Japan, Taiwan, Venezuela, Kamala Harris, McDonald’s, Telemedicine

MRD July.png

What I am watching today = April 2, 2019

Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

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


✔️ WTO warns of ‘strong headwinds’ in global trade

✔️ Politically, no one knows how Brexit will end

✔️ Japan's big banks to slash hiring of new graduates due to automation

✔️ Kamala Harris raised $12 million in Q1

✔️ Julian Dunkerton is back at Superdry


Brigadoon Remote.

Details coming soon.



FT: WTO warns of ‘strong headwinds’ in global trade

Economists forecast growth of just 2.6% this year as US-China spat and volatility bite.

Saudis vs. Bezos: Fortune reports, Jeff Bezos's security chief, Gavin de Becker, has reported back on the leak to the National Enquirer of the Amazon chief's sexts with his mistress. De Becker reckons the Saudi authorities hacked Bezos's phone as revenge for the Bezos-owned Washington Post giving heavy coverage to the Saudis' murder of Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for the paper. He said it remains unclear whether Enquirer publisher AMI knew about the Saudis' involvement; the paid source was the mistress's brother.

"Japan's Tankan business sentiment survey showed weaker manufacturing sentiment. Sentiment is generally influenced by the media news cycle. Sensationalism in media is poorly filtered. Media reporting of the trade tensions has an impact. However, capital spending plans were better than expected. Capital spending was a major driver of weaker growth globally late last year." -- Paul Donovan of UBS.

Infectious form of African swine fever virus detected for first time in Japan, in meat from China: Japan Times, the agriculture ministry said the discovery of the virus has prompted a decision to strengthen measures against illegal imports of livestock products.

Ken Rapoza: Taiwan just became a huge variable in the China trade war

Defense contractors will love this order. Those who would like to see the trade war end, won’t love it as much.

Taiwan could creep into trade talks, becoming a greater variable than the South China Sea issue ever was.

Remember kids, it isn't a US-China trade war, it is a US-China geopolitical war.

Venezuela crisis: Opposition's Guaidó awaits army support: BBC reports, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has acknowledged that there can only be a change of government with the support of the armed forces. 

‘Time for tougher deterrence from China’ as US steps up patrols in South China Sea: SCMP reports, China should reinforce “deterrence facilities” in the South China Sea as the United States and its allies mount a bigger challenge in the contested waters, a prominent Chinese specialist said. 

'Killer dust' pollutes South Korea's relations with China: Nikkei reports, Beijing rebuffs Moon's attempt to share blame for deteriorating air.

Nikkei: South Korea's 5G head start puts Samsung in pole position

OTD: In 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands.

Barnier warns no-deal Brexit is increasingly likely: FT reports, EU chief negotiator says ‘strong justification’ is needed from UK for a long extension.

EU's Barnier: May deal is the only path to orderly Brexit: DW reports, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has told UK lawmakers that — if they want an orderly Brexit — Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement is the only show in town.

FT: Theresa May weighs fourth vote on Brexit deal

Politically, no one knows how Brexit will end.

Rob Mudge: Brexit — 'Theresa through the looking glass': The UK government's handling of the Brexit process is growing increasingly shambolic by the day. Any semblance of control has gone out of the window.

NATO at 70: Europe fears tensions will outlast Trump: FT reports, as the military alliance celebrates its anniversary, America’s commitment is being questioned.

NATO is preparing to bolster its power on its front lines against Russia by boosting support to non-members Ukraine and Georgia and building up its arsenal in eastern Poland.


Telemedicine + urgent care use on the rise: STAT reports, a new white paper released today from the nonprofit FAIR Health looked at medical pricing and other health care trends from 2012 to 2017 and found that people in the US used more telehealth services and urgent care centers in 2017 than during the previous year. Here’s a closer look at the report’s findings:

Telehealth: Use of telemedicine services grew nationally by 53 percent between 2016 and 2017, with 55 percent growth in urban areas and 29 percent growth in rural areas. Oklahoma had the most telehealth usage, New Jersey the least.

Urgent care centers: The use of urgent care centers in urban areas increased by 15 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while staying the same in rural areas. The average price per 30-minute visit was most expensive for urgent care centers, at $213, compared to $207 in a doctor’s office and $129 in a retail clinic.

