Shambolic, Young-Old, Chilly, Audacious, Optimum

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News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics

Caracal Global Daily
May 3, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 


Shambolic, Young-Old, Chilly, Audacious, Optimum

TOP FIVE

✔️ Brexit-fatigued English voters punish main parties in local elections

✔️ Life begins at 60 — the rise of the ‘Young-Old’ society

✔️ Chamber of Commerce faces shut out in Washington

✔️ Model aircraft enthusiasts prove unlikely foe for Amazon

✔️ Jack Dorsey is Gwyneth Paltrow for Silicon Valley

ROSS RANT

7 reasons your communications is underperforming

From my participation in the halls of power in Westminster and Capitol Hill, on the campaign trail from Des Moines to Manchester, inside multinational boardrooms and trade association meetings, I find underperforming communications.

Based on this experience, these are the seven reasons communication efforts fail:

1. No clear and consistent strategy

2. Over-indexing on tactics

3. Poor organization and staffing

4. No consistency or editorial calendar 

5. Know-how is not shared and made available

6. Efforts are reactive and by chance

7. Online activities not in sync with offline activities

-Marc

GLOBALIZATION

WSJ: Brexit-fatigued English voters punish main parties in local elections

Britain’s ruling Conservative Party and its main opposition Labour Party suffered setbacks in English local elections, suggesting widespread frustration over the two parties’ handling of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The vote was the first major ballot since the postponement of Britain’s scheduled departure from the bloc.

Brexit blamed for rising strength of smaller parties with Lib Dems making gains.

Polling expert John Curtice said it was a case of “a plague on both your houses.”


The Times: Local election results: We’ll sort out Brexit, parties say

Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Party chairman, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We accept there is huge frustration and there’s a clear message we need to get [Brexit] done.”

These election results show one thing for certain: that the public do not like politics as normal.


Royal Baby
: Paddy Power has stopped taking bets on when Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's baby will be born, believing on Friday that it has already secretly arrived.

Bloomberg: For the UK, Huawei is now a matter of trust

Theresa May’s shambolic government, its handling of Brexit and now a highly-sensitive leak about China's Huawei Technologies has the UK’s closest allies wondering whether it can be trusted when it comes to intelligence.

Chinese app tracks every move that Muslims make: The Times, Chinese Muslims are unable to use their phone, fill up their car with petrol or even leave the house without being recorded by an unprecedented surveillance operation in the country’s far west, according to a rights group.

Nikkei: China in pole position for 5G era with a third of key patents

US and Japan lose market share, as Huawei and ZTE bulk up.

Pentagon warns on risk of Chinese submarines in the Arctic: Reuters reports, deepening Chinese activities in the Arctic region could pave the way for a strengthened military presence, including the deployment of submarines to act as deterrents against nuclear attack, the Pentagon said in a report.

A million people evacuated as deadly Cyclone Fani lashes India.

Trump is back at square one in Venezuela: The Times, the failure of Juan Guaidó’s attempted uprising in Venezuela represents a huge blow to Washington’s strategy for seeing President Maduro removed from office. The US threw its support behind Mr Guaidó more than three months ago, recognizing him as Venezuela’s legitimate leader and tightening sanctions on the Maduro regime. 

Cracks appear in US bipartisan unity on Venezuela: Reuters reports, Trump’s tough approach to Venezuela has won broad support from both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress, but this rare display of bipartisan consensus is starting to show signs of strain as the crisis in the OPEC nation drags on.

Standoff intensifies at Venezuelan embassy in Georgetown: WP reports, those occupying the embassy are largely American protesters given permission to stay there by Maduro’s government. Supporters of the Venezuelan opposition who have gathered outside since Tuesday are largely Venezuelan immigrants and Venezuelan Americans.

Veteran lawmaker poised to win Panama presidential election: AFP reports, voters go to the polls to elect a president on Sunday in booming Panama, with anti-graft candidate Laurentino Cortizo the favorite to succeed incumbent Juan Carlos Varela. Cortizo, a 66-year-old businessman and cattle rancher who campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket in a country tainted by Latin America's Odebrecht bribery scandal, heads into the election with a commanding lead in opinion polls.

CBC: Sask.'s highest court to release decision on province's challenge of federal carbon tax

The case involves the federal carbon tax the Trudeau government imposed on Saskatchewan and several other provinces on April 1.

But final decision will likely be made by the Supreme Court, say experts.


DISRUPTION

The microbots are on their way: Tiny sensors with tinier legs, stamped out of silicon wafers, could one day soon help fix your cellphone battery or study your brain. https://nyti.ms/2GUMtW5

Life begins at 60 — the rise of the ‘Young-Old’ society: As we live longer, healthier lives, the worlds of work and leisure are on the cusp of radical change. https://on.ft.com/2H0dh7s

Noah Smith: Blockchain hype missed the mark, and not by a little: The technology might still change the world, but all the skepticism seems warranted.

POLITICS

Trump finds in Barr the attorney general — and shield — he long sought: WP reports, Attorney General William P. Barr’s views on presidential power boost his status in the administration, even if he is not personally loyal to President Trump.

Democrats’ war with Attorney General boils over: NYT reports, Attorney General William P. Barr left Democratic lawmakers fuming after he failed to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Mr. Barr of lying to Congress at an April hearing, which she said was a “crime.”

US added 263,000 jobs in April, beating expectations as record hiring streak continues

LAT: 2020 Dem candidate Jay Inslee's ambitious climate plan: 100% renewable energy by 2035

Inside Bernie Sanders’s 1988 10-day ‘honeymoon’ in the Soviet Union: WP reports, interviews with five people who accompanied Sanders on the trip, as well as audio and video, provide a fresh look at this formative time for Sanders, foreshadowing much of what animates his presidential bid.

The Chamber of Commerce faces shut out in Washington: WSJ reports, chilly relations with both the White House and congressional Democrats leaves the chief advocacy group for American corporations struggling to adapt to changing politics and shifts in the US economy.

Tim Harford: Real change requires experts to collaborate: Like scientific research, good policymaking now needs different perspectives. https://on.ft.com/2GSLWE6

COMMERCE

OTD: In 1788 The Star and Evening Advertiser, the world’s first daily evening newspaper, was published in London.

SoftBank is considering audacious fundraising plans, including a public offering of its $100 billion investment fund and the launch of a second fund.

SoftBank pumps $1bn into Colombian delivery app Rappi.

Facebook is recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system on the back of its social network.

Uber is alleged to have destroyed livelihoods and operated in Australia illegally, in a lawsuit brought by thousands of taxi and limousine drivers, broadening legal challenges ahead of one of the biggest initial public offerings this year.

FT: Model aircraft enthusiasts prove unlikely foe for Amazon

Tech industry insiders say hobbyists are effective lobbyists against commercial drones.

Nikkei: Amazon seeks profitability in Japan as it exits China

Prime membership fee rise means e-commerce group's other growing markets could be next.

Amazon says it will avoid a housing crunch with HQ2 by planning better than it did in Seattle: WP reports, former Obama press secretary Jay Carney, who now heads Amazon’s global corporate affairs, said the Washington area was selected primarily for its talent pool, but also because it’s “much more racially diverse” than the Pacific Northwest.

