In an effort to combat e-retail giant Amazon.com, the clothing store Zara is equipping its regular store with the capability to ship anywhere. The idea is that if an item is out of stock online, but physically available in a store, then the item will be pulled from a shelf, put directly in a box, and shipped to the customer. This strategy may point the way towards more efficient use of brick-and-mortar stores in the electronic age, and may help traditional retailers stay in business.
While some investors have considered traditional retailers’ vast store networks costly and
, industry executives are increasingly equipping them to fulfill online orders to quicken delivery times, cut delivery costs and lift sales.
- The Wall Street Journal ( July 31, 2018)
There are some signs that North Korea may not be pivoting toward denuclearization, as the rest of the world had hoped. Satellite photos show continued building at a site that is known to house missile technology. There are also signs of a museum being built on the site, which suggests to observers that North Korea will want to preserve for history what happens there, such as a successful missile launch. The White House has not commented on these findings.
Researchers in Japan have gotten approval to test a treatment for Parkinson’s disease on human subjects. The treatment involves the transfer of stem cells which have been “reprogrammed” to become nerve cells which produce dopamine, the substance that decreases rapidly in the cells of Parkinson’s patients. Parkinson’s is a disease that can cause tremors, movement disorders and dementia. Stem cells show great promise because they can become virtually any cell in the human body.
“We intend to carry on conducting our research carefully, yet
, in coordination with Kyoto University Hospital, so that new treatment using iPS cells will be brought to patients as soon as possible”
- goodnewsnetwork.org ( July 31, 2018)
Wildfires in California have been raging throughout the week, causing the evacuation of thousands of people and destroying almost 900 homes. Firefighters from across the nation have come to California in an effort to help control the blazes. The dry, hot temperatures and high winds that dominate the state’s weather at this time of year make the fires even more difficult to control.
Cliff Allen knows all too well the challenges facing crews battling more than a dozen
wildfires roaring across California that have claimed the lives of four firefighters in less than three weeks.
- USA Today ( July 31, 2018)
President Trump has renewed pressure on Congress to fund the building of a wall at the border between Mexico and The United States. The President has threatened to shut down the government over the issue, and there has also been talk again of negotiating protection for the “Dreamers” in exchange for funding the wall. Erecting a wall was one of Donald Trump's major campaign promises.
John Kelly, the president’s Chief of Staff, has reportedly agreed to stay in that position through 2020, when the president runs for re-election. This is somewhat surprising because many Washington insiders expected Kelly to leave the White House some time this summer. These same insiders also note that after a rocky start, the president and Kelly have been getting along better.
Mr. Kelly, a 68-year-old retired Marine general, came into the job with a
to impose discipline in a West Wing where many aides had easy access to the president and felt free to pursue policy initiatives that hadn’t been fully vetted.
- The Wall Street Journal ( July 31, 2018)
McDonald’s Big Mac is turning 50 this year. Starting this week, when a customer buys a Big Mac, they will receive a coin which they can
redeem for a second Big Mac. The Big Mac was not actually a corporate invention — a McDonald’s franchise owner came up with the burger recipe back in 1968.
the new currency for a free Big Mac starting Friday and running throughout the rest of 2018.
- USA Today ( July 29, 2018)
Mission: Impossible - Fallout opened this weekend, taking in $156 Million dollars in global box office receipts. The film is the sixth in the franchise starring Tom Cruise. In addition to strong ticket sales, the film has garnered excellent reviews, with many critics dubbing it “the best movie of the summer.”
So, yes, even with an improved-but-not-superlative domestic debut (it sold fewer tickets this weekend than Rogue Nation in 2015 and the allegedly disappointing Mission: Impossible III in 2006), it still might qualify as something of a breakout sequel for the 22-year old franchise.
- forbes.com ( July 30, 2018)
Disney has announced that it will phase out the use of plastic straws in its theme parks. This makes Disney the second major company to announce such a move — Starbucks recently committed to getting rid of plastic straws by 2020. McDonald’s has also experimented with plastic straw substitutes.
The Trump Administration is looking for a way to grant a tax cut to the wealthy without getting Congress involved or rewriting the tax code. The economic theory behind giving the rich even more money is that they drive the larger economy — they own businesses and employ many people, so their continued success would result in the success of middle and working class people.
The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally
maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.
- The New York Times ( July 30, 2018)