India, Prince Charles, Grindr, Congestion Pricing, Airbus, Turing Award

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What I am watching today = March 27, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

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


✔️ India successfully tests satellite-killing missile

✔️ Spam has taken over our phones

✔️ Congestion pricing in Manhattan, first such plan in US

✔️ Renault eyes Fiat Chrysler bid after Nissan merger

✔️ ‘Godfathers of deep earning’ selected for Turing Award


The world’s best networking activity

Writing is the most scalable professional networking activity - stay home, don’t go to events/conferences, and just put ideas down. 

Building your network, your audience, and your ideas will be something you’ll want to do over your entire career. Think of your writing like a multi-decade project.

-- Andrew Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz


How China's new media offensive threatens democracy worldwide: DW reports, China has been actively trying to establish a new world media order in which journalists become nothing more than "state propaganda auxiliaries," press watchdog Reporter Without Borders (RSF) said in a report published on Monday. From exporting censorship models to dictatorial states to launching intimidation campaign against dissidents, the report highlights how China's crackdown on press freedom serves as a direct threat to democracies worldwide. "Beijing is lavishing money on modernizing its international TV broadcasting, investing in foreign media outlets, buying vast amounts of advertising in international media and inviting journalists from all over the world on all-expenses-paid trips to China," the report said. 

Why did a Coast Guard cutter take a jab at China? Navy Times reports, a US Navy destroyer and a Coast Guard cutter have transited the Taiwan Strait, the latest demonstration of American resolve to portray it as an international thoroughfare instead of a Beijing backwater. 

“Well, in the first place, you know, everything won't happen in a month, for sure that's true. But I think you have to start with the proposition that there are people in China who believe that reform is a good idea. And you have to believe that those people are at a very senior level. So the kinds of things that we're asking for are not anti-Chinese at all. Protection of intellectual property is not anti-Chinese. Stopping people from forcing transfer of technology is not anti-Chinese. In fact, the reformers would say it's pro-Chinese. It will help their economy, not hurt their economy." -- USTR Robert Lighthizer sat down with NPR to talk about the ongoing trade negotiations with China. 

Neil Thomas: When it comes to negotiating with China, the devil is in the details: How the Chinese translation could be used to skew an agreement.

US pushes Chinese owner of Grindr to divest the dating app: Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd is seeking to sell Grindr LLC, the popular gay dating app it has owned since 2016, after a US government national security panel raised concerns about its ownership, according to people familiar with the matter. CFIUS’ intervention in the Grindr deal underscores its focus on the safety of personal data, after it blocked the acquisitions of US money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc and mobile marketing firm AppLovin by Chinese bidders in the last two years.

Australia banned Huawei over risks to key infrastructure: FT reports, cyber chief says prospect of China hacking power grid via 5G technology led to decision.

India successfully tests satellite-killing missile: WSJ reports, India said it successfully tested a satellite-destroying missile, becoming just the fourth country with the proven ability to carry war into space.

Modi hails India as a space superpower: Nikkei reports, shooting down of a satellite will help New Delhi boost defenses against Beijing.

Valentina Romei and John Reed: The Asian century is set to begin: The region was the envy of Europe in the 17th century and the world is about to turn full circle.

Brazil: Bolsonaro's approval ratings have declined sharply over the past couple of months.

Prince Charles and Camilla have become the first members of the royal family to travel to Cuba in an official capacity.

Russia sends troops to Venezuela, a move Pompeo says increases tensions: AP reports, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told the Russian foreign minister that Russia’s dispatch of military personnel to Venezuela is increasing tensions there. 
Days to Brexit: 16 days

NYT: UK Parliament tries to answer a key Brexit question: What does it want?

Lawmakers are expected to vote today on a series of options, trying to wrest control from Prime Minister Theresa May.

But the voting might just deepen the Brexit mess, with Parliament unable to agree on anything.

Fearful Brexiteers swing behind May’s deal: The Times reports, Theresa May is preparing to bring her Brexit deal back to the Commons by the end of the week after being told by prominent Leavers that she is within sight of victory. Boris Johnson last night joined Jacob Rees-Mogg in warning of growing risks that another defeat would mean Britain remaining in the EU. 

Dominic Cummings, the director of Vote Leave during the Brexit referendum campaign, has been found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to answer lawmakers’ questions during an investigation into fake news.

Martin Wolf: The Brexit delusion of taking back control: The UK is a large minnow, but still a minnow, in a very big lake.

Americans' perceptions of US world image best since 2003: Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe the U.S. rates "very" or "somewhat favorably" in the world's eyes. Though the current figure is up just slightly from the 55% recorded last year, it represents the highest figure Gallup has found since 2003.

