Good morning, Q-MHI readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
“Davos in Dalian” begins. The World Economic Forum’s annual summer meeting in China kicks off, with discussions focused on innovation and technology. In his opening remarks, premier Li Keqiang echoed president Xi Jinping’s January speech in Davos that praised globalization.
Janet Yellen speaks in London. The US Fed chair is unlikely to announce any change of strategy on US interest rates, but investors hope she will maintain an upbeat tone despite recent weak US economic data.
Google braces for a huge EU fine. Its parent company, Alphabet, is set to be slapped with a fine of well over $1 billion (paywall) by the EU’s competition watchdog for breaking antitrust rules by tweaking search results to favor its comparison-shopping service over others. The EU’s previous record for an antitrust fine was $1.18 billion, levied on Intel in 2009.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
The US warned Syria against another chemical weapons attack. In a statement, the White House said it has observed “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack” from the Assad regime and told Syria it would “pay a heavy price” if the government goes ahead with it. It’s not clear how the US detected the plans.
The president of Brazil was charged with corruption. The nation’s federal prosecutor accused Michel Temer of accepting $11 million (paywall) in bribes from the Batista family conglomerate in exchange for assistance with its business dealings. The case will proceed to trial if two-thirds of the lower house votes in favor.
An 11th-hour twist in the Toshiba chip-sale tale. Toshiba’s semiconductor partner Western Digital put in a last-minute bid for the Japanese firm’s memory-chip unit to block it from selling the business to its preferred bidder—a group led by the Japanese government. This is Western Digital’s second bid, and Toshiba’s board is slated to meet today to discuss their options.
Three CNN journalists resigned after retracting a piece about Russia. Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris left their posts after publishing a story linking financier and Trump transition-team member Anthony Scaramucci to Russia-related investigations, which CNN later retracted. Scaramucci tweeted that he accepted CNN’s apology.
Q-MHI OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Leah Fessler on what conference rooms reveal about a company’s culture. “Two weeks ago, in an act of somewhat desperate symbolism, Uber board member Arianna Huffington announced that the ride-sharing service was renaming its ‘War Room’ the ‘Peace Room’ as part of a broader effort to reform its tarnished image.”
MATTERS OF DEBATE
The back-pain industry is a $100 billion hoax. Massages, chiropractors, painkillers, and injections obscure a simple solution: moving around.
Vladimir Putin is the greatest Russian in history. Polls show the public’s esteem for their president keeps on rising.
Hufflepuffs are the best. It’s time to rethink the humble, hardworking heroes of the Harry Potter novels.
Salvador Dali’s body is being exhumed. DNA is needed to settle a paternity suit filed by a Spanish tarot card reader who claims she’s the artist’s daughter.
Facebook’s AI created its own language. Chatbots veered from their human-coded scripts while talking among themselves—turns out they’re great negotiators.
Climate change is spreading Lyme disease. Ticks carrying the disease are traveling farther and reproducing faster due to warm winters.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless snail mind. Scientists found a way to delete snails’ associative memories, which may have implications for humans with PTSD.
Even ancient Greeks thought society’s best days were behind them. Athenian plays were rife with comic nostalgia.