Belt and Road Forum

NFL Draft, Belt and Road Forum, Japanese Scientists, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Lululemon, Jazz Fest

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What I am watching today = April 25, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


✔️ Brexit stirs Scottish call for new independence vote

✔️ Japan creates first artificial crater on asteroid

✔️ Joe Biden launches bid for White House

✔️ Ford Motor Co. will invest $500 million in Rivian Automotive Inc.

✔️ Jazz Fest at 50


My 2019 NFL Mock Draft

First Round

1. Arizona Cardinals - Scottsdale is cool in your 60s, not so much in your 20s.

2. San Francisco 49ers - You'll have a chance to invest in the next Theranos.

3. New York Jets - "No, we are the Jets. Not the Giants."

4. Oakland Raiders - "It's actually crazier in the locker room."

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ybor City looks fun.

6. New York Giants - The fourth most valuable franchise in the NFL.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - "Jacksonville, do you believe in miracles?" - that was 23 years ago.

8. Detroit Lions - At least "The Captain" Steve Yzerman is back in town.

9. Buffalo Bills - You'll love Toronto.

10. Denver Broncos - It's the Vic Fangio era. Enough said.

11. Cincinnati Bengals - Love that WKRP and chili on spaghetti. Amazing.

12. Green Bay Packers - "No way. Aaron Rodgers is not a diva. No way."

13. Miami Dolphins - You'll wish you worked at a Hard Rock.

14. Atlanta Falcons - "One of our players married a Real Housewife of Atlanta!"

15. Washington Redskins - Only the White House is more poorly managed in this town.

16. Carolina Panthers - The floppy hair and khakis capital.

17. New York Giants - The ninth most valuable professional sports franchise in the world.

18. Minnesota Vikings - Still a spectacular stadium.

19. Tennessee Titans - "Did we tell you Vince Young appeared on the cover art for the Madden NFL 08?"

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Playoff appearances = 1947, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

21. Seattle Seahawks - Seahawk is another name for Osprey.

22. Baltimore Ravens - Have you had a crab cake sandwich?

23. Houston Texans - Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly are fans.

24. Oakland Raiders - Peaking for Las Vegas!

25. Philadelphia Eagles - "Yes, Gritty is more horrifying in person."

26. Indianapolis Colts - The owner just bought the piano used by John Lennon for 'Sgt. Pepper' album.

27. Oakland Raiders - Three picks in the first round, still won't matter.

28. Los Angeles Chargers - High schools in Texas have more fans in the stands.

29. Seattle Seahawks - Some QBs give watches, Russell Wilson gives linemen Amazon stock.

30. Green Bay Packers - "Seriously. Aaron Rodgers is not a diva."

31. Los Angeles Rams - Headquartered in Agoura Hills, California. You know the place where the filming of the M.A.S.H TV series took place.

32. New England Patriots - Denting the Vince Lombardi Trophy?!? Did Gronk just put a curse on the team?!?


Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader strategy for executives and entrepreneurs working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.


Brexit stirs Scottish call for new independence vote: WSJ reports, Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said she would seek another referendum on secession. The head of the Scottish government called for another referendum on secession from the UK within two years if Brexit goes ahead, saying independence would allow Scotland to keep its place in the European Union.

Therese Raphael: Watch out, UK Conservatives. Nigel Farage is coming after you. His new Brexit Party seeks seats in the European Parliament, but his larger ambition is realigning British politics.

FT: Hammond to seek UK deals in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

The chancellor to lobby for British companies to provide finance or engineering expertise.

Belt and Road forum: China's 'project of the century' hits tough times: Guardian reports, a raft of countries including Turkey have refused to attend latest summit amid growing concern about debt diplomacy.

Belt and Road Forum: Is the China-Pakistan economic corridor failing? DW reports, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is participating in the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing amid reports that the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is not really moving forward.

Spy chiefs in uproar over leak from secret Huawei talks: The Times, an unprecedented leak from highly confidential talks with senior ministers about the Chinese telecoms company Huawei has caused outrage among spy chiefs. There were calls for an inquiry after reports emerged of a meeting at which Theresa May was said to have given Huawei approval 

Catalonia: The crisis at the heart of Spain's election: Reuters reports, proudly displaying two Spanish flags he brought to wave at a Vox rally, retired police officer Jose Antonio Corrales Sierra says he will vote for the far-right party in Sunday's election and is ditching the mainstream PP conservatives because of Catalonia.

France's Macron to unveil long-awaited reform plan: AFP reports, Macron will unveil Thursday his long-awaited response to nearly six months of street protests as he lays out reform plans that could prove decisive for his political future. Macron, 41, swept to power in 2017 on hopes he would be a youthful breath of fresh air for France.

In rare move, French warship passes through Taiwan Strait: Reuters reports, a French warship passed through the strategic Taiwan Strait this month, U.S. officials told Reuters, a rare voyage by a vessel of a European country that is likely to be welcomed by Washington but increase tension with Beijing.

AFP: China says navy warned off French warship in Taiwan Strait

"The Chinese military sent warships in accordance with the law, in order to identify the French ship, and warn it to sail away," Ren Guoqiang said at a monthly press briefing.

