Good morning, Q-MHI readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
The UK could announce new sanctions on Russia. Prime minister Theresa May will chair a National Security Council meeting to discuss the fatal poisoning of a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. May is under pressure to take action against Moscow.
May told parliament that either the Russian state was directly responsible for the poisoning or it had allowed the nerve agent to get into the hands of others. London has given Russia until the end of Tuesday to explain its use.British officials had identified the substance as being part of the Novichok group of nerve agents that were developed by the Soviet military during the 1970s and 1980s, May said.
The Bombay Stock Exchange makes it easier to buy stocks.Starting today, investors will no longer be charged transaction fees for stocks on the Sensex 30 index, which includes India’s most highly valued companies. The move was made to entice individual investors.
The Church of Scientology launches a TV channel. The Scientology Network will premiere on channels such as Apple TV and DirecTV, and launch an app. “It’s TIME for us to tell OUR story…” the church tweeted, without giving further details about the channel’s content.
OVER THE WEEKEND
Five people died when their helicopter crashed into the East River in New York. The helicopter went down near Roosevelt Island on Sunday evening, killing all five passengers; the pilot was able to free himself and was rescued by a tugboat. The helicopter had been chartered for a photo shoot.
The EU and Japan pushed to be exempted from US tariffs. In Brussels, European Union and Japanese trade officials lobbied their US counterparts (paywall) for exclusion from Donald Trump’s new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The EU says it will slap $3.5 billion on products imported from the US if it does not receive a waiver.
Xi Jinping became president for life. The National People’s Congress voted to abolish the two-term, 10-year limit for presidents on Sunday, paving the way for Xi Jinping to rule China for the foreseeable future. Only two delegates, out of almost 3,000, voted against the measure.
A scandal surrounding Japan’s prime minister deepened. Japan’s finance ministry confirmed media reports that it had altered documents connected to a public land sale at the heart of a cronyism scandal. Akie Abe, wife of the prime minister, was reportedly one of the names deleted from the documents.The scandal emerged early last year. At the time, Abe said he would resign if evidence showed that he or his wife had done favors for Moritomo. His wife stepped down as the school’s “honorary principal.” The issue then faded after the summer due to a lack of evidence.
Elizabeth Warren ruled out running for US president. The senator from Massachusetts confirmed she would not seek the Democratic nomination in 2020. She is expected to win reelection in 2018, but has consistently tried to curb speculation on any White House aspirations. Donald Trump mocked Warren during a weekend rally, again referring to her as “Pocahontas.”
Q-MHI OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Abdi Latif Dahir on what China’s growing presence in Africa might mean for the US. “China has eclipsed the US in Africa in many ways: providing loans, financing much-needed infrastructure, competing for resources like oil and minerals, increasing its trade share, and spreading its ideological influence.”
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Astrology is a form of escapism. In tumultuous times, there’s an increasing willingness among young people in particular to question the arranged order.Many people over the age of 35 will have grown up with astrology as a form of light entertainment: big, cartoonish, campy personalities like Mystic Meg and Russell Grant, hidden away in the back pages of newspapers and women’s magazines, picking lucky numbers and promising the intervention of tall, dark, handsome strangers. But the women (and men) who Broadly speaks to may have a different grasp of astrology. That’s why traffic to the site’s horoscopes is growing so rapidly.
A prestigious reputation could be a liability for companies in discrimination lawsuits. Activist investors and the media are more willing to make an example of firms that have a “halo” to tarnish.For Google, the “halo effect” from its high-prestige could be an advantage in defending against these lawsuits. But should Google be found liable, that halo could quickly become a liability, opening the company to the risk of severe punishment and harsh criticism.
Transgender activism will lead to a backlash. Advocates must be careful to use accurate language to describe the issue.Consider an illuminating contrast highlighted in Ryan T. Anderson’s informative, provocative, but also obnoxiously titled and sometimes rhetorically reckless new book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. In 2005, the advocacy and lobbying group Human Rights Campaign described the gender dysphoria that accompanies the desire to transition medically from one gender to another as a person’s “discomfort from the strong internal sense that their true gender identity does not match their physical sex.”
Tesla needs a valet. It wants a manager of “exceptional ability” to fix its California HQ parking problems.Tesla’s parking situation—both at the the factory and its headquarters in Palo Alto—is notoriously disastrous. The Palo Alto space has about 600 parking spaces for an undisclosed number of employees, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), while the Fremont location has 4,500 spots for 6,000 employees.
Black Panther is now Marvel’s fifth billion-dollar movie. After a strong opening in China, the superhero blockbuster became the 33rd movie ever to gross 10 digits. Fifteen other Disney films have that honor, as well as four other Marvel movies: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: Civil War.It took Black Panther just 26 days to hit $1 billion, which puts the movie right in the middle of a pack led by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12 days) and brought up in the rear by Jurassic Park (7,379 days).
A Canadian woman will appear on the country’s banknotes for the first time. Viola Desmond, who was arrested and fined for sitting in the whites section of a cinema, This week, Canada unveiled its first $10 Canadian dollar featuring a portrait of Desmond. Although she passed away in 1965, her sister Wanda Robson appeared at the ceremony in her stead.
Japan’s lack of gun fatalities is about more than just laws. For gang members, it is more honorable to fight with a more difficult weapon.In 1982, John Beck—a strategy advisor and former business professor at Harvard and UCLA—was a 22-year-old Harvard student working on his thesis on juvenile crime in Japan.“Their reasons for remaining gun-free revolved around some loosely held concept of honor,” Beck says.Not so for the Japanese, who were accustomed to samurai skills and martial arts as depiction of courageous, honorable ways to take down an enemy. Choosing a more difficult weapon placed value on the fight itself, rather than merely its result.
North Korea will launch two slick TV dramas. One depicts farmers battling Japanese soldiers as they attempt to “steal ginseng from the people.”while the other will be about a secret agent fighting “evil enemies” attempting to destroy the country. The struggle against the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula, which ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Japanese Empire in World War II, is fertile ground for North Korean television drama, with Japanese characters commonly portrayed as a greedy and brutal occupying force.
Central Television is a daily diet of programming aimed at glorifying the Kim family regime and a military-first society.Even children’s programmes carry messages of party loyalty and patriotism; while adult viewers are never more than a few minutes away from martial music or images of the country’s leadership and military might.