Adidas said that sales online and in China had pumped up profits and revenues in the first quarter, confirming its outlook for double-digit profit growth over the full year.

Sinclair Broadcast Group struck a deal valued at more than $10 billion to buy 21 sports networks from Disney, which agreed to sell them as part of its Fox transaction.

Nasdaq chief doubles down on data amid NYSE fight: FT reports, Adena Friedman tries to position New York exchange group as hub for technology.

Huawei overtook Apple to claim the No. 2 spot in smartphones in the first quarter, moving a step closer to its avowed ambition of displacing Samsung at the top of the market.

CULTURE

Jack Dorsey is Gwyneth Paltrow for Silicon Valley: The Twitter chief executive is tech’s foremost wellness guru, guiding his followers toward optimum cognitive performance. Or, at least, hunger. https://nyti.ms/2GTZrDj

RIP: Peter Mayhew, the towering Chewbacca in the ‘Star Wars’ films, dies at 74.

CBS News is expected to name two new morning co-hosts to join Gayle King: LAT reports, the news division is expected to name Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil to join Gayle King as co-hosts of “CBS This Morning,” which has struggled in the ratings over the last 18 months, according to people familiar with the plan who are not authorized to comment publicly.

O’Donnell is expected to become anchor of the “CBS Evening News.”

Dickerson, the former moderator of “Face the Nation,” is expected to join “60 Minutes” as a correspondent.

Gavin Williamson, Steve Bannon, Bobbi Brown, Quentin Tarantino, Formula E

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Gavin Williamson, Steve Bannon, Bobbi Brown, Quentin Tarantino, Formula E

Caracal Global Daily
May 2, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Caracal Global Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


TOP FIVE

✔️ May sacks UK defense secretary over Huawei leak

✔️ Pop-up outdoor roller skating rinks are coming

✔️ Steve Bannon’s alt-right academy — and one village’s fight to stop it

✔️ Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" will run at Cannes 

✔️ How Formula E built a fan base from scratch

ROSS RANT

Living in a direct marketing world powered by the WWW

Today we have a micro-media and personalized broadcast communications environment which serves the needs of the end user.

When it comes to the WWW and the direct marketing communications environment, being multi-dimensional beats being single-dimensional. 

Surprise beats consistency. 

Emotion beats fact.

Funny beats dour.

Useful beats sales. 

Beautiful beats boring. 

Inspirational beats directional.

The best communicators understand this communications environment instinctively.

-Marc

GLOBALIZATION

Venezuela’s opposition held talks with government on ousting Maduro: WSJ reports, the opposition held secret talks with members of President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle in recent months in an ill-fated bid to get Mr. Maduro to leave office.

The Times: US warns Moscow against propping up Maduro regime

Reuters: Maduro hangs on as Venezuelan protests peter out

US commitment to regime change in Venezuela tested
: FT reports, the administration weighs its next move after Juan Guaidó’s bid to oust Nicolás Maduro stalls.

Venezuela opposition’s plan to oust Maduro crumbles, leaving US to mull next steps: WP reports,the Trump administration has sent mixed messages about what role, if any, the U.S. military might play in resolving the crisis.

US Navy plans to extends its reach in the Arctic: WSJ reports, the Navy and Marine Corps are deepening their commitments to Arctic security and to operations in Alaska.

FT: May sacks UK defence secretary over Huawei leak

PM implicates Gavin Williamson in 5G disclosure but former ally denies responsibility.

Williamson will be replaced by Penny Mordaunt, who served as international development secretary. She is the UK’s first female defense secretary.

Williamson hits back at May over his sacking: FT reports, the former UK defense secretary says PM conducted ‘kangaroo court’ after Huawei leak.

For me, the removal of Gavin Williamson is the ultimate case study capturing the intersection of globalization, distribution, and politics. These forces are creating new operational rules which are checked by old government rules.

Why Boris Johnson looms large over the Brexit endgame: The prospect of the former foreign secretary becoming prime minister permeates all debates on what comes next. https://on.ft.com/2GVWulB

FT: US labour leader warns of ‘inferior’ China trade deal

AFL-CIO’s Trumka fears agreement will lack restraints on Beijing’s industrial subsidies.

Former CIA operative admits to spying for China: FT reports, a case officer pleads guilty after helping to decimate US espionage network.

Ex-CIA officer pleads guilty to espionage conspiracy with China: DW reports, a former CIA officer who is a US citizen from Hong Kong has been charged with conspiring with China to commit espionage. Jerry Chun Shing Lee allegedly received money in exchange for information, including agents' names.

“It’s the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian." -- Team Trump on China.

China's furtive underwater nukes test the Pentagon: Reuters reports, until recently, China lacked a reliable nuclear second-strike capability. Its ballistic missile submarines, which can deliver a nuclear weapon, are changing that. Now, the United States is pursuing these subs in a cat-and-mouse contest.

Nikkei: Trump spoils Xi's Belt and Road Forum, without even attending

Beijing's infrastructure initiative becomes symbol of US-China power struggle.

The Trump administration refused to send a delegation to the Beijing gathering, and well-known American business figures stayed away. Even the media center seemed short on American reporters.

China concluded that it would be difficult to secure interests in the Pacific and chose instead to look west to expand its own economic sphere. Strengthening relations with Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa was, in a way, avoiding a head-on clash with the US.


DISRUPTION

LAT: Pop-up outdoor roller skating rinks are coming to LA this summer

“The thing with roller skating is that people don’t even realize how much they’ve worked out going around the rink that many times,” said Ann Potenza, producer and founder of the Pop Sk8 events.
 
@ballmatthew: Almost every canceled show from the dawn of TV was canceled by data.

POLITICS

Barr won’t attend House hearing, following fierce session in Senate: NYT reports, Attorney General William P. Barr faced blistering criticism from Democrats about his characterizations of the Mueller report. The conflict escalated when Mr. Barr said he would not attend a House hearing. Democrats may now subpoena him, setting up a showdown.

Barr recasts McGahn’s account of Trump’s efforts to push out Mueller: WP reports, William P. Barr’s view of the episode with the former White House counsel provided the most revealing look yet at his rationale for determining there was not sufficient evidence to charge President Trump with trying to thwart the probe.

Tiger Woods is scheduled to visit the White House next week to meet with Trump.

Reuters: Biden's rise in 2020 race catches Trump's eye, unnerves his allies

Bloomberg: Biden campaign juggernaut forces other Democrats to recalibrate

WP: Biden says China is ‘not competition for us,’ prompting pushback from Republicans


“This will not age well,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) tweeted in response to Biden’s remark at an Iowa campaign stop.

I agree with Biden.


When I see China I see a nation copying the West:

Tall buildings
Clothing
Internet
Transportation systems
Hardware design
Sport leagues
"China Dream"

Where's the innovation?

I agree with Biden.

What's the one Chinese innovation that has changed your life? 
What's your favorite Chinese brand?
What Chinese university does your child aspire to attend?
What's your favorite Chinese company?
What's your favorite Chinese idea?

