Marc Ross Daily
August 22, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Hemp, Ransomware, Qantas, Eminem, Tigers
✔️ Beijing's political reach casts shadow over Hong Kong business
✔️ Macron drops G7 joint communiqué to avoid row among leaders
✔️ US farmers have high hopes for hemp crops
✔️ Ransomware attacks cripple cities across America
✔️ Qantas tests 20-hour non-stop flights
Justin Trudeau: the rise and fall of a political brand: Guardian reports, thanks to his clever use of social media, he was dubbed the first prime minister of the Instagram age – but after four years in power, cracks in his image have started to show.
US and Venezuela hold secret talks: WSJ reports, the Trump administration has been secretly talking with top aides of Nicolás Maduro in an effort to push Venezuela’s president from power and clear the way for free elections.
AFP: The Amazon is burning – and Brazilians are blaming Bolsonaro
There’s been an 83% increase in forest fires since early 2019, said Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) Wednesday. Many blame the policies of President Bolsonaro.
Jair Bolsonaro claims NGOs behind Amazon forest fire surge – but provides no evidence.
Brazil forest fires rage as farmers push into the Amazon: DW reports, forest fires are surging in Brazil, with the country's space agency reporting almost 8,000 fires already this year. Scientist Carlos Nobre from Sao Paolo University says politics is to blame for the alarming increase.
Brad Harsrad: How trade deals could help to save Brazil’s Amazon: Export industries can be an ally rather than foe of rainforest protection. https://on.ft.com/2NqHu48
Hong Kong billionaire gives Xi powerful advice in cryptic ad: Nikkei reports, don't over pick the melons, Li Ka-shing cautions, citing Tang dynasty poem.
China wages digital war over Hong Kong: The Times reports, Beijing has begun a calculated cyber campaign to undermine and discredit the protesters.
As protests ebb and flow, Hong Kong activists bank on creativity: AFP reports, notifications for the "War Room" WhatsApp group ping relentlessly as an organiser of Hong Kong's biggest political rallies in decades explains the challenge of keeping an exhausted, battle-weary protest movement on the streets.
Alexander Görlach: Another Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong?The protests in Hong Kong are increasingly becoming a thorn in Beijing's side. How much longer will the Communist Party leadership sit back and watch? Don't count out China making a rash decision.
Nikkei: Beijing's political reach casts shadow over Hong Kong business
Alibaba has postponed plans for a multibillion-dollar share listing in Hong Kong.
Chinese hackers target US cancer institutes: report: Nikkei reports, Beijing strives for edge in cancer research, California-based cybersecurity company FireEye says.
Nearly 28% of all deaths in China were cancer related, according to the World Atlas data site.
AFP: Beijing hits back after Trudeau vows to stand up to China
James Kynge: Righteous anger from the US will not win the tech war with China: Washington’s tech sanctions will not halt Beijing’s industrial advance.
South Korea ends pact to share military information with Japan: WSJ reports, South Korea said it would withdraw from a pact with Japan to share classified military intelligence, weakening the US alliance network in East Asia and exacerbating tensions that have flared between Seoul and Tokyo in recent weeks over trade and wartime history.
Nikkei: South Korea pulls out of intelligence sharing pact with Japan
Move is an escalation of dispute between neighbors over trade and history.
In blow to US security interests, South Korea axes pact to share intelligence with Japan: WP reports, the United States had urged the allies to settle their differences, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressing their “incredibly important” cooperation on North Korea.
Takashi Shiraishi: Growing Asian economies breed high expectations among citizens: Governments must handle slowdown carefully to avoid rise of populism.
Kashmir looms over Modi's trip to France and Middle East: Nikkei reports, Indian PM makes countermove as Pakistan vows to take dispute to Hague.
Georgieva moves step closer to IMF top job: FT reports, the fund backs scrapping age restriction on managing director.
Today: Boris Johnson meets President Macron for the first time since becoming prime minister to discuss Brexit, bilateral ties and Iran.
Setting stern tone, France's Macron to spar with Britain's Johnson on Brexit: Reuters reports, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Thursday try to convince France to reopen Brexit negotiations less than a day after President Emmanuel Macron bluntly ruled out any further talks on the divorce deal.
