What I am watching today = June 13, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Gulf of Oman, Problem Plastics, Oppo Research, Tyson, LaCroix, St. Louis Blues, Chris Froome
✔️ Franco-German tension complicates race for EU’s top jobs
✔️ Overwhelming support for banning 'problem plastics'
✔️ "There’s nothing wrong with listening"
✔️ Tyson launches fightback against non-meat start-ups
✔️ LaCroix maker's drop erases $2.7 billion of founder's wealth
Tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman: Two oil tankers were damaged in suspected attacks off the coast of Iran, sending oil prices sharply higher amid tensions between the US and Iran.
WSJ: US assists tankers near Iran after suspected attacks
The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet said it was assisting the tankers after receiving distress calls following "reported attacks". The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of the Royal Navy, said it was investigating.
Franco-German tension complicates race for EU’s top jobs: FT reports, strained relations between Berlin and Paris make it hard to predict who will end up running the commission and ECB.
Today: Conservative Party MPs vote in the first ballot of the process to replace Theresa May.
Boris tops vote as three candidates eliminated: Seven candidates are proceeding to the second round of voting for the Tory leadership after Mark Harper, Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom were eliminated. Boris Johnson topped the poll of MPs with more than 100 votes, with Jeremy Hunt totaling 43 in second place.
Mark Harper, Esther McVey, and Andrea Leadsom have been knocked out.
Hong Kong protests turn violent in standoff over China’s control: WSJ reports, hundreds of police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, as the financial center’s Beijing-backed government showed no signs of yielding during a second day of demonstrations.
The Times: China condemns Hong Kong protests as ‘organized riot’
China linked to cyber attack on Telegram during HK protests: FT reports, encrypted messaging app used by demonstrators to disseminate tactics.
Nikkei: Xi's next steps on Hong Kong will be hindered by US-China summit
Demonstrators and Washington both oppose Chinese-style rule of law.
Trump said he expected to meet Xi at this month’s G20 summit in Osaka.
Why ‘cracking seven’ is a big deal for China’s currency: FT reports, the next significant test for the renminbi will be this month’s G20 meeting in Japan.
"If China’s renminbi slips past Rmb7 a dollar — “cracking seven” in trader talk — it would take the currency to a level of weakness not seen since the depths of the global financial crisis 11 years ago."
FT - Editorial: US-China trade war risks global technology split: Decoupling will not support American security or economic interests.
Taiwan votes: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is set to seek a second term after she successfully saw off a primary challenge on Thursday from within her own party to stand as their candidate. The island goes to the polls in January to elect a new president, in a contest set to be dominated by relations with China.
One of the world’s largest untapped coal reserves to be mined: FT reports, Australia approves $A2bn Adani project that has been subject of intense controversy.
Nikkei: Russia to quintuple LNG output to feed Asian demand
Moscow eyes 20% share of global market by 2035, energy minister says.
YouGov finds overwhelming support for banning 'problem plastics': By a wide margin, Brits are more likely to support than oppose a ban on each product. Of the 17 products asked about, for 15 of them a majority of the public supports a ban on the items made either entirely or partly out of plastic. Outlawing disposable coffee cups garners the highest level of support, with 80% of people backing a ban on manufacturing such items with plastic, while only 12% opposing it. Clam-shaped takeaway containers drinking straws, and foam egg boxes are in joint second, with 77% of the public supporting them being taken off the shelves.
G20 to tackle ocean plastic waste as petrochemical producers expand in Asia: Reuters reports, Japan wants to make reducing the glut of plastic waste in the oceans a priority at the Group of 20 summit it is hosting this month as governments around the world crack down on such pollution.
With classified filing, feds eye national security case against Mar-a-Lago intruder: Miami Herald reports, Federal prosecutors disclosed this week they are developing a potential national security case against Yujing Zhang, the 33-year-old Chinese woman charged with unlawfully entering Mar-a-Lago with a stash of electronic equipment. They asked a federal judge to allow them to file “classified information” under seal without the public — or the defendant — seeing it. If the motion is granted, prosecutors will present the evidence directly to the federal judge in Zhang’s trespassing case during a private, closed meeting in the judge’s chambers. The prosecution’s motion indicates that she is a focus of a widening US probe of possible Chinese espionage and suggests that authorities have evidence she was likely not simply a “bumbling tourist” who accidentally found her way into President Donald Trump’s private estate in Palm Beach.
The Miami Herald is investigating how Trump has become a favorite target of a little-known Chinese industry peddling access to the rich and powerful. At the center of this “Trump Tourism” is Cindy Yang, a former Asian day spa owner, who sold access to Mar-a-Lago and the White House, raising concerns about national security.
As Democrats deepen probes, president accuses them of being ‘out of control’: WP reports, Democrats are showing no signs of backing down, even though there are divisions in the House over whether to launch an impeachment inquiry in the wake of the Russia investigation.
Hope Hicks has agreed to provide closed-door testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, a small breakthrough for congressional Democrats.
House panel holds Barr and Ross in contempt over census: The House oversight committee has voted to hold the US attorney general, William Barr, and the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, in contempt of Congress for their refusal to turn over documents regarding changes to the US census.
Foreign informants and oppo research is cool with Trump: Trump said his campaign might be willing to accept information from foreign governments that was damaging to his 2020 rivals, adding that he might not divulge such information to the FBI.
Impeachment - Imprisonment 2020
Trump says ‘I’d take it’ if Russia again offered dirt on opponent: NYT reports, the president said there would be nothing wrong with accepting election information from a foreign government and that he saw no reason to call the FBI.
