Caracal Insider Daily | February 6, 2018

Caracal Insider Daily Jan2018 (1).png

Carnage, Freemasons, Dalai Lama, Super Bowl, SoHo House, Bell Pottinger

Caracal Insider Daily
February 6, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

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

Subscribe here
https://goo.gl/bSQKwA

TOP FIVE

✔️ ‘There’s genuine carnage out there’

✔️ Two Freemasons’ lodges are operating in Westminster

✔️ Mercedes-Benz apologizes to Chinese for quoting Dalai Lama

✔️ Banks shutter 1,700 branches in fastest decline on record

✔️ Super Bowl drew 103.4 million TV viewers, a drop of 7%
 

GEOECONOMICS

‘There’s genuine carnage out there’: Global markets tumble, mirroring Dow decline: WP reports, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index plunges almost 5 percent, while markets in London, Frankfurt also fell in early trading. 

WSJ: Stock selloff spreads around the world

NYT: Global markets sink after US sell-off


BI - Linette Lopez: The stock market is getting pillaged because inflation is coming back and changing the gamehttps://goo.gl/n7CAQW

Correction or Bear Market?!?

Fortunately, I use Billy Ray Valentine for all my financial advice.


So, what's Number 10's Brexit policy? "It is not our policy to stay in the customs union, it is not our policy to stay in a customs union." - Number 10 spokesperson.

Freemasons going strong in Westminster: The Times reports, two Freemasons’ lodges are operating in Westminster and their members include political journalists, it was claimed last night. New Welcome Lodge, which recruits MPs, peers and parliamentary staff, and Gallery Lodge, established for members of the political press corps known as the lobby, remain active, The Guardian has reported.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, pinstriped populist: The Economist, an eccentric backbencher has become one of the most important politicians in the country. https://goo.gl/wheLBb

Suffragette 100: BBC reports, it's 100 years since the suffragette movement succeeded in securing the vote for many women in the U.K. Now, politicians and campaigners want the convictions of those in the movement to be belatedly overturned. More than 1,300 suffragettes were arrested between 1906 and 1914, with many women being jailed for violence.

China moves into Latin America: The Economist reports, the Asian giant is taking advantage of other powers’ lack of interest in the region. https://goo.gl/oyGkCm

Bloomberg: Beijing inches closer to becoming the world's busiest airport

NYT - Editorial: China, elbows out, charges ahead: Not long ago, America and its democratic allies hoped to integrate a rising China into the political and economic system they built after the Cold War. Instead, China is creating its own institutions, or reshaping existing institutions and norms, to suit its own needs. https://goo.gl/bFxGfM

Mercedes-Benz apologizes to Chinese for quoting Dalai Lama: Reuters reports, Mercedes-Benz apologized to Chinese consumers on Tuesday for an Instagram post showing one of its luxury cars along with a quote from exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, whom Beijing considers a dangerous separatist.

Pentagon mistakenly labels Taiwan as part of China in nuclearreport: CNN reports, the US Defense Department was forced to correct several mistakes in its Nuclear Posture Review after an initial version of the report released last week labeled Taiwan as part of China and included the disputed Kuril islands in a chart depicting Russia. A copy of the report was temporarily removed from the DOD website over the weekend after the Taiwan error was pointed out by the Japan Times.

AP: China says mid-course missile interceptor test successful

NYT: Hong Kong court throws out protest leaders’ prison sentences


Plan to relocate US air base in Okinawa gets boost: AFP reports, efforts to relocate a US air base on Japan's Okinawa appeared to move a step forward on Sunday (Feb 4), more than two decades after they began, with the electoral victory of a new mayor backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc. 

Straits Times - Peter Chang Oped: China's Confucian push: As the American Century makes way for a China-led Asian Century, the likely advent of a new global order is raising anticipation as well as apprehension. History suggests China is unlikely to Confucianise the world. But why? https://goo.gl/zP4TWN

Controversial China book may get parliamentary protection: SMH reports, key members of Federal Parliament’s national security committee are backing a move to use the committee’s powers to publish an explosive book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia. Committee chair and Liberal MP Andrew Hastie and deputy chair Anthony Byrne, a Labor MP, are among those supporting the move despite the potential for diplomatic fall-out, according to multiple sources.

"Canada is willing to walk away from NAFTA if the US proposes a bad deal. We will not be pushed around," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a town hall event in Nanaimo, British Columbia. 