Macron rules out renegotiating Brexit deal, as French see no deal as ‘most likely outcome.’
AFP: Macron expected to rebuff Johnson during Brexit talks in Paris
French observers fear Britain’s PM is setting up France to take blame over no-deal departure.
Macron dampens Johnson's plan to renegotiate Brexit: DW reports, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are meeting in Paris to discuss Brexit. Macron called the Irish backstop "indispensable" to a Brexit deal.
Andrea Felsted: British pubs aren't the only Brexit bargain: Like Greene King, Whitbread is another UK company with decent property assets that looks even cheaper because of the plunging pound.
Lionel Laurent: Move your bankers to Paris or Frankfurt... or else: The quest by some in Brussels to weaken the post-Brexit City of London and beef up the euro zone’s finance industry might be self-defeating.
Is business right to still fear a no-deal Brexit? Government is focused on ensuring a smooth departure but industry remains pessimistic.
Macron drops G7 joint communiqué to avoid row among leaders: FT reports, French president also warns of ‘very deep crisis of democracy.’
AFP: French Yellow Vests join global activists at G7 counter-summit
Edward Luce: The next stop on Trump’s end-of-diplomacy tour: If the US president makes it through the G7 without hastening the west’s demise, it will be a victory of sorts.
FT - Editorial: Greenland should not be another Trump property deal: The era when big countries could exchange territories for cash is over.
Rivals line up in battle for Greenland: The Times reports, Trump’s recent pitch to buy the territory astonished Greenland and Denmark, which owns it, but as melting ice opens up new shipping routes and mining opportunities, China is also increasingly eyeing up its possibilities.
EU plans sweeping regulation of facial recognition: FT reports, Brussels explores rules to give citizens explicit rights over their data.
Elisabeth Braw: Is hacking an ‘Act of War’? Billions rest on that question for insurance companies and their policyholders. Angela Merkel’s 30-day gambit piles pressure on Boris Johnson: The Times reports, The most important thing to understand about Angela Merkel’s 30-day timetable is that it was not a statement of optimism. She was not saying, as some in Westminster appear to think, that Germany and the European Union believe that an alternative to the backstop can be found in the next month. Nor was she saying that she — or Germany or the EU — was prepared to come up with an alternative to the backstop on the UK’s behalf. Indeed, her position remains that the withdrawal agreement cannot be reopened, meaning that any changes drawn up in a frantic four weeks would nevertheless still only be written into the political declaration.
US farmers have high hopes for hemp crops: FT reports, demand for cannabidiol could see the market expand to $20bn in 5 years.
Microplastics in water: no proof yet they are harmful, says WHO: Guardian reports, the report calls for more research and warns against complacency over the issue.
Cloud gaming is one trend in the spotlight of this year's Gamescom, the world's top games trade show. Google's new platform, Stadia, could completely change the industry.
Los Angeles to build world's largest wildlife bridge across 10-lane freeway: Guardian reports, an $87m corridor will extend over Highway 101 to reconnect the ecosystem and possibly save mountain lions from extinction.
Ransomware attacks cripple cities across America: NYT reports, as hackers lock networks that power police forces and utilities, officials must operate with hobbled computers, and decide whether to pay ransoms. More than 40 US municipalities have been the victims of cyberattacks this year.
WSJ - Editorial: The impeachment charade: Democrats claim to want Trump gone but refuse to vote on it.
Karl Rove: Impeachment bumbles on: Somebody tell Jerry Nadler he’s setting up his fellow Democrats for disappointment.
Economic anxiety in the US is a sign of vulnerability for Trump: NYT reports, polling suggests that pervasive worries about the health of the economy cross party lines.
Reuters: Trade war sinks North Dakota soybean farmers
The Times: US faces persistent headwind from China trade war, Fed warns
White House contenders tweak economic messages: Reuters reports, Trump is test-driving a new message on the economy: Any chance of a recession is not his fault. But Democrats seem to be saying "not so fast."
WP - Editorial: Trump can’t soothe markets by blaming his Fed chair: Incoherence from Trump is not a new phenomenon. But the messages emanating from the White House on the economy have become remarkably dissonant.
Update: 2020 presidential candidates by tier - click here.
Jay Inslee is ending his 2020 presidential bid.
