Benjamin Netanyahu, Brett Kavanaugh, Emma Corrin, Jim Hackett, Magic Johnson

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What I am watchin today = April 10, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

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


✔️ EU announces 'breakthrough' on trade with China

✔️ Gas-guzzling SUVs become election battleground in Australia

✔️ College grads sell stakes in themselves to Wall Street

✔️ Barr says release of Mueller report can come within a week

✔️ Magic Johnson resigns as president of LA Lakers


Israel’s Netanyahu appears set for fifth term in tight vote: WSJ reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in a strong position to form Israel’s next government after a tight election, with most major right-wing parties voicing support for him to lead Israel for a fifth term.

Netanyahu bloc heads towards victory in Israel poll: FT reports, rightwing alliance depends on small parties to form governing coalition.

AFP: Large parts of Venezuela hit by new blackout

Canada considers topping up tariffs on US goods
: AFP reports, Canada is considering adding to its list of retaliatory tariffs to crank up pressure on Washington to drop aluminum and steel levies, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday. "We are looking at... ways we can refresh the retaliation list to have an even greater impact," Freeland told reporters in Ottawa.

EU to give UK an exit extension: WSJ reports, European Union leaders are preparing to grant British Prime Minister Theresa May more time to win backing in Parliament for an agreement to leave the bloc.

France signals UK could stay in EU almost another year: FT reports, diplomats discuss new Brexit date as late as March 2020 but insist on tough conditions.

Britain and EU wrestle with Boris Johnson question: FT reports, the focus in discussions between the UK’s Conservative and Labour parties is on providing assurances that a new Tory prime minister does not rip up any cross-party accord on future relations with the EU. Diplomats in Brussels are concerned with a similar issue, as the EU’s 27 other member states consider Britain’s request to delay its departure from the bloc. A big preoccupation ahead of a crucial summit on Wednesday is how to prevent a more Eurosceptic UK government from disrupting the bloc’s affairs from within.

Leonid Bershidsky: Brexit Britain is tired of weak leaders: Voters says they want strong leaders, but that doesn’t mean they are giving up on democracy. 

Italy cuts growth forecast sharply lower to 0.2%: DW reports, Italy's populist government has confirmed that the economy is effectively stagnating. It also raised its projected budget deficit as it seeks to maintain early retirement and basic income programs.

Ferdinando Giugliano: Reality catches up with Italy's populists: The government has admitted growth won't be what it hoped. It now needs to grasp the consequences of that.

New Zealand passes gun law banning high-powered rifles: SMH reports, the banning of a range of rifles will become law in New Zealand less than a month after the massacre that prompted the swift change.

Gas-guzzling SUVs become election battleground in Australia: Bloomberg reports, faced with an uphill battle to retain power in next month’s elections, Australia’s prime minister has found a new rallying cry: a pledge to protect drivers of gas-guzzling SUVs from a global push to switch to battery-powered electric vehicles. It’s already set Scott Morrison at odds with a global investor group, a vocal technology billionaire and Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk. Morrison is attacking the main opposition’s Labor Party’s proposal to boost adoption of EVs, saying it’s an assault on motorists’ freedoms and love of vehicles that have some “grunt.”

Japan: An evacuation order for residents of Okuma town in Fukushima is partially lifted for the first time since the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 led to a nuclear disaster.

Nikkei: Vietnam's top telecom to adopt 'self-developed' 5G tech

State-owned Viettel's move comes as neighbors lean toward Chinese technology.

China stresses investment, invokes New Zealand massacre in defending treatment of Muslims: WSJ reports, Chinese authorities defend razing of Muslim neighborhoods and accuse critics of ‘slanderous fabrication.’

US firm's plan for Australia-China internet cable leaves Huawei trailing: Reuters reports, US submarine cable company SubCom said on Thursday it would lay an internet link from Australia to Hong Kong through Papua New Guinea, deepening its involvement in a region where China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has sought to expand.

Bloomberg: Sends warship carrying fighter jets to disputed sea in signal to China

FT: Microsoft worked with Chinese military university on AI

"Concerns raised on research that could be used for surveillance and censorship."

Martin Wolf: Xi Jinping’s China seeks to be rich and communist: President’s ambitions rely on avoiding ‘middle-income trap’ and placating a more demanding populace.

EU announces 'breakthrough' on trade with China: DW reports, China has vowed at a summit with the EU not to make companies share intellectual property. The talks marked a significant shift for Beijing amid growing concerns about China's influence in Europe.

China in Africa: The Zambia experience: Many Africans are worried by the increasing presence of China on the continent. But how much is China really involved? A DW team traveled to Zambia to investigate how China has taken control of key infrastructure.

FT: Montenegro fears China-backed highway will put it on road to ruin

"some diplomats in Brussels and influential EU member states have long worried that China is attempting to use the so-called “16+1” format as a Trojan horse to divide the EU and weaken the vulnerable Balkan countries. Beijing denies any such intent."

As Balkans sit in EU's waiting room, China gets to work: AFP reports, from coal plants to airports and bridges, China is forking out for investments across the western Balkans, laying groundwork for a new battle for influence on the European Union’s fringe.

