Good morning, Q-MHI readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Two huge storms on different sides of the world. The East Coast of the US will start feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence, now a Category 2 storm.The hurricane center said in its 8 p.m. advisory Thursday that Florence is centered about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 145 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and is moving at a speed of about 5 mph. Hurricane-force winds are blowing 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 195 miles from the eye.
Hurricane-force winds are moving closer to North Carolina’s Outer Banks and the southeastern part of the state, the NHC said. Florence’s center will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later Thursday. It will move near — or over — the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area Friday.”A slow motion across portions of eastern and central South Carolina is forecast Friday night through Saturday night,” the center said.
Forecasters warned that Florence is deadly because of its size and slow forward speed.”It truly is really about the whole size of this storm,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. “The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact — and we have that.”
Meanwhile, Super Typhoon Mangkhut barrels toward the Philippines, bringing winds of 165 mph.
Philippines officials have ordered evacuations and closed schools and offices as Typhoon Mangkhut approached, carrying sustained winds of 265km/h (165mph) and gusts of up to 325km/h (201mph). It was forecast to make landfall on Saturday.
Ricardo Jalad, the Philippines civil defence chief, told an emergency meeting led by the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, that about 4.2 million people in Cagayan, nearby Isabela province and outlying provincial regions were vulnerable to the most destructive effects near the typhoon’s 125km-wide eye.
Nearly 48,000 houses in those high-risk areas are made of light materials and vulnerable to Mangkhut’s ferocious winds. Residents across the northern regions have covered glass windows with wooden boards, strengthened houses with rope and braces and moved fishing boats to safety.
The Philippine Red Cross said its emergency workers were on standby for Magkhut, which is known as Ompong in the Philippines. Richard Gordon, its chairman, said: “We’re worried for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm, including those who have been displaced several times due to the monsoon rains last July and August.”
Farmers are racing to harvest their crops before the storm hits, with northern Cagayan province to first to be affected.
With a massive rain band 900km (560 miles) wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the storm could bring “heavy to intense” rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, Mendoza said.After leaving the Philippines, the fast-moving storm is expected to blow toward southern China on Sunday if it maintains its course, forecasters said.
Manuel Mamba, the governor of Cagayan, said northern coastal and island villages were being evacuated on Thursday ahead of the expected onslaught. He said classes in schools would be suspended Thursday and offices, except those involved in rescue and relief work, would be advised to close on Friday.
Pope Francis meets US bishops to discuss the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal. A delegation from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops will meet the pope in Rome to discuss what the Vatican knew about misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The pope’s top adviser on clergy sex abuse, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, will attend.
Di Nardo has said he wants Francis to authorize a full-fledged Vatican investigation into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was removed as cardinal in July after a credible accusation that he groped a teenager.
The Vatican has known since at least 2000 that McCarrick would invite seminarians to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed.
And yet St. John Paul II made him archbishop of Washington and a cardinal in 2001, presumably because Vatican officials impressed by his fundraising prowess considered his past homosexual activity a mere “moral lapse” and not a gross abuse of power.
DiNardo has also said recent accusations that top Vatican officials – including the current pope – covered up for McCarrick since 2000 deserve answers.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said DiNardo and O’Malley would meet with Francis on Thursday in the Apostolic Palace. Also involved are two officials from the U.S. conference, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, according to a Vatican statement.
Specifically, Vigano accused Francis of rehabilitating McCarrick from canonical sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010. The Vatican hasn’t responded to the accusations, but presumably the “clarifications” it has promised will come sometime after Francis meets with the top U.S. church leadership this week.
Francis has refused to comment directly about Vigano’s claims, but nearly every day over the past two weeks his homily at morning Mass has seemed somewhat related to the scandal.
On Tuesday, he drew Satan into the fray, suggesting that the devil was behind Vigano’s revelations.
“In these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and has it in for bishops,” he said. “True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.”
Bishops, he said, should be men of prayer, and should know they were chosen by God and keep close to their flock.