What's the US scared of?


Nikkei: Foxconn's Terry Gou assures Trump that Wisconsin plant is on track

At rare White House meeting, tech tycoon says facility will open in May 2020.

Bloomberg: Foxconn struggles to put Wisconsin first

Progress is slow on promises to create jobs and support business in the state.

Steve Bannon’s alt-right academy — and one village’s fight to stop it: How an Italian monastery became part of a plan for a populist Europe. https://on.ft.com/2H49ar1

COMMERCE

Volkswagen said profit dropped nearly 10% in the first quarter, hit by slowing growth in China.

Amazon dismissed the idea of running a fully automated warehouse in the near future, citing the superior cognitive ability of humans and the limitations of current technology.

CULTURE

LAT: Family in China paid $6.5 million to college admissions fixer for a spot at Stanford, sources say

Family paid $6.5 million to get their daughter into Stanford: WSJ reports. a family from China that paid a college counselor $6.5 million for help securing a spot at a top college did so to land their daughter at Stanford University, and connected to the counselor via Morgan Stanley.

LAT: BTS and Halsey lead new pop generation at Billboard Music Awards

Quentin Tarantino's much-anticipated new film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" will run in competition at this month's Cannes film festival, organizers said Thursday.

Makeup queen Bobbi Brown on selling a business, starting another https://bloom.bg/2GR87ua

Her new wellness line, Evolution_18, moves beyond skin deep to tackle inner beauty.

SPORT

@FOXSports will be producing a live show on Twitter every matchday called ‘FIFA Women’s World Cup Now' from Paris. 

How Formula E built a fan base from scratch: The all-electric motorsport tapped into e-gaming and social media to attract young supporters. https://on.ft.com/2GRNdv7

Now in its fifth series, the ABB FIA Formula E championship has succeeded in mobilizing an audience and public profile that has delighted sponsors and backers, not least in connecting with a younger, urban audience.

“We have a full team of community managers at the track commenting on almost everything that is happening before and during the race on social media, capturing content that is interesting in real time.” 

Champions League - Final Four (2nd Match):

Tottenham v Ajax - 8 May @ 3:00 pm ET (Ajax +1)
Barcelona v Liverpool: 7 May @ 3:00 pm ET (Barca +3)

Nicolás Maduro, Emperor Naruhito, William Barr, Robert Mueller, Caster Semenya, Urban Meyer

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Nicolás Maduro, Emperor Naruhito, William Barr, Robert Mueller, Caster Semenya, Urban Meyer

Caracal Global Daily
May 1, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Caracal Global Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


TOP FIVE

✔️ Guaido’s high-risk gamble flops as Maduro keeps grip on military

✔️ The brain makes no distinction between a broken bone and an aching heart.

✔️ Mueller complained to Barr about memo on key findings

✔️ Milken Conference trades rainbows for clouds

✔️ Caster Semenya loses appeal against IAAF testosterone rules

ROSS RANT

Brigadoon Annapolis 2019 | Salon Dinner + Sailing

Starting Thursday, September 12 please make plans to attend Brigadoon Annapolis | Salon Dinner + Sailing

Dinner will be held at Flamant on Thursday, September 12 and a morning cruise of the Chesapeake Bay will take place on Friday, September 13.

Cost per ticket is $355.00.

Secure your spot - here.

GLOBALIZATION

Venezuelans clash as small group of troops Joins Maduro: WSJ reports, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, flanked by a small group of heavily armed troops outside a military base, called for Venezuelans to protest to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, setting up a potential armed struggle. 

NYT: Venezuelan opposition leader steps up pressure, but Maduro holds on

Venezuela's Guaido calls for 'largest march' in history
: Reuters reports, Venezuelans were expected to take to the streets for what opposition leader Juan Guaido pledged would be the 'largest march' in the country's history, a day after he called for the military to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido’s high-risk gamble flops as Maduro keeps grip on military: Bloomberg reports, it was a ploy that from its outset was a long shot.

WSJ - Editorial: High stakes in Caracas: Either democratic forces oust the regime, or Cuba cements its hold.

Arms binge: Defense spending in Turkey has surpassed the world’s top 15 arms purchasers, a reflection of the burden on the country’s strained finances after its foray into neighboring Syria, where it fought both Islamic State and US-backed Kurdish forces. Spending on NATO’s second-largest army rose 24 percent to $19 billion in 2018. Worldwide, military spending rose 2.6 percent last year to $1.82 trillion.

Kuwait on Wednesday inaugurated one of the world's longest causeways, linking the oil-rich Gulf state's capital to an uninhabited border region set to become a major free trade hub.

Crashed F-35A fighter jet located, US says: Nikkei reports, the F-35A stealth fighter that crashed off the coast of Japan has been found, and recovery efforts are underway, a U.S. Air Force commander said Monday. 

Japan’s new emperor accends to throne: WSJ reports, Japan welcomed Emperor Naruhito to the throne with dancing and fireworks at midnight—when the new emperor’s era, known as Reiwa, began.

Japan's new empress, Empress Masako, waves as she and Emperor Naruhito leave the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

Charles Parton: The true cost of signing up with Huawei: There is nothing hysterical in doubting the wisdom of intimate contact with the CCP.

The formidably resourced Huawei propaganda machine wants to convince you that “if you don’t trade with Huawei, you don’t trade with China.”

China needs others as much as others need China.


Dragons, disrupted: Foreign suspicion is hemming in China Inc’s global rise: The Economist reports, if China wants to see more of its companies succeed abroad, it should cut them slack at home.

China, US hold 'productive' trade talks in Beijing: Reuters reports, China and the United States held "productive" trade talks in Beijing on Wednesday and will continue discussions in Washington next week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, as the two try to end their trade war.

Next week China’s Vice Premier Liu He will come to Washington for further talks.

OTD: In 1707 the English and Scottish parliaments merged after acts were passed in each house.

FT: Cameron falls short of target for $1bn China fund

Office of former UK prime minister hopes first fundraising round will be concluded soon.

UK Conservatives steer clear of Brexit ahead of elections: WSJ reports, candidates focus on local issues in a bid to counter voter exhaustion and anger that threatens Prime Minister Theresa May and her ruling party.

Therese Raphael: Jeremy Corbyn is playing a strong hand well on Brexit: The Labour Party’s contortions on Brexit are sound political strategy. The big question is whether it all holds together until the next national election.

FT: Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in jail

WikiLeaks founder convicted for breaching bail in 2012 by hiding in the Ecuadorean embassy.

Sweden grants asylum to 2 Pussy Riot activists: DW reports, two members of the Russian protest group have won an appeal on their asylum claim in Sweden. The couple said they had received death threats and feared arrest if forced to return to Moscow.

Isabelle Mateos y Lago: Both sides would suffer in a renewed EU-US trade clash: Europeans should not be complacent about the effect of uncertainty on investment.

DISRUPTION

Rejection kills: The brain makes no distinction between a broken bone and an aching heart. That’s why social exclusion needs a health warning. http://bit.ly/2XVfJTi

POLITICS

@JamesMLindsay: #OnThisDay in 2011 Navy Seals raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing the orchestrator of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. President Obama called it "a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people."

