Good Day, Q-MHI readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Shinzo Abe visits Brussels. Japan’s prime minister will meet with EU leaders to discuss a trade deal in the wake of the aborted Trans-Pacific Partnership pact. Japan and the EU appear eager to promote free trade as the Trump administration embraces protectionism.
China’s Mobike goes global. The fast-growing startup is launching in Singapore today, opening a new front in China’s heated bike-sharing war. It plans to have its bikes rolling around 100 cities this year.
Nike and FedEx post their numbers. Analysts expect Nike, which was the worst-performing stock in the Dow last year, to have had a decent fiscal third quarter, thanks to rebounding sales. Investors will pick apart FedEx for signs of how much Amazon is already replacing it with its own Prime Now delivery service.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Ivanka Trump got an office in the West Wing. The daughter of the US president will be a regular presence in the White House, which raises ethical questions considering she has no official role in the administration. She’s also due to receive a security clearance and government-approved communication devices.
Emmanuel Macron aced the French presidential debate. The centrist independent candidate duked it out with far-right leader Marine Le Pen, overshadowing their socialist and conservative opponents in the TV debate. Macron accused Le Pen of “twisting the truth” about the rise of radical Islam. A snap poll found people felt Macron was the most convincing, with far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melechon in second place.
The US banned in-flight electronics on some Middle East routes. Authorities said the move was being taken for security reasons. Saudia Airlines and Royal Jordanian each tweeted that devices like laptops and iPads would not be allowed in the passenger cabin on flights to and from the US, though it appears that cell phones and medical devices are still OK.
Fox News benched their top legal analyst. Andrew Napolitano claimed that that Barack Obama had asked for British assistance in spying on Donald Trump during the latter’s presidential campaign. FBI director James Comey told lawmakers yesterday (paywall) there was no evidence for the claim, which Trump and his press secretary had each repeated.
Uber was sued for avoiding value added tax in the UK. A tax lawyer took the first step to start litigation against Uber, which he alleges owes hundreds of millions to the UK government. Most countries where Uber operates have some form of VAT, and the case could hurt the startup’s business model everywhere.
Q-MHI OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Tim Fernholz on space tourism companies who write their own safety rules. “Beyond ensuring that rockets won’t go totally awry, the FAA doesn’t tell space companies how to protect their passengers until they’ve already put them in danger… In the meantime, space tourists must opt in after receiving a written warning of the risks they face.”
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Startups should aspire to be zebras, not unicorns. Profits are just a starting point—the goal should be solving real, meaningful problems.
China cannot be the flag-bearer of economic globalization. The country’s domestic perils and lack of geopolitical dominance keep it from drawing up a coherent global strategy.
Donald Trump is immune to ridicule. His advisors, on the other hand, provide plenty of material for satire.
The US civil war produced a Bombay boom. Embargoes and blockades on the Confederate cotton crop turned India into a major exporter.
The Ganges and Yamuna rivers are worshipped by millions, but they are also heavily polluted
Indian rivers now have legal human status. Polluting the Ganges is now legally the same as harming a person.
Nearly half of Canadians want to deport asylum seekers. Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s welcoming immigration policies are not universally beloved.
Pop music makes for a great CPR playlist. The life-saving procedure can be timed to songs by Hanson, Missy Elliot, and Lynyrd Skynyrd
Japan is letting the elderly trade in their driver’s licenses for perks. Funeral home discounts and cut-price noodles are on offer.