What I am watching Today = March 20, 2019
Taiwan, Italy, Germany, YouTube, Michigan, Centibillionaires, Hermes
✔️ Taiwan president to visit US despite Chinese opposition
✔️ YouTube’s struggles to shut down video of the New Zealand shooting
✔️ Can Terry McAuliffe sell himself to leftward-leaning Democrats in 2020?
✔️ Disney-Fox deal is complete
✔️ Barclays unveiled as Women’s Super League sponsor in groundbreaking deal
Taiwan president to visit US despite Chinese opposition: FT reports, Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen will make a one-day stopover in the US next week in a move that underscores warming ties with the US despite criticism from China. Ms Tsai will travel to Hawaii during a week-long tour of three of Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies in the Pacific, in a trip aimed at shoring up support in the face of pressure from Beijing which opposes recognition of the government in Taipei.
China to invite European diplomats to Xinjiang in new diplomatic push: Reuters reports, China will invite Beijing-based European diplomats to visit its far western region of Xinjiang, the foreign ministry told Reuters, furthering its outreach to fend off criticism about a de-radicalization program.
CNBC: Trade talks are in final stages, but there is still fear China may walk back concessions
USTR Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing the week of March 25 for high-level talks to try to hammer out a deal.
The US agriculture secretary is suggesting that China could treble its imports of US farm products under a deal.
WSJ: US chip makers fear trap in a trade deal with China
Proposed stepped-up purchases would give Beijing more control, semiconductor industry says.
US-China trade dispute likely to morph into technology war, says the president of the US-China Business Council: Speaking at Shorenstien APARC on March 11, US and Chinese trade negotiators remain engaged in intensive talks, although it is yet to be seen whether and when they can strike a final deal. But even if they are able to reach an agreement, in the confrontation between Washington and Beijing “the trade part is incidental: it’s a technology war, not a trade war,” said Ambassador Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council (USCBC).
Adam Minter: China’s electric cars hit some potholes: The government is doing everything it can to spur sales of new-energy vehicles. First, it should stop them from spontaneously combusting.
European foreign policy: a new realism on China: The European Council will use a summit this week to focus once more on China — and decide whether it is time to get tough again. Mounting concerns over Chinese industrial policy, cybersecurity and trade wars have all combined to put Beijing firmly back on the European agenda. https://on.ft.com/2TXhzoj
Rattled by Beijing’s economic clout, the EU is finally trying to devise a tougher strategy.
Xi says China-Italy pact offers closer ties in strategic sectors: Bloomberg reports, Xi Jinping, brushing aside US and European concerns ahead of his visit to Rome, offered Italy a “global strategic partnership” stretching from building the new Silk Road together to boosting ties in sensitive sectors including telecoms and ports. Writing in daily Corriere della Sera, Xi invoked a “new era” in relations between China and Italy.
Germany to create fund to foil foreign takeovers after China moves: Reuters reports, Germany plans to pass legislation by the end of 2019 to create a state-owned fund that can protect key companies from takeovers by Chinese and other foreign firms, government sources said, in a marked shift from its "hands-off" approach to business.
UK is to start issuing official threat-level warnings for far-right terrorism, just as it does for jihadist and N. Ireland related groups.
UK unemployment rate dipped below 4% for the first time since the 1970s.
British government in chaos over Brexit delay: NYT reports, retreating in the face of a bitterly divided cabinet, Prime Minister Theresa May is now said to be requesting only a short extension in the process.
UK heads for cliff-edge showdown on Brexit: FT reports, May seeks short delay to EU divorce but Juncker warns no extension likely to be granted this week.
The Times: Theresa May pleads for delay to Brexit as EU stands firm
It is 1,000 days since the UK voted to leave the European Union, and the biggest question remains when will the country actually exit the union.
FT: EU hardens stance on Brexit delay as May’s cabinet splits over its demands
Barnier lays down conditions ahead of a summit where PM will seek an extension.
Inside YouTube’s struggles to shut down video of the New Zealand shooting — and the humans who outsmarted its systems: WP reports, Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, said that artificial intelligence is much less sophisticated than many people believe, and Silicon Valley companies often portray their systems as more powerful than they actually are as they compete for business. In fact, even the most advanced artificial intelligence systems still are fooled in ways that a human would easily detect.
Amazing these sites don't add a 30-second, 60-second delay when someone posts live video - I have to believe this will happen soon.