In other eyebrow-raising comments Tuesday, a top aide to both Francis and Benedict said the sex abuse scandal was such a game-changing catastrophe for the church that it amounted to its “own 9/11.”
Archbishop Georg Gaenswein told a book presentation that he by no means was comparing the scandal to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the U.S. 17 years ago Tuesday, on Sept. 11, 2001.
But he said the years-long scandal, and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, showed just “how many souls have been wounded irrevocably and mortally by priests from the Catholic Church.”“Today, even the Catholic Church looks full of confusion at its own 9/11, at its own Sept. 11, even though this catastrophe isn’t associated with a single date but rather at so many days and years, and innumerable victims,” he said.
While no one has attacked churches with airplanes full of passengers, Gaenswein said, recent news from the U.S. “sends a message that is even more terrible than the sudden collapse of all the churches of Pennsylvania together with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.”
Gaenswein, who serves as secretary to Benedict and prefect of Francis’ papal household, was speaking at a presentation of a book by conservative American author Rod Dreher, who has been at the forefront in reporting on the McCarrick and Vigano scandals.
Gaenswein recalled that during a 2008 trip to the U.S., Benedict spoke from the National Shrine to denounce the “profound shame” and pain that abuse had caused the Catholic community. Benedict is credited with having turned around the Vatican on the issue of sex abuse while he was cardinal, forcing bishops around the world to send all their cases to him for review because they weren’t sanctioning abusers.
Gaenswein’s said Benedict’s admonition was “apparently in vain, as we see today.”
“Neither the lament of the Holy Father nor the formal assurances and commitments pledged by a large part of the hierarchy has been able to contain the evil,” he said.
The US rolls out inflation data. Economists expect to see a 2.4% year-over-year increase for core CPI, the preferred measure of inflation, in keeping with the previous month’s pace.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week sent an invitation to his Chinese counterparts for another meeting to discuss the U.S.-China trade agreement. This news sent markets higher though these gains were eventually faded as each of the major indexes closed little-changed on Wednesday.
On Thursday, investors will get key inflation data in the morning with the August report on consumer prices set for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. Expectations are for “core” CPI — which strips out the more volatile costs of food and gas — to show an increase of 2.4% over the prior year. This would be in-line with the increase seen in June. Investors will also get the weekly report on initial jobless claims.
The earnings calendar on Thursday will also bring investors the only two S&P 500 members reporting results this week, with Kroger (KR) and Adobe (ADBE) releasing quarterly updates.
Kroger’s results, due out before the market open, will be of interest to investors as Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT) and others try to make inroads into grocery delivery. Kroger earlier this year introduced online delivery in some markets.
Expectations are for the country’s largest grocer to report earnings per share of $0.38 on revenue of $28.1 billion with same-store sales set to rise 2.2%.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Aung San Suu Kyi defended a court decision to jail two Reuters journalists. Myanmar’s de facto leader said that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Ootwo could appeal their seven-year jail sentences.
The two, who were reporting on the massacre of the Rohingya Muslim minority, claimed in their defense that they were framed by police who planted classified documents on them.The reporters testified that two police officers had entrapped them, passing them papers at a restaurant in Yangon only to be arrested moments later by other officers.
A police officer who was called as a witness corroborated the account, noting his commander ordered him to plant the evidence, but he was jailed after his testimony for violating police regulations.
After the verdict, the two men, who have been behind bars for nearly nine months, gave brief statements as they left the courtroom.“I have no fear,” said Wa Lone. “I have not done anything wrong … I believe in justice, democracy and freedom.”Added Kyaw Soe Oo: “We were sent to prison to close the eyes and ears of people in Myanmar.”
The case was watched closely by press-freedom advocates around the world, and the UN, European Union, US, and other countries have called for the acquittal of the reporters. Responses to the verdict quickly streamed in after the sentencing.
Reuters’s editor-in-chief Stephen J. Adler called the verdict “a major step backward in Myanmar’s transition to democracy.”“This amounts to censorship through fear,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s director of crisis response.
