Marc Ross Daily
August 19, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
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Hong Kong, Emmanuel Macron, Matteo Salvini, Business Roundtable, Elizabeth Warren, John Delaney, WeWork, Brooklyn Nets
✔️ Populists declare Salvini a 'traitor' as government collapse looms
✔️ Business Roundtable steps back from Milton Friedman theory
✔️ John Delaney draws 11 people to 2020 event
✔️ WeWork landlords exposed to $40bn rent commitments
✔️ Tsai is paying about $2.35 billion for the Nets – a record for a US pro sports franchise
Uber lacks the Knowledge
Uber can't find my house.
A company with 22,263 worldwide employees, a market cap of nearly $60 billion, and a CTO with two degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can't find my house.
Whatever mapping technology Uber drivers are using to find my residence, it is failing.
I have repeatedly used the company's app to inform them of this mistake, but now I just use my neighbor's address as my own to ensure less friction and delay.
As you think about the team and company you are building, are you over-indexed on technology and discounting being in the streets?
The best performing among us excels equally at processing loads of online and offline information.
Uber's one-sided business technology model means they can't find my house.
Make sure the team and company you are building can find my house - embrace the Knowledge.
Read the full post here: http://bit.ly/31agoll
Russian monitoring stations went silent after missile blast: WSJ reports, two Russian monitoring stations designed to detect nuclear radiation went silent soon after the explosion at a missile test site, spurring concerns that Moscow is trying to restrict evidence of the accident.
The ruble and Russia's stocks have been drifting lower amid soft oil prices.
Five Star pulls plug on coalition with attack on Matteo Salvini: The Times reports, Italy’s Five Star Movement said yesterday that Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League party, was no longer a credible partner in a move that appeared to pull the plug on the ruling coalition. Leading figures of the Five Star party met yesterday at the villa of the movement’s founder Beppe Grillo to discuss their position before a Senate debate on the future of the government that is due to be held tomorrow.
Italy: Populists declare Salvini a 'traitor' as government collapse looms: DW reports, the anti-establishment, populist M5S closed ranks ahead of an upcoming no-confidence vote in parliament. They stopped short of completely cutting ties with Interior Minister Salvini's far-right League party, however.
Germany finally appears to be ready for some fiscal stimulus.
Opportunity for Macron to get Putin’s input before G7: AFP reports, French President Emmanuel Macron will attempt to convince Russia to accept Ukraine's overtures of dialogue when he meets Vladimir Putin for talks on Monday ahead of a G7 summit. Macron, who hosted his Russian counterpart in grand style at the palace of Versailles in 2017, will this time meet Putin at his official holiday residence in Bregancon in southern France.
France fears its legion is too foreign: The Times reports, new recruits to the French foreign legion are expected to learn its seven-point code of honor by heart. Many, however, have no grasp of the French language, nor the slightest idea of the meaning of the words they are reciting when they pledge, for instance, to serve France “with honor and loyalty”. About 16 percent of existing members of the legion are French speakers but only 11 percent of the newest intake can speak the language. More critically, only a tenth of the force are French. Young Frenchmen tend to view the legion as too tough and prefer the country’s regular army, which they consider a softer option, according to a former legionnaire.
UK business admits many are ill-prepared for no-deal Brexit: FT reports, lobby groups concede potential damage after leaked document details contingency planning.
No 10 furious at leak of paper predicting shortages after no-deal Brexit: Guardian reports, government figures seek to play down predictions of food, medicine and fuel shortages in leaked document.
Leaked memo says Britain faces economic, social chaos if it goes through with a ‘no-deal Brexit’: WP reports, rising food and social care prices and severe delays in medical supplies are among the consequences predicted in classified government documents.
Boris Johnson accuses ex‑ministers over Brexit chaos leaks: The Times reports, Boris Johnson has accused Remain-supporting former ministers of leaking details of no-deal planning in an attempt to damage Brexit negotiations. A secret Whitehall dossier known as Operation Yellowhammer, revealed over the weekend, included warnings that Britain could face shortfalls of fresh food, fuel and medicines. It also suggested that there could be an increase in public disorder, delays at airports and a hard border with Ireland.
