Caracal Insider Daily | February 5, 2018

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YouTube, Amazon Alexa, Bitcoin, Sorghum, Brutal Cold

Caracal Insider Daily
February 5, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

Caracal Insider = Global Business News at the Intersection of Politics + Policy + Profits

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✔️ Dow futures shed 300 points

✔️ YouTube to label state-funded broadcasters

✔️ China launches probe over US sorghum imports

✔️ Bitcoin falls to fresh 2-1/2 month low

✔️ Brutal cold raises concerns over Olympics opening ceremony


CNBC BREAKING: Dow futures shed 300 points as stocks resume Friday's ugly sell-off

YouTube to label state-funded broadcasters in drive against misinformation: WSJ reports, Google unit to provide more context around propaganda, conspiracy theories.

A new kind of nuclear arms race grips the US and Russia: NYT reports, after years of reduction-based treaties, the Pentagon envisions bringing nuclear weapons back in play to counter a push by Russia to modernize its forces.

China in talks over military base in remote Afghanistan: AFP reports, worried about militants sneaking into a restive Chinese region from war-torn Afghanistan, Beijing is in talks with Kabul over the construction of a military base, Afghan officials say, as it seeks to shore up its fragile neighbor. 

LAT: Tillerson embraces US alliances with Latin America before he visits the region

China launches probe over US sorghum imports: WSJ reports, China’s Commerce Ministry said it initiated an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation after preliminarily finding that heavy volumes and low prices of American exports sorghum, bolstered by U.S. subsidies, hurt Chinese growers.

Nikkei - Ian Bremmer: US-China trade duel heading for trouble: Both governments will keep squeezing, each believing the other is more vulnerable.

Bloomberg: What happens when China eclipses the US in Asia: A Q&A with Hugh White, a former top Australian official who feels Beijing has already filled the US leadership void.

US-China Business Council tells China its IT policies constrain US companies: IUST reports, China’s information technology policies are making it increasingly difficult for U.S. companies to fully and efficiently operate there, the US-China Business Council claims in new recommendations sent to China. China’s recent policies, following its Cybersecurity Law that went into effect last June, impact investment, data flows and security and create barriers and obstacles for U.S. companies operating there, the USCBC says.

China puts the final nail in the cryptocurrency coffin: SCMP reports, China is to block all websites related to cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICOs) – including foreign platforms – in a bid to finally quash the market completely.

Bitcoin falls to fresh 2-1/2 month low: Reuters reports, Bitcoin, the world's best-known cryptocurrency, fell 7 percent on Monday to a fresh 2-1/2-month low of $7,599 on back of growing worries about a regulatory clampdown and bans on the purchase of the digital coins.

Nikkei: 'India is the new China,' say construction equipment makers

AFP: Indonesia economy picks up with 5.1% growth in 2017

AP: UK's May under pressure as Conservatives at war over Brexit

"Since becoming prime minister in 2016, May has walked a fine line between two feuding factions in her party: those who want a clean break, even if it means trade barriers with Europe, and those who want to keep Britain's economy closely aligned to the 28-nation EU."

Secret plan to end Tory turmoil on trade talks: The Times reports, ministers are preparing a Brexit compromise aimed at ending the increasingly acrimonious row in the Conservative Party over whether Britain stays in the EU’s customs union. The 11-strong Brexit “war cabinet” will meet on Wednesday and Thursday to try to break the 19-month deadlock.

Canada moves to the forefront of NAFTA talks: Automotive News reports, coming out of the Montreal round of talks — which observers and participants interpreted as a positive step toward an agreement — it's Canada that has emerged as the central focus of Washington's negotiating efforts, and frustrations. Indeed, in his closing statement in Montreal, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer barely even mentioned Mexico. Instead, he sharply rebuked the northern neighbor on several matters and drew attention to an $87 billion goods deficit with Canada in 2016, including energy.


Budget: Congress is expected this week to pass another stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

12 depressing previews of America’s next war: Foreign Policy reports, the excellent new book by Lawrence Freedman, The Future of War: A History, demonstrates that military futurists, like political pundits, have a terrible track record of predicting the future in their field of expertise. Freedman notably warns to avoid those who proclaim, “the ease and speed with which victory can be achieved while underestimating the resourcefulness of adversaries.”

California Democrats unveil their battle strategy for election season: ‘Go left’: WP reports, in the self-labeled “state of resistance,” the political debate is being pushed further left without any sign of a Republican renaissance to serve as a check on spending and social policy ambitions. That means Democratic candidates will be staking out the most liberal stance on issues such as single-payer health care.

LAT: California bakes as winter temperatures set new records across the state


Amazon will "double down" on voice assistant Alexa.

AFP: Amazon strikes French deal to end tax dispute

Amazon edges NFL in Ad Meter even closer than Super Bowl LII: USA Today AdMeter reports, in an extraordinarily tight contest, Amazon’s commercial for Alexa edged the NFL’s Dirty Dancing-themed spot to win this year’s USA TODAY Ad Meter. “Alexa Loses Her Voice” topped the annual competition with an average rating of 7.1836 and “Touchdown Celebrations to Come” finished at 7.1777.

Watch the top 5 highest-rated Super Bowl LII ads

Nissan to spend $9.5 billion in push to be top-3 China brand: FT reports, an investment strategy to focus on electrified vehicles and local models.

Handelsblatt: China’s Geely buys shares in Mercedes-maker Daimler: The world’s largest luxury carmaker is getting a new, potentially strategic shareholder: Chinese peer Geely is building up a stake. It could be part of a bigger plan to turn the Asian firm into a global car giant.

Bloomberg: Alibaba buys stake in Wanda Film in $1.2 billion share sale

WSJ: Broadcom to raise offer for Qualcomm to about $120 billion

Apple Music is on the verge of overtaking Spotify in U.S. paid subscribers.

Body Shop owner Natura targets global growth: FT reports, South American cosmetics group will unveil a new corporate entity called Natura &Co that will control businesses.

Reuters: Singtel to spend up to $413 million to nudge up stake in India's Bharti Telecom


Visual Capitalist: 35 Chinese cities with economies as big as countries: There are literally dozens of Chinese cities that most people in Western countries have never heard of – yet they each hold millions of people and have an economic output comparable to nations. Here’s a list of 35 of them, the size of their local economy, and a comparably sized national economy.

Book review: Dismal statistics: Is gross domestic product—the preferred measure of growth for most economists—still useful for gauging the health of economies? Diane Coyle reviews ‘The Growth Delusion’ by David Pilling.


Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in the United States:A fact he has tried to keep hidden while he has shaped what we eat, transformed California’s landscape, and ruled entire towns. California Sunday Magazine

"400,000 acre-feet. That’s the annual amount of water Stewart Resnick, the biggest farmer in California, uses to water 15 million trees he has in the San Joaquin Valley. For comparison, the city of Los Angeles consumes 587,000 acre-feet annually."

Kathy Griffin: Can a comic in exile come back?


AFP: Brrr! Brutal cold raises concerns over Olympics opening ceremony

The Pyeongchang Games are shaping up to be one of the coldest Olympics ever. 

Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.