Goals and rewards redraw the brain’s map of the world: Two new studies show that the brain’s navigation system changes how it represents physical space to reflect personal experience. http://bit.ly/2JW6EYq

New York City embraced congestion pricing. Will other cities follow? New York’s decision to charge drivers to enter Manhattan’s most congested neighborhoods may embolden cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

A robot walks into a bar, doesn’t get the joke: struggling to teach humor to AI https://lat.ms/2JYRilK 

Japan's big banks to slash hiring of new graduates in 2020 due to automation: Japan Times, major lender MUFG Bank plans to hire only 530 new graduates next April, down about 45 percent from this year, according to informed sources. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. also plan to slash their hiring of new graduates.


Full Mueller: House Judiciary Committee said it will vote on Wednesday on whether to authorize subpoenas to obtain Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report.

The Guardian: Joe Biden's very bad week: has his White House run failed before it begins?

WSJ - Editorial: Joe Biden’s identity reckoning: He may have been VP, but he’s old, white, male and heterosexual.

Michelle Goldberg: The wrong time for Joe Biden: He’s not a sexual predator, but he is out of touch.

David Brooks: Why you love Mayor Pete: Buttigieg detaches progressive policy from the culture war.

In Buttigieg's last race for mayor, he only needed to secure 8,500 votes total to win the office. And it appears his biggest decision was whether or not open a main street to two-way traffic.

Kamala Harris of California raised $12 million in the first three months of 2019.

A Trump mutiny? Republican prospects warily eye 2020 presidential run: LAT reports, Bill Weld is exploring the possibility of challenging President Trump and John Kasich and Larry Hogan aren't ruling it out. But the odds facing them are steep.

One of the GOP’s brightest female stars is dogged by Trump in 2020: Politico reports, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst will have to outrun the president, whose trade war has damaged his standing in the state.

Plastic bag ban: New York will become the second state after California to ban (most) single-use plastic bags starting in March 2020. NYC residents use 71,000 tons of nonbiodegradable plastic bags annually, and according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the bags “have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways.” Small business and retail trade groups criticized the policy.

Royal Dutch Shell said it had found “material misalignment” over climate policy with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and would quit the body in 2020.


Seat to lead Volkswagen’s drive into cheap electric cars: FT reports, Spanish brand aims to produce electric vehicles costing less than €20,000.

FT - Editorial: Consolidation is key for the automotive industry: Declines in sales and the rise of electric vehicles make tie-ups a must.

Kellogg is reportedly nearing a deal to sell its Keebler, Famous Amos and fruit snacks businesses to Nutella-owner Ferrero for between $1B-$1.5B.

Airbnb buys stake in Indian hotel start-up Oyo: FT reports, Oyo, the fast-growing Indian hotel franchise, has raised over $100m from US room-booking site Airbnb, giving fresh firepower for its international expansion drive. Founded in 2013 by then 19-year-old university dropout Ritesh Agarwal, Oyo has become the world’s most rapidly expanding hotel chain, adding more than 700 properties each month.

Bitcoin burst to its highest level in almost five months on Tuesday, sending smaller cryptocurrencies up, with analysts ascribing the move to a major order by an anonymous buyer that triggered a frenzy of computer-driven trading.

P&G drafts video game team to boost brand with esports fans: Cincinnati Business Courier reports, Procter & Gamble Co. assembled a team of 11 Twitch streamers from around the world to represent the Gillette brand and create content for viewers of increasingly popular electronic sports, also known as esports.

Superdry has lost a bitter battle against Julian Dunkerton after shareholders narrowly voted in favor of the reappointment of the co-founder and former chief executive.

Whatsapp targets fake messages ahead of India mega-election: AFP reports, WhatsApp launched a hotline Tuesday allowing Indians to flag rumors circulating ahead of the upcoming election, a major concern in a country where fake news has fuelled violence.

