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Sunday, 11 June 2017

What we’re tracking on 11 June 2017

Erdogan wants us to give him a present for Eid El-Fitr: Mend fences with Qatar. That’s right, folks: The Qatar Show, our favorite Ramadan serial, continues to unfold. While Erdogan sent out his Eid wish list, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi feels vindicated by the whole affair. The Statelet has hired former Bush administration attorney general John Ashcroft on a USD 2.5 mn contract to represent it. Iran has offered Qatar the use of its ports. And all parties continued to exchange barbs all weekend long. Oh, and it seems Qatar isn’t on the verge of kicking Egyptians out of the country: “Nationals of countries that cut diplomatic ties with Qatar this week are free to remain in the Gulf state in line with existing regulations,” Reuters quotes Qatar’s state news agency as saying. We have more in Diplomacy and Egypt in the News this morning.

As part of the offensive, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi and Bahrain issued a terror blacklist, naming 59 people (including 18 Qataris, one of them a senior member of the royal family) and at least 12 groups as financiers of terror. The UAE’s The National has the full list.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is due in Berlin today for what the domestic press is positioning as a business-centric trip. Expect the situation in Qatar to come up for discussion, too. We have more in Speed Round, below.

The House of Representatives will (once again) discuss the handover of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia in sessions beginning today. Again, more in Speed Round, below.

Kicking the robots in the, uhm, teeth: “Mutual fund managers facing mounting competition from passive investment products amid years of underperformance finally have something to brag about,” the Financial Times wrote on Friday. “Goldman Sachs research shows that 52 per cent of funds that focus on large-cap stocks have beaten their benchmarks since the start of 2017. If the trend held steady, it would mark the first time the hit rate has exceeded 50 per cent since 2009. The brightening performance, which would represent a sharp uptick from the grim 19 per cent hit rate notched up last year, has come as managers have [tipped] the technology, consumer discretionary and healthcare sectors. The trio represent the top-performing S&P 500 sectors this year, with price returns of 20.1 per cent, 11.5 per cent, and 9.7 per cent, respectively.” The best-performing class? Growth funds, up 12.5% compared with a 2.4% gain for value funds.

Color us geeks, but the history of board games is strangely fascinating. Our resident nine-year-old’s newfound love of Monopoly prompted us to read the Wall Street Journal’s review of It’s All a Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan. Which led to the purchase of said book, which is turning out to be reasonably good — light on narrative arc, as the WSJ suggests, but a fun history of where some of our favorite childhood games came from.

So, when do we eat? Maghrib prayers are at 6:56pm CLT in Cairo, and the cutoff time for sohour is 3:08am

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