“The judge has appeared to have ignored evidence and to have ignored Myanmar law,” Britain’s ambassador to Myanmar Dan Chugg added. “This has dealt a hammer blow for the rule of law.”US ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel said, “It’s deeply troubling for everybody who has struggled so hard here for media freedom.”Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch, called into question Myanmar’s transition to democracy under Suu Kyi, the country’s state counsellor and civilian leader: “These sentences mark a new low for press freedom and further backsliding on rights under Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.”Many had hoped she would grant amnesty to the pair, who had reported on the massacre of Rohingya people.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Suu Kyi admitted her government could have handled the Rohingya crisis better.
Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine after government troops led a brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base in August 2017.
“There are of course ways in which, with hindsight, the situation could’ve been handled better,” Suu Kyi said at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi.
“But we believe that in order to have long-term security and stability we have to be fair to all sides. We can’t choose who should be protected by rule of law,” she said.
A Pussy Riot member was hospitalized in a suspected poisoning.Pyotr Verzilov, a member of Russian feminist punk band and activist group, was taken into intensive care (paywall) in a Moscow hospital. He fell ill shortly after a court hearing on Tuesday. Pussy Riot activists frequently demonstrate against the Russian government include running onto the field during the World Cup final, has been hospitalized in Moscow in what the protest group suspects was a poisoning attack, according to local news media reports.
Veronika Nikulshina, a fellow Pussy Riot member, told the Meduza website that Mr. Verzilov, 30, lost his sight, speech and mobility. He was being treated Wednesday in the toxicology wing of a hospital, she said.
She said he started feeling ill shortly after a court hearing on Tuesday and lay down to rest at 6 p.m. Two hours later, he told Ms. Nikulshina, whom the newspaper described as his partner, that he was starting to lose his sight.
Paramedics arrived as his condition rapidly worsened, and he told them he had not eaten anything or taken drugs. He started convulsing, and in the ambulance began “babbling,” Ms. Nikulshina said.
“He fell into such a half-asleep, half-unconscious state that he stopped responding to me and didn’t even recognize me anymore,” she told Meduza.
She said the doctors initially “didn’t turn up anything bad,” but he was moved to the toxicology wing around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Hospital staff would not tell her if they had made a diagnosis, she said.
“The doctor only said that his condition was serious, but his behavior was improving and he’d started responding to his own name,” Ms. Nikulshina said.
Mr. Verzilov and Ms. Nikulshina were two of the four Pussy Riot activists who interrupted the World Cup final on July 15. Each was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
Pussy Riot, widely known as a punk band unsparing in its criticism of Vladimir V. Putin and the Russian government, gained notoriety in 2012 when three of its members were sentenced to two years in prison on charges of hooliganism, leading to worldwide protests.
Adobe eyed Marketo. Reuters reports that the Photoshop maker is in talks to buy the Californian marketing software company, which would help strengthen Adobe’s push into cloud-based software. Vista Equity took Marketo private two years ago for $1.8 billion, and Adobe, which reports its quarterly earnings today, is expected to pay more than that should a deal be reached, the sources said, though the exact amount being considered could not be established.
Marketo was started in 2006 as an email marketing service and is based in San Mateo, California. Last year, it generated revenue of approximately $321 million, according to credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc.
China welcomed more trade talks with Washington. Asian stocks and the Chinese yuan got a bump Wednesday after the Trump administration invited Beijing to restart trade talks. China said today it’s up for another round. Washington is still planning to slap tariffs on a further $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
News confirmed by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow that the Trump administration had invited Chinese officials to restart trade talks gave a lift to Asian stocks, including Chinese shares and the yuan currency.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that China welcomed the invitation, and the two countries were discussing the details.“China has always held that an escalation of the trade conflict is not in anyone’s interests. In fact, from last month’s preliminary talks in Washington, the two sides’ trade talk teams have maintained various forms of contact, and held discussions on the concerns of each side,” he said.