McDonald’s of the future: McDonald’s just made the Big Mac of acquisitions with its purchase of Dynamic Yield, a Tel Aviv-based startup that provides retailers with “decision logic” technology. It’s the biggest buy the brand has made since 1999 and digs into the customization boom heating up the restaurant business. But with fast food restaurants fighting over the spotlight, will the tech tactic be enough to cook up sustainable consumer attention for McDonald’s? http://bit.ly/2JVPaLK

Burger King deal fuels plant-based meat group: FT reports, Silicon Valley start-up Impossible looks to raise fresh funds after launching veggie Whopper.

Startups power Shenzhen's rise as high-tech hub: Nikkei reports, the city produces more than half of China's international patent filings.

Hal Brands: Google needs a lesson in patriotism: Alphabet shuns business with the Pentagon but is helping China develop artificial intelligence. 

Remember kids, it isn't a US-China trade war, it is a US-China tech war.


Algorithmic jackpot: The most-shared story on Facebook so far this year is a 119-word news brief posted to the US 105 FM New County radio station’s page. The post — “Suspected Human Trafficker, Child Predator May Be in Our Area.” — for whatever reason checked every box of the Facebook algorithm, which then accelerated the local crime brief to 800,000 shares on the platform, which is twice as high as any other English-language content of 2019.

'They're amazingly isolated': is social media making NBA players miserable? NBA commissioner says many of the stars he meets are unhappy. The criticism they face on Twitter and Instagram could be to blame.

These are the best places to own a vacation home in the US https://bloom.bg/2UtGWhO

"Summit Park -- the term for the micropolitan area -- ranked highest on Bloomberg’s Wealthiest US Vacation Havens Index. The area is home to the Park City, Silver Summit and Deer Valley resorts." 


Final 4 odds: The Virginia Cavaliers, Michigan State Spartans, Texas Tech Red Raiders and Auburn Tigers are the sole survivors of the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. According to FiveThirtyEight predictions, their chances of winning the championship in a week’s time are 41 percent (UVA), 28 percent (MSU), 22 percent (TX Tech) and 10 percent (Auburn), respectively. 

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.


Pakistan, Canada, Philippines, Japan, Venezuela, Netherlands

Marc Ross Daily February (1).png

Pakistan, Canada, Philippines, Japan, Venezuela, Netherlands

Marc Ross Daily
March 1, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Marc Ross Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


✔️ Japan grows nervous about the US

✔️ Russia vows to continue support for Venezuela

✔️ The MBA myth and the cult of the CEO

✔️ This is what peak car looks like

✔️ MA bill would ban tackle football until after seventh grade


WSJ: Pakistan to release captured Indian pilot, easing tensions

Chinese factories
: Factory activity in China has been plummeting thanks to falling export orders. The latest PMI figures suggest activity has now contracted for three straight quarters, and is now at a three-year low. 

US readies final China trade deal as hawks urge caution: Bloomberg reports, debate continues in Washington over whether to push Beijing for more concessions.

Reuters: Trump warns he could abandon China trade deal as advisers tout progress

Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou retreats from public eye in Vancouver
: FT reports, founder’s daughter is under house arrest awaiting an extradition hearing to the US.

Canada seen approving extradition hearing against Huawei executive: Reuters reports, Canada is likely to announce on Friday that an extradition hearing against a Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive can proceed, legal experts said, worsening already icy relations with Beijing.

MSCI hands Chinese stocks bigger role in global markets: FT reports, the decision by the index provider could send up to $125bn into the Chinese market.

Reuters: Pompeo says world should have eyes wide open about Chinese tech risks

Pompeo pledges to defend Philippine forces in South China Sea
: WSJ reports, the Philippines shelved a planned review of its military alliance with the U.S. in return for a verbal commitment that American forces would defend the country’s vessels in the South China Sea, removing a major irritant between the longstanding partners.

Robert Kaplan: Japan grows nervous about the US: It fears China’s advance, America’s retreat, and South Korea and Taiwan becoming compromised. https://on.wsj.com/2EpHivV

France, Netherlands seek to douse Air France-KLM controversy: DW reports, the French and Dutch finance ministers have met amid tensions over the Netherlands' move to increase its stake in the airline. The share purchase had sparked concerns of a tug of war between the two governments.