Mueller complained to Barr about memo on key findings: WP reports, a letter from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to Attorney General William P. Barr and a subsequent phone call reveal the degree to which the men disagreed as they handled the probe of the president.

Mueller objected to Barr’s summary of report on Russia: WSJ reports, special counsel Robert Mueller said in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that Barr’s letter to Congress summarizing his office’s investigation failed to fully capture the context and substance of their probe.

As Trumps sue to block subpoenas, Democrats ponder impeachment: NYT reports, House Democrats see President Trump’s latest provocations as a dangerous abuse of power. The efforts have revived internal debate over the ultimate weapon in their arsenal: impeachment.

Trade wars hurt American farmers: US farmers’ personal income fell by the most in three years during the the first quarter of 2019 — the latest harbinger of potential political trouble for Trump stemming from losses linked to trade wars.

Democrats, Trump agree to aim for $2 trillion infrastructure package: WSJ reports, Democratic congressional leaders said President Trump agreed to aim for a $2 trillion infrastructure package, though the sides didn’t discuss how it would be paid for. 

LAT: Beto O’Rourke travels California seeking direction and his old spark

@jonallendc: Biden’s shock-and-awe campaign to the top:

* Big money
* Huge poll boost
* Hits ping off him like video-game defenders
* Quick pivot on impeachment obscures gaps with liberals
* Except Bernie, rivals won’t attack him directly


Hartford Courant: Quinnipiac Poll shows Biden with huge lead among Democrats

Biden 38%
Warren 12%
Sanders 11%
Buttigieg 10%
Harris 8%
O'Rourke 5%


COMMERCE

Stephen Gandel: The Milken Conference trades rainbows for clouds: Markets are up. Unemployment is down. Profits aren’t a disaster. So why are attendees so glum?

Server maker Super Micro to ditch "made-in-China" parts on spy fears: Nikkei reports, Super Micro Computer, the server maker at the heart of spy chip allegations last autumn, has told suppliers to move production out of China to address US customers' concerns about cyber espionage risks, according to industry sources familiar with the matter. Despite denying allegations that its Chinese-made motherboards had been implanted with malignant chips, US customers and especially government-related clients have asked Super Micro not to supply them with motherboards made in China because of security concerns, according to one company executive. 

Huawei plans world’s first 5G TV.

FT: Marriott takes aim at Airbnb with home rental service

World’s largest hotel operator opens a new front as industry grapples with online rivals.

Ford has borrowed anti-collision technology from its cars to build a supermarket trolley that children can't crash.

FT: Beyond Meat looks to raise up to $240m in upsized IPO

Plant-based meat substitute company could be worth $1.5bn after strong investor interest.

WeWork files for IPO.

FT: Ex-Google chief Schmidt steps down from Alphabet board

Board reshuffle comes after company issues disappointing earnings report.

Bloomberg: Ford partners with Amazon to enable package deliveries to trunks

ESPN Magazine to go web-only.

CBS embraces strategy of making shows for its rivals: WSJ reports, about a quarter of CBS-produced shows this year are for other platforms, from Netflix to Disney+.

CULTURE

K-Pop stardom lures Japanese youth to Korea despite diplomatic chill https://buff.ly/2vunMu3

Three tonnes of rubbish collected from Everest: AFP reports, a dedicated clean-up team sent to Mount Everest has collected three tonnes of garbage in its first two weeks, officials said Wednesday, in an ambitious plan to clean the world's highest rubbish dump.

SPORT

Caster Semenya loses landmark legal case against IAAF over testosterone levels: Guardian reports, the South African 800m star Caster Semenya has lost her landmark legal case against athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, in a decision that will send shockwaves through sport. It means that the 800m Olympic champion will have to take medication to reduce her testosterone if she wants to run internationally at events between 400m and a mile. The surprise verdict, which was announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after three arbitators had spent more than two months deliberating over the complex and highly contentious case, came even though Cas agreed that the IAAF’s policy was “discriminatory” to athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) such as Semenya.

Caster Semenya loses appeal against IAAF testosterone rules: DW reports, champion sprinter Caster Semenya has lost her appeal against regulations limiting testosterone levels in certain women's athletic events. The judges found the rule "discriminatory" but also said limits were necessary.

Drone Racing League teams up with Lockheed Martin on autonomous drones.

Reggie Bush might recruit Urban Meyer to end his retirement, coach at USC: SI reports, Bush said he and former teammate Matt Leinart might try to recruit Urban Meyer to end his retirement and coach at USC if head coach Clay Helton struggles in 2019.

@Brett_McMurphy: Updated @CFBPlayoff title odds via @SuperBookUSA: 

Clemson 2-1
Bama 5-2
Georgia 7-1
OhioSt 10-1
Mich, OU 14-1
LSU, Texas 25-1
ND, Wash 30-1
UF, Oregon, Neb, A&M 40-1
Auburn 60-1
Wisconsin 80-1
FSU, Iowa, Miami, MissSt, PennSt, USC, Utah, WashSt 100-1
MichSt, OkSt, TCU, VT 200-1

Emperor Akihito, Juan Guaido, George Washington, Jürgen Klopp, Ayrton Senna

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Emperor Akihito, Juan Guaido, George Washington, Jürgen Klopp, Ayrton Senna

Caracal Global Daily
April 30, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Caracal Global Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


TOP FIVE

✔️ Japan’s Emperor Akihito abdicates throne as son is set to ascend

✔️ Starbucks, Dunkin race against bans, taxes on disposable cups

✔️ OTD: In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as the first POTUS

✔️ Vodafone found hidden backdoors in Huawei equipment

✔️ Jürgen Klopp: From the German second division to Liverpool manager

ROSS RANT

Brigadoon Radio: Episode 11: Why Brigadoon works

I spoke with Brendan Kownacki about the idea of Brigadoon and shared my thoughts on curating multi-day gatherings at Sundance, Utah since 2013.

From the start, my vision for Brigadoon has been focused on connecting subject matter experts at a venue tucked in a magical canyon in the Utah mountains. 

As I begin work on the eighth Brigadoon Sundance gathering, this simple concept has proven to be rewarding for attendees and for me as the organizer.

The episode was recorded Pinehaven House at Sundance Mountain Resort during Brigadoon Sundance 2019.

You can watch the session - here.

GLOBALIZATION

ISIS leader Baghdadi makes first video appearance in 5 years, emphasizes group’s global reach.

Bolton: Trump wants solo, not multi-party talks with North Korea: AP reports, the US has little interest in joining other countries in a multi-nation effort to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Sunday. 

US-Japan trade deal? Trump said he wants to sign a trade deal with Japan by the time he visits next month but officials are still working on what’s actually going to be in the agreement.

Trump is traveling to Japan at the end of May to meet the newly crowned emperor. 

Trump is also expected to go to Japan for the G-20 summit in Osaka on June 28-29.

The administration is looking to get a quick initial deal with Japan and then work out something more comprehensive at a later date.


WSJ: Japan’s Emperor Akihito abdicates throne as son is set to ascend

It was the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in more than 200 years.

