This edition of the Blind Spot Wrap was compiled by Dario Garcia Giner (DGG) and Izabella Kaminska (IK).
Econ, Finance and Markets:
- 16 months after Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall following the western brands’ criticism of alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, H&M appears to have been allowed back in.
- Is Twitter a tool of government censorship? WSJ cites former NYT reporter Alex Berenson’s case as indicating that the answer is yes.
- Russia is now the third largest market for yuan payments.
- Chinese factories are shutting down again, this time because of a heatwave.
- The Bundesbank president has some thoughts about the digital euro.
The new thing here is the recognition that a digital euro is very useful for usurping third-party tech and bring cross-border payments in the Eurozone onto Eurozone infrastructure. But the speech also points out that the facilitating cross-border payments could lead to the adoption of other nations’ CBDCs in the Eurozone and/or too much use of the euro abroad. Also worth noting, the sudden focus on wholesale CBDC. – IK
- Blood, Bath and Bankrupt — debt investors see the stock going to zero.
- The noble gas market’s perspective on the CHIPS act which was recently signed into law by Joe Biden is that it will create more demand for helium.
- Alex Brummer argues that Haleon’s troubles (on the back of Zantac litigation) are yet more bad PR for the London market, which only listed the stock in July.
If you haven’t read Paul Murphy’s iconic rant about what ails the London Stock Exchange from 2017, it’s about time that you do. He calls it the “debasing London” effect, a saga that goes back to its demutualisation. As he noted: “Along the way, the LSE somehow stopped being a venue for capital formation and instead became (largely) a pricing service for Russian and other oligarchs who wanted to monetise their paper wealth while retaining absolute corporate control. (Alternatively, private equity firms found they could use the LSE simply for profit crystalisation purposes.)” – IK
- The Fed announced that new guidelines for crypto banks are set to be announced soon – in particular, guidance for Reserve Banks that offer new types of financial products, like crypto banks, to access “master accounts”.
- Celsius apparently has far more debt than previously reported. Originally estimated to have a $1.2bn deficit when filing for bankruptcy in mid-July, the crypto lender is now seen as indebted to the tune of $ 2.85bn.
- Texas-based bitcoin miner Riot posts a net loss of $ 366mn in Q2, primarily owing to a $349.61mn goodwill impairment charge and a $99.8mn impairment charge on their bitcoin reserves.
- Crypto is at its dark pool creation moment.
- 3AC’s collapse was a key driver of the crypto collapse.
- Tether has a new accountant.
- Ethereum’s move to proof-of-stake is nearly here.
- Time to update ALL your Apple devices as the iPhone maker discovers a critical exploit.
- Canada to launch a public consultation for the use of a digital ID framework for federal public services.
- A scientific paper proposes to build AI not based on human brain design, but rather on human brain evolution. Theoretically, the paper states this could lead to the emergence of a working Artificial General Intelligence model.
- Finnish PM likes to party.
- Pippa Malmgren applies the parallel state treatment to Donald Trump potentially selling or trading nuclear secrets.
The point here is that those who believe America is an occupied state, don’t see such action as either immoral or unjustifiable. Regardless of whether it is true or not. – IK
- Turkey’s offensive into Northern Syria appears to have begun.
Turkish military convoys, fighters jets, and drones have reportedly begun entering Northern Syria en mass. Reported minor clashes between Turkish forces and the YPG dominated SDF south of the northern city of Tell Abyad. Similarly, 16 pro-Assad militiamen were reportedly killed after Turkish warplanes strike a village west of Kobani. Mosques throughout northern Syria claim the Turkish Armed Forces will commence their ‘anti-terror operation’ shortly, urging people to remain at home. Curiously, Turkey and Israel announced their re-appointment of ambassadors removed after a 2018 killing of Palestinians by the IDF in Gaza on 17 August too. – DGG
Covid’s Not Over:
- Quebec province will offer its 5th vaccine dose to people aged over 75 and over.
Unidentified Submerged Objects:
- Avi Loeb reveals his detailed plan to survey the ocean floor to retrieve fragments of a potentially interstellar meteor.
- NASA provided a brief update on the efforts of their UAP research program on August 17.
From the “Fake News-o-Sphere”:
- According to Twitter banned and shamed academic Naomi Wolf, who runs a crowdsourcing campaign that sifts through Pfizer trial documents that were released through a court order, 44 per cent of pregnant woman who took their MRNA vaccine suffered miscarriages – miscarriages typically occur in 10-15 per cent of pregnancies.
- Conspiracy pages are going wild at footage of Anne Henche before and after her near-fatal crash. The footage shows what appears to be her screeching tires failing to break the car, as well as footage of Anne trying to leave the stretcher she was placed in. Anne died a week after the crash, with media reports stating she had sustained fatal injuries. The fake news-o-sphere’s interest stems from Anne’s starring in ‘Girl in Room 13’, whose plot develops around an imprisoned child sex slave whose mother, in trying to rescue her and discovers “the shocking truth about trafficking.” It appears that online rumours incorrectly suggested the movie referenced Epstein.
- Michael Shellenberger looks at the role that the World Economic Forum is playing in the Dutch farmer clampdowns.