LAT: Trump says he would ‘want to hear’ foreign dirt on 2020 presidential opponents
‘There’s nothing wrong with listening,’ the president said.
George T. Conway III and Neal Katyal: Trump just invited Congress to begin impeachment proceedings
‘Fake polling’: Trump lashed out on Wednesday at new poll results that suggested his re-election was in doubt, with six Democrats polling ahead of him nationally and his campaign’s internal polling reportedly showing weakness in 17 states.
How Buttigieg and Warren cracked the 2020 code: NYT reports, Pete Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren have mastered creating social media moments and dominating cable news coverage. It’s what has allowed them to outfox the other 21 Democrats, showing an understanding of the value of online viral content and nonstop exposure in the Trump era.
As Democratic voters warm to free trade, White House candidates struggle for positions: Reuters reports, trade policy has become tricky territory for Democratic candidates after Trump upended traditional partisan divisions on the issue. None appears willing to agree outright with Trump’s philosophy, so most have tried instead to find grounds for criticizing how he is implementing his policy. Yet in a sprawling field of Democratic contenders who agree on many major issues, trade presents a chance to draw some distinctions.
Daniel Henninger: The Trump-Biden smackdown: Trump’s slurs pushed Cruz, Rubio, and Bush off their games. Don’t expect Biden to crack.
WSJ: US oil, gas hit record production levels in 2018
World-wide energy demand grew at its fastest rate since 2010.
Brigadoon Workshop: Capturing Press Attention: On Thursday, June 27 make plans to attend Brigadoon Workshop | Capturing Press Attention = developing press contacts, speaking with the media, and creating content that is newsworthy. Book your spot - here.
Tyson is joining the meatless frenzy with a plant-protein alternative to poultry.
FT: Tyson launches fightback against non-meat start-ups
America’s biggest meat producer to sell ‘alternative protein’ nuggets and blended burgers.
LaCroix maker's drop erases $2.7 billion of founder's wealth: Bloomberg reports, Nick Caporella, the octogenarian chairman and founder of LaCroix parent National Beverage Corp., has lost $2.7 billion -- more than half of his net worth -- in the past nine months. The stock tumbled 62% through Tuesday amid slumping sales, increased competition and a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging its cans contain toxic chemicals.
WSJ: Uber, Lyft drivers face stiffer regulations in New York City
VW is closing in on Ford deal on electric, autonomous cars: Bloomberg reports, Volkswagen AG is nearing a deal to cooperate with Ford Motor Co. on electric-car technology and self-driving vehicles, according to Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess, who also called for a faster transformation of the German manufacturer.
Pope moves first African-American priest closer to sainthood: WSJ reports, Pope Francis decreed the “heroic virtues” of the first African-American Catholic priest, thereby bringing a man who was born into slavery in the 19th century a step closer to becoming the first African-American saint.
Pale rosé isn't better – and nine other pink wine myths debunked: It’s all sweet, it’s only for summer or ought to be cheap ... the prejudices about rosé wine endure, but we really should know better. http://bit.ly/2RdV8HE
BOOK TO READ
France: A Modern History from the Revolution to the War with Terror by Jonathan Fenby.
Quelle histoire! A new history of France: NYT book review reports, Jonathan Fenby, who has been a correspondent in Paris for The Economist and other publications, tells this story midway through his chatty new book, “France: A Modern History From the Revolution to the War With Terror.” At several points since its revolution in 1789, France has undergone shocking political vicissitudes. We’re at such a point now. Amid economic stagnation, France must assimilate millions of Muslims descended mostly from North African immigrants. Isis-linked terrorists have slaughtered hundreds in targeted assassinations, cafe shootings, a music hall hostage-taking and a truck hijacking. President François Hollande has responded with a mix of hyperactivity and indecision. Fenby blames the revolution. “The French,” he writes, “have become prisoners of the heritage of their past.”
St. Louis Blues Win the Stanley Cup.
Froome has surgery, in intensive care after high-speed crash: AFP reports, four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has undergone surgery and was in intensive care Thursday a day after slamming into a wall at high speed and suffering multiple fractures. The force of the impact during practice ahead of the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine race in central France fractured his pelvis, right femur, and left him with broken ribs and a broken right elbow.
‘It’s a very serious accident,’ says Dave Brailsford.
“He’s not in great shape. He’s in intensive care. There are crashes and bad crashes and this was a bad crash. It’s a very serious accident. Clearly, he won’t be at the start of the Tour de France.”
Froome out of Tour de France after freak 37mph crash.
Kevin Durant has confirmed he underwent surgery for a ruptured achilles tendon, an injury sustained during Game 5 of the NBA finals on Monday.
Max Boot: Globalization is the star of the NBA
"This is the first NBA finals that features a team from outside the United States, and the Raptors’ participation has sparked a basketball frenzy in Canada. The Raptors aren’t just a foreign team; they are, as my colleague Jack McCaslin notes, also full of foreign-born players. Serge Ibaka was born in Congo, Pascal Siakam in Cameroon, Marc Gasol in Spain, and OG Anunoby in London to Nigerian parents. The genius who put the Raptors’ lineup together — team President Masai Ujiri — was born in London to a Nigerian father and Kenyan mother and grew up in Nigeria before moving to the United States to play basketball."
FIFA Women's World Cup = Today
Australia v Brazil @ 12:00 pm ET
South Afria v China @ 3:00 pm ET
Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.