Also, once again, the sunshine of California warps SV computer engineers from seeing the possibility that social media can and will be used for evil.
Farmers Markets: The number of farmers markets in the US rose from 2,000 in 1994 to 8,600 markets in 2019.
Tracking Trump: Trump’s standing across America: On a daily basis, Morning Consult is surveying over 5,000 registered voters across the United States on President Trump. Below is the current data.
Since Trump took office:
His net approval in Michigan has decreased by 23 percentage points.
His net approval in Ohio has decreased by 19 percentage points.
His net approval in Pennsylvania has decreased by 17 percentage points.
His net approval in Wisconsin has decreased by 20 percentage points.
His net approval in Florida has decreased by 24 percentage points.
85% of GOP primary voters approve of Trump. 14% don't.
76% of GOP primary voters support Trump's nomination. 20% support another candidate.
Joe Biden tells supporters he plans 2020 bid - he'll announce in early April after the end of Q1 reporting.
Politico: World leaders tell Biden: We need you
"At the Munich Security Conference, Biden heard a repeated refrain, according to a conference attendee familiar with the conversations: The world needs you."
Can Terry McAuliffe sell himself to leftward-leaning Democrats in 2020? WP reports, the former Virginia governor once appeared to be well positioned for a White House run as a socially liberal, business-friendly Democrat. But now it’s unclear if there is room for McAuliffe in a party that seems to be pulling leftward.
BTW - The answer is no.
Candidates reach for the ticket to Democratic debates: 65,000 donors: WP reports, the new criteria have proved to be a boon to lesser-known candidates seeking a national stage and could create challenges for more-established politicians seeking to break away from the pack.
Google hit with a $1.7 billion fine over EU ad blocking: WSJ reports, the European Union fined Alphabet’s Google $1.7 billion for abusing the dominance of its search engine to block competitors in the niche market of selling text ads on the search results that appear on third-party websites.
Disney closed its acquisition of the major entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, combining some of Hollywood’s best-known studios, characters, and franchises to better compete against Netflix.
LAT: Disney-Fox deal is complete; CEO Bob Iger's big swing could change media industry
Ban on cashless stores: New Jersey Governor signs law making it the second state to ban cashless shops and restaurants, with some exceptions. The new law takes aim at Amazon Go and others.
Peloton is being sued for using music without permission in its video fitness classes: The Verge reports, several members of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) have collectively filed a lawsuit against fitness startup Peloton today, seeking over $150 million in damages. The complaint, filed by Downtown Music Publishing, Ultra Music, and eight other publishing groups, says that Peloton has been using their musical works for years in its workout videos without proper licensing, resulting in income lost for songwriters.
Bayer shares slide after latest Roundup cancer ruling: Reuters reports, shares in Germany's Bayer's fell more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a second US jury ruled its Roundup weed killer caused cancer.
Centibillionaires: Bill Gates joins Jeff Bezos as the only two members of the $100 Billion Club. Gates’s fortune, now $100 billion on the nose, hasn’t reached such heights since the dot-com boom, when Bezos was only beginning his march up the world’s wealth rankings. The Amazon founder is now worth $145.6 billion.
Bloomberg tracks the fortunes of some 2,800 billionaires. Of those, 145 are worth at least $10 billion, making them decabillionaires.
Hermes has become the latest fashion industry victim of men’s casual dress: Signaling weakness in its silk business as neckties lose their allure. Revenue from silk and textiles rose 3 percent in 2018, the slowest growth of the French luxury-goods maker’s business units. Chief Executive Officer Axel Dumas said Wednesday the company has been shifting production to adjust to men’s new preferences. “There’s a structural decline” in neckties, Dumas said on a call with reporters. “We have a lot of novelties coming. We’re launching more scarves for men.”
ESPN + UFC have orchestrated a knockout deal allowing the world-wide-leader to stream 12 UFC fights per year for the next 7 years.
WSJ: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels near record $430 million deal
I've never seen Mike Trout play baseball.
Barclays unveiled as Women’s Super League sponsor in groundbreaking deal: Guardian reports, the Football Association has unveiled Barclays as the first sponsor of the newly professional Women’s Super League in what has been described as a groundbreaking multimillion-pound deal. The Guardian understands it is worth more than £10m over the next three seasons. According to the analytics firm Nielsen, the sponsorship is a record for women’s sport in the UK. First the first time there will be prize money in WSL, with £500,000 divided according to league position each season.