By Walt Hickey
In the Mexican town of Acultzingo there have been 521 crimes committed against cargo trains in the past year. This is a big headache for manufacturers attempting to get their wares to the nearby port in Veracruz. The southeast of the country has poverty, natural cover from the mountains and a steady clip of trains passing through. This is particularly hard on auto manufacturers like Audi, which sends 3,300 cars a day to Veracruz, and like Mazda, which has been sending trains by truck, hiking shipping costs by an estimated 30 percent.
In Jackson, Wyoming, there are 53.8 parking spots per acre and 27 parking spots for every single household in the city. That’s on the high end of a new study looking at how much valuable space five cities — New York, Philly, Seattle, Des Moines and Jackson — have allocated toward stagnant cars. New York has 1.85 million parking spaces, but it’s also the only one of the five with less than one parking space per household. Philadelphia has 3.7 spaces for every household, Seattle has 5.2, and Des Moines has 19.4 spaces for every household.
If you’re like me and have been unable to bite the bullet and shell out the average of $229 for a ticket to see “Hamilton,” your continued patience may soon pay off. Studios are bidding for the rights to distribute a 2016 recording of the Broadway show with its original cast in cinemas. Netflix bought the rights to stream a recording of “Springsteen on Broadway” for $20 million, but true to the somewhat notorious historical record, Hamilton is aiming higher. The worldwide theatrical rights could sell for north of $50 million. The catch? The sellers don’t want the recording to hit theaters until 2020 or 2021, giving a two-year runway where the show is exclusive to the stage.
Bitorrent, a filesharing service I have absolutely never ever heard of or used to pirate movies, has sold to a Chinese startup called Tron for what documents filed with the California Secretary of State seem to suggest is about $126 million in cash. Why a cryptocurrency company would buy a distributed file-sharing startup is not yet clear. Still, pirates quaking with fear should know the game by now: live by the sketchy and legally dubious sword, die by the sketchy and legally dubious sword.
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The new U.K. Brexit Secretary said that the government is now working to ensure that post-Brexit there is enough food in Britain should they not have an EU trade deal. In 2016, 30 percent of the food in the U.K. came from the European Union and only 49 percent is grown domestically.
Media analyst eMarketer estimates that the number of people who have cancelled their pay-TV service and do not resubscribe will climb to 33 million adults, a 32.8 percent rise from the level at the end of 2017, when an estimated 24.9 million had cut the cord. That’s big, but keep in mind an estimated 186.7 million U.S. adults will watch pay television this year. Still, U.S. pay television subscribers dropped 3.7 percent in 2017 to 94 million households.
International Fraud Ring
The Justice Department says it’s broken up an international telephone fraud operation after securing 21 convictions stateside and a number of indictments in India. From 2012 to 2016, over 15,000 victims lost hundreds of millions of dollars and 50,000 had their personal data misused by fraudsters claiming to represent the IRS or immigration officials. Last week 22 defendants were sentenced to pay $8.9 million to identified victims and $72.9 million in judgments.
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