In today's email we discussed what has happened overnight, and over the weekend.
1. The news that matters this morning
US President Donald Trump vowed overnight that Syria would "pay a big price" for what he said was a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens in the town of Douma. Russia warned of severe consequences if there was any military action based on "invented and fabricated excuses." (Reuters).
The Dow fell more than 570 points or 2.3 percent on Friday night as China vowed late on Friday it would launch a "fierce counter strike" of trade sanctions in response to Trump's announcement last week of tariffs on US$100 billion worth of imports from China. China's Commerce Ministry Spokesman Gao Feng told a briefing in Beijing: "The result of this behaviour is to smash your own foot with a stone. If the United States announces an additional $100 billion list of tariffs, China has already fully prepared, and will not hesitate to immediately make a fierce counter strike." He also denied China would negotiate with America. (Reuters)
The fall on stock markets on trade war fears also came as US jobs growth was a lower-than-expected 105,000 in March, although wage growth was in line with forecasts. New US Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell gave his first major speech, promising to keep tightening interest rates, which failed to boost confidence much. (Reuters)
Facebook announced 10 New Zealanders with 63,714 friends downloaded the quiz app used by Cambridge Analytica to harvest personal data. This is part of the 87 million people globally who had their data harvested by the British-based firm as it helped the Trump and Brexit campaigns. (Stuff)
New Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told Guyon Espiner on RNZ's Morning Report she wasn't ruling out accepting a ministerial post this term, despite saying her freedom as a backbencher would allow her to push the Government to do more on Green issues. She told Jack Tame on TVNZ's Breakfast she was taking advice from former Green co-leader Metiria Turei.
I'd welcome your feedback on this idea of summarising the key political and economic news of the morning at the top of the email. We're trying to sort the signal from the noise in this email for those interested in the global and local political economy.
2. Newsroom features in awards
Friday was a good day for Newsroom and another reinforcement that we made an impact in our first year of publishing on Newsroom.co.nz and Newsroom Pro.
The nominations for the Voyager Media awards were released and Newsroom received 17 nominations in the finals, including for Website of the Year, News site of the year, Reporter of the Year, Best Investigation, Best Single News Story and Best Campaign.
These awards are what used to be called the Qantas and Canon awards and are the top and longest-running awards for journalism.
The breadth of the nominations emphasised the number and depth of our scoops and our reporting generally through 2017. Those scoops include the barn eggs being sold as free range eggs, Todd Barclay, Taken by the State and Jian Yang. So far this year, we have broken stories on Russell McVeagh and the Labour Youth camp sexual misconduct cases.
Many of our reporters and editors were nominated personally, including Wellington's Thomas Coughlan, Co-Editor Tim Murphy, Melanie Read, Eloise Gibson, Farah Hancock, Morgan Tait and Baz Macdonald.
The award winners will be announced on May 11.
Thank you in advance to all of our supporters, subscribers and sponsors for your help. We are on something of a roll.
3. Inside the IRD's crypto guidance
Today we welcome back Richard MacManus as our technology columnist. He has also joined us for two days a week as Newsroom's Chief of Product.
His job will be to integrate our Newsroom, Newsroom Pro and Newsroom Pro 'Raw' websites. He'll help create a platform that drives supporter and subscription revenues by making our news and analysis even more useful and accessible for readers, supporters and subscribers. We'd welcome any of your suggestions on doing that.
Meanwhile, Richard has written an excellent analysis of the IRD's crypotcurrency guidance. He points out the move to treat currency trading profits the same as property trading profits was expected, but also points to the continued vagueness on GST, ICOs and the use of utility tokens.
It's a cracking read for anyone in the fintech, banking and tax communities. It also suggests the type of issues that regulators, tax authorities and politicians will be dealing with for years to come.
Here's the full column, which will be published first on Newsroom Pro every Monday morning. Tomorrow morning we'll have the first column from Newsroom's new Auckland-based Business Editor Nikki Mandow. They join exclusive weekly columns from Rod Oram and Bryce Edwards.
4. The redder tinge to the Green Party
Newsroom's Thomas Coughlan wrote on Sunday about Marama Davidson's win over Julie Anne Genter for the Green Party co-leadership.
The 110 delegate to 34 delegate victory was seen broadly as a clear win for the social activist left wing of the party over the more environmentally focused parts of the party.
See Thomas' full piece here, which was first published on Newsroom Pro yesterday.
5. China's coercive commercial policy
Thomas Coughlan also spoke to Zack Cooper, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, about China's strategic ambitions and its use of commercial policy in service of its national ambitions.
The detail about the 'China Inc' strategy is enlightening and helps explain some of the difficulties Fonterra is having in China.
“Many Americans thought that we could convince our friends in Beijing to open up their Government to be more representative, to be more open to trade and investment,” Cooper told Thomas.
“Actually, China has become more repressive and more closed and has certainly showed no signs of opening up”.
The other change happening simultaneously is that China has become more assertive internationally, particularly in its own region. And the region is worried. It is faced with a bellicose but erratic and isolationist United States as well as an assertive China. Cooper has found in his research that this has many countries concerned.
“Usually we talk about allies and partners being worried about being trapped either in an unnecessary conflict or, the fear of being abandoned if a conflict were to occur,” Cooper says.
“Now some allies and partners are worried about both of those at the same time… South Korea worries that the Trump administration might start a war that it doesn’t want, but also that there might be a conflict that the Trump administration wouldn’t actually engage in."
6. Coming up...
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is scheduled to hold her weekly post-cabinet news conference this afternoon in Wellington around 4pm.
The Parliamentary caucuses hold their weekly meetings tomorrow morning ahead of the resumption of Parliament with Question Time at 2pm. This is the last week in a four-week session. There is then a two week break coinciding with school holidays and a resumption for the Budget Session from May 1 to May 24. The Budget is on May 17.
Statistics New Zealand is scheduled to release electronic card transaction data on retail spending in March on Thursday at 10.45 am.
7. One fun thing...
Our more eagle-eyed readers may have noticed Newsroom's Foreign Affairs and Trade Editor Sam Sachdeva was on holiday last week. Turns out he was in Cuba buying (and smoking) Havana cigars.
One fun Twitter follow is NZ Art Parallels, which twins political photos with great art works. It noticed Sam's picture, for which he bought a data card especially so he could share...too good not to.
8. This morning's political links
These are available with the morning subscriber email.