5 Things to Know This Weekend: June 16, 2017
Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today
Here are the 5 things to know this weekend as you're planning an impromptu trip to Cuba.
On Monday, we learned a San Francisco-based tech startup raised $18 million to develop burger-making robots.
Momentum Machines says their bots can make 400 custom burgers an hour, which is great for hungry consumers and businesses looking to save on costs, but not so great for line cooks. In 2015, Momentum founder, Alexandros Vardakostas said, “Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. It’s meant to completely obviate them.” That goal puts the already low-wage fast food industry—one that employs approximately 513,0000 Americans—out of a job.
Kalanick attributed the leave to grieving for his mother—who recently passed away in a boating accident—but his announcement also coincides with the results of an investigation into Uber's corporate culture the company commissioned from former US Attorney General Eric Holder. Later that day, leaked recordings from the meeting included a crass joke made by board member, David Bonderman, after fellow Uber board member Arianna Huffington remarked on the importance of including women in corporate leadership. Bonderman interjected, “What it shows is that (there’s) likely to be more talking.” Less than 12 hours later, he resigned. It's a start, but for people like Susan Fowler, an engineer who blew the whistle on the ride-hailing company's appalling response to sexual harassment claims, it's nowhere near enough.
Question of the week: Should Puerto Rico become America’s 51st state?
In a low-turnout election, 97 percent of the Puerto Ricans who did show up voted in favor of joining the United States. However, this overwhelming majority is likely due to opposition parties boycotting the election due to vote-tampering suspicions. Nevertheless, the island territory's problems are very real, just a few weeks ago Puerto Rico declared a $74-billion debt and $49 billion in pension obligations that they can’t pay. More than 150 public schools are being closed and Puerto Ricans have begun to migrate off the island en masse. Pro-statehood supporters want to cement their place (and their needs) in the U.S., but many others are skeptical such a move would be of much benefit, and don't view the Trump Administration as particularly friendly to their cause.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve voted to raise the interest rate for the second time this year.
During the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed kept the interest rate low so people would be better able to boost the economy by buying cars and houses. Now that the economy is (slowly) growing, the rate will rise from .91 percent to somewhere between 1 percent to 1.25 percent. It will mostly affect adjustable-rate debt, like credit cards, home equity loans, and car payments. It may not seem like a lot, but this hike may affect you in more ways than you think.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled the day before that the Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately examine environmental impacts when it initially approved the Dakota Access pipeline construction. In his 91-page ruling, he found the Corps failed to consider most of the environmental-justice concerns that federal regulation requires when analyzing projects sited near underserved communities. Boasberg has yet to rule if the pipeline should shut down while the Corps reconsiders possible implications.
The publicly-traded urban grocery store chain had been facing pressure from an activist investor to up its share price, which soared on news of Amazon's offer. For the online retail giant, Whole Foods' 460+ stores may represent a way to continue experimenting in the world of brick-and-mortar retail. The organic, health food purveyor, which prides itself on sustainable products and employee well-being, may get an avenue into online sales, an area it could never quite grasp. So far, Whole Foods CEO and founder John Mackey will stay, and no job reductions have been reported.