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Bloomberg Businessweek 9/4/2017

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

3 min
in brief

Asia ● As Mumbai endured its heaviest rainfall in 12 years, trading on the city’s stock and bond markets slowed dramatically, and traffic on all three of the region’s commercial trains stopped. ● China and India ended a tense standoff along their Himalayan border. Although China confirmed it will continue to patrol near Bhutan, it’s stopped talking about building a controversial road. ● Freeport-McMoRan said it would give Indonesia a majority stake in the world’s largest gold and second-largest copper mine. In return, the country will extend the company’s permit to export copper by 20 years. ● CBS agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for Australia’s Ten Network Holdings, thwarting a takeover by News Corp. ● North Korea lobbed a missile over Japan, the first of more than a dozen such tests this year to soar…

12 min
hard rain and hard lessons

Houston has been wet since birth. In the 1840s, the German explorer Ferdinand von Roemer described the Brazos River prairie just outside the young town as an “endless swamp” that mired the wheels of his wagons. He reported that some people who’d intended to settle in Texas turned around and left after seeing the “sad picture.” But Houston never let itself be hampered by its hydrology. It spent billions patching together a mess of dams and drainage projects as it grew and grew. It’s the fourth-biggest city in the U.S., boasting one of the world’s largest medical centers, oil refineries, a stupendous livestock show and rodeo, highbrow culture, vibrant economic growth, and speakers of 145 languages. The consolidated metropolitan statistical area surrounding Houston and extending to Galveston is larger than…

6 min
nissan tries turning over a new leaf

When Nissan Motor Co. unveiled its all-electric Leaf in 2010, the Japanese carmaker found itself uncharacteristically leading the automotive pack. Capable of traveling 100 miles on a single charge, the car leapfrogged those from most rivals who were focused on developing hybrids—such as Toyota’s Prius—or simply squeezing more mileage out of their conventional gasoline-powered models. That head start helped turn the Leaf into the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, with almost 300,000 cars sold since its introduction. Fast-forward seven years, and the Leaf ’s early lead seems set to vanish. These days, shoppers for EVs are generally drawn to a different automaker: Tesla Inc. That brand’s global cachet and the rock star status of co-founder Elon Musk have made its name almost synonymous with electric cars. More than 450,000 people have put…

6 min
a fast-track promotion ——with a catch

Since almost the beginning of the commercial airline business, junior pilots have had to toil years in the second chair waiting to win a pair of captain’s wings. Now Delta Air Lines Inc. is offering them the chance to vault into a captain’s seat in as little as six months. The catch? The promotion requires flying an unloved, aging plane nicknamed the “Mad Dog” that Delta plans to retire in three years. The McDonnell Douglas Corp. MD-88 jets are the oldest aircraft in operation at any major U.S. carrier. They come with quirks such as glare-prone skylight panels called “eyebrow windows” that were common when pilots sometimes navigated by the stars. And they’re so noisy that some New York politicians, including U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, cheered when Delta recently…

3 min
the lady teaching brazilians how to shop online

Lu’s not like other girls on Tinder. For starters, she’s an avatar. The digital saleswoman popped up on the dating app last June, offering coupons as part of Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza SA’s strategy to boost e-commerce. She’s been surprisingly effective, increasing the company’s online sales by almost five times the pace of the overall market in the first half of the year and helping make Magazine Luiza the world’s best-performing major retail stock. Onlookers in the developed world may be tempted to write off Lu as a gimmick in this increasingly crowded digital era. But in Brazil she’s something of a trailblazer, an unlikely bridge between a leery consumer base and online retailers that have struggled to gain a foothold in Latin America’s largest economy. “Lu was created to encourage…

5 min
playing dumb didn’t help samsung’s heir apparent

“Lee was penny-wise and pound-foolish” During the monthslong corruption trial of Jay Y. Lee, the co-vice chairman and heir apparent of Samsung Group testified that he was as surprised about the scandal as anybody. Lee and his deputies repeatedly told the Seoul Central District Court that the billionaire electronics scion couldn’t have been involved in the bribery and influence-peddling scandal that took down South Korean President Park Geun-hye, as the prosecution alleged. After all, they said, he hardly knew anything about the day-to-day operations of the family business. “There was no line of approval involving me,” Lee said in court, choking back tears. “I had no knowledge to make decisions, nor the competence.” Unsurprisingly, the three judges hearing the case didn’t buy it. On Aug. 25 they convicted Lee on all five…