Categories
Hong Kong Journalism

U.S. Businesses Brace for Damage as Tensions Grow Over Hong Kong

That’s the headline on my newest story, out Sunday. It begins:

HONG KONG—Rising tensions between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong have American businesses caught in the crossfire.

Companies in the global financial and trading hub, already battered by a year of violent protests and the coronavirus pandemic, face a long period of further uncertainty amid a fight that they fear could disrupt their operations and that casts doubt over their long-term future here.

After China last week approved a plan to impose new national-security laws on Hong Kong, President Trump on Friday said the U.S. would no longer treat Hong Kong as a separate entity from China and would roll back policy exemptions for the city. They could include measures such as export controls, tariffs and visa restrictions, according to analysts, but businesses will have to wait for details and the timing of any moves.

“It’s going to be a challenging week ahead as there are no firm details on how this special economic relationship will be untangled,” said Tara Joseph, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. More clarity is “essential because our business here is large and important,” she said.

Click through to read the rest.

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Newley's Notes

NN221: On Hong Kong, Singapore, and Covid–19

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, May 31, 2020

👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Coronavirus Doesn’t Have to Be So Deadly. Just Look at Hong Kong and Singapore.

😷 That’s the headline on a story out earlier this week that I wrote with my colleague Feliz Solomon.

It begins:

Hong Kong and Singapore reported their first cases of the novel coronavirus in January. Four months later, the densely packed Asian metropolises, with a combined population of about 13 million, have seen 27 fatalities between them.

Just 0.4% of those with confirmed infections have died in Hong Kong. In Singapore – less than 0.1%. If the U.S. had a similar fatality rate as the average of the two, its death toll would now stand at about 4,100, rather than 98,000 and growing.

“When you overwhelm health systems a lot more people die,” one Hong Kong-based doctor told me. Hong and Singapore “didn’t let the epidemic run wild,” he said.

🔑 The secret to their success, our reporting showed: wide testing, aggressive quarantining, and keeping infections away from older, more vulnerable people. Possible lessons for the future considering the pandemic could come back in waves.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

💬 1) Twitter shielded from public view a tweet from President Trump for violating its rules on glorifying violence. He called demonstrators clashing with police over the death of George Floyd “thugs” and said, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” By me and my colleague Andrew Restuccia: LINK

🚨 2) …Meanwhile unrest spread from Minneapolis to several cities: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and many more. LINK

📈 3) Facebook largely shelved research showing its service exacerbates polarization, my colleagues Jeff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman reported in a page one story. LINK

✨ 4) Discovery of the week: No big deal, just a Roman mosaic under a vineyard in Northern Italy that dates to around the 4th century. VIDEO

🍴 5) Will U.S. government experts overseeing dietary guidelines finally recognize the mountains of evidence showing the benefits of a low-carb diet? A committee will soon issue an advisory report on recommendations for the next five years. LINK

🌟 6) Longread of the week: GQ on the brilliant actor Steve Buscemi, who among other travails lost his wife of more than three decades last year. (And yes, you’re saying his name wrong.) LINK

😎 7) Soviet-era control rooms: Who knew those analog dials and switches could be so beautiful? LINK

🎧 8) Here are 150 educational podcasts, ranging from philosophy to art to history and more. LINK

👃 9) Dog-related science story of the week: Specially trained pooches in Finland learned to detect the “previously unknown odor signature” of Covid–19 in urine samples from patients. LINK

🎻 10) Dog-related video of the week: “Decided to play a tune to welcome a new pup and well, we think he liked it.” LINK

💡 Quote of the week:

“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.” — Epictetus

What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of dogs “singing” along with their violinist owners.

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Journalism

Twitter Flags Trump Tweet About George Floyd Protests for ‘Glorifying Violence’

That’s the headline on my newest story, out Friday, with my colleague Andrew Restuccia. It begins:

Twitter Inc. shielded from public view tweets from President Trump and the White House for breaking what the company said are its rules about glorifying violence, a step that is likely to escalate tension between the president and the social-media giant.

The decision came one day after Mr. Trump signed an executive order taking aim at what he alleged was censorship by social-media companies, calling Twitter “an editor with a viewpoint.”

Mr. Trump, in tweets posted shortly after midnight on Friday, criticized protesters clashing with police in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck. The protests have turned violent, with a police station being set on fire overnight.

