Grind for January 10th, 2019
“An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Yellow Vest protests continue into the New Year
As many as 500,000 people turned out this Saturday to participate in the eighth consecutive weekend of Yellow Vest protests in France.
Protestors in Paris clashed with police, flipped cars, set fire to motorbikes, and used a forklift to smash into a government building.
“Once again, extreme violence has attacked the Republic,” lamented French President Emmanuel Macron. “Those who commit these acts have forgotten what lies at the heart of our civic pact. Justice will be done. Everyone must now pull together and help pave the way for debate and dialogue.”
Later this month, Macron’s administration will hold a series of consultations with the public to begin negotiations and reduce violence.
At least 10 people have been killed during the protests, which began in November over a gas tax increase intended to reduce CO2 emissions.
Since then, the protests have evolved into a full-blown revolt against Macron and his plans for a free-market overhaul.
In addition to Macron’s resignation, protestors want to see:
— Increased purchasing power for the middle class
— The reimposition of the wealth tax
— Lower fuel prices
“The strength of the movement is that it can bring everyone together in a way that’s almost naive and apolitical,” explains Paris local Patrick Coudeyrette. “It’s a true representation of the people.”
Despite the high turnout on Saturday, polls suggest that overall support for the movement has dropped to 55% (down from as high as 70%).
On Sunday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called on the Yellow Vests to give up the violence in the interest of the economy.
“I would like all of those who believe in Democracy, in the sovereign representation of the French people to come together and say ‘enough,'” he said. “The crisis is costing the French economy dearly…our interest is for this to stop as soon as possible.”
Tesla breaks ground in China
Tesla on Monday began construction on a “gigafactory” in Shanghai that will be used to manufacture electric vehicles.
The massive facility has a 500,000 vehicle capacity and is expected to cost $2 billion.
“We think that with the resources here we can build the Shanghai Gigafactory in record time,” said Musk to Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and other officials at the opening ceremony.
If all goes according to plan, construction will be complete by August and the first cars will come off the line before the end of the year.
Tesla’s project in Shanghai comes amid ongoing trade tensions with Beijing that have impacted Tesla’s sales to China.
And while it is certain to draw ire from President Trump, the factory will give China – the world’s largest market for electric vehicles – a way to purchase Tesla’s cars without paying high import taxes.
This translates to higher profits for Tesla and lower prices for Chinese buyers.
According to Musk, the gigafactory will produce “affordable versions” of Models 3 and Y. Tesla will continue building Models S and X, as well as higher-end versions of Models 3 and Y, in the United States.
“Affordable cars must be made on the same continent as customers,” tweeted Musk ahead of the ceremony.
When it is complete, the Tesla factory will be the first car plant in China that is totally owned by a foreign company.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… Summer on Uranus lasts for 21 years.