AMERICAN POLITICS

Steve Bannon refuses to testify before House committee – source: Guardian reports, former White House senior strategist will defy subpoena, citing lack of agreement on scope of questioning, says individual familiar with matter.

Wired: Bob Mueller’s investigation is larger—and further along—than you think https://goo.gl/oMS1Ju

@dabeard: What Mueller is going after:

1. Preexisting Business Deals and Money Laundering
2. Russian Information Operations
3. Active Cyber Intrusions
4. Russian Campaign Contacts
5. Obstruction of Justice


VP Pence arrives in Tokyo today for a three-day visit.

WP: The US government is set to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year, an 84 percent jump from last year

LAT: California Democrats have raised nearly twice as much money as the Republicans they are trying to oust

ENTERPRISE

Spurned by US carriers, Huawei sets world’s lowest price for its unlocked flagship smartphone: SCMP reports, telecommunications equipment maker Huawei has signed up a group of major US electronics retailers to distribute and promote its Mate 10 Pro Android model in the world’s third-largest smartphone market.

WP: Tech titans, trade secrets, and alleged conspiracy: Inside the Waymo-Uber battle captivating Silicon Valleyhttps://goo.gl/6JPHiH

Soho House considers New York flotation: FT reports, Soho House is considering a stock market flotation in New York that would value the global network of private clubs at about $2 billion, as it seeks new funds to continue expansion plans even as its finances have come under strain.

How Bell Pottinger, PR firm for despots and rogues, met its end in South Africa: NYT reports, the British firm Bell Pottinger, hired by three brothers now caught up in a nationwide corruption scandal, helped drive racial tensions to levels not felt since apartheid. https://goo.gl/SRBL6s

Daimler and Bosch will begin testing the vehicles in the coming months. 

Gulfstream says China's billionaires are fueling demand for private jets

LAT: Bring on the fake snow: China aims to create a nation of skiers by the 2022 Olympics

These are the hottest Chinese consumer brands outside China: CNBC reports, the companies' "BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders 2018" report combined Google search data with an online survey of 395,000 consumers to find the Chinese brands highest in awareness and consideration in the US, Japan, Australia, U.K, Spain, Germany, and France. You can read the report here: https://goo.gl/pR1Gsu

TRENDS

WSJ: Banks shutter 1,700 branches in fastest decline on record

CULTURE

LAT: Guillermo del Toro, Jordan Peele win top film honors at Directors Guild of America awards

25 of the funniest Martin Crane quotes from Frasierhttps://trib.al/NlIZIJk 

SPORT

Video: Midnight grooming - The story behind the corduroyhttps://goo.gl/92BnMb

The Super Bowl drew 103.4 million TV viewers, a drop of 7% from last year and the smallest audience since 2009 for television’s most-watched event.

Odds to win Super Bowl LIII:

The Patriots are favored to win Super Bowl LII, followed by the Eagles and Steelers.

Patriots 9-2    
Eagles 6-1    
Steelers 8-1    
Vikings 12-1    
Packers 12-1    
Saints 16-1
Falcons 16-1
Cowboys 20-1
Jaguars 20-1
Rams 20-1
Seahawks 20-1
49ers 20-1

Caracal Insider Daily | February 5, 2018

Caracal Insider Daily Jan2018 (1).png

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

Subscribe here
https://goo.gl/bSQKwA

TOP FIVE

✔️ 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
 

GEOECONOMICS

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. https://goo.gl/7yTekf

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. https://goo.gl/2jwmjo

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. https://goo.gl/SttC3m

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.

AMERICAN POLITICS

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.”  https://goo.gl/kQXYPD

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

ENTERPRISE

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 adshttps://goo.gl/L92WWN

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

TRENDS

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. https://goo.gl/qAUgPk

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.

CULTURE

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?https://goo.gl/LGkMsJ

SPORT

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

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

Caracal Insider Daily | January 31, 2018

TrumpSOTU.jpg

Reciprocal, Russian, Republican, Retail

Caracal Insider Daily
January 31, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

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

Subscribe here
https://goo.gl/bSQKwA

TOP FIVE

✔️ Trump says global trade will be fair and reciprocal

✔️ PM May is bringing 50 business leaders with her to China

✔️ Vatican accused of ‘selling out’ Catholic Church to China

✔️ VW in uproar over diesel fume tests on monkeys

✔️ Fox close to deal to air NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’

GEOECONOMICS

Trump says global trade will be fair and reciprocal: The Hill reports, Trump said Tuesday night that the days of unfair trade are over and the United States will improve global agreements and make way for new deals.