The president called the demonstrators thugs and warned: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

That phrase has a fraught history dating back to 1967, when Miami Police Chief Walter Headley used it at a news conference to explain how the threat of police violence had prevented riots and looting in the city. Mr. Headley’s comments and his “get-tough” approach to crime sparked outrage in Miami’s black community, and riots broke out in the city in the summer of 1968.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Snapshot: Buildings, Curving Road, Woman with Umbrella

Categories
Hong Kong Journalism

Coronavirus Doesn’t Have to Be So Deadly. Just Look at Hong Kong and Singapore

coronavirus Hong Kong Singapore

That’s the headline on my newest story, out Tuesday, which I wrote with my colleague Feliz Solomon. It begins:

Hong Kong and Singapore reported their first cases of the novel coronavirus in January. Four months later, the densely packed Asian metropolises, with a combined population of about 13 million, have seen 27 fatalities between them.

Just 0.4% of those with confirmed infections have died in Hong Kong. In Singapore—less than 0.1%. If the U.S. had a similar fatality rate as the average of the two, its death toll would now stand at about 4,100, rather than 98,000 and growing.

“When you overwhelm health systems a lot more people die,” said David Owens, founder of Hong Kong medical practice OT&P Healthcare, who has treated patients for Covid-19. Hong Kong and Singapore “didn’t let the epidemic run wild.”

The cities’ fatality rates—among the lowest in the world—show that coronavirus outbreaks don’t have to result in large-scale loss of life. Their playbook: test widely, quarantine aggressively and treat patients early to avoid fatal complications and overburdened health systems.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Snapshot: Building, Trees, Light

Something about this scene just struck me. I love the colors and straight lines of the buildings behind the green of the trees — and the streetlight gleaming as the evening was beginning. 💯

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN220: New Hong Kong Protests; Service Dog Cuddles Donald Duck

forest
Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, May 24.

👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

A Deeper Look at Mukesh Ambani’s Digital Vision

🇮🇳 I’ve mentioned in previous editions of NN India’s Jio Platforms, the upstart mobile operator and digital services firm controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

To recap: Jio has raised a ton of money recently from the likes of Facebook and other big American investors keen to get a piece of business in the world’s biggest untapped internet economy.

🆕 On Wednesday I had a story out with a deeper look at Mr. Ambani’s vision, and why companies are plowing funds into Jio. The hedline: Inside Facebook and Private Equity’s $8.8 Billion Bet on India’s Richest Man.

Click through for details on how talks with Facebook came out, which executives were involved, and how Mr. Ambani has privately described his vision for Jio.

🎧 I joined my colleague Kateri Jochum to discuss the story on an episode of The WSJ’s Tech News Briefing podcast, which you can listen to here or in your favorite podcast app.

Oh, and an addendum: on Friday Jio said it is raising yet more money – a cool $1.5 billion – from U.S. private equity heavyweight KKR. That brings the total to more than $10 billion…

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇭🇰 1) China on Thursday indicated it will implement new national security laws here in Hong Kong, which in a story my colleagues describe as “a blow to the territory’s autonomy as Beijing seeks to stamp out widespread pro-democracy protests that have challenged leader Xi Jinping.”

Some U.S. senators have pledged new rules that would target Chinese officials with sanctions. Beijing on Friday said it plans to allow mainland state security agencies to operate in HK. Markets in HK have fallen. And today there were fresh protests. LINK 1: new laws. LINK 2: security agencies. LINK 3: markets. LINK 4: fresh protests

🇨🇳 2) Francis Fukuyama, in an essay out last week about China, writes: “The starting point is to recognize that we are dealing with an aspiring totalitarian country like the mid–20th century Soviet Union, and not with some kind of generic ‘authoritarian capitalist’ regime.” LINK

🎥 3) Facebook acquired Giphy, the platform for making animated images, and will integrate the service into Instagram. Axios put the price at about $400 million. LINK

🎙️ 4) Big news in the world of podcasting: comedian Joe Rogan, whose podcast is one of the world’s most popular, is joining Spotify in an exclusive deal, meaning his episodes eventually will be available only on their service. LINK

🍳 5) Here’s an in-depth look at the cookbook author Alison Roman, her remarks about Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen, whiteness, and the popularization of “exotic” ingredients. LINK

🏃‍♂️ 6) Another good longread: On the legacy of Jim Fixx, who authored a mammoth 1977 bestseller that helped popularize recreational running – but who also battled inner demons before famously dying while out for a jog. LINK

🧠 7) How a graduate student solved a decades-old math problem in less than a week, helping gain a tenure track job offer at MIT just over a year after earning her doctorate. LINK

☕ 8) Twitter thread of funny images: “Angela Lansbury as teapots.” LINK

📺 9) If you enjoyed the Bookcase Credibility Twitter account, you may also like @RateMySkypeRoom. LINK

🦆 10) Dog-related video of the week: A service dog meets Donald Duck.

