Voting in Qatar’s first-ever parliamentary elections, delayed repeatedly since 2013, is due to begin at midnight ET. Voters will be electing 30 out of 45 members of the legislative body, with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani appointing the other 15.
Join Global Insider on the Chicago Council’s World Review livestream: 11 a.m. ET. I’ll be talking European power in post-German election, energy crisis and more with Ivo Daalder, president, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Stefan Kornelius, foreign editor, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, China reporter, Axios.
TRANS-ATLANTIC TRADE AND TECH COUNCIL WASH-UP: For Washington, the focus coming into the meeting was pushing back on China. The White House was particularly keen on linking the trans-Atlantic meeting’s outcome with the Quad alliance statement from Friday.
In an interview, which you’ll soon be able to hear in full as a podcast episode, the European Commission’s Margrethe Vestager told Global Insider that the Council went “much better than what could have been expected.”
“I also cannot remember when I have spent that amount of time with colleagues,” Vestager said. “We had an excellent stakeholder event, discussions just among ourselves, we had bilaterals, we had dinner together. You know, not even at the European Commission seminars do you have that kind of in-depth discussion that is nonscripted. This is how you see that this is for real.”
Also pleasing to Vestager: The EU’s regulatory approach is “being recognized as not being an adversary to innovation.” She said she was bowled over by Pittsburgh as a venue: “The city basically is part of the message — what used to be just steel mills, coal region, is now a vibrant tech community, robotics, automatic vehicles, all of that.”
TECH — WHY MARK ZUCKERBERG MAY BE IN TROUBLE WITH THE SEC: “To prove fraud, the SEC would have to show that Zuckerberg made a misrepresentation concerning some aspect of Facebook; that this misrepresentation was ‘material.'”
The Wall Street Journal recently revealed that Facebook treats users’ posts differently depending on their wealth, privilege and status. That and other findings based on internal Facebook documents indicate Facebook “presented different, contradictory versions of these policies in public and private. From a securities regulation standpoint, any big lie could potentially defraud investors and invite an investigation” by the Securities and Exchange Commission, per Jena Martin, a former SEC attorney and now law professor.
ETHIOPIA KICK OUT U.N. OFFICIALS: The officials are accused of meddling in Ethiopia’s politics. NGOs aren’t buying. Refugees International condemned the decision: Vice President Hardin Lang said it’s the Ethiopian government that’s causing famine and death. “Kicking out senior U.N. leaders will only make the crisis worse,” Lang said.
The officials deemed persona non grata are: Grant Leaity, Adele Khodr, Ghada Eltahir Mudawi, Kwesi Sansculotte, Saeed Mohamoud Hersi and Marcy Vigoda. They are required to leave by Saturday.
WHO MOVES MENINGITIS PLAN FORWARD: The World Health Organization has launched its first global plan to defeat the disease amid an outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo. A vaccine exists but is not widely available.
COVID — VACCINE SKEPTICISM DROPS AMONG YOUTH: Morning Consult found skepticism is plummeting (down 24 percent) across 15 countries. See their Global Vaccine Tracker. Overall, vaccine skepticism is relatively high in the U.S.: 28 percent of all adults remain skeptical, compared to 2 percent in China (the same rate for their 18- to 34-year-olds).
CLIMATE — MEASURING THE COST OF COAL: New research from the C40 Cities advocacy group pins 264,900 likely premature deaths over the next 10 years, and $877 billion in costs, on current coal policies. “Launching an equitable transition to clean energy must be a top priority,” said tycoon-turned-climate-campaigner Mike Bloomberg by email. The report, from researchers at the University of Maryland: Coal-free cities: the health and economic case for a clean energy revolution.
Will South Africa take a deal to move away from coal? Around $5 billion is on offer from rich countries, a relatively piddling amount, but possibly enough to make the green transition affordable for Africa’s biggest economy.
TRADE — CHINA’S CPTPP BID PUTS BIDEN IN A BIND: There’s new pressure on Biden and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership as a way of cutting off China’s ambitions to join the pact. The U.S. helped negotiate the first version of the deal, known as TPP, which was designed to cut off China, before withdrawing from the process in 2017.
FINANCE — LONDON SLIPPING: The London-based Economist magazine goes big this week on what it calls the “sorry state of the London stock market” and how that’s dragging down London’s claim to be a global financial center. As recently as 2006, London tussled with New York to be the global financial capital. Back then shares listed in London were worth 10.4 percent of the global equity market, but today it’s 3.6 percent. It’s not just a case of Asian or American competition: London declined within Europe, too, dropping from 36 percent to 22 percent of the European equity market.