The Times: Jeremy Corbyn will ‘do everything to stop no-deal Brexit’
Recall UK parliament to tackle Brexit crisis, opposition Labour Party says: Reuters reports, Britain's parliament needs to be recalled immediately to discuss Brexit, the opposition Labour Party's finance spokesman John McDonnell said on Monday, after leaked official documents forecast possible food, fuel, and medicine shortages.
Alex Massie: Brexit doublethink is blinding us to the facts: The challenge in British and American politics now is to steer through a tide of disinformation and land at the truth. http://bit.ly/2Z1riNY
The most important Brexiter isn’t Boris Johnson: Dominic Cummings is hell-bent on pushing through a no-deal Brexit and ignoring parliament. His plan for what comes after is even more radical. https://bloom.bg/2Z1tLb6
Nikkei: China seeks to mediate in Japan-South Korea trade spat
Foreign ministers of three nations will meet in Beijing on Wednesday.
The Times: Trump’s trade war sends Chinese students to British universities
Some 7,740 Chinese students are due to arrive on campuses across the UK, up from 5,930 last year and 3,480 a decade ago. More than 363,000 Chinese students attended US universities in the 2017-18 academic year but the number of new students enrolling this autumn is expected to fall.
The quantum revolution is coming, and Chinese scientists are at the forefront: WP reports, China’s formidable investment in quantum technology, which could transform information processing and confer big economic and national-security advantages to nations that dominate it, is helping it catch up with Western research and, in a few areas, pull ahead.
FT: Hong Kong protesters rally in defiance of Beijing
Fresh demonstrations held in spite of paramilitary police massing across the border.
Organizers estimated that 1.7m people attended the protest, but numbers were difficult to estimate as participants flowed into nearby roads and streets without passing through the designated park area. The police estimated that at its peak 128,000 gathered in the designated protest zone.
Trump cautions China on Hong Kong, dismisses recession fears: WSJ reports, Trump warned Chinese President Xi Jinping against reacting violently to protests in Hong Kong saying that could threaten a trade deal.
Donald Trump: Hong Kong crackdown would hurt China trade deal: DW reports, the US president has said that he'd "like to see Hong Kong worked out in a very humanitarian fashion." Trump warned that a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown would damage talks on a US-China trade deal.
Bloomberg: Trump says US is talking with China but not ready for a deal
@AFP #BREAKING US gives Huawei 90 day reprieve on ban
With troop buildup, China sends a stark warning to Hong Kong: NYT reports, by massing troops within view of the city, which has been convulsed by protests, China delivered a strong message that the use of force remained an option.
China pressures businesses over support in Hong Kong: NYT reports, businesses are falling in line to back China amid the city’s protests — and their employees are caught in the crossfire.
China works to turn Shenzhen into the new Hong Kong: Nikkei reports, new infrastructure and reforms would help city replace island as investment hub.
AFP: China plans to make Shenzhen a 'better place' than Hong Kong
White House pushes ahead with $8bn arms sale to Taiwan: FT reports, Trump administration builds bipartisan backing for prospective deal.
China's version of GPS now has more satellites than US original: Nikkei reports, growing global coverage of BeiDou positioning system raises security fears.
Economists continue to downgrade their GDP growth forecasts for Mexico.
Ever more countries are banning plastic bags: The Economist reports, plenty of governments have decided that enough is enough. On July 20th Panama became the latest to ban single-use plastic bags. More than 90 countries have similar restrictions (Tanzania and New Zealand recently implemented their own bans). Another 36 regulate them with levies and fees. Bans are particularly widespread in Africa. But the environmental impact of such measures is questionable. The resulting international patchwork of laws has lots of loopholes. Many countries regulate just one part of the plastic-bag lifecycle, such as manufacture, distribution or disposal. The most common approach is to charge shoppers at the till.
Fed caught between slowing economy and angry president: WSJ reports, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell faces scrutiny from markets and the White House over his stewardship of interest rates in an economy unsettled by a trade dispute with China and fears of recession.
The number of news stories that include the word "recession" hit a new high.
Investors position for fresh wave of economic stimulus: FT reports, billions flood into government debt on signs of global slowdown.
The US Treasury is once again exploring the sale of 50- and 100-year bonds.
CNBC: US consumer sentiment for August comes in well below estimates
US consumer sentiment falls to 92.1 in August, the lowest indicator readout since the start of 2019, according to data released Friday.
