Sep 3, 2018

Axios PM

Situational awareness: President Trump used a Labor Day tweet to hammer Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

  • "Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff..."
  • Be smart, from Jonathan Swan: This sets up a bigger crisis than we might have imagined if, as expected, he eventually fires Sessions. How do you find a replacement A.G. who is both confirmable and the modern incarnation of Roy Cohn that Trump openly yearns for?
1 big thing: China wants its own Bay Area

Aerial view of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Photo: VCG

While we take a break from our toil, here's what our chief economic rival is doing.

China wants to link a string of megacities into a “Greater Bay Area” to rival San Francisco, New York and Tokyo, the Financial Times’ Ben Bland reports (subscription).

What’s new: Beijing wants to pull Hong Kong closer by integrating it with Macau, the world’s most lucrative casino gambling destination — and nine neighboring urban areas. It's pouring cash into infrastructure projects and trying to lure investment and talent from Hong Kong to the mainland.

Why it matters: "Along with the Belt and Road Initiative, a signature project for [Xi Jinping], Beijing sees the Greater Bay Area as a way not just to further integrate Hong Kong and Macau, which were handed back by the UK and Portugal respectively in the late 1990s.”

  • "It is also hoping to turbo-charge growth in one of the country’s most economically vibrant regions and accelerate the nationwide transition from manufacturing and exports to services and domestic demand.”

By the numbers:

  • 70 million people live in this area, the FT notes, with a $1.5 trillion economy that could nearly double by 2025.
  • The region boasts three of the world's 10 busiest container ports: Shenzen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
  • The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, scheduled to open this year, is 22 miles long and cost nearly $20 billion.
  • The Shenzhen-Zhongshan project is currently under construction. It uses a combination of bridges, tunnels and artificial islands.
  • China spent $11 billion linking Hong Kong to the mainland's high speed rail.

Between the lines: "A senior Hong Kong official... admits that it will be very difficult to improve the 'flows of information and capital' between the city and the mainland without the city losing its 'uniqueness.'"

Go deeper: China is the greatest, growing threat to America

Bonus: Photos du jour
People kayak on the Potomac River in Washington. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.
A man rides a bicycle past an airplane taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty images
2. What you missed
  1. Tropical Storm Gordon is in the Gulf of Mexico, scheduled to reach Louisiana with 45 mph winds on Wednesday, the Weather Channel reports.
  2. An American service member was apparently killed by an Afghan security member today, the second such attack in two months, the N.Y. Times reports.
  3. Retaliatory tariffs threaten U.S. companies employing some 11 million workers. See the map.
  4. Brazil's National Museum is functionally gone after a fire last night, with most of the 20 million items presumed destroyed. What was lost.
  5. Drama in the U.K.: PM Theresa May's spokesperson has responded to a Boris Johnson critique of the government's Brexit plan: "There's no new ideas in this article to respond to," the BBC reports.
3. 1 fun thing

Cursive, the scourge of elementary classrooms for decades in the U.S., is making a comeback courtesy of summer camps, WashPost' Karen Heller reports.

  • "Brigid Guertin... has struggled to find interns capable of deciphering the sepia-tinted documents of their city’s handwritten past."
  • "So three years ago she launched cursive camp, in hopes of training tomorrow’s interns today. Surprisingly, children and parents flocked to it."
  • "The campers, ages 6 to 14, spent their waning days of vacation under the guidance of third-grade teacher Kathleen Johnson creating their own ink (a mashing of berries, vinegar and salt), scratching their names on paper with Day-Glo quills, or with cotton swabs on paint-filled bags, or with their fingers in generous shmears of shaving cream."

Grab your pencils.