Extra, Extra

With Friends Like These: “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s reported plans to visit Russia this month have caused concern among the US and its allies. He and President Vladimir Putin intend to discuss the possibility of North Korea providing Moscow with weapons to support its war in Ukraine.” (I can imagine at least one leading presidential contender is feeling some major Fomo right now.) This is a pretty good sign of just how desperate Putin is for allies.

+ BYD Your Time: “At the time, it wasn’t clear electric vehicles would ever go mainstream, and even less clear whether BYD, a battery maker, would be the company to make it happen. Despite opposition from the rest of BYD’s management, Wang acquired a troubled state-owned carmaker. In the days following the announcement, in January 2003, BYD shares plunged by over a quarter. U.S. investors called Wang, demanding he cancel the deal. But he was adamant. ‘I have decided that the second half of my life would be about cars,’ Wang said at the time. He added that he was just learning to drive.” Most Americans haven’t heard of BYD, but the carmaker is dominating China. Can it go international? Rest of World: BYD dominates the Chinese EV market. Now it’s coming for the world. Chinese-made cars are already making a mark in Germany. German cars aren’t. NYT: Chinese Cars Star at Munich Auto Show, Underscoring German Economic Woes.

+ Banana Republic: “The South American country is the world’s largest exporter of bananas, shipping about 6.5 million metric tons (7.2 tons) a year by sea. It is also wedged between the world’s largest cocaine producers, Peru and Colombia, and drug traffickers find containers filled with bananas the perfect vehicle to smuggle their product.” We’re seeing the drug trade ruining a country in realtime. AP: Security in Ecuador has come undone as drug cartels exploit the banana industry to ship cocaine.

+ Endless Summer Ends: “It seemed wistfully appropriate, somehow, that news of Jimmy Buffett’s death emerged at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, the demarcation point of every American summer’s symbolic end. Because for so many, the 76-year-old Buffett embodied something they held onto ever so tightly as the world grew ever more complex: the promise of an eternal summer of sand, sun, blue salt water and gentle tropical winds.” Americans have long wanted the perfect endless summer. Jimmy Buffett offered them one. When we learned of his death, it seemed like everyone I follow on social media shared a photo of themselves with Jimmy Buffett. The guy got around and shared a lot of joy. The Ringer: Remembering the ‘Margaritaville’ singer, who built an island of chillness and invited everyone to join him.

+ School Closure: It seems like my kids have missed school for everything: Fires, smoke, floods, a pandemic. But not this. Wow. “Two school districts near Philadelphia closed campuses on Tuesday as police search for an escaped murderer hiding in the woods, but who continues to be spotted on surveillance cameras, authorities said.” Man, when I was young, I was up all night scared of imaginary threats. This must be terrible for these kids.

+ The Kiss of Death: “Spain’s women’s soccer coach was fired on Tuesday just two weeks after leading his team to the World Cup title, the latest fallout from an unwanted celebratory kiss moments after the match.” This wasn’t even the guy who kissed the player.

+ The Big Muddy: “Even during normal years, exodus traffic jams can last for six to nine hours, according to the organizers.” This was no ordinary year. The rain and the mud came to Burning Man. Burning Man festival attendees, finally free to leave, face hours of traffic. It really looked ugly out there. Like really.

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