Huawei, Microplastic Pollution, Teleprompter Trump, Luxottica, NBA
Caracal Global Daily
March 7, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Caracal Global Daily = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics
✔️ China’s envoys guided by domestic rather than world politics
✔️ Engineered microbe may be key to producing plastic from plants
✔️ DNC said it will not allow Fox News to host any of its primary debates
✔️ Zuckerberg shifts Facebook’s mission from openness to privacy
✔️ LeBron James passes idol Michael Jordan on NBA’s all-time scoring list
Diplomatic outbursts mar Xi's plan to raise China on the world stage: Bloomberg reports, In the past few months, its envoy to Canada publicly accused his hosts of “white supremacy,” its ambassador in Sweden labeled the Swedish police “inhumane” and blasted the country’s “so-called freedom of expression,” and its chief emissary in South Africa said President Donald Trump’s policies were making the U.S. “the enemy of the whole world.” “I don’t think we are witnessing a pattern of misstatements and slips of the tongue," said Ryan Hass, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who previously oversaw China affairs at the U.S. National Security Council. “We seem to be watching China’s diplomats matching the mood of the moment in Beijing. Beijing rewards diplomats that are aggressive advocates of China’s views and scorns those that it perceives as overly timid.”
China’s envoys guided by domestic rather than world politics.
Rise in assertive diplomacy seen as product of ideology drive.
China GDP overstated by 12%, research says: FT reports, Beijing statisticians ‘do not have capacity’ to correct inflated local figures.
Huawei challenges US restrictions as unconstitutional: WSJ reports, Huawei Technologies filed a lawsuit challenging a law that restricts federal agencies from doing business with the Chinese company, the latest in a series of countermoves by the telecommunications giant.
Huawei sues US government in latest salvo of fight between Chinese firm and Washington: WP reports, the technology giant says a law that bans federal agencies from buying its telecommunications equipment is unfair.
AFP: Taiwan asks US for new fighter jets to defend against China
"We made the request to purchase (fighter jets) because China has been increasing its military strength and we are starting to have an imbalance of power in our air defence capabilities." -- Taiwan Deputy Defence Minister Shen Yi-ming
US sees rising Chinese military activity in South China Sea: Bloomberg reports, the US has observed a rise in Chinese military activity in the South China Sea area over the last year, according to the top American military officer in the region. Admiral Philip Davidson, the commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, declined to quantify the increased activity -- nor would he say whether the number of US freedom of navigation patrols would increase or remain stable. He did, however, underscore the American resolve to remain engaged, describing the US as an “enduring Pacific power.”
How Theresa May keeps surviving profound historic losses: Push past defeat after defeat after defeat, keep calm, and carry on. https://bloom.bg/2TsLJ3G
Philip Stephens: After Brexit, Britain will be a rule-taker: The salutary parable of the noisy lawnmower and the chlorine-washed chicken.
'Nearly a third' of British billionaires moved to tax havens: AFP reports, Nearly a third of Britain's billionaires have either moved or are relocating to tax havens, where some have broken UK law by bankrolling political parties, a major investigation. The Times newspaper published a series of reports detailing allegations of Britain's ultra-rich hiding billions of pounds from the UK Treasury in taxes over the past decade.
What Italy stands to gain by endorsing China’s Belt and Road: FT reports, Italy is preparing to become the first of the G7 group of industrialized nations to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Italy’s move, analysts said, should be seen in a broader context. Rome appears intent on winning goodwill from Beijing in the hope that bilateral commerce will flourish under the “BRI banner” even as Chinese investment into Europe as a whole is dropping sharply.
Russian war games in Scottish waters: The Times reports, a Russian frigate carrying a weapon that makes enemies vomit conducted “air defense and countersabotage exercises” in waters close to Scotland’s only air force base. A Royal Navy warship has been deployed to track the Russian naval task group that is thought to be journeying towards the Mediterranean.
Maduro ‘spirits gold out of Venezuela’ to keep regime afloat: The Times reports, A series of mysterious flights from Caracas in recent days have raised suspicions that the Maduro regime is covertly moving tonnes of gold out of the country and selling it to traders in Africa and the Middle East. On March 1 a Boeing 777 belonging to the Russian discount airline Nordwind and which is thought to have had no passengers on board was tracked flying from Caracas to Kampala, the Ugandan capital. It stopped there for a few hours before continuing to Zanzibar, and then returning to Caracas.
Guardian: Venezuela orders German ambassador to leave
Nicolás Maduro’s administration accuses Daniel Kriener of ‘crass’ and ‘unlawful’ meddling in Venezuelan affairs.
Revealed: the rise and rise of populist rhetoric: Major study analyzing speeches of leaders from 40 countries over two decades shows surge in populism. http://bit.ly/2ToTpnc
Engineered microbe may be key to producing plastic from plants: Phys.org reports, with a few genetic tweaks, a type of soil bacteria with an appetite for hydrocarbons shows promise as a biological factory for converting a renewable—but frustratingly untapped—bounty into a replacement for ubiquitous plastics. Bioengineers in Japan have used PDC to make a variety of materials that would be useful for consumer products.