Nikkei: Mongolia is Japan's new frontier in the search for IT talent

Romania and Myanmar are also among the hunting grounds for tech specialists.

Xi urges youth to 'love' the Communist Party: AFP reports,  Xi Jinping urged China's youth on Tuesday to be loyal to the Communist Party as he sought to whip up patriotic sentiment in a nationalist speech marking the centennial of a student protest. Xi delivered his hour-long plea at the Great Hall of the People to commemorate the May Fourth Movement, a landmark protest against colonialism and imperialism that rocked China in 1919.

FT: China renegotiated $50bn in loans to developing countries

Study challenges ‘debt-trap’ narrative surrounding Beijing’s lending.

SCMP: US and China will have many more battles to fight when the trade war ends

Negotiators are focused on resolving a long-running tariff dispute but the conflict between Washington and Beijing extends far beyond sales of soybeans and aluminum.

Technology, politics, ideology and even the military are all areas where tensions could bubble over, analysts say.

Xi mulling June visit to US: Xi Jinping could travel to the United States as soon as June to sign a deal with Trump face to face. “June is an option but it could be later,” a source told SCMP’s Zhou Xin. The trip may “either be a grand state visit or a relatively low-key working visit.”

Singapore's industrial production looks awful.

China and US square off in Taiwan's presidential race: Nikkei reports, feted in Washington, Tsai faces threat from Beijing -- and within her own party.

Indonesia unveils $33bn plan to move capital: FT reports, the proposal comes two weeks after elections but lacks details on location and schedule.

The government was examining three cities away from the archipelago’s main island of Java as possible alternatives, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday, without naming them.

Nikkei: Indonesia to move capital out of Jakarta to jump-start economy

Government eyes alleviating pain of serious traffic jams with relocation off Java.

Matthew d’Ancona: Nigel Farage is fuelled by the betrayal myth. And Brexit is only the start. His rhetoric was always that the elite would thwart the will of the people, enabling a new movement to rise up amid the anger.

Robert Shrimsley: Conservatives are drawing the wrong lesson from the Brexit party: Brexit is no longer a policy — it is a religion and selection is by faith alone.

Michael Auslin: Donald Trump can deliver Britain a post-Brexit trade boost: A trilateral deal between the US, UK and Japan would counter fears of isolation.

David Seymour: The time is ripe for a new partnership between the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand: The free movement of people, ideas, information and capital has made both nations more prosperous. The two countries share a belief in equality, secularism and multiculturalism. We have a common law legal system and a Westminster parliamentary democracy that share common heritage.

The Times: Ditch Huawei or we may stop sharing intelligence, US warns

Italian wage growth is slowing.

Sweden's household loan growth hit the lowest level since 2013.


Spanish election reflects Europe’s widening political fragmentation: WSJ reports, incumbent Socialists finish first, but forming a governing coalition could prove tricky, in latest example of upstarts’ gains at traditional parties’ expense.

No party won more than 30% of the vote in Spain on Sunday.

The main opposition conservative People’s Party took less than 17%, the worst showing in its 30-year history.


Venezuela’s Juan Guaido leads military uprising: AP reports, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets Tuesday with detained activist Leopoldo Lopez and a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers in a military uprising. "This is the moment of all Venezuelans, those in uniform and those who aren't," said Lopez in his first public appearance since being detained in 2014 for leading anti-government protests. "Everyone should come to the streets, in peace."

AFP: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido claims support of ‘brave soldiers’ as govt denounces ‘coup attempt’

Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó appears to stage military-backed challenge to Maduro
: WP reports, Juan Guaidó issued a video with troops in which he urged other soldiers to join an operation meant to force President Nicolás Maduro from power.

Venezuelans in exile fear they may never be able to return: WSJ reports, those who fled South America’s worst humanitarian crisis are losing hope as President Maduro clings to power and conditions worsen at home; ‘I’m resigned to stay where we are.’

Around 3.4 million residents have left Venezuela.

Argentina's central bank took further action to stabilize the peso.

The price of a cup of coffee with milk in Venezuela (a measure of inflation) continues to rise exponentially.


Pew: Many across the globe are dissatisfied with how democracy is working

Discontent is tied to concerns about the economy, individual rights, and out-of-touch elites.

The link between views of the economy and assessments of democratic performance is strong. In 24 of 27 countries surveyed, people who say the national economy is in bad shape are more likely than those who say it is in good shape to be dissatisfied with the way democracy is working. In the other three countries surveyed, so few people say the economy is good that this relationship cannot be analyzed.


DISRUPTION

Starbucks, Dunkin race against bans, taxes on disposable cups: Bloomberg reports, inspired by plastic bag bans, jurisdictions have set their sights on a much bigger target: the to-go coffee cup

"There are some big structural changes in manufacturing. The world will make relatively fewer things in the future as digitization replaces goods with services." -- Paul Donovan @ UBS

Bloomberg: Teens say they don't vape, they Juul, making e-cigarette use hard to track

For the first time, public health officials will ask about Juul by name in an annual youth tobacco survey.

POLITICS

OTD: In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.

Rod Rosenstein to resign effective May 11: WP reports, the deputy attorney general, who oversaw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of President Trump and Russia, will step down after a tumultuous two years on the job.

Sue me, sue you: Trump, three of his children and his real-estate businesses filed a federal lawsuit to block Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with congressional subpoenas for documents 

Most Americans say they won’t vote for Trump next year — but will they vote at all? WP reports, a poll shows most Americans don’t really like Trump. But that won’t be enough to secure a victory for Democrats.

WP: Frustrations with economic and political system, and how Americans' weigh Trump's agenda ahead of 2020 election

- A clear majority of Americans, including large shares of Democratic and independent voters and a significant slice of Republicans, think the economy mainly benefits people already in power.

- About 8 in 10 Democrats and more than 6 in 10 independents say the country’s economic system gives an advantage to those already in power, while nearly a third of Republicans share that view.

- The survey finds that 42 percent of registered voters say Trump’s handling of the economy makes them more likely to vote for him in 2020, while 32 percent say it makes them less likely to support him.


Democrat Stacey Abrams of Georgia says she will not run for a US Senate seat in 2020.

Kamala Harris has hired Jim Margolis, one of the Democratic Party’s most accomplished admakers, as her media adviser.

Biden starts his campaign with pitch to working class: FT reports, the Democratic presidential hopeful for 2020 lays out his credentials for beating Donald Trump.

“Democrats see Biden as wobbly 2020 front-runner”

I see a Biden - Harris 2020 ticket.


Morning Consult Poll: Biden posts 6-point bump among likely Democratic voters amid campaign launch

Biden 36%
Sanders 22%
Warren 9%
Buttigieg 8%
Harris 7%
O'Rourke 5%
Booker 3%
Klobuchar 2%
Yang 2%


- Former VP has a 14-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, his biggest yet

- 36% of likely Democratic primary voters said Biden was their first-choice candidate for president, his best Morning Consult showing in 2019.

- Biden’s increased his first-choice share with women, especially with black women, among whom he leads the current primary field with 47% support.

- 76% of Democratic primary voters view him favorably, while 14% view him unfavorably.  


