio with five pictures to gross over $1 billion in one year, Deadline reports.

  • "Frozen 2" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" are projected to bring that count to seven later this year.
  • Why it matters: "Good luck to any rival in town who ever dreams of surpassing that milestone, especially since Disney has all the goods when it comes to brands."
7. New push for graphic cigarette warnings
Photo: FDA via AP

The FDA proposed 13 new warnings that would appear on all cigarette packages, including images of cancerous neck tumors, diseased lungs and feet with amputated toes, AP health writer Matthew Perrone reports.

  • Other color illustrations would warn smokers that cigarettes can cause heart disease, impotence and diabetes.
  • The labels would take up half of the front of cigarette packages, and would also appear on tobacco advertisements.

The current smaller text warnings on the side of U.S. cigarette packs haven't been updated since 1984.

  • The FDA's previous attempt was defeated in court in 2012 on free speech grounds.
8. Woodstock, 50 years on
Photo: Seth Wenig/AP

The media records Woodstock veteran Arlo Guthrie, 72, playing at the original site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in Bethel, N.Y., 80 miles northwest of New York City.

  • Tie-dyed pilgrims and white-haired Woodstock festival veterans converged at the generation-defining site to celebrate its 50th anniversary, while Guthrie sang "The Times They Are a-Changin'." (AP)
Photo: Seth Wenig/AP
9. Alibaba exec snags Nets
A view of Barclays Center during a playoff game between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers this year. Photo: Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

Joe Tsai, the executive vice chairman of Chinese tech giant Alibaba, is set to buy the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and their home, Barclays Center, for $3.5 billion, reports Bloomberg.

  • "Rich Asians have been plowing money into professional sports franchises in Europe and around the world, though buying an NBA team is rare."
  • "Chinese investors have taken more stakes in European soccer teams," including powerhouses like Italy's A.C. Milan and Spain's Atletico Madrid.
10. 1 fun thing
Photo: Sgt. Kyle Smith/Washington State Patrol via AP

A Washington state trooper, pulling over to help what he thought was a stranded vehicle, found a driver had eight phones simultaneously playing Pokemon Go. (It wasn't Ina!)

  • The trooper asked the driver to put the phones in the back seat and move along, because stopping on the shoulder is for emergencies only. (AP)
Mike Allen

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