Two people familiar with the effort said Mnuchin’s invitation was sent to his Chinese counterparts, including Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, for talks in coming weeks, with the time and the venue still to be agreed. “There’s some discussions and information that we received that the Chinese government – the top of the Chinese government wished to pursue talks,” Kudlow told Fox Business Network on Wednesday. “And so, Secretary Mnuchin, who is the team leader with China, has apparently issued an invitation.”
A meeting among Cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world’s two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.
Hershey sank its teeth into the $2.5 billion cheese-puffs market. The chocolate company agreed to buy Pirate Brands, which makes snacks such as Pirate’s Booty, Original Tings, and Smart Puffs, from B&G Foods for $420 million.
The deal is expected to add to Hershey’s financial targets as it delves into the more than $2.5 billion cheese puffs market, the company said in a statement.Hershey intends to finance the transaction with cash reserves as well as short-term borrowings and expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.
B&G Foods, which bought Pirate Brands in 2013 for about $195 million, said it would use the net proceeds from the sale for repaying its long-term debt and for funding possible acquisitions.
B&G Foods rose nearly 1 percent to $32.15 and Hershey shares were inactive in after-hours trading.
Q-MHI OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Chase Purdy on the scientists fighting to make Pluto a planet again. “Pluto itself—caught in the sun’s gravitational grip and powerless to save face—is the real victim here. Sure, it might not command a room like Jupiter. It could never outshine the splendor of Saturn, dripping in ringed eleganza. But Pluto has a lot going for it, like its oceans and that bad-boy glum reserved for only the most mysterious and quiet of outcasts.”
MATTERS OF DEBATE
JPMorgan is the new welfare. Its new $500 million initiative provides more resources to cities than the US government is willing to offer.The bank is taking applications from cities until November and will announce the winning cities by the middle of next year. In that, JPMorgan follows in the footsteps of Amazon, which turned location-hunting for its second US headquarters into something more akin to America’s Next Top Model, forcing US cities to bid against each other to land the $5 billion complex.
Engaging with Steve Bannon is a form of liberal narcissism. White supremacists need to be shut down, not given a platform by media outlets like The Economist. His brief association with Trump – by all accounts a coincidental move after a peripatetic career – was written into something of far more consequence by those fascinated by a man who should have been one of their own but took the dark path, like an evil twin in a Hollywood movie. He is constantly remade, even though since he was fired he has done little but bait and agitate in culture wars. The New Yorker attributes an entire school of thought to him, and calls it “Bannonism”.
At one point Bannon says “well I’ve dealt with you before” with a sort of conspiratorial leer. The interview revealed a particular kind of rapport between them, something the French call “complicité”: a word that has a deeper meaning than the English “complicity”. It implies not only the bond of two people who are in on something the rest of us are not, but an intimate affinity based on something shared.
There is now a liberal media checklist when it comes to defending the hosting of Bannon. In a letter standing by her decision to invite him, Beddoes ticks some of them off. They want a “vibrant discussion”, a “robust argument”, not an “echo chamber”; ideas should be “tested”, a debate will “expose” bigotry and prejudice.This is a delusion. Just as Bannon baits liberal media for his own propaganda purposes, so liberals benefit from engaging with him because he is really quite an easy person to engage.He is like a scratching pole for the Oxbridge- or Ivy League-style debaters at the helm of such establishments. They can come away from a polite joust with him having challenged racism and also having stood up to the horde by protecting freedom of speech. To use a favourite phrase of Bannon himself.
This is a narcissism that many cannot afford. White supremacy, banning Muslims from entering countries and fascist flirtations are tangible issues for those not cushioned by the comforts of being of the correct race, religion or skin colour. They are not ideas that need to be “exposed”, or interrogated, or challenged. They are simply to be fought.