NYT: A former Congressman and Tea Party Republican considers a challenge to Trump
"Joe Walsh, a conservative radio show host and former Republican congressman from Illinois, is expected to announce he is running for president as early as this weekend, presenting President Trump with a challenger from the right his critics hope will weaken the president in the 2020 election."
CO-SEN: Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he’s running for Senate.
William A. Galston: Road to the White House comes into view: Trump is vulnerable, but he’ll go on offense while Democrats fight it out with each other.
"According to a Pew survey released Friday, 25% of Democratic voters have yet to form any preference. Of those who have, almost two-thirds—including 80% of Elizabeth Warren ’s supporters and 78% of Kamala Harris’s— report that they are excited by more than one candidate. By contrast, almost half of Joe Biden ’s supporters and 51% of Bernie Sanders ’s say that they are excited only by their top choice."
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.: CEOs for president Warren: The Business Roundtable throws shareholders under the bus, even if just for show.
Rana Foroohar: The trouble with American tourism: With locals too broke to take a break and trade tensions deterring foreign visitors, the economic effects could be dire.
According to a recent survey by insurance group Allianz, only 42 percent of Americans say they’ll be taking a summer holiday this year, the lowest since 2013.
Financial concerns are the main reason: of those not going away this summer, 44 percent said they did not have the money.
Phil Gramm and John F. Early: Americans are richer than we think: Our flawed measures of inflation understate wealth and improvements in consumer well-being.
Brigadoon Cincinnati 2019 | Salon Dinner
Brigadoon is bringing together a peerless group of entrepreneurs and thought leaders for our second annual event in Cincinnati, Ohio.
We will gather for a special dinner at Sotto on Thursday, October 24.
More details + tickets - here.
Qantas tests 20-hour non-stop flights to see if passengers can bear it.
Daimler AG plans to build Mercedes Benz-branded heavy trucks in China by revamping truck plants owned by its local joint venture.
Alex Webb: Berlusconi battles billionaire to build Netflix rival: Two tycoons are fighting over Mediaset again. The outcome could determine the prospects for a southern European challenger to Netflix.
Bloomberg: Apple readies camera-focused pro iPhones, new iPads, larger MacBook Pro
The iPhone maker is weeks away from revamping its most important products.
Battle of the bubbles: Bloomberg reports, the early darling of fizzy water is losing ground to big soda, and shareholders are questioning its management.
LaCroix is still the king of the sparkling water aisle, but the competition is crowding in. Last year, PepsiCo Inc. released Bubly, a sparkling water backed by a marketing arsenal that LaCroix has struggled to match. In 2017, Coca-Cola Co. paid $220 million for Topo Chico, a Mexican mineral water with a cult following. Meanwhile, a legion of startups has rolled out “craft” sparkling water brands that promote artisanal ingredients, antioxidant boosts, and cannabidiol infusions. LaCroix’s sales for the four weeks ended July 14 fell more than 15% from the prior-year period, even as its main competitor, Bubly, saw sales surge 96%, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
How to turn an iPhone into a work-only tool: To prevent distractions, Conor Dougherty, an economics writer, dumped social media and anything fun — even his browser — from his smartphone. https://nyti.ms/2Zc6bIQ
Filthy rich: Why the awful antics of Succession are so addictive: The slick, anti-aspirational drama about a rich Murdoch-esque empire shouldn’t be quite this compulsive but it remains an odd fascination. http://bit.ly/2Z497Hg
Eminem publisher sues Spotify claiming massive copyright breach, "unconstitutional" law: THR reports, Eight Mile Style alleges "Lose Yourself" and many of the rapper's hits aren't licensed by the streamer. Now comes a suit eyeing Spotify's billions.
WP: Tigers beat Astros in biggest MLB upset in recent history
"Bet Labs is calling the biggest MLB upset since 2005, at least in terms of the moneyline, the Tigers were able to scratch out two solo homers against Verlander in a 2-1 win."
The 'Formula One' secret behind Tom Brady's time-cheating dominance: The 42-year-old quarterback is among the NFL’s best and he’s shown little sign of slowing down. How does he do it? http://bit.ly/2Z6vSdP
College football's AP preseason poll is out:
5. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.