Maryland takes step toward capping drug prices: WSJ reports, governor is poised to sign bill creating panel to review expensive prescription drugs and limit what agencies will pay for them.

COMMERCE

Amazon posts first jobs for HQ2, says operations will begin in area in June: WP reports, the company is leasing temporary space in Crystal City for new employees. Two Amazon vice presidents also are moving to the area from Seattle.

FanDuel Group will be the first US sports betting operator to offer live-sports broadcasts alongside odds on its website and mobile app, part of an expanded partnership with Swiss data and media giant Sportradar AG.

Boeing said certain safety alerts on its now-grounded 737 MAX jets didn’t operate as airlines would have anticipated because of a previously undisclosed slip-up on its part.

Foxconn tore up a small town to build a big factory—then retreated: WSJ reports, the iPhone maker got fat incentives to build a $10 billion LCD plant that largely hasn’t materialized on land where Mount Pleasant, Wis., razed homes and crops.

When the time is right, I suspect to see this empty heavily subsidized plant to appear in direct mail attacking Trump's failed economic policies.

Netflix continues to rapidly expand its presence in Hollywood, signing two more leases in the neighborhood and furthering its position as one of the biggest office tenants in Los Angeles.

Vodafone found hidden backdoors in Huawei equipment: Bloomberg reports, while the carrier says the issues found in 2011 and 2012 were resolved at the time, the revelation may further damage the reputation of a Chinese powerhouse.

Tim Culpan: The West finally has its Huawei smoking gun: WSJ reports, it may not be enough to sway those who are already convinced of the Chinese company’s innocence.

CULTURE

John Singleton, ‘Boyz N the Hood’ director, is dead at 51: NYT reports, his first film, which he began shooting when he was in his early 20s, earned an Oscar nomination for best director — the first for an African-American.

LAT: Filmmaker John Singleton dies; ‘Boyz n the Hood’ was his own personal LA story

The 1991 film, nominated for two Academy Awards, pulled John Singleton into the company of emerging black moviemakers such as Spike Lee, Mario Van Peebles and Matty Rich. Relevant and thoughtful, Singleton remained prolific over the decades.

SPORT

Ayrton Senna: 25 years since F1 lost its flawed, fascinating hero: Richard Williams writes, this week sees the 25th anniversary of the Imola accident that took the Brazilian’s life and had a devastating impact not just on his millions of fans but on grand prix racing as a whole.

Jürgen Klopp: From the German second division to Liverpool manager: DW reports, it's been a long journey for Jürgen Klopp - from a second-division player to Liverpool manager. He failed at the final hurdle in the Champions League last season, now he faces Barcelona in the semifinals.

'In Klopp we trust'

Champions League - Final Four:

Tottenham v Ajax: 30 April + 8 May
Barcelona v Liverpool: 1 + 7 May


All matches at 3:00 pm ET

Spain, Creativity, New NAFTA, Spotify, Avengers: Endgame

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Spain, Creativity, New NAFTA, Spotify, Avengers: Endgame

Caracal Global Daily
April 29, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Caracal Global Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


TOP FIVE

✔️ Spain’s Socialists seek to govern alone after poll win

✔️ Creativity peaks in your 20s and 50s

✔️ Trump’s new NAFTA faces mounting trouble in House

✔️ Spotify now has 100 million paying users

✔️ Avengers: Endgame smashes box-office records in $1.2 billion debut

MR IN THE NEWS

Bloomberg Radio - Sound On: Trade Talks, North Korea + 2020 Campaigns 

I was on Bloomberg Radio Friday night. 

I joined Bloomberg Chief Washington Correspondent Kevin Cirilli and Ben Chang, former White House National Security Council director of communications in a wide-ranging discussion covering current global and domestic political issues such as:

- CIA on Instagram
- Zlatan Ibrahimović
- UN Arms Trade Treaty
- Ford Motor Company + USCMA 
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi + Impeachment
- White House Correspondents Dinner + Prince
- Globalization + Politics + US agricultural exports
- Prime Minister Shinzō Abe weekend at the White House
- Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un meeting with President Vladimir Putin


You can listen to the nearly 50-minute episode - here.

GLOBALIZATION

Reuters: Two US Navy warships sail through strategic Taiwan Strait

A move that angered China just days after it marked the 70th anniversary of its navy. 

Mnuchin says trade negotiations with China are in ‘the final laps’: NYT reports, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin travels to Beijing this week as trade talks with China reach a critical point.

US-China talks to resume with significant issues unresolved: Bloomberg reports, the possibility remains that Donald Trump would walk away from the negotiating table.

Talks will resume in Beijing this week with the aim of a deal sometime next month.

Both of these stories are correct.

Pro-tip: Trade negotiations with China will never end.


US-China trade ties hinge on enforcement mechanism: Reuters reports, US negotiators head to China to try to hammer out details to end the two countries' trade war, including the shape of an enforcement mechanism, the success or failure of which could set the trajectory of ties for years to come.

Edward Luce: China, the US and trade in a dog-eat-dog world: An agreement between the world’s two biggest economies would sideline the WTO.

Britain's FM urges caution over Huawei role in 5G network: AFP reports, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged caution over the role of China's Huawei in the UK, saying the government should think carefully before opening its doors to the technology giant to develop next-generation 5G mobile networks. His comments come after Prime Minister Theresa May conditionally allowed China's Huawei to build the UK 5G network, according to media reports last week.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond vs. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt 

Abe and Canada's Justin Trudeau look to rule of law in resolving dispute over Huawei: TJT reports, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agrees with his Canadian counterpart to seek the rule of law in resolving international issues, including China’s arrest of two Canadian citizens.

With China in mind, Japan eyes new infrastructure investment rules for G20: TJT reports, the Abe government is considering proposing a set of rules for infrastructure investment in developing countries when Japan hosts the Group of 20 summit in Osaka in June, after China has been criticized for engaging in “debt-trap” diplomacy with its aggressive project financing, according to sources.

Incoming Imperial monarchs offer Japan something new: TJT reports, Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife, Crown Princess Masako, represent a lot of firsts for the nation's next Imperial monarchs: university-educated, multilingual and with years of experience living overseas, during which the monarch-to-be even did his own laundry. 

Reiwa Era to open in wake of decades of tumultuous economic change in Japan: TJT reports the Heisei Era began three decades ago with Emperor Akihito ascending the throne near the zenith of one of the biggest stock market bubbles in history. It's been punctuated by the triple hit of an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown.

Bill Shorten wins first election debate against Scott Morrison: SMH reports, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has won the popular vote in the first leaders’ debate of the federal election campaign after using his closing remarks to tell Australians the economy was not working for them. Shorten emphasized the cost of services ranging from childcare to private health insurance in a challenge to Prime Minister Scott Morrison over economic management during the live debate in Perth.

Pedro Sanchez's Socialists win election but miss majority: DW reports, in a vote that saw one of the highest turnouts in recent years, Spain's ruling Socialists have won the most seats but fell well short of a majority. The far-right Vox party will enter parliament for the first time.