A relatively high proportion of Republicans say the US is viewed favorably (80%), matching their views in 2018.

Far fewer Democrats during Donald Trump's presidency have said the country is viewed positively abroad, with their latest 36% matching last year's figure.


Domino's adds in-vehicle ordering for customers.

Renewables investment: Norway's Equinor, the oil-and-gas giant formerly known as Statoil, is investing in a $180 million fund aimed at storage technologies for renewable energy. The Volta Energy Technologies fund is based in Chicago and has already made four investments.

Spam has taken over our phones. Will we ever want to answer them again?

Luxury brands follow the money to airports: Brands want to follow luxury spending as it becomes more mobile. Sales in airports grew by 7% in 2018, Bain & Company figures show. Department store sales fell 4% by comparison, while spending in labels’ downtown stores was flat. Only online sales are outpacing those in airports.


Pentagon authorizes $1bn for Trump’s wall: The Pentagon notified Congress on Monday night that it had authorized the transfer of $1bn to begin new wall construction along the US-Mexico border.

Why President Trump went to the tank plant in Lima, Ohio: Realclear Defense reports, in 2013, a year before Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States came within months of shuttering the plant. 

60: Sixty percent of Americans believe the country will be less important on the global stage by 2050, according to new poll from Pew. By that time, the US economy is likely to be smaller than that of both China and India.

NRA embroiled in Australia scandal: The National Rifle Association advised senior members of an Australian far-right political party to “shame” local gun control advocates in a bid to galvanize public opinion to reform the country’s strict gun laws.

Congestion pricing in Manhattan, first such plan in US, is close to approval: NYT reports, after years of hesitation, New York is poised to become the first city in the United States to introduce congestion pricing, which would put new electronic tolls in place for drivers entering the busiest stretches of Manhattan. Though state leaders have not ironed out details, they had reached consensus on Monday that the plan was necessary to help pay for much-needed repairs to the city’s beleaguered subway system.

@jen_keesmaat: NYC is on the cusp of raising $1 billion a year from Congestion Pricing, to be allocated to the subway. Road pricing is smart policy, particularly in dense cities. If they get the price right, the quality + character of the core could transform. 


Muddling through: Scott Belsky’s new book offers inspiration to leaders slogging through the life span of a successful business.

LAT: China’s airplane ambitions get a boost from Boeing fallout

Airbus and China ink €30bn jet deal
: Airbus agreed a mammoth deal worth an estimated €30bn to sell China 300 aircraft, strengthening the European aerospace group’s foothold in the world’s second-largest aviation market and striking a blow to rival Boeing. 

American Airlines + China Southern launch loyalty partnership.

Spotify acquires Los Angeles-based podcast content firm Parcast.

Ikea reveals Sonos-powered bookshelf speaker ahead of April 9th event.

Apple’s big services push: Apple unveiled new initiatives in gaming, video streaming and news subscriptions on Monday. The move underscored Apple’s efforts to boost digital services and reduce dependence on the iPhone, but will it work? Questions about Apple’s new Goldman Sachs-backed credit card remain unanswered.

Apple launches credit card touting privacy and security: Apple has made its first foray into financial services with a numberless credit card that CEO Tim Cook calls the most significant change to card payments in 50 years.

Twitter is hailing Apple’s new credit card as the latest must-have accessory.

Renault eyes Fiat Chrysler bid after Nissan merger: FT reports, consolidation planning at French carmaker marks return of Ghosn era’s bold strategy.


Sales of Michelle Obama’s autobiography top 10m: The former first lady’s autobiography Becoming is on course to become the most successful memoir in publishing history, after selling more than 10m copies to date.

Kurt Vonnegut on how to write a short story

America’s healthiest community: Douglas County: US News reports, the Colorado county south of Denver has leveraged its natural resources to land at No. 1 in US News’ annual Healthiest Communities rankings. Full list - here:

‘Godfathers of deep earning’ selected for Turing Award: Bloomberg reports, three computer scientists who laid the foundations for many of the recent advances in artificial intelligence are being honored with this year’s Turing Award, considered the field’s highest accolade. Geoff Hinton, an emeritus professor at the University of Toronto and a senior researcher at Alphabet Inc.’s Google Brain, Yann LeCun, a professor at New York University and the chief AI scientist at Facebook Inc., and Yoshua Bengio, a professor at the University of Montreal as well as co-founder of AI company Element AI Inc., will share this year’s award, which is given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery.


Philly + esports:  Comcast owns the Philadelphia Fusion in the Overwatch League, and a new hardware announcement yesterday indicates the cable company sees value in putting some serious investment into esports. The Philly-based company announced a $50 million and 3,500-seat downtown arena for esports to be called the Fusion Arena.

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.


Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.