FT - Editorial: A US-China trade deal will not resolve all the tensions: The world’s long-term future depends on managing this relationship.


New missile gap leaves US scrambling to counter China: Reuters reports, American aircraft carriers are the backbone of US military supremacy in Asia. But Xi Jinping's upgraded Rocket Force could render them obsolete in a conflict with China.

Nikkei: Xi poses a riddle and reignites speculation about his successors

Talk of a 'President Chen Min'er' and 'Premier Hu Chunhua' swirl in capital.

Why would Xi Jinping allow himself to be seen flanked by Chen Min'er and Hu Chunhua? Perhaps to prepare for a political battle that is still more than three years away.

LAT: After Trump walked out on him, North Korea’s Kim meets with Putin in Russia

Putin, Kim summit shows Kremlin’s increasing political dominance
: WP reports, the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a stark signal to the United States that the Kremlin can wield influence over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

OTD: In 1945 the San Francisco Conference began, at which the UN Charter was drafted.


Measles outbreak in US is largest since disease was declared eliminated: NYT reports, the outbreak, linked to skepticism about vaccines, has led to extraordinary measures, including $1,000 fines and bans on unvaccinated children in public.

Japan creates first artificial crater on asteroid: AFP reports, Japanese scientists have succeeded in creating what they called the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, a step towards shedding light on how the solar system evolved, the country's space agency said Thursday. The announcement comes after the Hayabusa2 probe fired an explosive device at the Ryugu asteroid early this month to blast a crater in the surface and scoop up material, aiming to reveal more about the origins of life on Earth.


NYT: Trump vows stonewall of ‘all’ House subpoenas

Deutsche Bank hands over Donald Trump loan documents
: reports: DW reports, the German lender has started providing files to New York authorities related to funding of Trump projects. Investigators are interested in Deutsche Bank as it is one of the few banks to lend to the Trump Organization.

Steven L. Hall: ‘No collusion’? I managed Russia operations at the CIA. Read between the lines.

"Counterintelligence investigations don’t always result in charges. Just ask Felix Bloch."

Jonathan Bernstein: The resistance is coming from inside the White House: Trump staffers are already known to ignore the president, and it’s a tendency that will only continue.

Pence hits the road to save new Trump trade deal: FT reports, the vice-president seeks to rally support for an agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Biden enters 2020 Democratic presidential race: WSJ reports, former Vice President Joe Biden said he would seek the Democratic nomination in 2020, launching a third bid for the White House as a blue-collar stalwart in a party hungry to defeat President Trump.

Biden is running for president, after months of hesitation: NYT reports, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has stayed on the sideline while his record has been scrutinized. His entry has the potential to reshape the Democratic primary contest.

Joe Biden launches bid for White House: FT reports, the former vice-president faces big questions over age, gaffes and his behavior around women.

Joe Biden enters the presidential race, testing whether his time has come — or come and gone: LAT reports, Joe Biden launches a third bid for the presidency at the age of 76, and his entry could give new shape to the sprawling candidate field.

Joe Biden jumps into crowded 2020 race: WP reports, the former vice president, who is making his third bid for the Democratic nomination, took direct aim at President Trump and declared that “we are in the battle for the soul of this nation.”

Biden is a first-tier candidate.

My top Dem buddy strategist thinks Beto is the dude to beat.

US broadcaster under scrutiny for disseminating propaganda: WSJ reports, federal officials are scrutinizing the US government’s Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, established to promote democratic values abroad, after complaints it has distributed propaganda favorable to authoritarian regimes in Central Asia. 


Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank ended merger talks.

Walmart’s British arm is blocked from merger with UK supermarket: WSJ reports, regulators blocked the proposed merger between Walmart’s British grocery unit and rival J Sainsbury citing competition concerns, meaning the US retail giant must now find ways to drive stand-alone growth for Asda in the UK’s highly competitive retail market.

Facebook set aside $3 billion for an expected fine from the Federal Trade Commission over privacy issues, cutting into profit even as its underlying business remained strong.

Tesla on Wednesday that it lost $702 million in the first quarter, a sharp reversal from the profits it made in the second half of last year. 

Musk signals Tesla cash call after burning through $1.5 billion: FT reports, the carmaker indicates readiness to raise outside capital after net loss of $702m in first quarter.

Huawei hits out at claims of state control through 'employee' stake: Nikkei reports, the staff lack direct ownership interest, admits executive, but have rights of shareholders.

Chinese companies face surging write-offs: Nikkei reports, after a global investment spree, impairments weigh on tech and energy companies.

Reuters: Volkswagen plans electric vehicle plant with JAC in China: local government

Ford Motor Co. will invest $500 million in Rivian Automotive Inc., aligning the maker of the industry-leading F-Series pickup line with an upstart that’s electrifying gas-guzzling trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Lululemon to launch line of grooming products.

Bloomberg: Microsoft poised to top $1 trillion in value, beating Amazon and Apple

Microsoft gained 5.2 percent in pre-market trading after its third-quarter earnings.


Jazz Fest at 50: The stubbornness and joy of New Orleans: NYT reports, over a half-century, the eclectic and beloved live-music and food event has grown inseparable from the cultural ecosystem of its hometown.

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.