Air France-KLM shows Dutch taste for French statism: FT reports, Dutch state stake in airline shows rise of industrial nationalism in EU.

The Times: US aims to include chlorinated chicken in UK trade deal

The United States has indicated that it will push to get food including chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef on to British supermarket shelves under a post-Brexit trade agreement.

AFP: Russia vows to continue support for Venezuela, including with aid

NYT: As Huawei’s influence in Canada grows, some fear spying. Others just want fast internet.

Trudeau’s party is behind him for now after bombshell testimony: Bloomberg reports, the Canadian prime minister plowed ahead Thursday after his former attorney general alleged, in explosive testimony aired on national television, that he interfered in the justice system by pressing to end a criminal case against an iconic Quebec construction firm. Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Trudeau insisted again his government had every right to consider the job losses that could result from a guilty verdict for SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

This Giant Beast That is the Global Economy official trailer: From the director of The Big Short and Vice and executive producer Will Ferrell comes an 8-part globe-spanning exploration of the most compelling topics impacting the global economy. Through the curious mind of host Kal Penn, see firsthand all the surprising ways the economy interconnects and impacts the lives of people all over the planet. Watch here: https://amzn.to/2ElBYcZ


Dan Rasmussen + Haonan Li: The MBA myth and the cult of the CEO: Three decades ago, an influential Harvard Business School professor made the argument that CEO pay should be tied to stock performance. Was he horribly wrong? http://bit.ly/2T8iSkG

"What if the “best and brightest” — those executives with the most dazzling CVs and track records — don’t perform any better than less credentialed executives?"

The Times: Polymaths wanted at London Interdisciplinary School, Britain’s first new university in 40 years

LIS is building a new university that prepares students to tackle the most important and complex problems.

For those who want to shape the world, not just fit in.

Dopamine: Beyond the rush of a reward: The neurotransmitter famously provides the thrill we get from a surprise, a phenomenon known as reward prediction error. But growing evidence suggests the chemical also tracks movement, novelty and other neurobiological factors. http://bit.ly/2T79o9i

The NFL is drafting quarterbacks all wrong: No franchise or GM has shown the ability to beat the draft over time, and economists Cade Massey and Richard Thaler have convincingly shown that the league’s lack of consistent draft success is likely due to overconfidence rather than an efficient market. https://53eig.ht/2TbPyKs

Email message I received from Google: "March 1–2 is National Day of Unplugging. So unwind and take a break from the screen. When you return, check out these apps that boost digital wellbeing."

David Welch + Keith Naughton: This is what peak car looks like: The automobile—once both a badge of success and the most convenient conveyance between points A and B—is falling out of favor in cities around the world as ride-hailing and other new transportation options proliferate and concerns over gridlock and pollution spark a reevaluation of privately owned wheels. Auto sales in the U.S., after four record or near-record years, are declining this year, and analysts say they may never again reach those heights. Worldwide, residents are migrating to megacities—expected to be home to two-thirds of the global population by midcentury—where an automobile can be an expensive inconvenience.


Garrett Graff: 5 key takeaways from Michael Cohen's prepared testimony to Congress http://bit.ly/2T5m9kJ

"The Trump Organization was a small family business—and the campaign was run like one. There were few serious executives or players either not named Trump or, in Jared Kushner’s case, married to one—and in terms of the Trump Organization, perhaps the only two meaningful staffers not named Trump, Cohen, and CFO Allen Weisselberg are both cooperating with investigators. It’s never seemed all that believable that Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner—three central figures who were with him every day, people who were in constant contact with him and in constant competition for his affection and gratitude—would have hosted a meeting a meeting in Trump Tower, the building where the candidate lived and worked, with Russians promising gifts and not mention it either before, during, or after."

Peggy Noonan: Michael Cohen makes history: There’s no precedent for such an attack on the essential nature of an American president. https://on.wsj.com/2EpHnQf

NYT: Trump ordered officials to give Jared Kushner a security clearance

Trump overruled concerns from intelligence officials and the top White House lawyer about giving his son-in-law access to sensitive information, four people briefed on the matter said.

