May 15, 2018

Seattle targets Amazon, Starbucks with homelessness tax

A homeless encampment known as Nickelsville, in Seattle, Washington. Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

The Seattle City Council approved legislation Monday that will impose tax on for-profit companies with an annual gross of at least $20 million — targeting corporations like Amazon and Starbucks — to help pay toward the city’s staggering homelessness and affordable housing crises, per the AP.

The details: Beginning next year, the plan will tax eligible businesses at a rate of $275 per full-time worker each year, generating about $48 million in revenue. It's less than the $500 initially proposed, but the council feared a veto by Seattle's mayor as critics warnsx the tax could chase away other high-grossing businesses.

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Inside hackers' pivot to medical espionage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A wave of cyber-spying around COVID-19 medical research is once more demonstrating the perils of treating cybersecurity as a separate, walled-off realm.

Driving the news: U.S. officials recently announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential COVID-19 cure or effective treatments to combat the virus. Additionally, “more than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations’ virus responses,” reports the New York Times.

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.