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Why Trump's War of Words With N. Korea May Be Overblown

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If you were hoping for a quiet August, it's been anything but, with tension building between North Korea and the U.S. and the ensuing market volatility. There may be no vacation for geopolitics and the markets, but there is for your trusty newsletter writers next week. Be on the lookout for editions authored by our gracious colleagues in our stead. –Emily Banks

President Trump delivered another warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, this time saying the U.S. is ready with a military response to any attack. “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” he tweeted Friday morning. Rising tension this week has roiled global markets, as Trump increased pressure on North Korea in response to the isolated regime in Pyongyang's continued development of nuclear bomb and missile technology.

Mitch McConnell got a daunting to-do list from Trump. The president laid out a path for the Senate majority leader to get back in his good graces: replace Obamacare, overhaul the U.S. tax code and find a way to pay for big infrastructure improvements. Clearing that agenda anytime soon is close to impossible.

All the traders are on vacation, but the markets aren't. Maybe people should pick another month to go away. Markets are teetering as Trump threatens war on North Korea. No more sleepy VIX, no more tiny swings in stocks and junk bonds, goodbye to $500 billion from global equities. It’s been just about the worst week all year.

The world's most expensive housing market just got even pricier. Hong Kong’s housing affordability ratio, which measures the proportion of income spent on mortgages, worsened to about 67 percent for in the second quarter, the government said Friday, up from 56 percent in the year-earlier period. Compared with the 1997 peak, overall flat prices in June were 94 percent higher.

Hollywood is having a hellish summer. Domestic box office revenue for the season is trailing last year by 11 percent and none of the upcoming major releases are expected to change that trajectory. In fact, things are likely to get worse for U.S. studios. The “Rotten Tomatoes” effect has caught up with blockbuster bait, leaving critically acclaimed films in the money.

Parked electric cars earned $1,530 a year by feeding excess power back into Europe's grid. Trials in Denmark showed how batteries inside electric cars could help balance supply and demand and provide a new revenue stream for their owners. Electric car demand globally is expected to soar, putting further pressure on grid operators to find new ways of balancing demand.

Nobody knows what lies beneath New York City. The city is on the verge of completing the world’s most complex underground map—and therefore the most detailed realistic picture of the interlocking systems that make a city work. That, one expert says, will improve public safety, help officials better manage rapid growth, and usher in the era of “smart” cities, in which sensors and other automated technologies manage the flow of daily urban life.

Residential properties stand on the Upper West Side (UWS) of Manhattan in this aerial photograph taken over New York.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer
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