"America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation's wealth,” he said during his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill. The era of economic surrender is over.”
 
EU ready to hit back if Trump imposes anti-EU trade measures: the European Union said that it stands ready to hit back “swiftly and appropriately” if Trump takes unfair trade measures against the 28-nation bloc. The EU’s warning comes less than 24 hours after Trump expressed his annoyance with EU trade policy, saying it “may morph into something very big.”

May accused of ‘baffling’ decision to neglect Beijing: The Times reports, PM May has been criticised for a “baffling” decision to overlook China as she prepares to leave for her first trade mission to the country, amid concern that David Cameron’s drive for closer ties with Beijing has slowed. In a sign of how priorities have changed since Mrs May entered Downing Street, the official UK prime minister account on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, which was established with a fanfare in 2013 by her predecessor, has not posted for more than a year and still contains many of Mr Cameron’s details. Concerns over President Xi’s flagship investment project also threaten to overshadow the three-day visit.

PM May is bringing 50 business leaders with her to China as she seeks alternative sources of trade and investment after Britain leaves the European Union.

May warns China to play by global rules: FT reports, PM strikes a more skeptical note on bilateral relations than Cameron.

The Vatican accused of ‘selling out’ Catholic Church to China:FT reports, former HK cardinal says Holy See ordered two bishops to make way for Beijing’s choices.

Taiwan Strait turbulence: Bloomberg reports, two Chinese airlines canceled more than 170 extra flights to Taiwan next month as part of Lunar New Year holiday travel after failing to gain approval from Taipei officials.

Taiwan bristles as flag vanishes from US government websites: Nikkei reports, the erasure of Taiwan's flag from a number of U.S. government websites has made waves on the island, with authorities expressing deep disappointment to Washington, which claims its stance toward the Taiwanese government remains unchanged. 

German ambassador: Second World War image of Britain has fed Euroscepticism: Guardian reports, Peter Ammon says some Brexiters were motivated by a sense of national identity built around UK standing alone.

Berlusconi’s model army will ditch Eurosceptics: The Times reports, Silvio Berlusconi has taken a big step in his political comeback by promising leaders in Brussels that he will put together a coalition after next month’s election to include none of the anti-EU parties that he is campaigning with.

The Times: Rise of robots puts 230,000 Scottish jobs under threat

"According to the Centre for Cities report, the paper says that Dundee is most at risk from the rise of robot labor. As the smallest Scottish city in the survey, the predicted job losses represent 25 percent of its workforce."

WSJ: Macron’s France great again? Europe growth outpaces US

Russian jets fly within five feet of Navy plane over the Black Sea: Navy Times reports, Russian fighter jets got dangerously close to a Navy aircraft Monday over the Black Sea, the second such incident in as many months. 

All-time: I was inverted - Top Gun https://goo.gl/o15rM2

AMERICAN POLITICS

WSJ: Trump hails start of ‘new American moment’

"President promotes infrastructure plan, says he sees room for work on immigration"

NYT: ‘This is our new American moment’

The Hill: Trump makes case he’s stoking American dream

WP: Trump touts efforts to keep nation safe from terrorism, calls for more military spending

LAT: Trump calls for unity in hopes of altering a threatening tide

Bloomberg: Trump connects presidency with prosperity in ‘American moment’

FT: Trump lauds economic record in State of the Union


Never miss a chance to advocate: Airbnb launched a new ad timed to the SOTU entitled "Expletive-filled Interest." You can see the ad here: https://goo.gl/G8Wa86

The Hill: Dems boo, hiss at Trump immigration remarks

Today: Republican Congressional retreat begins in West Virginia

No. 51: Ellis Insight reports, the number of House open seats continues to grow.  Yesterday, veteran Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), one-term chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that he will not seek a 13th term later this year. The Frelinghuysen retirement brings the total House number of incumbents who will not stand for re-election to a robust 51, keeping in mind that we have passed candidate filing deadlines in only two states.

MSU: Sources tell Crain's that former Michigan Gov. John Engler will likely be named Wednesday to aid his alma mater during the deepest crisis in its 163-year history.

