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Boeing and Carrier announce layoffs; East Coast subway riders suffer through repairs; Saudi Arabia gives Qatar a set of ultimatums.
Deal or no deal
- President Donald Trump got bad news this week as two companies at which he had made high-profile visits to promise new jobs months earlier announced layoffs.
- Within days of each other, Boeing and Carrier announced they would be laying off hundreds of workers. Boeing workers manufacture parts for airplanes, while Carrier builds heating and air conditioning units. [BuzzFeed / Jim Dalrymple II]
- In February, Trump visited the South Carolina Boeing factory where 200 people are now out of work, promising more jobs. The layoffs will hit a lot of company administrators and engineers, including operations management, engineers, analysts, and training personnel. [The Post and Courier / David Wren]
- In the past year, Boeing has cut 13,971 jobs — or a 9 percent workforce reduction — across the entire company. [The Post and Courier / David Wren]
- Trump and many of the saved workers talked about the Carrier deal as the first sign of him making good on his promises. But at the same time, the deal had a real possibility of backfiring and setting up a trend where companies could threaten to move jobs overseas in the hopes that the government would intervene. [Vox / Timothy Lee]
- Ultimately, it didn’t work. Carrier said last month it was still going to have to let more than 600 people go as it shipped jobs to Mexico, where the minimum wage is undeniably cheaper. [Washington Post / Danielle Paquette]
- Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the president was already aware that Carrier shipping jobs to Mexico was going to happen, and that the jobs he had saved earlier in the year would stay put. [Axios / Alayna Treene]
Why America's public transit is so bad
- There are a lot of pissed-off subway riders on the East Coast right now.
- Long-suffering metro riders in New York City, Washington, DC, and Boston have been dealing with lagging infrastructure, crowded trains, and delays for years, and the subway crises in each city have reached a tipping point.
- For the past year, Metro riders in DC have been suffering through SafeTrack, $150 million and three years of needed track maintenance work crammed into 12 months. SafeTrack is supposed to end on Sunday, but there will still be delays as crews get to other parts of the track they haven’t been able to fix yet. [Washington Post / Claritza Jimenez]
- SafeTrack has already negatively impacted ridership in the past year, with the number of Metro riders down 10 percent, or 20 million fewer rides, and there are plenty more people who say they’re getting ready to swear off the trains for cars, bikes, or ride-hailing programs. There’s a lot of concern how this could impact the city’s economy. [WAMU / Martin Di Caro]
- DC’s problems certainly aren’t unique. Subway riders in New York are dealing with frequent delays, especially as track at Pennsylvania Station is repaired this summer. New York, in particular, is dealing with a surge of riders and not enough capacity to meet the demand. [NYT / Emma Fitzsimmons]
- Boston’s MBTA has long been plagued with problems, with its costs outnumbering the revenue it was trying to bring in to upgrade outdated trains and track systems. However, the MBTA has been showing signs of improvement in recent months. [Boston Globe / David Scharfenberg]
- Aging infrastructure is a serious problem across America. The American Society for Civil Engineers gave the country’s public transit system a D- when it issued its 2017 report card, saying the system is chronically underfunded, as more people are trying to use it. [American Society for Civil Engineers]
- As people have struggled to explain why ridership is down in these cities, some have pointed fingers at ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. But experts say ride hailing isn’t solely to blame; many cities simply let their infrastructure lag for too long before making emergency repairs to train systems, driving away frustrated riders. [WBUR / Jeremy Hobson]
- There are a lot of reasons to get serious about fixing public transit, including retaining and keeping young people in cities, and making sure low-income people have a reliable way to get to work. [The Atlantic / Gillian White]
- Some of the cities that are doing the best on transit include Indianapolis, Seattle, and Denver, which are expanding their systems and investing in newer, greener forms of travel. [Curbed / Patrick Sisson]
"Even the camels were starving"
- Saudi Arabia just gave its tiny neighbor Qatar a steep list of ultimatums and 10 days to get everything done.
- Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, including Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, want Qatar to end its relations with Iran, shutter its state-funded news service Al Jazeera, kick Turkish troops out of the country, and comply with monthly checks to make sure it’s doing all those things. [The Guardian / Patrick Wintour]
- The move came a few weeks after those nations cut off all diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing its royal family of funding terrorist groups. There is some truth to this — Qatar funds groups including Hamas — but Saudi Arabia is far from an innocent player itself. [Politico / Zalmay Khalilzad]
- But the underlying reason for these nations cutting ties is much more complicated.
- The original thing that caused Saudi Arabia and other nations to sever ties with Qatar was when Qatar’s leader, emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, reportedly praised Israel and Iran and criticized President Trump for his tough rhetoric on Iran. But Qatar and US investigators both said they believed that story was fake and planted by Russian hackers to stir up trouble in the Middle East. [CNN / Katie Hunt]
- That story did a lot to boost the outside perception that Qatar is too cozy with Iran and not committed enough to supporting other Gulf states. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
- Saudi Arabia also really doesn’t like Qatar’s Al Jazeera network, which is extremely popular in the Middle East and has a lot of leeway to report on the topics it wants to cover, including ones that can be critical of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. [Washington Post / Amanda Erickson]
- It’s unclear what might happen to Qatar if it doesn’t comply with Saudi Arabia’s demands. But there's already a blockade on imports into the country, people are not being allowed to fly in and out, and even Qatari camels are getting kicked out of Saudi Arabia, starving as they wait to cross the border. [Foreign Policy / Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian]
- Some adults who survived once-fatal childhood diseases like cystic fibrosis and congenital heart disease struggle to find the right doctors when they turn 18 and transition out of pediatric care. [Kaiser Health News / Kerry Klein]
- Jane Sanders (wife of Bernie) has retained a lawyer as the feds investigate whether she committed fraud when she got bank loans for a now-defunct Vermont college she used to be president of. [Politico / Harry Jaffe]
- Two-thirds of Americans surveyed by Pew said they have lived in a house with guns at some point in their lives. [Pew Research Center / Kim Parker et al.]
- A company harnesses WebMD browsing data to try to recruit people to participate in new medical studies. [Gizmodo / Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu]
- 81-year-old Dale Sanders is in the middle of his attempt to be the oldest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, hiking about 15 miles a day to meet his goal. [Outside Magazine / Jay Bouchard]
- “At some point over the unusually hot weekend, Richard Walter put a bunch of grapes into his Ikea bowl and brought it out into the sunshine. He quickly smelled smoke. When he looked down at his grapes, they were aflame.” [Atlas Obscura / Cara Giaimo]
- “Over the last few years, Morehouse and his colleagues [...] have shown that the sex life of a seemingly unremarkable butterfly is utterly remarkable. It features sperm packages of ungodly size. It involves genitals that double as a souped-up stomach. There’s even an honest-to-goodness vagina dentata.” [The Atlantic / Ed Yong]
- “I feel really exhausted, and it kind of sucks because I know that I have to keep on doing this, and I’m so young. My mom tells me all the time, “You know, Asi, you shouldn’t feel this tired, you shouldn’t this or that.” I’m like, “Mom, I work.” Two to three jobs. I go to school and then I have night school. I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out.” [Asiah Harris to NYT / Jack Healy]
- “Cars 3 — the latest kid-friendly Pixar film — will likely not address the fact that a car genocide happened in which Car Hitler exterminated 6 million Car Jews during Car World War II. It is very easy to prove that Car Hitler is real, using canonical Cars lore.” [New York magazine / Brian Feldman]
- “People wearing colored jackets in Chicago will be shouting at each other about cheese for the final time on Friday.” [WSJ / Alexander Osipovich and Benjamin Parkin]
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