Notre Dame, THAAD, Terry Gou, Bernie Sanders, Los Angeles Clippers

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What I am watching today = April 16, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 


✔️ Notre Dame draws an estimated 13 million visitors a year

✔️ Donald Trump, China savior? Some Chinese say yes

✔️ Uber Eats will deliver to your airport gate

✔️ ‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats are agonizing over his momentum

✔️ JetBlue intends for flights to London


Notre Dame fire: Built in the 13th century, the medieval cathedral is considered a feat of architecture as much as a religious symbol. It is one of Paris' best-known landmarks and one of the most-visited tourist sites in the world, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.

CNBC: Vuitton and Gucci owners pledge more than $300 million to rebuild Notre Dame after fire

CNN: French billionaires and companies pledge $450 million to rebuild Notre Dame

@AP: BREAKING: French billionaire Bernard Arnault and his group LVMH pledge 200 million euros for Notre Dame's reconstruction.

@LVMH: "In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame. They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France."

Italy targets Amazon in market dominance probe: AFP reports, Italy's competition authority said Tuesday it had opened an investigation into Amazon for possible abuse of its dominant position in online commerce and logistics. The authority said it suspected that the retail giant had been giving preferential exposure to third-party vendors on its platform only if they subscribed to Amazon's logistics service.

China’s SenseTime sells out of Xinjiang security joint venture: FT reports, facial recognition group’s move follows scrutiny of security operations in region.

Saber rattling: China and US at a dangerous military tipping point: CNBC reports, China is lashing out at South Korea and Washington for the deployment of a powerful missile defense system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, deposited at the Osan Air Base in South Korea on Monday evening. 

In search for leverage, Trump may be undercutting his own trade deals: NYT reports, Trump has argued that this aggressive and unpredictable negotiating style allows him to extract greater economic concessions than past administrations — and he may be right, at least in the short run. But his approach is causing concern among business groups and foreign officials, who say the uncertainty Mr. Trump loves to sow could undermine the role the United States has traditionally played in setting and stabilizing the global rules of trade, hampering economic growth in the process.

Gideon Rachman: Why Donald Trump is great news for Xi Jinping: The US president has disarmed America in the battle of ideas.

"Trump has been in office long enough for certain patterns to emerge in his behavior. The US president likes to create a crisis, let it run a while and then announce that he has solved it. He will frighten friend and foe alike with dire threats, before striking an agreement that he self-certifies as “tremendous”. In reality, the new deal will often be superficial and the underlying issues will remain largely unaddressed."

"In a few weeks time, the US president will declare a great victory. His loyal aides will play along. But the underlying reality will be that not much has actually changed in the economic relationship between the US and China — in the same way that not much changed in the trade relationship between the US, Canada and Mexico after MrTrump’s team renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement."

Donald Trump, China savior? Some Chinese say yes: NYT reports, business leaders and intellectuals say one of Beijing’s toughest critics could force the country to change. Still needed: voices of support from the inside.

The US wants to ban Huawei. AT&T Mexico relies on it. WSJ reports, US officials have told telecom executives around the world to steer clear of Huawei Technologies, calling the company a national-security threat, but that hasn’t prevented AT&T from using the Chinese company’s equipment in Mexico.

China a major threat to Canadian security: Ottawa: Asia Times reports, amid worsening relations between Canada and China, a parliamentary committee in Ottawa has cited Chinese spies and agents as major threats to Canadian security. 

College kids are living like kings in Vancouver’s empty mansions: Globe-trotting landlords can avoid vacancy taxes by renting. It’s the latest twist for a housing market down 8.5% from its peak.

Tokyo raises concern over Beijing’s industrial policies: FT reports, Japan fears Chinese groups will gain unfair advantage when competing on new technologies.

Okinawa has been eager to expel US troops. A murder-suicide is pouring fuel on those flames. WP reports, last week’s deadly incident in which a US sailor is suspected of killing a Japanese woman is among the high-profile crimes involving American forces in Okinawa that have angered officials and the community for decades.

Foxconn chairman weighs run for Taiwan presidency: FT reports, the founder of the world’s main iPhone supplier to step back from daily operations. Terry Gou is Taiwan's richest person with a net worth of $7.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Indonesians head to the polls: About 193 million residents are eligible to decide who leads the Southeast Asian nation, which is an outpost of democracy and is forecast to be among the world’s biggest economies by 2030.

@APMiddleEast: Libya is on the verge of an all-out war involving a rogues’ gallery of militias, many of which are little more than criminal gangs armed with heavy weapons.

Russia's parliament votes to unplug internet from world: DW reports, the Russian Duma has given its final approval to a bill creating a domestic internet. Lawmakers say it aims to protect Russia from cyber threats — but the law has sparked protest: Critics worry it will allow censorship.

FT: Russia plans Vladimir Putin-North Korea talks, reports say

Moscow prepares meeting next week between president and Kim Jong Un, Kremlin confirms.


Uber Eats will deliver to your airport gate: Passengers at Toronto Pearson airport will be able to order food and have it delivered to them at the gate. Launching in Q3 of this year, the pilot program is a joint collaboration between Toronto Pearson, the airport restaurant operator HMSHost and Uber Eats. Customers can order from a selection of restaurants including Caplansky's Deli, Paramount Fine Foods, Smoke's Burritorie, Smashburger or Fionn MacCools.