ENTERPRISE

Big 3 healthcare challenge: CNBC reports, Amazon.com, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase announced they plan to create an independent company aimed at cutting health care costs for their US employees that would be "free from profit-making incentives," according to a joint statement.

Jamie Dimon will stay on as JPMorgan's CEO for another five years.

CNBC: Starbucks to debut credit cards, boost afternoon offerings

Blackstone is in talks to buy a huge chunk of Thomson Reuters' financial and risk business for more than $17 billion. 

Bloomberg: Bitcoin heads for worst monthly slide since December 2013

Facebook bans ads that promote cryptocurrencies.

The Walmart-Amazon war’s China wildcard: L2 reports, in a a speech at Davos last week, JD.com CEO Richard Liu announced that the Chinese e-tailer was raising funds to set up logistics for its global expansion as it plans to take on Amazon in the United States. The company plans to start selling online in the second half of this year from a base in Los Angeles, focusing initially on the West Coast Chinese diaspora.

WSJ: Exxon to spend $50 billion in US over next five years

Volkswagen in an uproar over diesel fume tests on monkeys: Volkswagen's  supervisory board calls for an inquiry into who commissioned tests in which monkeys were exposed to toxic diesel fumes, amid criticism from Germany's government.

WTH is going on with the German auto industry?

To save retail, Bloomingdale's turns to Migos: GQ reports, stores are trying to keep up with customers’ changing demands: exclusively launching a collection of Migos merch is an admirable attempt at just that.

TRENDS

The future of soda might be coffee: WP reports, coffee drinkers tend to savor their brew in the morning and switch to soda or water as the day goes on. But the world's largest beverage companies want to turn that morning cup of joe into an all-day staple - and an heir to the sodas that consumers have soured on. On Monday coffee giant Keurig Green Mountain acquired Dr. Pepper Snapple, the maker of 7 Up, Hawaiian Punch and other popular drinks. The reason? They're trying to reach consumers "throughout the day," according to a company news release.

CULTURE

Today: 'Super blue blood moon' visible for first time in over 150 years

SPORT

The NFL can't blame Trump anymore: It is facing a 'structural decline in viewership': Recode reports, turns out pro football is just like regular TV, after all: Ratings were down 12 percent during the regular season, and even more during the playoffs.

Bloomberg: Fox close to deal to air NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’

Caracal Insider Daily | January 30, 2018

Caracal Insider Daily Jan2018 (1).png

SOTU, Brexit, Silvio Berlusconi, Wang Qishan, iPhone X, Grammy Awards, Chief Wahoo

Caracal Insider Daily
January 30, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

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

Subscribe here
https://goo.gl/bSQKwA

TOP FIVE

✔️ EU expects Britain to ask for secret longer transition

✔️ Silvio Berlusconi’s astonishing (and unsurprising) return

✔️ China’s Xi looks to ally to fix US relations

✔️ Trump's State of the Union aims for unity

✔️ Cleveland Indians to drop Chief Wahoo logo
 

GEOECONOMICS

EU expects Britain to ask for secret longer transition: The Times reports, European Union negotiators expect Britain to seek an extended exit transition period and suggest that the request will remain secret to avoid a rebellion by Eurosceptic cabinet ministers and backbench MPs. Britain will leave the EU at midnight on March 29 next year but is preparing to agree by this March the terms of a transition to help to limit the disruption for business.

British Lords get ready to disrupt Brexit: Bloomberg reports, the road out of the European Union gets bumpier as key legislation heads to the upper house of parliament.

Brexit disarray finally brings UK business out fighting: FT reports, looming deadlines have now caused companies to increase their pressure on the government.

This leaked government Brexit analysis says the UK will be worse off in every scenario: BuzzFeed News has seen a new Brexit impact assessment, which says leaving the EU will adversely hit almost every sector and every UK region. https://goo.gl/aLVzFj

Carles Puigdemont seeks return for investiture: The Times reports, Carles Puigdemont was yesterday preparing to ask for permission to return to Spain despite facing arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzling public funds. The fugitive Catalan separatist leader was planning to ask Spain’s supreme court to be allowed to attend a debate and vote in the Catalan parliament tomorrow where he could win back his job as regional president.

Silvio Berlusconi’s astonishing (and unsurprising) return: NYT reports, a master of reinvention, the three-time former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is poised to win in Italy’s election despite, well, everything.

