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A gap is emerging between the top tier of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and those likely to be viewed as also-rans, and the powerful U.S. gun lobby is using some creative accounting to report a spike in income.

Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has traded his luxurious mansions for a jail cell in New York. And workers across the world are finding new ways to adapt to the pressures of globalization and automation.

We hope you enjoy these and other key stories from the past seven days in this edition of Weekend Reads.

Democrats' Cash Haul at $99 Million and Counting as Big 5 EmergeIn the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field, campaign bank accounts are beginning to separate the contenders from the also-rans. Bill Allison reports that, when the candidates reveal their second-quarter fundraising totals on Monday, the numbers will show who’s catching fire. And While it’s still early, the figures are likely to cement Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris as the big five.How Facebook Fought Fake News About FacebookRead how Facebook, whose reputation took a hit for its role in spreading Russian misinformation during the U.S. election, is employing special software programs with names like “Stormchaser” and “Night’s Watch” to track – and sometimes snuff out – potentially damaging assertions about the company. Mark Bergen and Kurt Wagner explain Facebook’s unique position where it owns the platform its watching and sometimes goes on the offensive to defuse messages that can harm it.

The NRA Uses Creative Accounting to Post Surge in RevenueThe embattled National Rifle Association reported some good news to its supporters earlier this year: Revenue from membership dues jumped 33% last year to $170 million. But as Neil Weinberg and David Voreacos report, factors other than rising enrollments may have been the reason, meaning its income might fall ahead of next year’s election if they don’t keep pace.

Workers of the World on Getting By in an Era of Wrenching ChangeIn much of the world, young people from poor families are easily out-earning their parents. Yet the pressures of globalization and automation have also left many workers struggling to secure safe, supportive conditions and to feel their toil has value. Have a look at Vauhini Vara’s yearlong project to capture the voices of workers facing unprecedented global change.

Europe’s Young Contender Sharpens Brand for Life After MerkelWhen Sebastian Kurz was an aspiring politician barely out of his teens, Austrian establishment grandees offered him wise words: If you want to make it to the top, remember you’re always in the public eye. Boris Groendahl, Matthais Wabl and Chris Reiter explain how he took the advice to help him become the new hope of Europe’s conservative parties and, until recently, the continent’s youngest head of government. Brexit Reopens Question of United Ireland Decades After ConflictThe looming prospect of Brexit has allowed the most emotive of Irish questions – whether to pursue reunification of the country with the U.K. province to its north – to creep back into pubs and living rooms. Dara Doyle and Rodney Edwards report from the former trouble-spot town of Enniskillen about the discussion that politicians in London, Dublin and Belfast have been eager to avoid so as to not destabilize a region once torn apart by civil conflict.

China Is Winning the Silent War to Dominate the South China SeaTran Van Nhan, a Vietnamese fishing captain, could do nothing when six Chinese officials boarded his tiny trawler from a 3,000-ton armored patrol ship to to steal his catch and tell him to stop fishing in the South China Sea, waters that had supported his forefathers for generations. Read this dispatch from Bloomberg reporters who traveled to the front lines of Asia’s most complex territorial dispute, where China is taking the initiative to secure energy and fishing resources that account for about a 10th of the global catch. Ramaphosa Honeymoon Is Over as South African Firms Lose PatienceThe advocates of “Ramaphoria” who hoped South African President Cyril Ramaphosa would reform the struggling economy, crack down on corruption and replace underperforming ministers are losing patience. As Antony Sguazzin and Roxanne Henderson write, the relief at seeing the end of Jacob Zuma’s nine-year tenure is turning to frustration at the lack of tangible change.

And finally… Bernie Madoff and John Gotti Jr. did time there. Paul Manafort is currently in residence and now Jeffrey Epstein – inmate 76318-054 – just moved in. Read this deep dive from Patricia Hurtado, Chris Dolmetsch, and Christian Berthelsen about the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, the federal jail that houses terrorists and other high-profile criminals including the Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo.” You can also read about the mystery behind Epstein’s fortune and how he made it. 

 

To contact the author of this story: Michael Winfrey in Prague at mwinfrey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kathleen Hunter at khunter9@bloomberg.net

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