Japan, Huawei, Theresa May, Robots, Michigan, Breakdancing, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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What I am watching today = March 28, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 


✔️ Why Japan still matters

✔️ Alternate Brexit plans rejected; Theresa May offers to step down

✔️ Can we stop robots outsmarting humanity?

✔️ Today: Trump holds a rally in Michigan

✔️ Manchester United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent manager 


China ratchets up pressure on Canada amid Huawei dispute: AP reports, China said Wednesday that suspension of the license of a second major Canadian canola exporter is justified by safety concerns, as the sides continue to feud over Ottawa’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei. China’s actions were “scientific and reasonable,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, adding that Canada should “take practical measures to correct the mistakes it made earlier” in dealing with the overall relationship.

US and China got into a trade war — and Mexico walked away richer: Bloomberg reports, the Trump administration’s trade war with China has turned out to be a windfall for another country the president frequently berates: Mexico. Mexico has seen gains in shipments to the U.S. in categories in which competing Chinese goods were hit with tariffs, including poster board and air conditioner parts. In all, U.S. imports of goods from Mexico surged 10% to almost $350 billion last year, the fastest growth in seven years. That helped widen the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico by 15% to more than $80 billion, while the growth in shipments from China slowed by about a third.

US-China trade talks resume today.

Trump told Republican lawmakers that he won’t settle for anything less than an “excellent deal,” analysts are suggesting that something closer to an extended truce is the more likely outcome.

China makes unprecedented proposals on tech, trade talks progress - US officials: China has made unprecedented proposals in talks with the United States on a range of issues including forced technology transfer as the two sides work to overcome remaining obstacles to a deal to end their protracted trade war, US officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

For China, a long and painful history lingers over trade talks with US: NYT reports, history has been haunting trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, which have dragged on for more than a year. While the administration’s requests surrounding forced technology transfer and subsidies of state-owned enterprises remain unresolved, the deepest division centers on the United States’ insistence of an enforcement mechanism that gives it power to impose tariffs if China abrogates its end of a trade agreement. China is resisting the Trump administration’s demand that the United States be allowed to impose tariffs if Beijing fails to keep its promises and that China agree not to retaliate with its own punitive measures.

“Every schoolchild in China and every educated Chinese person knows about the ‘century of humiliation,’” said Stephen R. Platt, a historian and author of “Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age.” “There’s a lingering memory of that history from the 19th century that goes a long way to explain the desire in China for a global trading order that works more on China’s terms.”

Hard to see how Xi's domestic politics will allow him to agree to a deal with Trump where tariffs are still in place. 

Even in Communist governments factions and special interests exist. 

China's Belt and Road descends on Europe, in Iron Curtain fashion: Nikkei reports, Italian port city of Trieste is the latest flashpoint in a battle for hegemony.

How Japan is using an old German map to irk South Korea: DW reports, Japan has adopted a more nationalist stance in recent years. Now, a copy of an old German map could help Tokyo legitimize its claims in a dispute with South Korea over geography and terminology.

I love maps.

Am I a cartophile? A geographer? A cartographer?

Brian Bremner: Why Japan still matters: No longer a rising superpower, it’s pioneering the way a wealthy nation ages into the future.

50: Next year, Asia's economies will reach a milestone, accounting for more than 50 percent of global GDP, adjusted for purchasing power. That marks the first time since the 19th century that Asia will dominate global economic output.

Indonesia’s rising star: Sandiaga Uno has spent nearly $100 million of his private-equity fortune to defeat Joko Widodo in next month’s election, in what may be a down payment on his own presidential ambitions.

Donald Trump: Russia must leave Venezuela: DW reports, Fabiana Rosales, the wife of Venezuela's interim president, has drummed up support for the country's opposition in Washington. During the meeting, Trump called on Russia "to get out" of the country.

EU speed limits: The EU institutions have wrapped up negotiations on a new road safety law that will, from 2022, make certain safety measures mandatory in cars, including "intelligent speed assistance" that will alert drivers when they are breaking the limit. Cars will also have to be fitted with breathalyzers to stop drunk drivers from firing up the engine.

EU on Huawei: Sticking with the EU, the European Commission has decided to snub the US's push for a blanket ban on Huawei and ZTE equipment in 5G networks. Instead, the EU executive will urge member states to keep a close eye on the Chinese vendors' equipment via risk assessments and security checks. 

EU Parliament backs ban on single-use plastic products: DW reports, the EU Parliament has voted in favor of a ban on disposable plastic products, bringing the ban one step closer to reality. The ban would affect a wide range of products that have alternatives, such as straws and cutlery.

‘Quoi, just two glasses?’ French urged to cut down on their drinking: AFP reports, France launched a national campaign to encourage the wine-loving French to cut down on their drinking after a study showed that a quarter of them over-consume. But many still feel that “a nice meal can’t be enjoyed without a good wine.”

