Q-MHI Daily Brief ;

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The US agriculture secretary in China. Sonny Perdue’s trip marks the return of US beef exports to China after a 13-year ban due to mad-cow disease concerns. The US will also begin importing cooked Chinese chicken as part of a trade deal inked last month.

China’s powerful surveillance law goes into effect. The measure gives authorities new, largely unspecified powers to investigate foreign and domestic individuals and institutions. It also expands their ability to search premises and seize property.

Investors in big US banks hope for a nice windfall. The Federal Reserve will report on the second and final round of stress tests designed to ensure banks could keep lending even in a severe recession. It’s expected to give passing grades, clearing the way for banks to put their excess capital to use, including through dividend and buyback plans.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

A police helicopter attacked Venezuela’s Supreme Court.The government said that a rogue police pilot strafed the building and lobbed grenades at it. Political opponents of Nicolas Maduro, the nation’s increasingly authoritarian president, resent the court for strengthening his grip on power in a series of rulings—but some speculated the attack was staged to justify more repression by Maduro’s forces.

A Philips logo is seen at Philips headquarters in Amsterdam, January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos/File Photo

Philips added US-based Spectranetics to its healthcare roster. The Dutch company paid $2.6 billion for the cardiac-equipment maker, which has developed techniques like lasers and drug-covered balloons to clean the insides of clogged arteries. Philips’s latest acquisition further cements its position in the heart disease market.

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Under Macron, France’s consumer confidence reached a 10-year high. French president Emmanuel Macron has been in office for only one month and already people are feeling much more optimistic about their finances and willingness to make big purchases. Macron will launch his massive labor-market reform program today.

The “Petya” ransomware attack reached Australia. A Tasmanian Cadbury chocolate factory became the first business Down Under to report being hit by the malware, which has spread from Ukraine to Europe, the US, and Asia Pacific. Experts say the virus includes code called “Eternal Blue,” believed to be stolen from the NSA and also used in last month’s “WannaCry” cyber attack.

An activist investor uncovered three sellers behind Hong Kong’s $6 billion stock crash. Lerado Financial Group, China National Culture Group, and QPL International, which all dumped shares (paywall) on Tuesday, are members of the “Enigma” network, according to independent investor David Webb. Webb told Reuters he discovered the network, whose aim is to defraud investors through manipulating stocks, by researching annual reports and company disclosures.

Q-MHI OBSESSION INTERLUDE

The Nobel certificate and medal is seen on the empty chair where this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo would have sat, during the ceremony at Oslo City HallThe empty chair where 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, would have sat during the ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10, 2010.

Ilaria Maria Sala on China’s mistreatment of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. “A voice so free and capable of such sharp analysis should have been cherished by a developing country that, after becoming in the shortest imaginable time the second-largest economy in the world, has been trying to increase its ‘soft power’ and improve its image among people both near and far.”

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Amazon is desperately trying to beat the “wheel of retailing.” The Whole Foods deal is an attempt to disrupt the cyclical trap of incumbents toppled by low-priced competitors.

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SpaceX has proved its critics wrong. It’s hard to argue against an accelerating launch tempo and diversified client list.

Wealth managers are the driving force behind global inequality. Massive tax-dodging couldn’t happen without expert advice.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

“Thing” is now a thing in the Oxford English Dictionary. The reference to a “genuine or established phenomenon or practice” was first used in The West Wing.

The rock formation Trollpikken in Rogaland, western Norway.The broken rock formation Trollpikken in Rogaland, western Norway, 24 June 2017, after it has allegedly been vandalized during the night between 23 and 24 June.The broken rock formation Trollpikken in Rogaland, western Norway, 24 June 2017, after it has allegedly been vandalized during the night between 23 and 24 June.

Norwegians raised $10,000 to save a phallic rock formation. Cracks suggest the protruding tourist attractionwas recently vandalized.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport, 23 October 2014A tweet showing security personnel checking the engine of a China Southern Airlines flight for coins

A woman threw coins into a jet engine “for luck.” The Shanghai flight was evacuated and delayed for hours while technicians checked the engines.

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Mumbai has the world’s second-largest collection of Art Deco buildings. But almost no one notices—not even the residents of the buildings themselves.

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Warren Buffett has been paying income taxes since he was 14. Recently released returns show how the mega-billionaire began amassing wealth.

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