Bloomberg Businessweek October 5, 2020

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2 min
in brief

The coronavirus crisis reached a grim milestone, with deaths surpassing 1m worldwide. The chief epidemiologist of China, where the pathogen originated at the end of 2019, warned that the global pandemic is unlikely to be contained in the near future. ▷ 50 Armenian and Azerbaijani forces clashed over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict risks drawing in nearby Russia and Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is an ally of Azerbaijan. Vladimir Putin, eager to restore order on Russia’s southern flank, urged both sides to cease combat and resume talks. An Azerbaijani soldier is buried on Sept. 29. Nagorno-Karabakh, largely populated by Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991. Both sides accuse each other of targeting civilian areas in the recent fighting. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone plans to turn its mobile unit, NTT…

3 min
only a new president can undo trump’s damage to the cdc

Inch by inch, since the start of the pandemic, the White House has sought to sabotage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the political benefit of President Trump. To an alarming extent, it has succeeded. Once globally recognized as “the best science-based, data-driven agency in the world,” in the words of its current director, the CDC is now in danger of losing the public’s trust entirely. The most glaring problem has been communication. Against the best judgment of its own staffers, the agency has said reopening schools is crucial even if doing so increases the spread of the coronavirus. It’s failed to caution churches to suspend or limit the use of choirs, which have been associated with outbreaks. It’s even discouraged testing asymptomatic people, contrary to the advice of…

1 min
give peace a chance

Australia unveils its annual budget on Oct. 6. The economy has suffered and unemployment has jumped as people have lost their jobs in the pandemic. The vice presidential debate on Oct. 7 pits incumbent Mike Pence against Kamala Harris, a week after their bosses faced off in the first of their three encounters. Tajikistan holds a presidential election on Oct. 11. Emomali Rahmon, who’s ruled the former Soviet republic since 1992, is running for his fifth term in office. European Union energy ministers meet in Berlin on Oct. 5-6. Topics will include energy and climate targets set for 2030 and the bloc’s hydrogen strategy. Germany’s powerful BDI industry lobby holds a technology summit on Oct. 5-6. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury will be among the speakers. The National Association for Business Economics…

8 min
america’s $750 problem

Money can arrive in many forms—paychecks, invoices paid, dividends from a business you own, a gift from Dad, a loan from Mom, rising property values or stock prices. Even non-monetary perks like housing, plane rides, and haircuts have a cash value. Much of this income—and let’s call it all income, though the lawyers might quibble—never gets taxed. With your paycheck, of course, the government takes its cut immediately. Plumbers and Uber drivers who don’t set aside money for the Internal Revenue Service will regret it. But for others, different rules apply. In a now infamous—though hardly unique—example, Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and the same amount in 2017, his first year as president, according to a report by the New York Times, which obtained copies…

5 min
macau is still rolling snake eyes

In a normal year, right about now would be the start of a tourism tsunami across China. And after five months of near-zero revenue, Macau’s pandemic-weary casinos were hoping that a rush of travelers during China’s Golden Week would provide a fast rebound. Starting Oct. 1, the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, the holiday—it actually lasts eight days this year—usually sees the world’s biggest gambling hub hit more than twice its normal population as mainland punters stream in. But even though Beijing finally started handing out visas and easing travel restrictions over the past two months, Macau has seen only a trickle of arrivals, and its gaming floors remain largely empty. The most optimistic predictions now are that Golden Week will deliver half of last year’s almost 1…

5 min
how nerds take their coffee

Since their debut in the late 1990s, Keurig coffee machines have built a mass following for their sturdy dependability. The functionality and design—think the no-frills cousin to Nestlé SA’s sleeker Nespresso range—speak to an era when coffee was chiefly thought of as a utility to rouse the sleepy. These days, as more Americans come to revere a cup of coffee as something of an art form, Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. believes drinkers will pay a premium for an appliance that promises to perfect java down to its most minute details. Enter the Keurig Custom Smart, a $399 Wi-Fi-enabled capsule brewer seeking to gauge the U.S. thirst for connected caffeine when it begins selling in late October. Set to be the company’s most expensive machine, the Custom Smart has software that can recognize…