February 03, 2016

Brexit, Iowa Roundup and Zika






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Brexit: Is It Really A Thing? UK PM David Cameron and EU Council President Donald Tusk unveiled a draft treaty that they’ve been working on to allay some of Britain’s concerns of overreach by Brussels (EU capital) while keeping the bloc’s second largest economy in the union. Cameron needs to get the 27 other countries to sign off on the new treaty by a February 18 summit in Brussels.  So, what’s in this treaty? Part “tidying up,” part window dressing and part meaningful reform, the treaty aims to water down the UK’s appeal to EU migrant workers by giving it the right to an “emergency brake” on migrant benefits. It also clarifies the UK’s stance vis-a-vis the euro zone (the UK still uses the Pound Sterling) and makes it easier to block new EU legislation. Let’s hope the UK public buy it. 

#pnut4prez: Everyone Claims Victory In Iowa, Except The American People… Many candidates had reason to celebrate the Iowa results. Ted Cruz celebrated because he actually won. Donald Trump celebrated because no one thought he would get this far when he started. Rubio celebrated because he defied the pollsters and leads the pack among establishment Republicans.  Meanwhile, Clinton celebrated because technically she didn’t lose Iowa (although, it was really, really close) and Bernie celebrated because, conceptually, he didn’t lose either (it came down to a coin toss in some areas and he is only one delegate behind Hillary). Both parties feel months away from unifying behind a candidate.
PNUT POLL: How Do Pnutters Poll For 2016


Zika Messed With TexasThe Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the Zika virus was sexually transmitted to someone in Texas who never set foot in a Zika- exposed region. This is the first known case of Zika being acquired within the United States, and initial advice from the media sounded more paranoid than precautionary. CNN’s Sandee LaMotte advised, “you’ll want to avoid having sex with someone who has been to any of these Zika- infected regions.” That’s cold. 

OUR SUMMARY: Everything You Need To Know About The Zika Virus US: Where Was That Manual On Deterrence We Shelved In 1989?The US is brushing up on some cold war tactics in Europe this week, deploying a smorgasbord (great word) of heavy weaponry in Eastern Europe in an effort to contain Putin’s ambitions. The move is welcomed by Poland and the Baltic states who view Russia as a threat to their wellbeing. The move is, obviously, not welcomed by Russia itself. 

GOOD GRAPHIC: How Is Russia Reasserting Itself Militarily? Yahoo Trying To Figure Out What Its Business IsThe company, still stuck in a post-Alibaba identity crisis, announced plans to layoff 15% of its workforce (1,600 people) and put itself up for sale in a search for “strategic alternatives.” The company will also be focusing on a smaller product selection, hoping to capture advertiser focus and spend.  

GOOD READ: Marissa Mayer’s Statement  Keeping Our Eye On…
  • Spain: The Iberian powerhouse is stuck in a political gridlock as four political parties (with very different opinions) try to form a government. It is now the Socialists’ turn to give it a shot… good luck?
  • Space Mining: Luxembourg is launching a new initiative to mine asteroids in space. You might not know this (or much about Luxembourg in general) but this little country has a very robust space industry. 
  • North Korea: A much less benign country, North Korea, is also planning its own space push, warning the world that it plans to launch a satellite into orbit as soon as next week. They’ve also used this program to drop used toilet paper on South Korea… real mature guys. 


Nigerian Pencil Business Set For Unprecedented Boom Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology Obgannoya Onu is a man with ambition. In an interview with Daily Trust the minister spoke of different technologies the West African nation could import, specifically the production of pencils. Onu hopes to begin domestic production by 2018 in a bid to create 400,000 jobs (that is a lot of pencils). The minister didn’t really explain why it would take more than two years to begin the production of a product that has been around for millennia.

Parting Thoughts: BlackRock CEO Looks Long TermBusiness Insider published a letter from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to the CEOs of all Fortune 500 companies on the dangers of “short-termism.” Fink argues that the manic focus on reporting quarterly results erodes long term thinking by companies (and public officials) and ultimately weakens them. He outlines some ideas to reverse that trend. Let us know if you have other ideas for encouraging more “long-termism” by tweeting at us or shooting us an email! 

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