China’s Xi looks to ally to fix US relations: WSJ reports, Xi considers enlisting Wang Qishan, known as the ‘fireman’ for crisis postings, as tensions rise.

US companies complain of unfair treatment in China, want pressure but not war: WP reports, American companies to feel less welcome than before in China and want the U.S. government to put more pressure on Beijing to level the playing field, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said Tuesday. William Zarit, chairman of AmCham China, warned that Chinese officials had told him they would “definitely” retaliate if the U.S. administration introduced tariffs or other restrictions on Chinese imports as a result of ongoing investigations into steel and aluminum imports and intellectual property violations.

US firms say China’s business climate is warming, survey finds: WSJ reports, the upbeat tone comes despite a rise in China-US trade tensions and worries over-regulation.

"59% of companies rank China among the top three priorities of global investment plans, up from 56% last year."

Fudged numbers revealed as officials' performance redefined: Caixin reports, new focus on quality over speed in economic growth forces local governments to come clean.

Caixin: Beijing has tools to prevent systemic collapse, regulator says

Cool.

China's rise is over: Standford University Press reports, while international relations experts marvel at China’s growth, the PRC’s own elites take a more sober view. https://goo.gl/KcLSU3

You'll be hearing more of this = China has risen and India is rising in the coming years.

79: The number of attempts it took to clone Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, two genetically identical monkeys created in a Chinese laboratory. 

AP: Drought-hit Cape Town to set up disaster operations HQ amid water crisis

Bloomberg: Venezuelan pirates rule the most lawless market on Earth


AMERICAN POLITICS

'He has to be normal': Trump's State of the Union aims for unity after a polarizing year: Politico reports, facing a grim midterm election outlook for his party, the president plans to focus on selling agenda items with a bipartisan touch.

Bloomberg: Trump won’t announce NAFTA withdrawal in State of Union, sources say

Trump’s State of the Union speech will reiterate promises to ‘rebuild the military’: Military Times reports, Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday will repeat his promises to “rebuild our military” and defeat terrorism around the globe, with specific reprimands directed at North Korea for aggressive military moves in recent months. 

Immigrants to be in the spotlight at State of Union: WSJ reports, Trump plans Tuesday to outline in his State of the Union address a broad agenda for the coming year, but he is also expected to wade into a more immediate political showdown: an immigration deal. 

SOTU is set for 9:00 pm ET.

47%: The percentage of foreign investment in the state of Kentucky that comes from Japan. 

Hung out to dry twice, Tennessee city stumped by Trump's washer tariffs: Reuters reports, when Trump imposed steep tariffs on imported washing machines last week it was a “Not Again” moment for officials in this north Tennessee city that has lost jobs to an international trade dispute before. The move threatens to stunt the launch of a new LG Electronics washing machine factory under construction in Clarksville, just four years after the U.S.-China trade fight over solar panels scuttled a nearly $1.2 billion Hemlock Semiconductor polysilicon plant. “It’s like déjà vu for Clarksville, to say ‘how can this be happening twice to us,'” the city’s mayor, Kim McMillan, told Reuters.

"Capital expenditures are the lifeblood of a growing economy, and without these expenditures, the economy will just muddle along." -- Chuck Butler - creator and editor of A Pfennig For Your Thoughts.

Rising stars collide in shadow 2020 primary: Politico reports, a glut of Democratic contenders could fracture the party in some of the bluest states in the nation.

"Two rising stars in California are about to collide: Sen. Kamala Harris of San Francisco and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. As potential Democratic presidential candidates in 2020, the pair might soon be asking the activists and donors who have known them their entire political careers to finally choose sides."

Chelsea Manning's campaign website is based in Iceland. Why?: Defense One reports, for one thing, it's harder for US law enforcement to search. That may matter to the Wikileaks contributor-turned-US Senate candidate. 

ENTERPRISE

Facebook plans to put all of users' privacy settings in one place ahead of new European Union regulations set to take effect in May.

Facebook acquired identity authentication startup Confirm.io

27%: Xiaomi has toppled Samsung as the manufacturer with the largest market share (27% vs Samsung's 25%) in India’s smartphone market, according to Canalys.

NYT: Side benefit to Amazon’s headquarters contest: Local expertise

"Detroit was not chosen as a finalist for Amazon’s second headquarters, but its bid gave the company a peek at the kind of tax breaks the city was willing to offer."

WSJ: Apple to cut output of the new iPhone X amid weak demand

Waymo revealed an agreement to acquire thousands of minivans from Fiat Chrysler.

