Inside Daily Brief - August 20th, 2019

Inside Daily Brief (Aug 20th, 2019)

Payroll tax cut / Italy gov't collapse / State antitrust probe / U.S. Space Command

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1. 🗽 U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he’s considering a payroll tax cut as one of several ways to stimulate the economy. To counteract a possible economic slowdown, Trump said the government is looking into "various tax rate deductions" including a temporary cut in the payroll tax, which he said is "something that we think about and a lot of people would like to see that, and that very much affects the workers of our country." The Washington Post, citing three people familiar with the issue, reported that discussions about the cut are in the preliminary stage and officials haven't decided yet whether to seek Congress' approval. The news comes a day after the White House official denied that cutting payroll taxes was on the table. - WSJ

2. 🌍 Italy’s nationalist government collapsed on Tuesday as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation and accused his interior minister, Matteo Salvini, of creating a political crisis. In an address to Parliament, Conte accused Salvini, the far-right League party chief, of working to capitalize on his rising popularity and thrusting the country into a “vortex of political uncertainty and financial instability.” Conte said he will tender his resignation to Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, who will now consult with party leaders to try and form a new majority for another Italian government. If unsuccessful, Mattarella will likely call for snap elections to form a new governing coalition to replace the nationalist-populist coalition, whose short tenure has seen antagonism toward migrants and the European Union. Mattarella would have to dissolve Parliament 3½ years ahead of schedule, which could trigger elections as early as October. - NYTIMES

3. 📈 Support for presidential candidate Joe Biden has grown while backing for Sen. Kamala Harris has plunged in two months, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The news agency last polled voters in June. The former vice president once again led the field of Democratic candidates with support from 29 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, which represents a 7 point increase from June. He was trailed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 15 percent and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 14 percent, whose numbers remained unchanged. Harris, who gained 17 percent support in the June poll, fell by 12 points to 5 percent.

4. ⚖️ A group of states' attorneys general is preparing to start its own antitrust investigation into the big tech industry. Up to this point, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google have been dealing with federal entities, including the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and House Judiciary Committee. The state investigation, which could launch as soon as next month, is expected to have similar targets as the federal probes. There could up 20-plus states involved, crossing party lines. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said the current tech antitrust concerns are “up there with the Standard Oil trust during that era [and] the robber barons in the 1800s." - WSJ

A version of this story first appeared in Inside Amazon.

5. 🚗 Uber plans to open an office in Dallas by 2020 and turn it into its largest hub outside of its Bay Area headquarters. The ride-sharing company plans to hire or relocate about 400 employees to the city by the end of 2019, with plans to have at least 3,000 employees at the office overall. Most of the positions will be in finance, human resources, and sales. Uber, which has yet to turn a profit, has made efforts to save money after experiencing a $5.24 billion loss in its second-quarter earnings this month. One of those includes no longer using balloons to celebrate its employees’ anniversaries, which is expected to save $200,000 annually at its San Francisco offices. - DMN

6. 🚀 The U.S. Space Command - the agency that will precede President Trump's Space Force - officially launches on Aug. 29. Vice President Mike Pence and Pentagon officials made the announcement on Tuesday during a meeting of the National Space Council. The Senate confirmed Air Force Gen. John Raymond to be the command's first leader. Meanwhile, congressional funding and authority are still required to establish the Space Force, which Pence said could happen soon. The future military branch "will ensure that our nation is prepared to defend our people, defend our interests, and to defend our values in the vast expanse of space and here on Earth with the technologies that will support our common defense for the vast reaches of outer space," Pence said. - USA TODAY

7. 🌎 New research shows that most big earthquakes are preceded by smaller ones, which could help scientists one day predict future quakes. The study published in Geophysical Research Letters is being called a "first step" to one day being able to make statistical forecasts about when large quakes could occur. The researchers used a new technique to find previously undetectable "microquakes" and found that more than 70 percent of southern California earthquakes of at least magnitude 4 from 2007-2018 were preceded by the smaller quakes. - LA TIMES

8. 📝 Phoenix, Arizona, now requires its police officers to document every time they point a gun at somebody. Phoenix police Chief Jeri Williams called the policy, which was unveiled this week, a first step to becoming "that accountable, transparent organization that is willing to share what we do and how we do it." A review conducted by the National Police Foundation recommended the policy, which also requires supervisors to review the documented cases one by one. In 2018, Phoenix police had the most police shootings in the U.S. at 44 - an increase from its previous yearly average of 21. - CNN

9. 📱 The 7MB Google Go search app is now available worldwide. After beta testing and launching it in India and Indonesia last year, the tech giant unveiled the app on the Play Store for all Android devices running on Lollipop (5.0) and higher. The app allows users with low-powered devices to search online and remembers search results later even after a dropped connection. Designed for emerging markets, its search results are optimized to save up to 40 percent of data, Google says. - THE VERGE

10. 🎞️ The upcoming James Bond film starring Daniel Craig officially has a name: "No Time To Die." The official James Bond Twitter feed revealed the title on Tuesday and noted that the film - which marks the 25th movie for the franchise - is due out on April 3, 2020 in the U.K. and April 8, 2020 in the U.S. A description says Craig will go on a mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist but faces a mysterious villain, played by Rami Malek. Other returning stars include Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, and Ralph Fiennes. - DEADLINE


Flat earthers are wrong...

Written and curated by Beth Duckett in Orange County. Beth is a former reporter for The Arizona Republic who has written for USA Today, Get Out magazine and other publications. Follow her tweets about breaking news and other topics in southern California here.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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