Brexit is making it even harder to find a flat in Amsterdam: Bloomberg reports, an influx of jobs from London is an economic blessing but a housing bummer.

May offers to resign as lawmakers fail to break Brexit impasse: WSJ reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to quit in a bid to salvage her plan to leave the European Union, confirming her lame-duck status and setting off a period of politicking among potential successors. 

NYT: Alternate Brexit plans rejected; Theresa May offers to step down

Theresa May to make last-ditch effort to secure Brexit deal
: FT reports, UK prime minister yet to win support of Democratic Unionist party as she considers third vote.

"In the interminably tedious UK-EU divorce, the following has happened. The UK prime minister will resign if the government deal succeeds, and will stay if it fails. The UK opposition leader backs a referendum if in opposition, but opposes a referendum if in government. Parliament rejects everything. Turning the process off and on again seems sensible (i.e. a long delay to the exit seems increasingly likely)." -- Paul Donovan @ UBS 


Brian Eckhouse and Chris Martin: Batteries and gas: Frenemies of the power world face off: It was only three years ago that natural gas overtook coal to become king of America’s power mix, and its throne is already being challenged — by batteries.

Can we stop robots outsmarting humanity? The specter of superintelligent machines doing us harm is not just science fiction, technologists say – so how can we ensure AI remains ‘friendly’ to its makers? http://bit.ly/2JLk61a


WSJ: White House, Congressional GOP at odds over 2020 health-care message

Today: Trump holds a rally in Michigan.

Lawrence Douglas: Mueller could never have saved us from Trump. That's what politics is for. Being unfit for office is not a crime. It will be up to the American people to absorb and act on that insight.

Real people never cared about the Mueller report: Bloomberg reports, hardcore impeachment advocates are disappointed, but 2020 hopefuls can now campaign on the issues that matter to voters.

Edward Luce: Democrats should remember, ‘It’s the economy, stupid’: As long as growth is happening, voters will tolerate presidential character flaws.


The Hill: Donald Trump Jr. won't rule out running for office: "I definitely enjoy the fight" 

@NamasteinDC: Heard on @BloombergRadio Sound On with @kevcirilli

McDonald's halts lobbying against minimum wage hikes.


Twitter still won’t remove Trump’s tweets that violate its rules. But it will label them. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of legal, policy and trust & safety, made the revelation on stage at a Washington Post-sponsored event in San Francisco.

Google adds vacation rentals to evolving hotel site.

Airbnb says it has hosted more than half a billion travelers since its launch.

Southwest Airlines' entry into the Hawaii market is likely to bring more competitive airfares from the U.S. mainland and also on inter-island routes.

Icelandic budget airline WOW ceases operations.

Amazon + Volkswagen are set to partner on a cloud project.

Daimler + Geely team up to build Smart cars in China: DW reports, with Mercedez-Benz maker Daimler bringing the Smart brand and Geely the development and production, the planned partnership hopes to have the next generation of all-electric cars on the market by 2022.

Huawei partners with South Korean fashion firm Gentle Monster to develop camera-free smart glasses.

Huawei equipment has major security flaws, UK says: WSJ reports, British officials accused Huawei Technologies repeatedly failing to address security flaws in its products and said the company hasn’t demonstrated a commitment to fixing them.

Britain’s spy agency delivers scathing report of security risks posed by Huawei: WP reports, the report comes as officials weigh whether to bar the Chinese telecom from 5G networks over fears it will enable spying by the Chinese government and potential cyberattacks.

World Wrestling Entertainment rises as it relaunches its own video network.

Lyft raised its targeted price range to $70 to $72 a share for its initial public offering.


It's Spring already? Physics explains why time flies as we age: A slowdown in image processing speeds up our perception of time passing as we age. http://bit.ly/2JIL5dS

Winning $768-million Powerball ticket sold in Wisconsin.

Daniel Akst: Yes, Henry David Thoreau was an industrial innovator http://bit.ly/2JJpQIO


Breakdancing makes next move to Olympic status at Paris 2024.

Finally. Time to get my cardboard dance mat out of the attic.

Manchester United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club's permanent manager on a three-year contract on Thursday, following a highly successful caretaker spell in charge.

@ManUtd: Ole’s at the wheel! We can confirm that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as #MUFC manager.

Under Ole so far:

—9 wins in last 13 league games
—Only one league defeat
—Reached UCL quarter-finals

'The desire is real': Harry Kane says he wants to play in NFL: Guardian reports, the Tottenham striker has long been a fan of NFL – his dogs are named after quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson – and in an interview with ESPN published on Wednesday, he says he would like to become a kicker. “[The desire to play in the NFL] is real,” said the 25-year-old. “Something that in 10 or 12 years I definitely want to try.”

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.