TRENDS

29.4: A quality pair of comfortable, stylish premium jeans requires 29.4 minutes of manufacturing time.

Digiday: Bloomberg’s Twitter network TicToc is getting 750,000 daily viewers

Green buildings: Researchers at Harvard University calculated that between 2000 and 2016, green-certified buildings in America prevented up to 405 premature deaths, 21,000 sick days at work and 16,000 lost school days by reducing local air pollution.

CULTURE

The 2018 Grammy Awards was a tone-deaf, out-of-touch mess https://goo.gl/xmxeH

The CBS telecast of the Grammy Awards is down a steep 21 percent from 2017 in early numbers, potentially spelling an all-time low.

SPORT

Cleveland Indians to drop Chief Wahoo logo from uniforms in 2019.

The New England Patriots have participated in 37 playoff games since 2001, losing only nine of them. 

Caracal Insider Daily | January 29, 2018

FanceBack.jpg

5G, Trade, India, Britain, Alessia Cara, Ingvar Kamprad, Uniqlo

Caracal Insider Daily
January 29, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

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

Subscribe here
https://goo.gl/bSQKwA

TOP FIVE

✔️ USG weighs building national 5G network to counter China

✔️ On trade, world wonders whose rules US plays by

✔️ India expects economy to grow 7-7.5% in 2018/2019

✔️ 'I'm very popular in Britain. I get a lot of fan mail'

✔️ Alessia Cara wins Best New Artist Grammy

GEOECONOMICS

US government weighs building national 5G network to counter China: WSJ reports, some White House officials view next-generation 5G wireless service as a “key area of competition,” and they say that the threat from China justifies a government effort like the construction of the interstate highway system, an internal memo shows.

NYT: Oil boom gives the US a new edge in energy and diplomacy

Why Canada is the next frontier for shale oil: Reuters reports, Canadian producers and global oil majors are increasingly exploring the Duvernay and Montney formations, which they say could rival the most prolific US shale fields.

WP: NAFTA talks that were supposed to end last year might continue into 2019

Canada, Mexico reject reworking NAFTA corporate arbitration system: WSJ reports, Mexico and Canada have rejected a proposal by the Trump administration to remake a corporate arbitration system that is a key part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to people involved in talks to update the pact.

US farmers have much to lose if NAFTA deal collapses: Reuters reports, a collapse of NAFTA, which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap, could create the most profound disruption for US farmers who produce grains, meats and dairy products sold to Canada and Mexico. 

On trade, world wonders whose rules US plays by: Trump’s message at Davos aimed to soothe anxieties of business and political elites, but it left the world unsettled: Whose rules does the U.S. intend to abide by? And why does it punish so many countries when only one, China, is systematically breaking the rules?
WSJ - Greg Ip

America rejects the world it made: The consequences to turning against the global rules-based order are unpredictable.
FT - Gideon Rachman

China should ‘be ready for a trade war’ after Donald Trump’s Davos speech: SCMP reports, analysts say US president was pointing the finger at Beijing when he said US would not tolerate unfair trade practices, and it should prepare to respond.

Trump’s hard-line “America First” trade agenda was retrofitted at Davos into a more reasonable “America First, but not America alone.”

At Davos, the real star may have been China, not Trump: NYT reports, one of the best-attended speeches at the forum was that of Liu He, a member of China’s ruling Politburo, who promoted the Belt and Road initiative, also known as One Belt, One Road. Participants here said the Chinese initiative was already rivaling more established, traditionally American-led, international institutions.

Command and control: China’s Communist Party extends reach into foreign companies: WP reports, American and European companies involved in joint ventures with state-owned Chinese firms have been asked in recent months to give internal Communist Party cells an explicit role in decision-making, executives and business groups say. The party’s demand would give its cells a formal role in approving management decisions, such as investment plans or personnel changes. And that is ringing alarm bells. https://goo.gl/AFLjdd

New task for old ally of China's President Xi suggests bigger role ahead: CNA reports, China implied on Monday a new job could be in the offing for Wang Qishan, the powerful former top graft-buster and a close ally of President Xi Jinping, with an announcement that he had been chosen as a delegate to the annual meeting of parliament.

