What I am watching today = May 23, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Theresa May, Narendra Modi, Cover-ups, Sephora, TransferWire, Rihanna, John McEnroe
✔️ Theresa May is on her way out - the only question is when
✔️ Modi on course for landslide victory in Indian elections
✔️ “I don’t do cover-ups”
✔️ ‘It’s bold, it’s badass, it’s daring’: Rihanna launches Fenty
✔️ How data (and some breathtaking soccer) brought Liverpool to the cusp of glory
Small is more.
Brigadoon gatherings aren't small because we can't figure out how to get big.
We intentionally remain small because it is better.
FT: Theresa May defies clamor for her to quit
Theresa May has abandoned her plans to force MPs to vote on her “new Brexit deal” in the latest sign that she is preparing to quit Downing Street.
AP: Theresa May hunkers down as premiership enters its end stage
The Times: Theresa May stands alone as cabinet allies abandon her to her fate
Theresa May is on her way out. The only question is when she’ll go.
Speculation is mounting that she may resign tomorrow.
Matt Chorley: It ends as it began: with the mother of all resignations
Civil servants are working in a cloud of Brexit uncertainty: “As of last month, there were 16,000 civil servants working on Brexit . . . But all this horsepower is working to a set of scenarios that are at best massively uncertain and at worse not credible.” -- Joe Owen, Institute for Government
What’s the endgame? The next chapter in the drama is a leadership battle inside the Conservative Party -- a process that could run all through the summer. There’s a good chance that a pro-Brexit hardliner who wants to rip up May’s deal and even try to lead the UK into a no-deal split could win. That’s because the new leader will be chosen by the 120,000 Conservative grass-roots members, most of whom want a hard Brexit. Former London mayor and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is the favorite for now. There’s also a growing sense that a general election might be needed to break the impasse.
The Conservative Party Conference 2019 is set for September 29 running until October 2 in Manchester.
Trump in the UK: The Times reports, Trump is said to be “oblivious” to Theresa May’s political woes and cares only about his meeting with the Queen. Under the current itinerary Trump arrives on June 3 and he and Theresa May will hold a series of bilateral meetings in Downing Street likely to take place on June 5. They are also expected to hold a joint press conference under plans briefed to cabinet on Wednesday.
Far-right parties hope to undermine EU by winning European elections: WP reports, since the last election in 2014, the continent has been hammered by a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, Brexit and a fitful economic recovery following the global financial crisis.
Leading China health tech start-up ensnared by CFIUS: FT reports, iCarbonX forced to exit from 2 US companies under tougher rules for vetting investments.
Hong Kong alarm: Former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten has lashed out at a proposed law that would allow extraditions to China, saying it would break Beijing's “one country, two systems” promise. The bill is the “worst thing” to happen in the city since its 1997 handover to China from the U.K., he said in an interview with Rosalind Mathieson, warning the financial hub risks being subjected to Chinese “rule by law.”
Nikkei: Xi raises anti-US banner and pushes party 'education' campaign
Beijing shifts to hard-line stance as tariff war escalates.
Guardian: 'We'll fight to the end': China's media ramps up rhetoric in US trade war
Voices within Chinese state and private media grow more strident as tensions mount.
China’s defense minister to speak at Shangri-la Dialogue: Defense News reports, China’s defense minister is scheduled to speak at a regional security summit in Singapore next month, marking the first time in almost a decade it will have sent a high-ranking official to the annual event.
The US military said it sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday.
Bloomberg: Full-blown trade war is quickly shifting from risk to ‘baseline’
Nomura’s new base case is full US tariffs on China imports.
JPMorgan sees current tariffs in place for the long haul.
One China analyst sees both sides stuck in a cycle of “fighting and talking” until 2035.
Copper prices continue to retreat.
African rulers block Twitter and WhatsApp: Authoritarian governments in Africa are using internet shutdowns as a new tool of repression as they strong-arm telecoms companies into flicking the off switch. Since the start of the year at least six African countries have turned off access to part or all of the internet and in each case the government has required the assistance of mobile operators to do it.
India: Narendra Modi’s election triumph in India sets the stage for the nationalist leader who has dominated the political debate in the world’s largest democracy for the past five years to pursue more ambitious policies both at home and abroad.
FT: Modi on course for landslide victory in Indian elections
BJP and coalition partners lead in more than 340 of 543 lower house constituencies.
Brazil: The government lowered its outlook for Brazil’s economic growth this year to 1.6% as President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration struggled to get an overhaul of the pension approved by Congress.
There are no signs of stabilization in Argentina's economy.
Bloomberg: In middle of trade war, America’s busiest port gets ready for robots
A Los Angeles shipping terminal is planning to replace diesel trucks and human workers.
3 minutes: Trump meeting with Democrats goes bust in a flash: AP reports, The curtains in the Cabinet Room were drawn. The Democrats were waiting. And President Donald Trump came and went in three minutes, never stopping to sit down or shake hands. Trump’s angry walkout on Wednesday left behind a shattered bipartisan infrastructure effort and an escalation of tension between the president and the congressional Democrats investigating him. He barked at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for earlier suggesting he was involved in a “cover-up” and headed to the Rose Garden for an impromptu news conference in which he declared that he would not work with Democrats if they continue with their probes.
“I don’t do cover-ups”
Election 2020: Trump dropped the pretense of working with congressional Democrats on Wednesday and sent a clear message that his re-election campaign will be centered on condemning overzealous investigations rather than advancing a robust domestic policy agenda.
Edward Luce: Joe Biden’s back-to-the-future campaign is intrinsically flawed: Trump has a strategic reason for elevating ‘Sleepy Joe.’
