"Alea iacta est"
Caracal Global Daily
January 10, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Caracal Global Daily = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics
✔️ Julius Caesar and crossing the Rubicon
✔️ US Navy in the Arctic
✔️ China offers Elon Musk permanent residency
✔️ 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths
✔️ OTD: In 1982 49ers Dwight Clark makes 'The Catch'
What are you doing this year to get to where you want to go?
Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro will be inaugurated for a further six-year term today. “I am fulfilling the will of the people,” he said in advance of the ceremony. In fact 80% of Venezuelans oppose him, a polling firm suggests. Just three heads of state are confirmed attendees: the presidents of Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua
OTD: In 49 BC, Julius Caesar and his troops famously crossed the Rubicon, the river marking the boundary between the province of Cisalpine Gaul and Italy. Taking the 13th Legion over this forbidden frontier constituted an act of treason and triggered civil war in Rome. According to the historian Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est (“the die is cast”).
Vietnam has accused Facebook of failing to take down anti-government comments on its platform, days after controversial cybersecurity legislation took effect.
Which country will be the next to ban Facebook?
US Navy in the Arctic: The US Navy says it is considering sending surface ships into the Arctic this summer and could establish a new strategic port facility in the Bering Sea to support more of those patrols in the future. The service needs to expand its footprint in the far north as the ice continues to recede, exposing new opportunities and potential for conflict.
'White supremacy' a factor in detainees cases, Chinese ambassador charges: CBC reports, China's envoy in Ottawa suggests Canada and its Western allies are white supremacists for calling for the release of two Canadians imprisoned last month by his country's communist government. Ambassador Lu Shaye's accusation in an op-ed in the Hill Times Wednesday indicates the raw nerve that the Trudeau government has touched in China in recruiting key allies to pressure China to release Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
125: China has authorized $125 billion of new rail projects since early December. Plans for 6,800 kilometers of new railways, including 3,200 kilometers of new high-speed rail, news reports will cover this as part of a broader effort to stem the effects of an economic slowdown.
BTW = The United States 2017 total infrastructure investment was $1 trillion with spending from federal, state and local governments and the private sector.
US-China trade talks - next steps unclear: The US and China gave no indication of their next step after wrapping up talks aimed at resolving a tariff fight that threatens to chill global growth. The two sides will "maintain close contact," China's Ministry of Commerce said. But they announced no agreements or date for meeting again during the 90-day truce declared on December 1.
Reuters: China says trade talks with US made progress on forced tech transfers, IP rights
David Fickling: A US-China trade deal is only half the fight: Getting to an agreement is the easy part. Enforcing Chinese compliance will be a much bigger challenge.
Shang-jin Wei: Why American firms and households need China: Bilateral trade statistics tell only part of the story of the Chinese market’s importance to the US economy. In particular, the availability of cheap imported goods from China lowers prices not only for US consumers, especially low- and middle-income families but also for US businesses, supporting job creation.
Jim O'Neill: Whither the Chinese consumer? Between 2010 and 2017, consumer spending in China increased by almost $3 trillion dollars, and global brands came to rely on the Chinese market for a growing share of sales. But now that Apple has revised downward its expected revenues, citing slowing Chinese growth, the outlook for such firms – and for the world economy – has dimmed. http://bit.ly/2D2x2dD
China offers Elon Musk permanent residency: AFP reports, Tesla boss Elon Musk has been offered a "green card", China said Thursday, a privilege enjoyed by an elite group of foreigners, including several Nobel laureates and a former NBA star. Musk was in China for the ground-breaking of Tesla's first overseas factory, which will allow it to sell vehicles directly in the world's largest market for electric vehicles. The high-profile entrepreneur met with Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday in Beijing, where they discussed Tesla's China ambitions, said the State Council -- the country's cabinet. "I hope to build Tesla's Shanghai factory into a global example," Musk told Li, according to a readout. "I really love China, I'm willing to visit here more often."
Xi's US strategy recalls Mao's 'protracted war': Nikkei reports, Chinese leader calls on people to unite for an extended battle.
Kim Jong-un: The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in Beijing for an unannounced visit, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
OTD: In 1984 the US and the Vatican reestablished diplomatic relations after a 117-year break.
UK-Japan: UK PM Theresa May holds talks with Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, at Downing Street.
Harold James: Italy’s writing on the wall: It is often said that Italy’s divergence from the rest of Europe, in terms of per capita income, started either with the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 or with the adoption of the euro in 1999. But this chronology masks a more profound transformation in modern Italy. http://bit.ly/2D2hEhp
Drone alert: Departures at London Heathrow—one of the world's busiest airports—were temporarily suspended yesterday following a drone sighting. Last month a drone sighting caused much longer-lasting disruption at Gatwick, one of Southeast England's other big airports.