This is not philosophy, it is real life. But those who carry such concerns are excluded from the “robust debate” because what popular successful movements are they at the centre of? They did not campaign for Brexit, they did not put Trump in the White House, and they are not pushing back far-right gains in Europe. They are losing, and so the perceived architects of their disenfranchisement – the Nigel Farages and Steve Bannons and all the other dissimulating career nativists – will be entertained for as long as they are relevant. Even though in reality they are part-actors in the grand scheme of things, cast in a central role because that way they, and the story, sell better.It does not matter that what he stands for is essentially white nationalism, a racism that he said at a French far-right rally should be worn “as a badge of honour”. All that is relevant is that he is relevant, that he has become someone of consequence due to his brush with power, and seems to be at the centre of something that, in the words of Beddoes, “worryingly large numbers of people are drawn to”. And so that is the benchmark for what constitutes something worth entertaining and validating via prestigious invitations to intellectual festivals. Bannon will not be a rogue element, invited to be challenged and exposed. He will be among his people, fatted, safe, and soft with power.
Apple’s most exciting product is no longer the iPhone. Its best innovations can be found in the Apple Watch.Although the iPhone is still Apple’s cash cow, and its most popular product (followed by its Mac computers and iPads), there weren’t really any new breakout features or hardware on display today.The watch has a very similar silhouette to the three previous generations (it’s slightly more rounded on its edges), but Apple has managed to increase the screen size by 30%, make it brighter and louder, and maintain the same battery life as the Series 3. It also introduced some new informational watch faces (timers, daily temperature range, UV index, music tracking) that will likely be useful for the busy early-adopters who have already bought into the ecosystem, as well as a few that are just pretty to look at.
MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER
Can China lead the world on climate change as the US falls behind?Inkstone sets out to answer this question in their new series in partnership with the Coal+Ice project. It’s a huge undertaking: China is currently the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases globally.
The strongest cryptocurrency right now is a total joke. Dogecoin has doubled in value over the past three months as assets like bitcoin and ether have plummeted.Dogecoin gets its name from the quizzical Shiba Inu dog that launched a thousand memes. According to CoinMarketCap, it primarily trades against the US dollar Tether on two exchanges, ZB.com (based in China) and Gate.io (which appears to be based in the Cayman Islands). Although Dogecoin is the 17th-largest cryptocurrency by market value, its originator—Jackson Palmer, a product manager at Adobe—is far from impressed.
Despite its jokey origins, crypto hobbyists have found whizzy technical ways to connect Dogecoin to Ethereum, using the coin to experiment with the interoperability of crypto assets more broadly. Palmer says, however, that this “provides no usefulness or cost efficiency” versus other ways to exchange digital assets across blockchains. “I find it kind of disappointing that good developers are spending time/energy building and reviewing these insanely complicated crypto Rube Goldberg machines when nobody is using Dapps [decentralized applications] and commerce adoption of cryptocurrency continues to decrease,” he tweeted recently.
There’s a gelatinous fish that melts at sea level. The pink, blue, and purple snailfish have evolved to survive pressure at 25,000 feet underwater. This week, scientists from Newcastle University report the discovery of three new species of snailfish nearly 25,000 feet below the surface of the sea. The efforts were borne out of a collaboration between 40 scientists from 17 different nations trawling the waters of the Atacama Trench, a cavernous, rocky gash near the South American coast of the Pacific Ocean.
The trench is home to pressures approximately 750 times what we feel at sea level, and frigid temperatures just a hair above freezing.* But the newly discovered snailfish are perfectly content to swim these hellish waters, due in part to their gelatinous bodies, which are almost entirely free of bones, save for the little structures in their inner ears that help with balance.
Snailfish look nothing like you’d expect: With their bulbous heads and tapered, ribbon-like bodies, these marine fishes more resemble frowning tadpoles than their slow-moving, shell-shackled namesakes on land. But over 100 species of snailfish exist, and scientists estimate many more remain undescribed, especially at the ocean’s greatest depths.
A romance novelist took her stories too literally. Nancy Crampton Brophy, who wrote the essay “How to Murder Your Husband,” has been charged with fatally shooting her spouse (paywall).
