Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
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Britain’s economy is getting worse. That was the big message that came out of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget Wednesday during his speech in Parliament. Hammond said the independent Office for Budget Responsibility sees 2018 economic growth of 1.4 percent, compared with the 1.6 percent predicted in March. He also set aside an extra £3 billion ($4 billion) to prepare for all outcomes from Britain’s exit from the European Union. “I stand ready to allocate further sums if and when needed,” he said. — Siraj Datoo
Secret hack. The U.K. data privacy regulator is looking into a hack of Uber Technologies Inc.’s data. Bloomberg reported that hackers in October 2016 stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber, a breach that the company concealed for more than a year, paying hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep quiet. The announcement “raises huge concerns around its data protection policies and ethics,” said James Dipple-Johnstone, the Deputy Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office. “Deliberately concealing breaches from regulators and citizens could attract higher fines.”
Peace. There’s a “real chance” the 6 1/2 year civil war in Syria could come to an end, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. At a summit with counterparts from Iran and Turkey, the Russian president sought to broker a peace deal that could keep his ally Bashar al-Assad in power. Millions of people have been displaced and 400,000 killed in the civil war.
Unlikely savior. With 93-year-old Robert Mugabe’s rule over, after his resignation Tuesday, Zimbabwe is turning to a familiar figure: Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s right-hand man for much of his 37-year rule. Nicknamed “the crocodile,” Mnangagwa, a former spy chief, is unlikely to dismantle the security apparatus that carried out repression during the previous administration. He’s due to be sworn in on Friday.
Legal battles. Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is taking his political comeback bid to the European Court of Human Rights. The 81-year-old wants to run in next year’s election and is appealing a ban on running for public office that resulted from a 2013 tax-fraud conviction. Berlusconi is seeking to forge a center-right coalition after the vote, and his hopes were boosted by victory in a regional ballot in Sicily this month.
Cashflow. Tesla’s burning through $4 billion a year, or $8,000 a minute, Bloomberg data show. Few Tesla watchers expect the cash burn to continue at such a breakneck pace, and the company says it’s ramping up output of the all-important Model 3, which will bring money in the door. But the company’s need for fresh cash was highlighted last week when Elon Musk unveiled his latest plan to raise funds: asking customers to pay up front for vehicles that may not be delivered for years.
Taking off. Why aren’t you flying on a supersonic jet? A number of startups and commercial airliners are now working on making it a reality. All the Supersonic aircraft under development will break Mach 1—about 760 miles per hour at sea level—while the fastest will zip along at Mach 2.2. That’s faster than the Concorde, which jet across the Atlantic at around Mach 2. There’s reason to be optimistic that flights could become affordable with time, but you may want to hold off on packing your bags for a few years: Passenger jets aren’t expected to start taking off until the early 2020s.
Compiled by Siraj Datoo and Leila Taha