Microplastic pollution has contaminated American groundwater, the lakes, and rivers of the UK, the coast of Spain, the beaches of Singapore and the Yangtze River in China, studies from around the world have shown. While the health effects of the tiny plastic particles on humans are still undetermined, they have been shown to harm marine life – and to have been consumed by people in Europe, Japan, and Russia.
Michael Cohen directed his attorney last spring to inquire about the possibility of a presidential pardon.
Paul Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced today on tax and bank-fraud charges that could see the former Trump campaign chairman spend much of the rest of his life in prison.
Trump losing ground on top priorities, casts blame on others: WP reports, Trump’s recent setbacks on immigration, trade and North Korea are complicating his planned reelection message as a can-do president who is making historic progress.
Bloomberg: Trump wants a China deal and a stocks rally. He may not get both
"The reality is that trade friction could remain a fixture of American policy. Trump, the self-proclaimed “Tariff Man,” has drawn bipartisan support for his tough stance with China. Even Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has praised the president for using tariffs as a negotiating tool."
Teleprompter Trump: New research into Donald Trump’s speeches reveal why the president’s scripted brand of populism doesn’t come easy. http://bit.ly/2Tkpj4z
DNC chair cites network’s ‘inappropriate’ ties to Trump: Guardian reports, the Democratic party has said it will not allow Fox News to host any of its primary debates during the 2020 presidential campaign, after an exposé in the New Yorker that revealed the network’s deep ties to the Trump administration. The Democratic National Committee chair, Tom Perez, said the report cast doubt on Fox’s ability to hold a “fair and neutral” debate with Democrats. In response, Trump has threatened to block other networks from hosting the general election debates.
NYT: Biden’s candidacy plan is almost complete. Democrats are impatient.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. is preparing his 2020 kickoff, securing staff and alerting top Democrats that he plans to run.
One element is outstanding: full and final consent from the former vice president himself.
Eric Swalwell wants to be president, and why the heck not? LAT reports, the 38-year-old Democratic lawmaker from a nondescript slice of the East Bay hardly stands out in the abundant 2020 field. He is neither the first nor only millennial running, not the only Californian eyeing the White House and most certainly not the only member of Congress in search of a promotion.
Millennials are Democrats' strongest age group: The party is suffering from what Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik calls the "barbell effect."
Since 1828, only 3 Democratic presidents have been in their 60s when inaugurated — and none came close to Sanders, who would be 79 if elected in 2020.
NYT: The US trade deficit in goods broke a record. What was Trump’s role?
Most economists disagree with Trump’s view that the deficit is a sort of economic scorecard for which country is on top.
But as the deficit soars, Trump’s focus on it has resulted in a particular irony: By his own metric, the president’s trade policies are failing.
Trump's secretary of State tries a little diplomacy on Iowa farmers: LAT reports, “Some of you may not have heard of me before,” he said to laughter, then added: “I know Iowa is not a foreign country, in case some of you thought maybe I was a little confused.” Pompeo described his visit as partly a mission to inspire people in fly-over country to become future diplomats. What was clearly more important, however, was the more immediate and politically charged part of his mission: talking about trade and reassuring an agricultural sector battered by President Trump’s trade war with China that everything will, eventually, be OK.
WSJ - Editorial: Trade deficit freak out: The rising gap is the result of faster growth. There’s no need to panic.
Facebook is making a major bet that the future of social media will be in private messaging and small group chats.
Zuckerberg shifts Facebook’s mission from openness to privacy: FT reports, social network founder changes emphasis after data sharing scandals.
WSJ: Health Venture of Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan Has a Name: Haven
The venture isn’t meant to generate profits and will ‘reinvest any surplus back into our work’
How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? Former industry execs tell all: LAT reports, consumer prices for frames and lenses are so astronomically high, with markups often approaching 1,000%. If you wear designer glasses, there’s a very good chance you’re wearing Luxottica frames. The company’s owned and licensed brands include Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace. Along with LensCrafters, Luxottica also runs Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical, as well as the insurer EyeMed Vision Care.
Hill City, part of Gap Inc., is expanding its original goal of designing clothing for active men on the go.
LAT: Mario Batali officially out at all 16 of his restaurants, including Mozzaplex in LA
The message from the Paris runways is simple: Buy a suit and get to work: WP reports, the fall 2019 runway season ended with an artsy pile-up at Louis Vuitton and a reminder that this is not the time for daydreaming.
Reuters: NBA to offer content across all Alibaba platforms in expanded deal
NBA China will create content for Alibaba users. Game highlights, classic games, and the new content - along with league merchandise - will be accessible to Alibaba’s nearly 700 million consumers across all its platforms.
LeBron James passes idol Michael Jordan on NBA’s all-time scoring list: WP reports, the Los Angeles Lakers forward will next take aim at the three players ahead of him on the scoring list: Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and all-time leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
AFP: Solskjaer makes Man Utd Champions League comeback kings again
"With this club, this is what we do. That's just Man United."
Champions League - Quarterfinals - Qualified teams:
The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 15 March 2019.
The first legs will be played on 9 and 10 April, and the second legs will be played on 16 and 17 April 2019.