The Portland, Ore.-based romance novelist wrote books about relationships that were “wrong” but “never felt so right,” often featuring bare-chested men on the cover. In “The Wrong Cop,” she wrote about a woman who “spent every day of her marriage fantasizing about killing” her husband.
In “The Wrong Husband,” a woman tried to flee an abusive husband by faking her death.
And in “How to Murder Your Husband” — an essay — Crampton Brophy wrote about how to get away with it.
She wrote the post on the blog “See Jane Publish” in November 2011, describing five core motives and a number of murder weapons from which she would choose if her character were to kill a husband in a romance novel. She advised against hiring a hit man to do the dirty work — “an amazing number of hit men rat you out to the police” — and against hiring a lover. “Never a good idea.” Poison was not advised either, because it’s traceable. “Who wants to hang out with a sick husband?” she wrote.
“After all,” Crampton Brophy wrote in the post, which was made private after inquiries from The Washington Post to the site’s administrators, “if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail.”
In real life, she appeared to follow some of her own advice, at least according to police. Rather than hire a hit man, she allegedly pulled the trigger herself.
Crampton Brophy, 68, was arrested Sept. 5 on charges of murdering her husband with a gun and unlawful use of a weapon in the death of her husband, Daniel Brophy, according to the Portland Police Bureau. She was arraigned Thursday, appearing in blue inmate clothing, and ordered jailed without bail, court records show. She has not filed a plea, and her attorney declined to comment when contacted by The Post.
Police have not revealed the alleged motive. The story was first reported by the Oregonian.
“It’s a big shock. It’s a big shock,” Brophy’s mother, Karen Brophy, told The Post of her daughter-in-law’s arrest. “But we’re not making any statements.”
Plant shadows can help us see around corners. Non-line-of-sight imaging could be used to help self-driving cars navigate blind spots. scientist Antonio Torralba noticed stray shadows on the wall of his hotel room that didn’t seem to have been cast by anything. Torralba eventually realized that the discolored patches of wall weren’t shadows at all, but rather a faint, upside-down image of the patio outside his window. The window was acting as a pinhole camera — the simplest kind of camera, in which light rays pass through a small opening and form an inverted image on the other side. The resulting image was barely perceptible on the light-drenched wall. But it struck Torralba that the world is suffused with visual information that our eyes fail to see. “These images are hidden to us,” he said, “but they are all around us, all the time.”
The experience alerted him and his colleague, Bill Freeman, both professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the ubiquity of “accidental cameras,” as they call them: windows, corners, houseplants and other common objects that create subtle images of their surroundings. These images, as much as 1,000 times dimmer than everything else, are typically invisible to the naked eye. “We figured out ways to pull out those images and make them visible,” Freeman explained.
A boiled rat cost a Chinese hot-pot chain $190 million in market value. A video of a rodent being fished out of a vat caused the chain’s shares to plummet.At hotpot restaurants in China, most of the ingredients are relatively inexpensive. Customers dip pieces of raw meat and vegetables into a big vat of simmering broth until everything cooks and bubbles to the surface.
For one Chinese restaurant chain, however, an item found by a customer at one of its outlets has proved to be particularly costly: a rat.The rat was found last week at a branch of the chain, Xiabu Xiabu, in Weifang, a city in the eastern province of Shandong. A local newspaper reported the incident on Friday and video footage of the customer picking the rat out with chopsticks circulated on Chinese social media all weekend.
By the close of trading on Tuesday, shares in the chain’s parent company, Xiabuxiabu Catering Management, had fallen almost 12.5 percent, at one point dropping to their lowest in nearly a year. In all, the discovery of the rat had knocked about $190 million off the market value of the business, which is publicly traded in Hong Kong. The company’s shares recovered somewhat on Wednesday, gaining around 3 percent.
The rat appeared when hotpot has been enjoying something of a moment in China. Traditionally eaten as a family meal in winter, hotpot is a national favorite, and chains selling it are growing in popularity. Xiabu Xiabu and one of its rivals, Haidilao, have reported surging sales and an expanding network of restaurants.