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Hello! Here’s everything you need to know about the week’s business news, so you can make intelligent conversation with your friend’s know-it-all husband at the Tony Awards viewing party you may attend later. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
A Line in the Sand
Those tariffs that President Trump threatened to slap on all imports from Mexico? They’re not happening after all. In an 11th-hour deal, Mexico agreed to “take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration,” which includes deploying its national guard throughout the country to stop migrants from reaching the United States, according to a United States-Mexico Joint Declaration. And it wasn’t a moment too soon. Mexico is the United States’ No. 1 trading partner, and tariffs would have damaged the economies of both countries. The were also unpopular with both parties in Congress, and Republican senators considered blocking the tariffs if Mr. Trump moved ahead with them.
YouTube’s Flip-Flop on Extremism
It was a week of reckoning for YouTube’s policies against hate speech. The company said on Wednesday that it would take down thousands of videos and channels that promote extremist ideologies like neo-Nazism and white supremacy. Or maybe it will just demonetize them by stripping them of ads? The details are still murky. Its efforts are in line with a growing push for online platforms to curb the spread of hate speech and misinformation. But in YouTube’s case, critics believe it’s too little, too late, and too clumsy. Earlier in the week, the company said that a certain video containing homophobic and racial slurs did not violate its policies, but after a backlash, it backpedaled and removed the clip.
So much for the possibility of creating one of the biggest automakers in the world. Fiat Chrysler withdrew its proposal to merge with Renault on Wednesday after the French government, which also happens to be Renault’s top shareholder, expressed reservations. Chief among the state’s concerns was Renault’s alliance with Nissan, a fruitful partnership that could be jeopardized — along with many French jobs — if the merger proceeded. Talks fell apart shortly thereafter. In other car news, American automakers sent a letter to Mr. Trump on Thursday urging him to reconsider his plans to weaken the tailpipe emissions standards created during the Barack Obama era. The problem? Mr. Trump’s deregulation wouldn’t fly in a number of states with their own emissions rules, creating a bifurcated market that would cut into car profits.
Like Oil and … Catholicism
Pope Francis, an avid believer in fighting climate change, has invited top executives from major international oil companies to the Vatican for the second time this year. Bigwigs from BP and Italy’s Eni are expected to attend discussions about their efforts to lower carbon emissions. At their previous meeting in 2018, executives agreed that lower-carbon fuels were a good idea (who doesn’t?), but then didn’t really do much about it. The pope said in 2015 that the Catholic Church should view climate change as a moral issue, and has since used the Vatican’s diplomatic relations to back the Paris climate agreement and to push for stronger leadership in environmental protections.
The Next Theresa May
It’s hard to believe that anyone would want the job of continuing to haggle over Brexit, but the race to succeed Theresa May, Britain’s outgoing prime minister, is already tight. The first step for contenders is to be elected chairman of Britain’s Conservative Party, a position that Ms. May officially left on Friday. Front-runners are dominated by familiar names, including Boris Johnson. The party plans to narrow down the ballot this week and complete the election process by the end of July. Whoever comes out on top will have to negotiate the nation’s future trade policy with the European Union. Fun.
A (Slightly) More Accessible Art Market
Art Basel, the world’s largest modern and contemporary art fair (and playground for those who can afford to fly to Switzerland to party-hop and buy multimillion-dollar paintings) will display the work of more than 4,000 artists this week. And for the first time, the fair will tip its hat to those without bottomless pockets. Some booth fees are now priced on a sliding scale to allow newer galleries to pay less than more established ones with bigger coffers. Can’t make it there yourself? You can still learn about one of the show’s buzziest pieces: Andrea Bowers’ “Open Secret,” a giant (and still evolving) installation that documents the evolution of the #MeToo movement on bright red, floor-to-ceiling sheets of paper.
May’s jobs numbers were lower than expected, stoking fears that the economy is softening more quickly than analysts predicted. But the market for ultrahigh-end real estate is apparently still going strong. The former hedge fund manager Philip Falcone set a record when he sold his Upper East Side home for $80 million, more than anyone has ever paid for a residential townhouse in New York City. In other news, Theranos is not the only blood-tester in the doghouse these days. Quest Diagnostics may have exposed medical information about up to 11.9 million patients in a massive data breach.
On the next episode of The Times’s new TV show, “The Weekly,” find out how the taxi industry left drivers hopeless and in financial ruin. Bankers, brokers and city officials inflated taxi medallion prices and saddled drivers with reckless loans. Watch on FX and Hulu.