FINANCE — GREAT TIME TO BE AN INVESTMENT BANK: Big Tech is not the only category of firm swimming in cash. “Investment banks are raking in record sums, with fees surging past $100 billion in the first nine months of the year thanks to a rush of dealmaking,” per the FT.
WEAPONS — INDIA’S RUSSIAN ARMS DEALS TO BECOME A BIDEN HEADACHE: India has a $5 billion arms deal with Russia that could trigger U.S. sanctions: not the vibe Biden wants for the emerging Quad alliance that India is part of.
The deal for five Russian-made S-400 air defense systems fall foul of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, “a 2017 law with broad support in Congress that punishes countries for making major arms deals with Russia” reported POLITICO’s Paul McLeary. Successive administrations in Washington have tried to wean India off Russian gear.
Turkey (a NATO ally) and China are already sanctioned under the law for buying the same S-400 system.
WHERE BIDEN’S TEAM IS NOT TRAVELING — AFRICA: Dave Lawler mapped where Biden’s top team is racking up the flying miles, and it’s not to sub-Saharan Africa.
VENEZUELA — Three in four NOW IN EXTREME POVERTY: The once-prosperous oil producer is drowning in hyperinflation, for the seventh consecutive year.
INTERVIEW — STEPHEN MACMILLAN, CEO OF HOLOGIC
Hologic — a medical tech company focused exclusively on women’s health — has funded the largest-ever comparative study of women’s health experiences: interviews of around 120,000 women in 140 languages across 116 countries. Global Insider sat down with the male executive behind the study.
What made you build a career in women’s health? “I grew up raised by a single mom and my older sister. I still remember loading the dishwasher with my mom, who was very frustrated, and said ‘This thing must have been designed by a man’. That was probably over 50 years ago, and I can remember her voice just like that. I’ve always tried to look at things through a lens of women and not just men. What I’ve come to realize is women’s health issues just are still not taken as seriously. I’ve watched with my own wife, my daughters, my mother: I’ve watched every woman I know at some point be belittled largely by a male medical community.”
Is measuring the problem the core motivation behind your Women’s Health Index? “We’re firm believers in data, as a diagnostics company. You can’t treat something without having the data and the accuracy to know how to treat it. So we’ve partnered with Gallup to bring some data that I think will help policymakers start to make a difference.”
No one is doing well — Taiwan has the top score at 69/100: “What the best countries are doing right is probably better education, a little better on prevention. And frankly it even starts with having lower teenage pregnancy rates. The countries that have better education systems, and prevent early teenage pregnancies, tend to be doing better. It’s a gross generalization, but ultimately, education and women’s health go hand-in-hand. And our societies are better if the women are healthy.”
Money seems to only be part of the solution: “We (U.S.) are generally spending double what most of the rest of the world is,” MacMillan said, but achieves a score of only 61/100 in the index. “The U.S. spends an enormous amount of money on what we’d call end-of-life care, as well as treating more chronic conditions like diabetes. The death rate from Covid — and this hasn’t been fully acknowledged — is largely because of our higher obesity rate.”
It seems obvious that we need to be spending more on prevention: “You are spot on. A healthier lifestyle is the best thing we can do. Within that then also just detecting diseases earlier is a huge win.”
SENTENCED: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will spend a year under house arrest for illegal campaign finance arrangements, including the entire 2022 French presidential campaign.
HAVOC — GLASTONBURY DRUG TAKERS CAUSING LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS: Researchers from Bangor University in Wales have concluded that Glastonbury, England’s biggest music festival, is causing a 100-fold increase in party drug MDMA in the nearest river, and a 40-fold increase in cocaine (thanks to public urination). The primary victims are an endangered eel species.
APPOINTED: GM CEO Mary Barra will be the new Business Roundtable chair for a two-year term starting in 2022. She will be the organization’s first female chair, succeeding Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.
APPOINTED: The International Fund for Public Interest Media said former BBC Director-General and New York Times CEO Mark Thompson would join journalist Maria Ressa, the 2018 Time Magazine Person of the Year and editor of Rappler in the Philippines, to co-chair the Fund’s board.
LONG READ: The broken triumph of Justin Trudeau, by the Canadian maestro Paul Wells, for Macleans.
LONG READ: The age (rather than the pit stop) of America First, by Richard Haass, for Foreign Affairs.
MOVIE: Nitram. How a boy and man who never fit in killed 36 with an easily obtained semi-automatic rifle, generating Australia’s strict gun laws. The victim’s families opposed the film being made. Texan Caleb Landry Jones won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival.
Thanks to editors John Yearwood and Ben Pauker.