119 million: The total number of smart speakers in circulation in the US.
EVs: 29 global automakers found that they are investing at least $300 billion in electric vehicles, with more than 45 percent of that earmarked for China.
One big happy US government family: A meeting between Trump and senior Democrats, aimed at ending America’s partial government shutdown, was curt. By Trump’s account, when Schumlosi said they would not approve funding for his border wall, he said “bye-bye”. Schumer accused the president of having a tantrum. Pence told reporters Trump passed out candy at the start of the meeting.
LAT: 'Nancy said no. I said bye-bye.' Trump walks out of shutdown talks when he can't get border-wall funds
Texas landowners prepare wall fight; Trump to visit border: AP reports, rather than surrender their land, some property owners are digging in, vowing to reject buyout offers and preparing to fight the administration in court.
Edward Luce: Trump has become entrapped by his phantom wall: The re-election battle is creeping up while the president’s power to honor his pledge slips away.
Over half of Team Trump is headed to Switzerland: Eight members of Trump's Cabinet, including Trump himself, are currently scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.
I guess it is the end of Detroit being more important than Davos.
Are we leaving Syria or not? Military Times reports, the US military’s three-year mission in Syria shows no signs of ending or significantly changing anytime soon, US officials now say, despite President Donald Trump’s announcement in December that the Islamic State was defeated and all troops would be withdrawn immediately.
35 percent self-described as conservative: According to new Gallup polling, 35 percent of Americans describe themselves as conservative, 35 percent as moderate and 26 percent as liberal.
Election 2020: Billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer said Wednesday that he will not run for the White House in 2020 and will instead focus on calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment.
Democrats find a foil for 2020 primary: Billionaires (even liberal ones): NYT reports, with populism making a strong comeback on the left, candidates like Elizabeth Warren are decrying billionaires who might self-finance campaigns, like Michael R. Bloomberg.
HBD: Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, 38
OTD: In 1870 John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil
Apple is reportedly decimating iPhone production over the next three months. According to, the firm asked its suppliers to cut production by 10% last month, marking the second such reduction in two months.
WeWork also announced it's rebranding as The We Company: The move is intended to reflect the company's ambitions beyond just co-working spaces.
WeWork is on pace to be the lifestyle company for entrepreneurs and the new knowledge economy.
Porsche sales in China climbed 12% to a record 80,108 last year, making it the automaker's largest market. Worldwide the company 256,255 sports cars, up 4% on 2017.
GM sold more than 3.64 million vehicles in China in 2018.
Ford is to cut thousands of jobs in Europe, as it launches a $14bn cost-cutting drive. The carmaker employs 53,000 workers on the continent but doesn’t turn a profit there.
Ford is in talks with Volkswagen about forming a global alliance, which could reduce production costs.
VW will spend $34 billion on e-mobility initiatives and $57 billion on battery procurement through 2025.
Daimler plans to unveil 130 electrified vehicles, including hybrids and fuel cells, by 2030, and has budgeted $30 billion for batteries.
Sky News: Worst Christmas for a decade for retailers says the British Retail Consortium
Selling drugs: Spending on medical marketing hit an estimated $30 billion in 2016, up from $18 billion in 1997. Only the U.S. and New Zealand allow prescription drug ads.
2.6 million fewer cancer deaths: Cancer deaths have declined 27 percent over 25 years, resulting in 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
Carbon emissions: Following three years of declines, US carbon emissions rose 3.4% in 2018, as the effects of a strong economy, like diesel and jet-fuel use in transportation, outstripped a sharp decline in the number of power plants burning coal to generate electricity.
8 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings vying for UNESCO world heritage status http://bit.ly/2CYKLC6
The death of Venice? City’s battles with tourism and flooding reach crisis level: A tax on daytrippers has hit the headlines, but La Serenissima’s mounting problems also include rising waters, angry locals and a potential black mark from UNESCO.
Breaking: Spanish police make 83 arrests including 28 professional players in tennis fixing investigation.
Australian Open starts Monday, January 14.
Serena Williams has been handed a challenging draw in her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, starting with Germany's Tatjana Maria in the first round. The American, seeded 16, is gunning to match Margaret Court's record of singles majors and claim an eighth Australian Open crown.
Novak Djokovic will start his bid to win a record seventh Australian Open title next week against a qualifier following Thursday's draw. The Serb had a magnificent 2018, making an astonishing climb back from outside the world's top 20 in June, winning Wimbledon and the US Open on the way to reclaiming the number one ranking in November.
HBD: George Foreman, two-time world heavyweight boxing champion (1973, 1994), 70
Guingamp stun PSG with 2-1 League Cup win in Paris.
OTD: In 1982 49ers Dwight Clark makes 'The Catch'