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Global Affairs

Breakfast Briefing: Massacre in Las Vegas, Catalonian Independence and an Indonesian Unicorn

 4 min read / 

The Worst Shooting in US History

A “lone wolf” killed over 50 people and injured 200 more at a concert in Las Vegas.

Editor’s Remarks: The gunman, who was shot dead by police, has been named as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock and authorities have tracked down his companion, Marilou Danley. Paddock fired an automatic rifle into concertgoers at an outdoor music festival from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of Las Vegas’ famed Mandalay Bay Hotel. Country singer Jason Aldean had been performing on stage when Paddock, a local resident, opened fire. Much of the ordeal was captured on video and circulated on social media platforms. President Trump was quick to offer his condolences to the victims of what is now being considered the most deadly shooting in US history – worse even than the Orlando massacre that left 49 dead last year.

Catalonia Intends to Declare Independence

The Catalonian president said that the region is set to declare independence from Spain.

Editor’s Remarks: President Carles Puigdemont stated that his fellow citizens deserved independence after over 2m Catalan voters defied Madrid’s ruling that last Sunday’s referendum was illegal. Amidst clashes between voters and police that left 800 people injured, the referendum saw a voter turnout of just above 50%. Of the 2.26m votes cast, 90% were in favour of independence. The Catalan parliament has promised independence within 48 hours of a Yes vote, although such a declaration will take no effect in Spanish law following Madrid’s ruling. Consequently, commentators expect the matter to escalate into the most defining constitutional crisis that Spain has faced since the death of Franco and the restoration of democracy to the nation.

Kim Jong Nam Murder Trial Starts

The women charged with killing the brother of North Korea’s leader pleaded not guilty.

Editor’s Remarks: The two women – Doan Thi Huong, from Vietnam, and Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia – have been charged with murdering Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on February 13th. CCTV footage that was broadcast around the world seemed to show the two women jump on Kim and rub their hands, which were laced with VX nerve agent, on his face. Kim, who is the older brother of Kim Jong-un, died on his way to hospital after complaining of dizziness. Although South Korean intelligence agencies have long believed that North Korea had a standing order for Kim’s assassination, Pyongyang has denied that the dead man was the brother of the country’s leader and has rejected all allegations of involvement in his murder.

Indonesia’s First Unicorn Is Going Global

Go-Jek, a ride-hailing service, is looking to expand into neighbouring countries.

Editor’s Remarks: CEO Nadiem Makarim has not yet released specific information about where he intends to target but stated that highly-populated, cash-dominant economies are on his mind. The move will bring Go-Jek, in which Sequoia Capital, KKR and Warburg Pincus are investors, into even tougher competition with rivals Uber and Singapore-based Grab. Grab, backed by SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing, is headed by Anthony Tan who was Makarim’s peer at Harvard Business School. Go-Jek’s main advantage is that it offers a digital-payment service – or e-wallet – that is integrated with its ride-hailing business. This enables the company to provide financial services to people who otherwise have limited access to banking, which is commonplace in Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Cryptocurrency Gains 695% on Fake News

After tweeting about a deal with Visa that never materialised, the cryptocurrency surged.

Editor’s Remarks: On May 17th, the company behind the cryptocurrency known as Monaco tweeted that it was about to start offering a Visa-linked payment card. The initial tweet was followed by a press release that lauded the benefits of this new Visa-branded crypto-card. However, despite these claims, no such deal was ever struck with Visa, although the company is being vetted by a Visa-licensed issuer, Wirecard. Following the revelation that there is, in fact, no impending Visa deal, Monaco’s August 31st statement announced plans to release five payment cards – neither of which is Visa-branded – and the cryptocurrency tanked 30%. It has since fallen further but, despite the false announcements, Monaco remains 300% up since May.

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