Bloomberg: Singapore overtakes China as largest Asian investor in US property

Nikkei: India expects economy to grow 7-7.5% in 2018/2019


Welcome to the club: Xi takes anti-corruption hunt to all Chinese: Nikkei reports, new commission has power to go after doctors, nurses and teachers. https://goo.gl/RSpd7W

Bloomberg: Australia aims to break into top 10 of global defense exporters

Italian election campaign thrives on trash talk: AP reports, In Italy’s general election campaign, Rome’s uncollected garbage has become fodder for politicians — and at least one pig. The capital’s dirty streets, lined with brimming-over, nasty-smelling garbage bins, are providing a handy way to trash the performance of Mayor Virginia Raggi, arguably the most high-profile office-holder of the 5-Star Movement. Ex-premier Matteo Renzi, whose own Democratic Party has taken quite a drubbing in recent opinion polls, evoked the she-wolf, associated with the legend of ancient Rome’s founding. He quipped that “before, there was the wolf, now there’s the pig as Rome’s symbol to the world.”

British demand to vet laws threatens Brexit talks: FT reports, Brussels to insist UK abide by EU laws ‘as a member state’ during 20-month period.

Guardian: Theresa May told to clarify Brexit stance or face no-confidence vote

"Prime minister ‘as vulnerable as she’s ever been’ as pressure from both sides of Tory party grows"

Challenged on all fronts, Britain's May faces pressure over Brexit law: Reuters reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May came under further pressure over her Brexit blueprint on Monday, with members of the upper house of parliament saying there were "fundamental flaws" in a law crucial to the departure.

Speech ‘canceled’: Bloomberg reports, May has scrapped plans to give a third landmark Brexit speech because of the risk of cabinet infighting spilling out in to the open

Guardian: Trump interview: 'I'm very popular in Britain. I get a lot of fan mail'

French poaching: Bloomberg reports, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Japanese business leaders France would welcome companies that need to relocate from the U.K. because of Brexit. “First of all, the presence of the U.K. in the EU is finished,” he said in Tokyo. “Japanese companies must become aware of the consequences.”

LAT: River Seine rises, causing widespread flooding in France; bottom floor of Louvre at risk

AMERICAN POLITICS

Bloomberg: All signs point to big Democratic wins in 2018

"Trump’s approval rating at this stage of his presidency, 36 percent, is lower than any of his predecessors going back to Harry Truman."

"Since the end of World War II, the party in control of the White House has, on average, had a net loss of 26 House seats in midterm elections."

Tomorrow: Trump delivers the SOTU at 9:00 pm ET

Teleprompter Trump vs. Twitter Trump

The plot against America: Decades before he ran the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort’s pursuit of foreign cash and shady deals laid the groundwork for the corruption of Washington. https://goo.gl/xeu5J3

ENTERPRISE

Coincheck, a big cryptocurrency exchange, said it had been robbed of more than $530m by hackers. The Tokyo-based bourse has promised to return about $425m of the digital money, held in NEM coins, to the 260,000 investors affected by the alleged heist.

WSJ: Alibaba, Foxconn invest in Chinese electric-vehicle maker

Mr. Uniqlo's 5 tips for management success: Tadashi Yanai on lessons he has learned from building the fashion empire. https://goo.gl/8ZybQs

Breaking: Dr Pepper Snapple and Keurig Green Mountain to merge

Google has made its first ride-hailing investment in Asia by pumping money into Go-Jek.

FT Global MBA Ranking 2018:

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business    
2. Insead
3. University of Pennsylvania: Wharton
4. London Business School
5. Harvard Business School    
6. University of Chicago: Booth
7. Columbia Business School
8. Ceibs
9. MIT: Sloan    
10. University of California at Berkeley: Haas
37. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
37. University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler


Full list here: https://goo.gl/dLNQzX

TRENDS

The follower factory: Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
NYT

Somehow this is news that peeps pays for social media followers, engagement, and amplification.

CULTURE

LAT: Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar the big winners at Grammy Awards

AFP: Alessia Cara wins Best New Artist Grammy


Bruno Mars won Album, Record and Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards. I myself have no idea the name the album, the record, or the song, sorry.

RIP: Ingvar Kamprad, a Swedish entrepreneur, became one of the world’s richest men by turning simply-designed, low-cost furniture into the Ikea empire.

SPORT

Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki won her first major singles title and Roger Federer his 20th.

LAT: Rumors of Zlatan Ibrahimovic linked to the Galaxy are back

Super Bowl: Philadelphia vs. New England (-4.5)