What we’re tracking on 23 February 2020
You made it over the hump. Congratulations, and enjoy another light news day.
THE BIG GLOBAL STORY- Did Bitcoin’s latest bubble just burst? Bitcoin suffered its biggest single-day drop yesterday, falling as much as 17% to hit its lowest since mid-February. The value of BTC tumbled for a second day yesterday in a breathtaking plunge that has seen it fall 22% from its then-record high of USD 58.3k to as low as USD 45.3k this morning as scepticism grows over the cryptocurrency’s lofty valuation.
What’s driving the sell-off? The decline seemed to accelerate as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen described BTC as a “highly speculative asset” that is extremely inefficient for transactions, and stressed that the energy consumed in processing such transactions is just “staggering.” It also comes days after Elon Musk tweeted that the cryptocurrency may be overvalued, with Bitcoin since then reversing course. Musk lost USD 15.2 bn of his net worth in a single day after Tesla’s shares sank 8.6% — its biggest decline since September, Bloomberg reports.
The Bitcoin bubble: Bitcoin has almost doubled in value since the start of the year, and was up a stunning 75% in February alone at its peak on Sunday. The asset has climbed to new record highs as it gains legitimacy among institutional players and companies such as Tesla indicated plans to begin accepting it as payment.
Is the mania ending? But Market watchers are split over whether the latest dip marks the end of the Bitcoin bubble. “The kinds of rallies we’ve been seeing aren’t sustainable and just invite pullbacks like this,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, told Reuters, while James Quinn, managing director at Chinese digital asset platform Q9 Capital, told the newswire that the selling activity was “perfectly healthy and normal.”
MANDATORY COVID STORY OF THE DAY- Kuwait goes into full lockdown: Kuwait will shut down its land and sea border crossings, starting Wednesday until 20 March, the Kuwaiti cabinet said in a statement today. This will exclude shipping and people employed in the KSA-Kuwait neutral zone. Restaurants and cafes would only open for delivery and take away services until further notice.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Egypt International Art Fair is back for its second edition, kicking off from 26-28 February (Friday to Sunday) at Dusit Thani Hotel in New Cairo (Google Maps). For a peek at the artists participating (and their amazing creations), take a scroll through their Facebook page. You can request an invitation using this link.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
Zuckerberg stared down Australia, and won: Australians can now get their daily fix of Facebook curated news after Facebook agreed to restore news to Australian feeds “in the coming days.” It’s decision follows an agreement with the government that will allow Facebook to retain the ability to decide if news appears on the platform as well as support the publishers it chooses. The dispute had centered around an initial version of legislation that would have allowed media outlets to bargain either individually or collectively with Facebook — and to enter binding arbitration if the parties couldn't reach an agreement. After negotiations the government has amended the proposed media law to make arbitration a "last resort".
Since last Thursday, Aussies have been unable to access or share any news stories on their Facebook including important covid-19 updates and other essential information, leading to people questioning The Zucks’ ethics versus business priorities. CNN, BBC, and CNBC have the story.
The man behind a lot of Saudi Arabia’s oil goliath status, passed away at age 90 today: Ahmed Zaki Yamani served as KSA’s energy minister for 24 years making him the longest-serving oil minister in OPEC. Yamani led Saudi through the 1973 oil crisis and the nationalisation of its state energy company, and was instrumental in making OPEC the final arbiter of global oil prices. Fun fact: he was among the 11 OPEC ministers taken hostage in Vienna by the Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal. “To the global oil industry, to politicians and senior civil servants, to journalists and to the world at large, Yamani became the representative, and indeed the symbol, of the new age of oil,” author Daniel Yergin wrote in his seminal book on the oil industry “The Prize,” which we highly recommend. The Associated Press and Bloomberg have picked up the story.
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
A documentary following the largest art fraud in American history is out on Netflix today. Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art (imdb) tells the story of how one of the most respected art galleries in New York City became the center of an art scandal after its prestigious clients discovered they had purchased fakes. The gallery had been involved in selling forged paintings of celebrated Abstract Expressionists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell — with the paintings also finding their way into the greatest museums in the world. The doc talks to the gallery president, the clients, and other key players in the scandal.
Egypt’s sole Egypt Cup match is already playing, with Misr Lel Makkasa and Ashmoun on the field, with the score currently standing at 2-0 in favor of Misr Lel Makkasa.
Meanwhile, the CAF Champions League is on today and Al Ahly just hit the field in a match against Tanzania’s Simba while El Zamalek will play against Senegal’s Teungueth at 6pm CLT.
Speaking of Egyptian football, a ban on signing foreign goalkeepers across all domestic leagues has been extended by the Egyptian Football Association in efforts to develop home-grown goalkeeping talent, writes Goal. The ban has been in place for over a decade since the 2009-10 football season.
Leeds and Southampton will face off tonight at 8pm CLT in the English Premier League while the Champions League will see Atletico Madrid play against Chelsea and Lazio play against Bayern, both at 10pm CLT.
🌭 EAT THIS TONIGHT-
Still craving American to satisfy the winter munchies? Oh Betty’s Diner has all the mouthwatering burgers, hotdogs, and sauce-covered main dishes you could ever wish for at The White by The Waterway. They also serve heaping plates of breakfast from pancakes to omelettes and poached eggs. We recommend their spicy cheesy hotdog and their pulled beef and gravy sandwich. Most importantly, make sure to save room for dessert (or even start with it). Check out this detailed review by Cairo West Magazine.
They’ve also set up a drive thru window at The Drive by The Waterway — which we think is a fantastic new place to hang out. The Drive is somewhat covid-19 friendly with most restaurants giving you the option of a drive thru. Even if you’re not that hungry, the aesthetic of the project is sure to make your day, with the restaurants constructed using colorful shipping containers covered with creative graffiti.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
A session on “Building Mental Resilience” is taking place at KMT House today at 6pm CLT. The aim of the session is to understand how the brain functions and structure to learn how to control your thoughts and lead from an empowered mindset.
In the mood for poetry? The AUC Center for Translation Studies is looking at Sayyed Darwish in a virtual session for translating Egyptian colloquial poetry today at 7pm CLT. Mai Serhan, an Oxford University creative writing graduate, will be leading the session.
Sheikh Zayed’s Arkan is hosting Bazarna Home on 26-27 February (Friday-Saturday), a homegoods bazaar filled with goodies for everything from your kitchen to your garden.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
So, covid isn’t scary enough for you? Try picking up the late, great Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain for your midnight read. If you find yourself frequenting the bathroom more and wearing your mask indoors afterwards, we invite you to advocate making this required reading at school. You can listen to it on audible here or for free, courtesy of Youtube here (runtime: 8:13:42).
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re back to sunny days tomorrow but expect some wind, with daytime highs of 22℃ and lows of 11℃ with gusts of wind travelling a weekly high of 31km/hr. Anyone in New Cairo right now may be in for a long commute, as we’re seeing a massive deluge there.