Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Today the Fed releases minutes from its last monetary policy meeting, where it did raise interest rates for the fourth time in a year. Keep an eye on Wall Street’s reaction.
Cancer is claiming fewer American casualties — 2.6 million fewer over the past 25 years — but the poor are not faring so well, according to the American Cancer Society’s annual update. The Trend: Three decades ago, the poor had a lower risk than their wealthier neighbors of dying from cancer, but that trend has reversed. Factors include reduced access to health insurance and treatment in some poor and rural areas, where death rates of colon, cervical and lung cancers is higher. Wealthier Americans have benefited from public health initiatives like dietary changes, smoking cessation, early screening and improved treatments. With all that said, Here’s What Is (and Isn’t) Linked to Cancer. – NBC / Business Insider
American Restaurants face a labor crunch
Increasing wages in other sectors, and fewer young people in the workforce (when compared to prior generations), have meant that restaurants could be facing a labor shortage in 2019. The industry, long reliant on low wages, is having to get creative to lure and keep the workers it can find, including new recruiting methods and an array of perks. The industry is reluctant to raise wages, and thus replacing workers with technology, particularly in fast food, may become increasingly appetizing to owners. – Bloomberg
Small-business sentiment is flagging
Confidence among American small-business owners receded for a fourth month in December, extending a retreat from the all-time high reached in August. The National Federation of Independent Business survey of small businesses — which account for half of all private-sector jobs in the U.S. — gauges demand, as well as future hiring and wage trends. A key consumer confidence index also pointed to growing concerns about economic growth last month. – WSJ (subscription)
US, China extend talks on trade battle for 3rd day
U.S. and Chinese envoys extended trade talks into a third day Wednesday after President Donald Trump said negotiations aimed at ending a tariff war were “going very well!” The two sides announced no details, but Asian stock markets rose on news of the decision to extend negotiations that originally were planned for two days. – AP
Recep Rages About American Demands
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, called American demands that he not attack Kurdish fighters in Syria “unacceptable”, describing American-Kurdish solidarity as a “delusion”. He did not meet John Bolton, America’s national security adviser, who was in Ankara seeking to guarantee the Kurds’ safety before withdrawing American troops. The fighters have been key American allies in the war against Islamic State; Turkey considers them terrorists. – The Economist
Saudi Woman Who Fled Family Is Granted Refugee Status
A young Saudi woman who barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to avoid deportation was granted refugee status Wednesday by the United Nations refugee agency, Australian officials said, clearing the way for an asylum request. Thai media reported on Tuesday that her father had arrived in Bangkok, where he met with refugee agency officials, but that Ms. Alqunun refused to see him. – New York Times
Sears gets a lifeline, retailer gets one last shot at survival
It ain’t over yet – yesterday Sears and hedge fund billionaire Eddie Lampert won an 11th-hour court ruling staying the chain’s liquidation. If he can get a $120 million ante together by 4PM today, he can take part in an auction next Monday. Why it matters: that could perhaps save the chain along with its more than 50,000 jobs. Be smart: Lampert’s motive isn’t 100% altruistic. He wants to get his hands on the Kenmore brand appliances and the company’s real estate. – CNBC
JetPack Aviation Announces World’s First Jetpack Racing League
Jetpacks have long been a futuristic mode of transportation mostly confined to science fiction movies, but one California-based company is aiming to debut a new spectator sport around the flying technology in 2019. JetPack Aviation has announced the launch of JetPack Racing League. JetPack Aviation spent the last 12 months running tests to see if its jetpacks could safely fly close to one another. Last week, the company released a video featuring two jetpack-strapped pilots flying side-by-side. Count us in. – Sport Techie
Hulu Makes a Strong Push: tops 25 million subscribers, $1.5 billion in ad revenue in 2018
Hulu announced yesterday it ended 2018 by adding 8 million subscribers, a 48% subscriber increase, to a total of more than 25 million. Why it matters: Hulu heavily promoted discounts on Black Friday for its streaming video-on-demand package and competition is good for viewers. Meanwhile, Hulu competitor Netflix had 137 million subscribers as of Q3 2018. What to watch: In 2019, Disney is teed up to take 60% ownership of Hulu through its acquisition of 20th Century Fox. – Axios
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
2007: Steve Jobs debuts the iPhone
On this day in 2007, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone—a touchscreen mobile phone with an iPod, camera and Web-browsing capabilities, among other features—at the Macworld convention in San Francisco. Here’s the presentation.