Good Monday . Want this in your inbox every morning? Sign up here.Fears of Turkish contagion are spreading
The Turkish lira keeps sliding, and that could hurt all of us. U.S. stock futures were down this morning after declines in European and Asian markets. Perhaps even more worrying: Beijing weakened the renminbi against the dollar, a sign that other emerging markets’ currencies could be suffering.
The Turkish central bank is responding: It has restricted sales of lira for foreign currencies. Some think Ankara could do more, though, perhaps by forming a currency board.
But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan argues, including in an NYT Op-Ed, that Turkey’s problem is attacks from outsiders, not any economic issues of its own. So the chances of fixing such issues look slim.Whoever wins, the W.T.O. loses
The trade war is being felt around the globe, but it’s particularly stressful in the Geneva offices of the World Trade Organization. Officials there must judge whether President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are legitimate national security measures or illegal protectionism. As Ana Swanson and Jack Ewing of the NYT explain, trouble may follow whatever they decide:
A ruling against the Trump administration could prompt the United States to leave the W.T.O. entirely. But siding with the United States’ claim of national security could also significantly diminish the organization’s authority and prompt other countries to begin citing their own national security interests to ignore inconvenient rules on topics like intellectual property, environmental standards or farm subsidies.
More trade news: China is trying to build influence in Europe. Tariffs divide America’s bikers. President Trump is threatening Canadian-made cars. And how the trade spat could start an economic cold war.Barnes & Noble is on its knees
When Barnes & Noble fired its fourth C.E.O. in five years last month, the publishing industry had to grapple with a discomfiting thought: The biggest physical bookstore chain in the U.S. could collapse.
That now looks more likely than ever. Already struggling against Amazon, the retailer finds itself lacking credible leadership and strategies at the worst possible time. Here’s what one of its major investors told the NYT:
“It’s not as much about the ideas as it is the execution of those plans — the company is mismanaging the opportunities in front of them,” he said. “It seems like you can get more dollars out of people if you just figure out what they want to buy from you.”
Barnes & Noble’s longtime chairman, Len Riggio, told the NYT that “if we’re without a leader, I’m it.” His ideas so far: close underperforming stores, open smaller new ones in busy spots — and avoid the micromanaging he was known for.Inside Twitter’s confused police command
The social network suffered huge blowback after choosing to stand by the far-right conspiracy site Infowars and its creator, Alex Jones. (Apple, Facebook, and YouTube all banned much of his content early last week.) Twitter’s C.E.O., Jack Dorsey, initially said that Mr. Jones had obeyed his company’s rules. That position shifted under questioning from CNN: The company now says Infowars has broken rules, but still isn’t banning it.
If from the outside that looks like a struggle, well, it does on the inside, too. Here’s what two NYT reporters found when they sat in on a Twitter policy meeting on Friday:
A picture emerged of a 12-year-old company still struggling to keep up with the complicated demands of being an open and neutral communications platform that brings together world leaders, celebrities, journalists, political activists and conspiracy theorists. Even settling on a definition of dehumanizing speech was not easy.
More about Mr. Dorsey: Barron’s reports on how he juggles his roles as C.E.O. at Twitter and Square.How private equity became the new business lender
Private equity firms increasingly want to lend money to businesses, not just invest in them. At the end of last year, the WSJ reports, “nonbanks — many private-equity firms — held more than half a trillion dollars’ worth of loans to midsize companies.” Miriam Gottfried and Rachel Louise Ensign of the WSJ explain how it happened:
Banks shed many of their riskier businesses after the financial crisis due to new regulations and a desire to avoid the mistakes of the past. Opportunistic and lightly regulated, private-equity firms have taken their place in parts of the middle-market lending market, shifting the risk — and the reward — of those loans out of the banking system.
Expect the trend to continue. Blackstone and the Carlyle Group, for instance, are planning to raise billions specifically for business lending.Google tracks you, even when you think it doesn’t
An investigation by the AP’s Ryan Nakashima found that Google products record location data even with the “Location History” setting turned off:
Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are.
That location tracking can be turned off, but only with a setting called “Web and App Activity.” Google told the AP: “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”Revolving door
David Marcus, leader of Facebook’s blockchain efforts, is leaving Coinbase’s board.
IAC is laying off a third of the staff of Investopedia.The speed read
■ Elliott Management plans to demand that Nielsen sell itself. (WSJ)
■ There’s already been $540 billion in broken deals this year. (FT)
■ Investors have poured $73 billion into unicorn start-ups this year, on track for a record. (Crunchbase)
■ VF Corporation is reportedly considering selling the Lee and Wrangler jean brands. (WSJ)
Politics and policy
■ How Christopher Collins, the congressman arrested on insider trading charges last week, built his fortune. (NYT)
■ The head of a Chicago bank that lent money to Paul Manafort is under investigation for bank fraud conspiracy. (Bloomberg)
■ Omarosa Manigault Newman secretly taped her firing by John Kelly, the White House chief of staff. (NYT)
■ Ad-tech companies are merging to fight Google and Facebook. (NYT)
■ Google is busy building ties with Chinese companies. (WSJ)
■ Cities are already clamping down on scooter start-ups. (WSJ)
■ IBM’s Watson A.I. seems to be losing its battle with cancer. (WSJ)
Best of the rest
■ How an heiress to the Bronfman fortune got enmeshed in the Nxvim sex cult. (NYT)
■ A California jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages over its weedkiller’s links to cancer. (NYT)
■ Inflation may jump sooner than you think. (FT)
■ Your summer reading: The FT’s long list of best business books of 2018. (FT)
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