Rise of the Chief Data Officer (CDO): A new C-suite role is getting traction, and by 2019 it's expected that 90% of large global organizations will have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) on their teams.

According to Pew Research, 91% of Americans “agree” or “strongly agree” that people have lost control over how personal information is collected and used.

By 2025, it’s estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day.

The robots that manage the managers: More companies are turning to AI-driven apps that aim to help newer bosses with reminders and tips on how to maintain a well-run office.

Asia VC cash: Last year, $81 billion was invested in VC-backed startups in Asia across more than 5,000 deals. That's an increase of almost 12x in funding to Asia-based startups since 2013.


Mueller Report: Attorney General William Barr expects to provide special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to Congress and the public on Thursday

Roger Stone asked a federal judge to compel the Justice Department to turn over a full copy of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on the Russia investigation as part of discovery in his criminal case. 

Stephen Miller emerges: With Kirstjen Nielsen out and Miller ascendant, the White House is preparing to bombard the judicial system with cases that will test the limits of current immigration law.

House panels subpoena Deutsche Bank in Trump inquiry: WSJ reports, two House panels have issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions, as Democrats continued to pursue an inquiry into President Trump’s financial interests.

Trump intends to present Tiger Woods with the highest civilian award following his Masters win.

Current national security leadership:

Defense Secretary: Vacant (Acting in place)
DHS: Vacant
UN Ambassador: Vacant (Acting in place)
FEMA Director: Vacant (Acting in place)
Secret Service Director: Vacant
ICE Director: Vacant (Acting in place)
DHS Deputy: Vacant (Acting in place)

Bernie takes lead for Democratic nomination, Mayor Pete on the move: A new national Emerson poll, including 20 Democratic candidates for President, found Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of the pack with 29%, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 24%. They were followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9%, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Kamala Harris at 8%, and Senator Elizabeth Warren at 7%. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former HUD secretary Julian Castro were at 3%.

‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats are agonizing over his momentum: NYT reports, members of the party establishment who oppose Senator Bernie Sanders have discussed how to handle his candidacy. Others are warning of a schism.

Nathan Robinson: Pete Buttigieg is the Democrats' flavor of the month. Just don't ask what he stands for: Pete Buttigieg is a man with a lot of ‘gold stars’ on his résumé, but why should anybody actually trust him to be on their side?

Bill Weld has formally announced he is running for President of the United States of America and will seek the Republican nomination.


Publicis makes biggest purchase with $4.4bn Epsilon cash deal: FT reports, ad group acquires digital marketing agency as it steps up business transition.

Huawei chips: Huawei is open to selling Apple its "5G" mobile connectivity chips, company founder Ren Zhengfei has said. So far, Huawei has reserved those chips for its own phones. Apple does not yet have a "5G"-capable device.

Huawei reveals it has no 5G contracts from mainland China: FT reports, disclosure comes as analysts say country has scaled back rollout of technology.

JetBlue intends to launch multiple flights from the East Coast to London, in an attempt to entice trans-Atlantic business away from American and Delta. 

The learning machine: Amazon’s empire rests on its low-key approach to AI: Unflashy but high-powered machine learning powers everything from its fulfilment centres to the cloud.

Netflix changes the way TV production is paid for: FT reports, streaming service will drip-feed $19.3bn to producers over the next five years.

Warner Bros. plans to buy Burbank Studios and occupy new Frank Gehry ‘iceberg’ towers: LAT reports, as part of the deal, Warner Bros. will sell its historic North Hollywood Way facility.

DW: No slowdown for Porsche in China

Volkswagen bets on electromobilty in China
: DW reports, the Chinese car market has grown rapidly over the past 20 years, with Germany's VW group now selling every second car there. But as the fat years seem to be over, VW has made a risky bet on electric vehicles for growth


Game of Thrones finally returned Sunday night. I haven't seen one episode.

After complaints that it made light of drug epidemic, Milk Bar renames its famous Crack Pie: WP reports, Chef Christina Tosi wrote that the old name was “getting in the way of letting the gooey, buttery slice bring happiness — my only goal in creating the thing in the first place.”


FT: Hopes rise that ‘Tiger effect’ will put swing back into golf

Clippers pull off biggest comeback in playoff history
: AFP reports, the Los Angeles Clippers delivered the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history Monday, rallying from a 31-point deficit for a shocking 135-131 win over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

AFP: F1 in talks over second China GP, road race on cards

Dakar Rally moves to Saudi Arabia for2020 race
: DW reports, the world-renowned off-road race had moved from Europe and Africa to South America following major security concerns. Now it's headed to "the deep and mysterious deserts" of Saudi Arabia.

Champions League - Quarterfinals:

Ajax v Juventus (Aggregate 1-1) - Tuesday @ 3:00 pm ET
Barcelona v Manchester United (Aggregate 1-0) - Tuesday @ 3:00 pm ET

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City (Aggregate 1-0) - Wednesday @ 3:00 pm ET
Liverpool v Porto (Aggregate 2-0) - Wednesday @ 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.