Spain’s Socialists seek to govern alone after poll win: FT reports, PM Pedro Sánchez also has coalition options after defeating the fragmented conservative challenge.

The Times: Socialists ready to run Spain alone

Spain’s Socialist Party has signaled that it could try to govern as a minority administration instead of working in a formal coalition.

Ferdinando Giugliano: Spain's election is a radical opportunity: A coalition between the Socialists and the centrists looks a long shot, but the benefits for the country’s economy would be considerable.

Bernd Riegert: Spain loses its innocence: The Socialists may have won the general election, but the real story is the rise of the far-right nationalist Vox party as it enters the Spanish parliament.

How Brexit might help the Scottish independence quest: Reuters reports, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to lead her nation to independence from the United Kingdom have been muddled by Brexit, but the whirlwind at the center of British politics may yet advance her cause.

DISRUPTION

Creativity peaks in your 20s and 50s: BBC reports, New research from Ohio State University found that our mid-20s is when our brains first become fertile ground for innovation. The study looked at previous winners of the Nobel Prize in economics. It found that those who did their most groundbreaking work in their 20s tended to be "conceptual" innovators. So basically they had a light bulb moment and acted upon it. But don't panic if you've gone past your mid-20s without a flicker of an idea - some of us won't hit our inspirational stride until our mid-50s.

The study is from THE Ohio State University so who knows?!?

The anatomy of a great decision: Making better decisions is one of the best skills we can develop. Good decisions save time, money, and stress. Here, Shane Parrish breaks down what makes a good decision and what we can do to improve our decision-making processes. http://bit.ly/2L8vMf7

POLITICS

Barr’s Feud with House escalates with threat of subpoena: NYT reports, the House Judiciary Committee was planning to question Attorney General William P. Barr on Thursday. But he objected to the panel’s proposed format. “The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period,” the committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler said.

Trump did ‘nothing wrong’ to warrant impeachment, Sen. Lindsey Graham says: LAT reports, ‘What President Trump did here was completely cooperate in an investigation,’ Graham argued on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation.’

Sen. Lindsey Graham challenges Jared Kushner’s bid to downplay Russian interference in 2016 election: WP reports, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Russia’s interference was “not just a few Facebook ads,” as the White House senior adviser asserted last week. 

Rising tide of white nationalism is at forefront of 2020 presidential race: WP reports, the California synagogue shooting and President Trump’s latest defense of his Charlottesville comments have prompted some Republicans to acknowledge that the president is taking a political risk by continuing to stand by his words.

Trump’s new NAFTA faces mounting trouble in House: WSJ reports, Trump’s push to revamp North America’s trade rules is hitting a roadblock in Washington as Democrats and labor groups demand changes, dimming its chances of passage before next year’s election. 

Joe Biden won the endorsement of the nation’s largest firefighters union Monday.

RIP: Richard Lugar, a leading Republican voice on arms control in his 36 years as a senator representing Indiana, died Sunday in a Virginia hospital. He was 87.

COMMERCE

Spotify now has 100 million paying users.

FT: Anadarko prepares to endorse $55bn bid from Occidental

Sale of Texas-based oil and gas company to Chevron in jeopardy.

Decentralized browser Brave has launched Brave Ads: An option that enables its users to earn rewards for watching advertising. The development was announced on Brave’s website on April 24. The announcement reads that users of Brave — which is an open-source blockchain-powered browser that blocks ads and website trackers — can now receive 70% of the ad revenue share as a reward for their attention in the form of the browser’s native cryptocurrency, basic attention tokens (BAT). 

CULTURE

Avengers: Endgame smashes box-office records in $1.2 billion debut.

Belt and Road, Shinzo Abe, Starbucks, Maria Butina, Don Quijote, Vacation

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Belt and Road, Shinzo Abe, Starbucks, Maria Butina, Don Quijote, Vacation

Caracal Global Daily
April 26, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Caracal Global Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


TOP FIVE

✔️ Xi vows new direction for ‘Belt and Road’ after criticism

✔️ Does Starbucks make you smarter?

✔️ Maria Butina is not a Russian spy, but a 'spotter'

✔️ “I haven’t seen anything else quite like Don Quijote”

✔️ The new vacation perk: Celebrity encounters

ROSS RANT

21 ways to not have the right network:

1. Same backgrounds - think homophily.

2. Lack of mission statement.

3. Thinking small.

4. Too much self-reliance.

5. Same skills. Same talents. Same ideas.

6. Too provincial.

7. Limited perspective.

8. Choosing personality over purpose.

9. Reactive. 

10. Not stubborn enough.

11. Easily swayed.

12. Over-reliance on cash and class as the connection.

13. Spending not investing.

14. No reboot.

15. Too many jerks.

16. More campaign, not cause.

17. Comfortable and content.

18. Thinking the hype is real.

19. Lack of moxie.

20. Don’t do the work.

21. Many ideas, no execution.

-Marc

Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader strategy for executives and entrepreneurs working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

GLOBALIZATION

China’s Xi vows new direction for ‘Belt and Road’ after criticism: WSJ reports, China’s President Xi Jinping signaled a recalibration of his global infrastructure-building program as he sought to assuage foreign critics who blame Beijing for pushing excessive lending onto developing economies.

Xi pledges open Belt and Road but west is split on programme: FT reports, Beijing chips away at wariness over flagship infrastructure building project.

Nikkei: Xi pledges Belt and Road reboot amid rising 'debt trap' concerns

China's Belt and Road is 'green and clean,' says Xi
: DW reports, Chinese President Xi Jinping says the Belt and Road program must be "open, green and clean." Beijing wants to dispel fears that its infrastructure plans will leave countries saddled with debt and environmental damage.

UK in China: Philip Hammond, the chancellor, attends the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, along with President Putin.

China lobbies ASEAN on yuan use, cracking dollar dominance: Nikkei reports, Beijing proposes Asian currencies, including yen, be added to emergency pool.

AFP: Xi says will abolish anti-competitive subsidies to Chinese firms

China’s Xi signals approval for Trump’s trade war demands
: Bloomberg reports, Xi spent a large portion of his speech Friday addressing Chinese domestic reforms, pledging to address state subsidies, protect intellectual property rights, allow foreign investment in more sectors and avoid competitive devaluation of the yuan. All four are issues the US is addressing in trade talks with Beijing.

China's rocket start-ups develop 'shoebox' satellites: Reuters reports, China's private rocket manufacturers are racing to develop small rockets capable of sending satellites into space at affordable prices, as part of a broader Chinese dream of building commercial satellites that can offer services from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking coal shipments.

Geoffrey Owen: How to meet the challenge of China: Western governments should think twice before trying to keep Chinese companies out.

"Fifty-two years ago, the French journalist and politician Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber wrote a hugely successful book called Le Défi Américain (The American Challenge). In it, he warned that European industry was about to be overwhelmed by giant American companies such as General Motors and Ford. Unless urgent action was taken to create bigger European companies, Servan-Schreiber argued, Europe would became a technological vassal of the US."

Dan Wang: Why China will rival the US in high tech: Critics who say bureaucracy and rote education stifle innovation are missing the biggest factor in the mainland’s favor: its huge market. 