"Presidents can only win once as an outsider. Re-election campaigns demand a new case. Having Mr Biden as an opponent would enable Mr Trump to campaign on the same theme twice — the first as a novice, the second as an outsider who knows the ropes."
Marianne Williamson's campaign says she's hit the 65,000-donor threshold to qualify for the upcoming primary debates.
Hollywood invested big in Georgia. A new abortion law is causing tensions. NYT reports, in the last decade, Hollywood, lured by hefty tax breaks, has embraced Georgia with fervor, and Georgia has hugged it right back. But the state’s recent passage of a highly restrictive abortion law has turned the once cozy relationship into a fraught one.
A Lionsgate comedy and an Amazon Studios TV series have pulled out of Georgia after the passage of a law prohibiting abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Washington has become the first state to legalize “human composting,” an alternative to conventional burial and cremation that produces topsoil suitable for gardening.
Brigadoon Detroit 2019 | Salon Dinner + Tour
Buy your ticket - here.
TransferWise becomes Europe's most valuable fintech: The new valuation of $3.5bn comes after early investors and staff — including its two Estonian co-founders — privately sold shares in the cross-border payments company that was founded in 2011.
ByteDance Ltd., owner of the popular video app TikTok, is developing a paid music service that will challenge industry leaders Spotify and Apple Music in emerging markets, according to people familiar with the matter.
Sephora ramps up store openings as it taps ‘beauty revolution’: FT reports, the French cosmetics chain says customer in-store experience is crucial to success.
The future of retail is:
Sephora checks them all.
ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro has made some strides in stabilizing the sports network and finding new fans in the cord-cutting era.
FT: Demand grows for tiny phone chargers using ‘new silicon’
China’s Anker looks to ramp up production of accessories made with gallium nitride.
The PowerPort Atom is half the size of a normal charger, while retaining full-speed charging.
Amazon offers $10,000 and three months of pay to staffers who quit to start delivery firms.
Trump’s Huawei ban and the risk of retaliation threaten the global tech industry: LAT reports, the trade war between the US and China is disrupting an intricate supply chain responsible for producing some of the world’s most important tech components.
Annual ‘Dr. Beach’ list names Oahu’s Kailua best in America: AP reports, the other beaches on this year’s list are Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks in second place, followed by Grayton Beach State Park in the Florida panhandle; Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York; Duke Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu; Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin-Clearwater, Florida; Hapuna State Beach Park on Hawaii’s Big Island; Coronado Beach, San Diego, California; and Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Why BTS and Western pop's 'Asian Explosion' are here to stay: MTV News reports, the Korean artists have achieved unprecedented success in the US, and their influence can already be felt.
Why novelist Mark Haddon lost faith in Twitter: The platform brought the writer closer to readers — but at a cost. Here he explains why he stepped back. https://on.ft.com/2HM4vKn
Miuccia Prada, the creative director and controlling shareholder of Milan-based Prada SpA, said in a statement that her company would no longer feature fur starting with her next runway show in September.
FT: ‘It’s bold, it’s badass, it’s daring’: Rihanna launches Fenty
Rihanna launches brand Fenty in Paris store: AP reports, Rihanna, the first black woman in history to head up a major Parisian luxury house, is unveiling her first fashion designs for Fenty at a pop-up store in Paris. The collection, named after the singer-turned-designer’s last name, comprises ready-to-wear, footwear, accessories, and eyewear and is available for sale Paris’ Le Marais area from Friday and will debut online May 29.
China's mobile payment adoption: More than half a billion people in China will be paying with their phones in brick-and-mortar shops, cafes, and restaurants this year, according to the Statista Digital Market Outlook. That equals a penetration rate of more than 35 percent, the highest in the world. Yet, the overall annual transaction value per customer is higher in the US, the UK and France than in China. The average Chinese consumer is projected to spend around $1,100 with payment apps in 2019, compared to more than $2,400 in the UK and almost $3,000 in the U.S.
Fab 5 is back in A2: Michigan hires Juwan Howard as basketball coach.
John Watson: My friend Niki Lauda was a street-fighter and a shining talent in F1: Niki changed people’s perceptions about motor racing, and his remarkable range of qualities will be sadly missed. http://bit.ly/2HNGNgN
How mapping shots in the NBA changed it forever: 538 reports, every year, NBA players take about 200,000 shots. Each season, 30 teams combine to play 1,230 games, and at the end of the regular season, you can bet the sum total of shots taken will be very close to 200,000. In the hands of a cartographer, a season’s worth of this shooting data is a veritable treasure trove of information.
How data (and some breathtaking soccer) brought Liverpool to the cusp of glory: The club is finishing a phenomenal season — thanks in part to an unrivaled reliance on analytics. https://nyti.ms/2HPAR75
World Cup scraps 2022 expansion plans, will play in Qatar with 32 teams.
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection: Written and directed by Julien Faraut and narrated by Mathieu Amalric, the film revisits the rich bounty of 16-mm-shot footage of the left-handed tennis star John McEnroe, at the time the world’s top-ranked player, as he competes in the French Open at Paris’s Roland Garros Stadium in 1984. Close-ups and slow-motion sequences of McEnroe competing, as well as instances of his notorious temper tantrums, highlight a ”man who played on the edge of his senses.” Watch the trailer here: http://bit.ly/2W3Maml
“In 10 years, you’re going to see the most ever Chinese players in the top 100, especially on the women’s side. We’re really spending a lot of time, energy and money in Asia.” -- Max Eisenbud, IMG tennis vice president
Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.