FT Friday 11th of July 2014

1. UK avoids taking view on HK autonomy

The British government has opted not to antagonise China over the latest political controversy in its former colony. In its most recent bi-annual report on the status of Hong Kong, the British government admitted that there are growing concerns in HK over press freedom, including attacks on journalists and self-censorship, as well as the rule of law. A recent white paper published by China stated that judges in the SAR should be “patriotic”. This has been widely criticised by the HK Bar association, with many taking part in a protest against the law in June. Britain has been accused by some in HK of neglecting its duty to its former colony so as to remain on good trading terms with China.

2. Amazon presses on with drone plans

Amazon is set to press further ahead with its plans to deliver customers packages via unmanned drones. Amazon wants to begin testing of its “Amazon Prime Air”, although it faces restrictions from the US Federal Aviation Administration. The present regulation is that commercial enterprises are not allowed to test unmanned drones, only hobbyists. Amazon is not the only tech giant with an interest in drones, fierce rivals Facebook and Google have both acquired drone manufacturing companies in the past few years as they look to have a leading position in what seems to be an inevitable adoption of the new technology.

3. Alibaba races to hit August IPO date

The eagerly expected Alibaba IPO looks set for the middle of August as the Chinese e-commerce giant presses ahead with plans to meet a self-imposed deadline. Senior Alibaba executives and management are expected to embark on a marketing roadshow in late July that will take in Hong Kong and the US. The roadshow will attempt to generate support and excitement among institutional investors, raising the price that they are willing to pay and the amount of cash that Alibaba will generate. The IPO is currently being held up by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates all new listings on the NYSE. The Alibaba IPO is one of the most anticipated IPOs in recent years, and could generate more than the $22.1bn that the Agricultural Bank of China IPO raised in July 2010, currently the biggest in history.

4. US looks to cool Afghan poll tensions

US Secretary of State John Kerry has made an unscheduled trip to Afghanistan in order to calm building tensions in the country. Afghanistan has recently held an election that should see the first democratic transfer of power since the NATO invasion of 2001. Both candidates in the Presidential run-off have claimed electoral fraud took place, increasing the likelihood of the country once again falling into instability. The US claims to have no preferred candidate, but wants the two, Abdullah Abdullah, a former Afghan foreign minister, and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a former finance minister, to sit down and discuss how best to resolve the issue. There have been fears that the dispute could lead to the defeated candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, forming a parallel government, potentially splitting the country along ethnic lines.

5. Forget the CV, data decide careers

A fascinating article in the FT talks about the way that big data is now penetrating the recruitment process. HR departments at big firms are now starting to use data from a candidates internet presence rather than their CV to make new hires. Recruiters can now analyse trends that occur from recruits from previous years, and hire in the future based on similar characteristics. The use of statistics in recruiting has apparently been extremely successful in many companies, and has also led to the hiring of many candidates who might not have been selected upon the strength of their CV alone.


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