Anjani Trivedi: Why China can’t pull up the world: Beijing’s stimulus has been targeted and domestically focused. That means it won’t do much to boost growth elsewhere.

LAT: Trump's withdrawal from TPP trade deal is hurting U.S. exports to Japan

The White House is scrambling to undo the damage of Trump’s swift withdrawal from what would have been the world’s largest regional trade agreement.

The remaining 11 members proceeded anyway, slashing tariffs and leaving US businesses at a significant competitive disadvantage. 


Today: Donald Trump hosts Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, at the White House.

Japan’s Abe visits White House in latest bid to soothe Trump’s ego — and avoid his ire: WP reports,the Japanese leader has played a diligent inside game to mixed results but now faces a new test amid President Trump’s threats on trade.

Trump and Abe to meet as Japan and US seek trade deal: NYT reports, Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will meet today to discuss a bilateral deal that was almost unthinkable two years ago. But the United States may have to agree to some concessions.

The US is pushing to reduce its trade deficit with Japan and gain better access to the Asian nation’s agricultural market. Japan is looking for a concrete promise that it won’t be hit by possible US tariffs on auto imports.

Reuters: Japan tells US can't link monetary policy to trade: finance minister Aso

FT: Japanese government and Nissan reject Renault merger talks


Relations sink to new low after double snub to French carmaker.

Europe’s nationalists band together in bid for influence: WSJ reports, European Parliament elections next month will test the strength of an energized far-right’s views, offering a signpost to Europe’s politics in coming years. Nationalists are reaching across borders to try to build an alliance they hope can reshape the legislature.

France’s Macron vows to cut taxes, stay on pro-business course: WSJ reports, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to cut taxes in a long-awaited address that sidestepped demands for immediate measures to quell months of violent yellow-vest protests.

FT: French employees face challenge to short-hours culture

Macron wants citizens to work longer in bid to increase tax revenues.

Macron responds to yellow vest protests by promising tax cuts, more reforms: DW reports, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to ease taxes on France's middle class, reform its civil service while also reinstating public order. His long Elysee Palace news conference follows months of yellow vest protests.

DISRUPTION

Virgin plastics: As the EU waves through the single-use plastics ban, broadly shuns fracking and pushes for decarbonization by 2050, plans for a wholesale contradiction involving INEOS and US ethane are underway in the city of Antwerp.

Roger Dooley: Does Starbucks make you smarter? One thing the coffee giant has been very smart about is preserving the powerful aroma of roasted coffee beans. Research shows that the mere smell of coffee can improve some cognitive functions. University of Toronto researchers recently published results which verified the concept that coffee cues prime the brain with an expectation of increased sharpness. Subjects from cultures where coffee drinking is common experienced higher levels of alertness and attention when primed with coffee cues than those from tea-oriented cultures.

One sign that neuromarketing has transcended its era of hype and hucksterism: Nielsen now has 16 neuro labs globally, including five in the US. One opened late last year in Cincinnati, Ohio, the heart of client country and home to Procter & Gamble, which is among the marketers that now have neuroscientists in-house.

"I think the industry is still a little bit of wild, wild west. It's still got plenty of snake oil in it," says Duane Varan, CEO of MediaScience.

POLITICS

Trump sought out loyalist to curtail special counsel — and drew Mueller’s glare: WP reports, Trump’s efforts to enlist Corey Lewandowski as a back channel were read by some legal observers as one of the clearest cases for potential obstruction of justice laid out in Robert S. Mueller III's report.

Admitted Russian agent Butina to be sentenced in US, faces deportation: Reuters reports, admitted Russian agent Maria Butina will be sentenced on Friday by a federal judge after pleading guilty in December to conspiring with a Russian official to infiltrate a gun rights group and influence U.S. conservative activists and Republicans.

USA Today: Maria Butina is not a Russian spy, but a 'spotter': DOJ revives intrigue over gun rights activist

Rolling Stone: 17 takeaways from Maria Butina’s sentencing memo
 http://bit.ly/2VvVpKE

The NRA-friendly Russian national reveals a plot to get Vladimir Putin on American cable TV.

FT: Sanders launches attack on Biden over lobbyist fundraiser event

Attendance at private function underlines ex-vice president’s urgent need for cash.

Reuters: Like Trump, Democrat Buttigieg bills himself as a turnaround expert

Bloomberg: Biden banks on Trump to help win White House in 2020


"Biden’s strategy – which his campaign said will include an emphasis on rebuilding the middle class and unifying the country – comes after more than two years of party post-mortems concluded that Hillary Clinton’s almost single-minded emphasis on Trump’s shortcomings contributed to her loss in 2016."

Offshore drilling + 2020: The Trump administration has shelved plans for a vast expansion in offshore oil and gas drilling following a court decision blocking fossil fuel activity in large swaths of the Arctic. Offshore drilling is not seen as such a swell idea in Trump must-win state Florida.

Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox: America’s future depends on the bedroom, not the border: With a historically low unemployment rate, America is running low on workers in everything from high-tech to construction, manufacturing and services as Donald Trump’s stronger immigration policies help raise wages for existing US workers, from the lowest paid to well-paid construction workers, for the first time in decades.

COMMERCE

Uber ratcheted down its target valuation to a range of about $80 billion to $90 billion.

FT: Uber to pitch IPO between $44 and $50 a share

Ride-hailing app could raise $8bn-$10bn and will sell about $500m of stock to PayPal.

Nikkei: Japan's Don Quijote exports retail 'jungles' in age of Amazon

Discounter bets on bricks-and-mortar chaos to win Asian customers.

Bloomberg: The cult Japanese retailer making billions breaking all the rules https://bloom.bg/2Vrn13v

Don Quijote is a little like a mashup of TJ Maxx, Dollar Tree, Costco, and the no-frills grocer Aldi, with a dollop of Japanese eccentricity thrown in. 

“I haven’t seen anything else quite like Don Quijote,” says Michael Causton, a retail analyst in Tokyo for Japan Consuming. “It’s chaotic, messy stores, which belie what’s behind it—a highly disciplined, extremely rigorous management philosophy.”

Retail experts have described Donki, as it’s popularly known, as a jungle, a hoarder’s paradise, even a fire hazard, with shelves so heavily packed they look as if they might fall over. But the heart of its strategy is simple: Floor staff should have near-total autonomy to decide what to sell.

The first target is Asia for Don Quijote, which sells everything from humidifiers to sex toys.


Walmart has unveiled a new “store of the future” and test grounds for emerging technologies, including AI-enabled cameras and interactive displays. The store, a working concept called the Intelligent Retail Lab — or “IRL” for short — operates out of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, NY.

Amazon to roll out one-day shipping worldwide: FT reports, online retailer beats estimates as profits more than double in first quarter.

Starbucks plans to expand delivery service to 50 Chinese cities.

CULTURE

The new vacation perk: Celebrity encounters: WSJ reports, To let tourists come home with bragging rights, the travel industry and fundraisers are selling access to celebs, rockers, athletes and a whole host of boldfaced names.

Tim Harford: Always seek out novelty — even at home: The search for new experiences should not just be for our holidays.