Bloomberg: Economic concerns send US consumer mood to seven-month low
Detroit News: In warning sign for Trump, independents lose confidence in economy
“What I’d keep my eye on is the independents because whoever wins the majority of independents will win the presidency,” Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan survey, said on a conference call with reporters.
Bloomberg - Editorial: Steel yourself for the Trump slump: It’s getting harder to ignore the threat this president poses to the U.S. and world economies.
In economic warning signals, Trump sees signs of a conspiracy: WSJ reports, Trump has accused his own Federal Reserve chair, other nations and the news media of working against him to derail the economy. The claims provide a ready target to help Mr. Trump deflect blame if the economy does tip into recession.
Trump spoke with bank CEOs amid market turmoil: FT reports, leaders of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America briefed president on economy.
Business Roundtable steps back from Milton Friedman theory: WSJ reports, CEO group urges firms to remember obligation to society, widening focus beyond shareholder value. The Business Roundtable said Monday that it is changing its statement of “the purpose of a corporation.” No longer should decisions be based solely on whether they will yield higher profits for shareholders, the group said. Rather, corporate leaders should take into account “all stakeholders”—that is, employees, customers and society writ large.
Group of US corporate leaders ditches shareholder-first mantra: FT reports, the Business Roundtable urges companies to consider the environment and workers as well as the pursuit of profit.
CEO lobbying group rethinks view that shareholder interest should come above all else: WP reports, the Business Roundtable — whose members are CEOs of America’s largest companies — says corporations must balance profits with the needs of employees, customers and other stakeholders.
Elizabeth Warren closes gap in search for a new Democrat champion: The Times reports, according to an Economist/YouGov poll that suggests that Warren has convinced 57 per cent of Democratic voters that she would “probably beat Donald Trump”. That is a 14 point jump since June and, although she still trails Biden, who is on 65 per cent, the momentum is behind her.
Warren works to overcome hurdles with black voters in South Carolina: WP reports, other Democratic presidential candidates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, also tried to expand their appeal among nonwhite voters as they campaigned in South Carolina and Georgia.
Trump said on Sunday he would keep Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate when he seeks re-election in November 2020.
For Trump, appeals to white fears about race may be a tougher sell in 2020: poll: Reuters reports, Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on the grievances of white voters helped him win the 2016 election. But his brand of white identity politics may be less effective in 2020.
Adam Gabbattin: John Delaney draws 11 people to 2020 event – does he truly think he can win? The former congressman has put $24m of his own cash into an increasingly quixotic presidential run – and he’s ploughing on despite a near total lack of support.
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FT: WeWork landlords exposed to $40bn rent commitments
HSBC: Chinese headwinds threaten to blow bank off course: FT reports, to expand, it must overcome local rivals, trade tensions and Beijing’s irritation over its role in the Huawei dispute.
LAT: The latest casualty of Trump’s trade war with China? California wine
US whiskey exporters struggle after year of EU tariffs: Reuters reports, when Europe's tariffs on US whiskey hit in June 2018, craft distillery Mountain Laurel Spirits LLC lost 10% of its sales overnight as its European distributor simply stopped buying its award-winning Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey.
Microsoft, Nvidia team up for more realistic visuals on Minecraft game: Reuters reports, Microsoft Corp said on Monday it will use chipmaker Nvidia Corp's real-time ray tracing technology to provide the software company's Minecraft video game players more realistic graphics on personal computers.
NBA superstar Stephen Curry gives Howard University the gift of golf: WP reports, the two-time NBA MVP is planning a seven-figure donation to cover the cost of Howard’s golf program for six years at a time when similar programs at historically black colleges and universities are struggling to survive.
Joseph Tsai to buy rest of Nets, Barclays Arena for $3.4 billion: AP reports, Joe Tsai has agreed to buy the remaining 51 percent of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center from Mikhail Prokhorov in deals that two people with knowledge of the details say are worth about $3.4 billion. Terms were not disclosed Friday, but the people told The Associated Press that Tsai is paying about $2.35 billion for the Nets – a record for a US pro sports franchise – and nearly $1 billion in a separate transaction for the arena. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the transactions have not yet been completed. Tsai is the co-founder and executive vice president of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant. He already had purchased a 49 percent stake in the team from Prokhorov in 2018, with the option to become controlling owner in four years.
Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.