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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

TONIGHT: Lots of football + your latest Oscar candidate, Nomadland

Well, friends, we’re very (very) deeply in the arms of the Ramadan news slowdown this afternoon. We expect more of the same tomorrow before things start to pick up next week.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Diplomacy takes center stage as we contemplate face-to-face talks with Ankara amid a push to repair frayed ties.

HAPPENING NOW- US President Joe Biden has proposed to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for a summit in a third country “in the coming months … to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia”. Bkden has also “called on Moscow to de-escalate tensions following a build-up of Russian military in Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders,” the Financial Times reports.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Ever Given’s operator, Evergreen Line, is wondering whether it could unload the ship and move its cargo out of Egypt as the Suez Canal Authority seeks some USD 916 mn in compensation for the ship’s blocking of the canal last month, Reuters reports. The Ever Given would then stay put until compensation is sorted out — if the court order permitting its seizure allows the unloading. We’ll have more on all this in tomorrow’s AM edition.

Reminder: The SCA is also due to announce the results of its probe into the incident tomorrow.

***CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- No single story dominates the news global business press’ news agenda this afternoon. HSBC is ditching London: The Financial Times notes that the leaders of “divisions that account for almost all of HSBC’s global revenues” are being relocated to Hong Kong from London as the bank “continues its strategic shift to Asia.” Meanwhile, a panel at the US CDC will meet today to “debate whether and how Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine should continue to be used,” the Wall Street Journal writes, noting that the jab has been linked to blood clots in six women out of the 7 mn people who have taken it.

On the wires: Coinbase listing marks latest step in crypto's march to the mainstream, Reuters reports, while CNBC warns that while the listing is indeed a “watershed” for crypto, risks abound, including “wild volatility in crypto prices and the potential for stricter regulations.” Bloomberg, meanwhile, is still leading with Tehran’s announcement that it’s pushing ahead with its nuclear enrichment program ahead of talks later this week in Vienna.

HAPPENING TOMORROW- It’s the last day for large taxpayers to sign up for the state’s new e-invoicing system or face prosecution, Tax Authority head Reda Abdel Kader said in a reminder to the companies that were on-boarded for the second rollout phase of the platform. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait previously said companies failing to comply could face a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, which would entail losing perks such as expedited tax procedures, settlements, and less frequent auditing.

???? CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR- “Summer hours” will come into effect for retail stores and restaurants as of this Saturday, 17 April. This means retail shops can close at 11 pm (instead of 10 pm during the winter), while cafes and restaurants can stay open until 1 am (instead of midnight currently). We have more details on the winter vs. summer hours here.


We could “discover” alien life in the coming 100 years — but it’s an open question how well that might work out for us. That’s one of the more accessible takeaways from the Guardian’s interview with the noted physicist (and popularizer of science) Michio Kaku, who’s doing the rounds in support of his new book The God Equation. “I think the chances are quite high that we may make contact with an alien civilisation. There are some colleagues of mine that believe we should reach out to them. I think that’s a terrible idea. We all know what happened to Montezuma when he met Cortés in Mexico so many hundreds of years ago. Now, personally, I think that aliens out there would be friendly but we can’t gamble on it. So I think we will make contact but we should do it very carefully.” Read the interview or check out the book on Amazon.

MUST READ FOR FELLOW NERDS (and survivalists): Aliens are not be the only things from outer space that may “want” to kill us. In our lifetime, there’s a much (much) greater chance that we’re all going to be whacked by a giant asteroid — like, you know, the one that wiped the dinosaurs from the face of the planet. There may be a way out: In How to survive a killer asteroid, Wired notes that “the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs would probably have killed you too — unless you were in the exact right place and had made the exact right plans.” How? First, it helps if you’re on the other side of the world from the point of impact. “As soon as you hear its sonic boom (don’t worry—you’ll be able to hear it from the other side of the world), get yourself to high ground and find underground shelter. Immediately.” Then the fun begins.

Reason #173 not to trust a multinational oil company: “Liberals on Facebook are given one picture of ExxonMobil. To them, the multi-bn USD oil giant sells itself as turning over a new leaf, exploring ‘carbon capture’ techniques that put carbon back into the ground. If you’re a conservative, Exxon has a very different message: ‘The oil and gas industry is THE engine that powers America’s economy,’ reads one ad targeted at conservatives. ‘Help us make sure unnecessary regulations don’t slow energy growth.’” Go read How Facebook’s ad system lets companies talk out of both sides of their mouths in The Markup.

From our Twitter feed: This six year old Dublin girl thing’s it’s completely unfair that her mum won’t let her go down to the pub. Just this once.


(all times CLT)

If you haven’t watched Nomadland yet, it’s time to get on it before the Oscars. The film follows Fern, a woman in her 60s, who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, crams her scant, memory-laden belongings into a beat-up, second-hand van and hits the road, traveling from town to town as a modern-day nomad. The meditative drama acts as a sign of hope for people battered by the pandemic, writes The Indian Express, as it follows Fern in a state of uncertainty and isolation — themes that hit home in covid-19 times. The film is up for six awards, including best picture, best cinematography, best editing, best adapted screenplay (Chloé Zhao), best actress (Frances McDormand) and best director (Kathryn Bigelow).

The Oscars will be broadcast on Monday, 26 April and just yesterday the organization announced their cast of presenters which includes Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Harrison Ford, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Zendaya, among others.

Liverpool (aka Mo Salah for the home crowd) will play Real Madrid tonight in the Champions League. Dortmund and Manchester City also have a match tonight, with both games to take place at 9pm.

Egypt Cup matches have resumed: Al Ahly is facing off with Al Nasr while Zamalek is set to play against Haras El Hodoud, with both games at 9:30pm.

As for the Egyptian Premier League, Pyramids is playing against Misr Lel Mekassa at 9:30pm.


Zed Park is open every day after 9pm for those of you who want to get in some post-Iftar fun. Go on their ferris wheel or get some sohour from the many food carts at the Sheikh Zayed amusement park. Zed is also holding a PS FIFA 2021 Tournament starting today with the prize offering being the coveted PlayStation 5. You can sign up for the competition here.


No company has mastered reinvention like Netflix, which started off once upon a time as an online DVD rental service (remember DVDs?). Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings and INSEAD business professor Erin Meyer co-wrote the book No Rules Rules, which explores the entertainment giant’s flexible management approach that allowed for reinvention time and time again until the company revolutionized the industry. Hastings rejected the conventional wisdom under which other companies operate and defied tradition to instead build a culture focused on freedom and responsibility by valuing people over process, emphasizing innovation over efficiency, and giving employees context, not controls. No Rules Rules delves into Netflix’s psyche to put together a manual on how to keep a firm valuable in a rapidly changing world.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 32°C and nighttime lows of 18°C. From what our favorite weather app tells us, it could be a windy week ahead — and we’re also looking at higher temperatures.

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