💡 Quote of the week:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself or finding anything, life is about creating yourself.” – Bob Dylan

What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of good boys snuggling Disney characters.

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
India Journalism

Inside Facebook and Private Equity’s $8.8 Billion Bet on India’s Richest Man

Facebook Jio

That’s the headline on my newest story, out yesterday. It begins:

Facebook Inc. and a trio of U.S. private-equity firms have in the past month poured billions of dollars into an upstart mobile operator controlled by India’s richest man.

The stakes, which add up to $8.8 billion, amount to a bet that Jio Platforms Ltd. and Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and largest shareholder of its parent company, Reliance Industries Ltd., are the players best positioned to bring legions of Indian consumers fully online and into e-commerce.

Facebook’s April announcement that it would invest $5.7 billion for a stake in Mumbai-based Jio was quickly followed by $750 million from Silver Lake and $1.5 billion from Vista Equity Partners. On Sunday, Jio said it was raising $870 million from another private-equity powerhouse, General Atlantic.

I also discussed the piece on an episode of our Tech News Briefing podcast. Click here to listen, or search for the show wherever you listen to podcasts.

Categories
Hong Kong

Spotted here in Hong Kong: ‘No Drama’ Personalized License Plate

Excellent.

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN219: Will Covid-19 Kill Universities? Also: Hugs from Puppies

nighttime sky
Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, May 17.

👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

A setback in Hong Kong’s Covid–19 Battle

🇭🇰 Hong Kong almost made it to the 28-day milestone of two full quarantine periods without a new local Covid–19 case. But as my colleague Joyu Wang and I wrote Wednesday:

After 23 days without a locally transmitted coronavirus case and with much of the city returning to normal life, health officials here are investigating how a 66-year-old woman and her granddaughter tested positive.

The test results, announced Wednesday, illustrate the continuing challenges for authorities world-wide in eliminating the disease even in places that were successful with containment earlier on.

Still, of course, Hong Kong has recorded just over 1,000 Covid–19 infections and four deaths deaths. It remains a model for many places.

14 photos from our first few months here in HK

📷 This city, as I wrote in a recent blog post, is a photographer’s dream. I’ve had my iPhone out, snapping away like crazy, during our first few months here. Yesterday I posted a round up of 14 of my favorite photos so far. Click through to check ’em out.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🎓 1) After years of talk about online education “disrupting” in-person universities, will Covid–19 hasten the end of such institutions? Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, thinks so. “There’s this horrific awakening being delivered via Zoom of just how substandard and overpriced education is at every level,” he says. He sees name brand universities partnering with big tech firms to expand their reach. MIT + Google? Microsoft + Berkeley? Link

🌁 2) Bay Area tech titans like Facebook, Twitter and Google have told much of their staff they no longer need to come in to the office amid the pandemic. Faced with sky-high rents, some techies are considering leaving San Francisco altogether, Sarah Frier reports in Bloomberg Businessweeek. “It makes no sense paying Bay Area rent if we can earn our salary living elsewhere,” one worker told her. I’m fascinated to see how this all plays out, in SF and in other metropolises where living costs are astronomically high. Link

🔍 3) Google is increasingly in the spotlight. There were two important WSJ stories out Friday about Google. First, on antitrust: the Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general are “likely to file antitrust lawsuits” and “well into planning for litigation,” says one scoop. The second is an in-depth investigation showing how people and firms are using dubious copyright complaints to scrub Google of unflattering but lawful material. Link 1 + Link 2

🛸 4) New details continue to emerge about Navy pilots reporting seeing unidentified aerial vehicles. The backstory: a December 2017 New York Times piece revealed a secret Defense Department program studying UFOs, while other subsequent stories have featured aviators speaking about their experiences. The Department of Defense has even officially released videos of the encounters. Link

🤳 5) Depressing story of the week: “mumfluencers” – Instagram micro-celebrities whose online personas revolve around their seemingly perfect families – and their meltdowns. Link

🥡 6) Art critic Jerry Saltz has a thought provoking essay about about food and coping mechanisms amid Covid–19. Link

🏎️ 7) With U.S. highways mostly empty as people stay at home, people are setting new records for the Cannonball Run, shaving hours off the drive from New York to California to make it in about 26 hours. File under: unexpected Covid–19 outcomes. Link

🤙 8) Nightclubs in Germany are closed, but party-goers created a unique solution: a drive-in rave. Video

🌈 🌈 9) RIP “Double Rainbow Guy,” aka Yosemitebear. Paul L. Vasquez, whose 2010 video became a viral hit, died at age 57. Link + Video

💕 10) Dog-related video of the week: “When a dog loves a woman.” Video

💡 Quote of the week:

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley