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Bloomberg Businessweek 1/22/2018

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

3 min
in brief

Asia ● North and South Korea will march under one flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. They’ll also field a joint women’s ice hockey team. ● The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission shut down Rappler, a news website that’s been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, ruling that it violated a constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership. Watchdogs viewed the closure as a move to curtail press freedom. ● An Iranian oil tanker sank in the East China Sea on Jan. 15 after crashing into a Chinese freighter more than a week earlier. The resulting oil slick had grown to an area of 52 square miles by Jan. 16, from just 4 sq. mi. the day before. ● India reported its widest trade deficit in three years on Jan. 15,…

6 min
a case against education

Last April, Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the College for All Act, which would eliminate tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for students from families that earn up to $125,000 per year. It would also make community college tuition-free for everyone. Good idea or bad? Advocates of lowering the barriers to college say doing so helps both the students and the U.S. economy. Sanders, one of 21 co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate and House, noted that Germany, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden already have tuition-free public colleges and universities. The U.S. must do the same, he said in a statement, “if we are to succeed in a highly competitive global economy and have the best-educated workforce in the world.” The evidence of the benefits of…

2 min
italy’s pols need to get real

Politicians in Italy aren’t known for their sober realism, but the campaigns ahead of elections on March 4 take fantasizing to new heights. The political parties are outbidding one another with the most lavish pledges—ranging from Silvio Berlusconi’s flat tax to the Five Star Movement’s “citizens’ income”—while offering no credible explanations of how to pay for them. This kind of fiscal daydreaming is especially reckless in Italy, where sovereign debt has topped 130 percent of national income. The country’s leaders should be arguing about how to bring this debt under control, not promising to make it bigger still. Two factors account for the surge in irresponsibility. One is the country’s economic recovery, which has helped to reduce the government’s budget deficit to 2.3 percent of gross domestic product. The next government could…

6 min
how the eggplant helps autonomous cars see in the dark

When Henry Ford revolutionized transportation a century ago with the mass-produced Model T, it came in just one color: black. Eager to customize vehicles to buyers’ tastes, automakers have since cranked out cars in almost every hue imaginable. Now the industry is again concentrating on its original color to address a dangerous blind spot of self-driving cars: They can’t see black very well. Dark colors absorb light, which means the navigating lasers of autonomous vehicles don’t quite bounce off—or enable detection of—black cars. Therein lies a potential windfall for old-school companies that make paint. The world’s largest producer of vehicle coatings, PPG Industries Inc., is engineering a paint that allows the near-infrared light emitted by lasers to pass through a dark car’s exterior layer and rebound off a reflective undercoat—making it…

5 min
l’oréal hopes china’s beauty is skin-deep

The beauty industry is no stranger to seemingly small tweaks that hatched big businesses: Think waterproof mascara, gel nail polish, foundation that filters out UV rays. L’Oréal SA’s latest beauty innovation doesn’t come in lipstick tubes or compact cases but rather in petri dishes. Rows of them in a Shanghai lab hold pale blobs of skin that scientists created to help customize makeup for Chinese faces. Paris-based L’Oréal is the first cosmetics company to develop reconstructed Chinese skin, which contains living cells from donors. The penny-size dollops allow researchers to develop anti-aging serums, whitening creams, and pollution-fighting cleansers for customers in the company’s fastest-growing market. Cosmetics sales in China are forecast to exceed $40 billion by 2021, surpassing the U.S. as the world’s biggest market for makeup and skin care, according to…

5 min
out from under the ‘bamboo ceiling’

Even before Wang Yi learned that his wife, Cao Jing, was pregnant, he’d started to feel another kind of clock ticking. Since graduating from Princeton in 2009, he’d spent two years working at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., attending meeting after meeting as a product manager shepherding projects from search ads to YouTube upgrades through the company’s mammoth bureaucracy. I can’t do this anymore, he told Cao soon after the pregnancy test came back positive. Let’s go home. Back to China, for good. It was a fight. Cao was happy in the spacious condo she and Wang had just bought in nearby Sunnyvale, and they loved touring America’s national parks in their new Subaru Outback. Together, they were making more than $200,000 a year and had a stable future to…