Democrats vow to investigate White House security clearances: FT reports, top lawmakers show concern over report of Trump intervention for son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Holman Jenkins: The media will re-elect Trump: They would rather believe tall tales about Russia than hear what voters said in 2016. https://on.wsj.com/2ElznzQ

LAT: Democrats, facing a big candidate field, ask: Who is most electable over Trump?

Election 2020: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee enters 2020 presidential race

Jay Inslee is a fourth tier candidate.

Election 2020: Crystal Ball Electoral College ratings:

-- Crystal Ball's initial Electoral College ratings reflect a 2020 presidential election that starts as a Toss-up.

-- Crystal Ball starts with 248 electoral votes at least leaning Republican, 244 at least leaning Democratic, and 46 votes in the Toss-up category.

-- The omissions from the initial Toss-up category that readers may find most surprising are Florida and Michigan.

-- Much of the electoral map is easy to allocate far in advance: About 70% of the total electoral votes come from states and districts that have voted for the same party in at least the last five presidential elections.

OTD: In 1872 Yellowstone, America’s first national park, was established to protect 2.2 million acres in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.


Walt Disney Co. is in active discussions with AT&T Inc. to acquire the 10 percent stake in Hulu that is currently controlled by WarnerMedia.

AMC Theatres' Stubs A-List program, the subscription service that allows customers to see three movies a week for $19.95 a month, has hit 700,000 subscribers.

Luckin Coffee, which has ambitions to overtake Starbucks in China this year, has tapped three banks including Credit Suisse to work on a US IPO, Reuters reports. The Beijing-based startup, which is targeting a valuation of about $3B, opened over 2,000 cafes last year and aims to launch 2,500 new outlets in 2019. Luckin is said to have chosen New York for the listing, as Hong Kong generally requires IPO applicants to have a track record of three financial years.

Gap said it plans to split itself into two independent publicly traded companies, one unnamed company consisting of the iconic Gap brand and Old Navy.

Tesla said it would begin shutting stores and move to selling vehicles only over the internet.

Tesla cuts price on Model 3 again to $35,000.

Royole displays flexible approach to foldable phones: NIkkei reports, startup takes on Samsung, Huawei with home-grown technology.

HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Plepler is stepping down in the wake of new owner AT&T seeking to put its own stamp on the premium cable channel. 

Come back to Queens: Open letter to Bezos from:

- Ajay Banga
- Ken Chenault
- James Gorman 
- Robin Hayes
- Joey Levin 
- Bill McDermott 
- Robert Rubin 
- Fred Wilson 
(and many more) 

To reverse the decision to pull New York campus. This full-page letter to run today in the NYT. 

See it here:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who was staggered by Amazon’s decision to pull out of its plans to come to New York City, is working intensely behind the scenes to lure the company back, even connecting with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, to make a personal pitch. 


Back to the water: After "Aquaman" smashed the box office last year with over $1 billion worldwide, a sequel was inevitable. On Wednesday, the studio Warner Bros. set its release date for December 16, 2022.

5 tips to starting a daily creative practicehttps://buff.ly/2sOfxaT 


The truth according to Zlatan: ‘I’m not an act,’ the Los Angeles Galaxy’s star striker declares as he begins his second season in Major League Soccer. ‘I am the real deal.’ https://nyti.ms/2EqelQs

He was absolutely not joking when, upon signing with the Galaxy last March, he bought a full-page advertisement in The Los Angeles Times.

“Dear Los Angeles,” it read. “You’re welcome.”

How FC Barcelona are preparing for the future of football: FT reports, science and sport intersect in the Catalan giant’s new ‘innovation hub.’ https://on.ft.com/2Enbyrf

Bryce Harper signs $330 million deal with Phillies.

Ross Rant Flashback: The Nats don't play in baseball town:

"the city is waking up to another Nats season cut short and not matching expectations. In a town full of type A personalities and high school class presidents, victory and success are deemed a birthright."


Massachusetts bill would ban tackle football until after seventh grade:  NYT reports, the bill, which moved to the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health this week, follows attempts by legislators in five other states who have tried — but failed — to pass similar measures to protect growing brains from traumatic injury. The bipartisan bill, known as No Hits, would impose financial penalties for any school league or other entity that does not comply.

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.