China could be big winner in no-deal Brexit: DW reports, no-deal Brexit would hit the EU and developing countries, but bring big gains for China and the US, a new report says. Unwinding economic integration is not only complex, but doing so is a bad idea, its author says.

Malpass signals continuity as he takes World Bank helm: FT reports, the Trump ally takes conciliatory tone on climate change and China on his first day.


Blamed for climate change, oil companies invest in carbon removal: NYT reports, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, and BHP have invested in a start-up developing technology to take carbon out of the atmosphere.

@SpaceAngels: The Q1 2019 Space Investment Quarterly is now live! In the first quarter alone, $1.7B of equity capital was invested into Space companies, nearly double the amount deployed in Q4 2018. Download the entire report here: 

Peter Layton: Prototype warfare in the fourth industrial age: A new industrial process is rapidly emerging.  This fourth industrial revolution (4IR) based on hyper-connectivity brings with it both continual – indeed relentless – innovation and the possibility of practical large-scale prototype warfare. The interweaving of the second and third industrial revolutions is creating the fourth. This new deep integration allows a continuous and cyclical flow of information and actions between the physical and digital worlds.

College grads sell stakes in themselves to Wall Street: Bloomberg reports, instead of taking out loans, students can agree to hand over part of their future earnings in return for investment.

It's the age of the Personal IPO.


WSJ: Barr says release of Mueller report can come within a week

‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates: Politico reports, a coordinated barrage of social media attacks suggests the involvement of foreign state actors.

Trump has a message for the world: My trade wars aren't over yet: Bloomberg reports, Trump is sending a clear message to the economic policymakers gathering in Washington for the IMF and World Bank’s spring meetings: My trade wars aren’t finished yet and a weakening global economy will just have to deal with it.

Big Banks on the Hill: CEOs of some of the largest U.S. banks will testify before Congress on Wednesday, giving lawmakers their first opportunity to grill the lenders since the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Brett Kavanaugh: backlash after US university hires justice to teach in UK: The Guardian reports, the US supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh is heading to England this summer – specifically to Runnymede, the place immortalized by Magna Carta and called the “birthplace of modern democracy” – to teach a course on the US constitution for an American university. But the appointment is sparking uproar among some students and they are demanding the school rescind its invitation.


Report: Living in a post-Fyre world: The future of influencer marketing

Uber sets sights on raising $10bn in IPO next month: FT reports, the ride-hailing group to set out financial position in registration documents on Thursday.

Rakuten,, and Expedia raided by Japan's antitrust watchdog over lodging price policy: Japan Times reports, Japan's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday raided the offices of Rakuten Inc. and two other online booking operators, alleging they hurt fair trade by requiring accommodation providers to offer their lowest prices on their platforms, according to a source close to the matter.

Bank of America to raise its minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2021.

‘Retail apocalypse’ now: Analysts say 75,000 more US stores could be doomed. WP reports, an estimated 75,000 stores that sell clothing, electronics and furniture will close by 2026, when online shopping is expected to make up 25 percent of retail sales, according to UBS. Roughly 16 percent of overall sales are made online. Analysts said the closures would affect a broad variety of retailers, affecting an estimated 21,000 apparel stores, 10,000 consumer electronics stores, and 8,000 home furnishing stores.

Ford CEO tamps down expectations for first autonomous vehicles: Bloomberg reports, too much hype has built up about how soon self-driving cars will hit the road, but they will ultimately change the world, Ford Motor Co.’s chief executive officer said. “We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Jim Hackett said Tuesday at a Detroit Economic Club event. While Ford’s first self-driving car is still coming in 2021, “its applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex.”


How to actually, truly focus on what you’re doing: Tired: Shallow work. Wired: Deep work.

Why LBJ biographer Robert Caro has written thousands of pages by hand: Be it a Smith Corona typewriter or Chopin, thick pencils or a classic Buick, for the lionized biographer of LBJ, everything has a purpose (and a story).

OTD: In 1912 RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on her only voyage.

Emma Corrin, an up-and-coming actor with just over 2700 Instagram followers at time of writing, is set to play Lady Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales, in season four of The Crown.

As Vegas eyes millennials, concert residency industry booms: AFP reports, the residency -- a series of shows performed in a single location -- has long been a staple of the Las Vegas Strip, pioneered by pianist Liberace in the forties, Frank Sinatra a decade later and Elvis in the seventies. But after taking the backseat to slot machines, strip clubs and production shows like Cirque du Soleil, the concept is back with a facelift -- and it's flourishing.


WSJ: Magic Johnson resigns as president of LA Lakers

Bill Plaschke: Magic Johnson was never all in, so now he's all gone

"He made the announcement before telling owner Jeanie Buss. He held the news conference without the advance knowledge of team officials. This was his dream job, a role he could have reasonably filled for the rest of his life, yet he ended it all in nine words." 

Champions League - Quarterfinals - Draw:

Ajax v Juventus @ 3:00 pm ET
Barcelona v Manchester United @ 3:00 pm ET

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.