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February 19, 2019updated 18 Feb 2019 4:09pm

EU ministers discuss defence of Europe’s “technological sovereignty” / Expert warns of technological threat to politics / Walmart to publish Q4 results

By Luke Christou


Good morning, here’s your Tuesday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

EU ministers discuss defence of Europe’s “technological sovereignty”

French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire will travel to Berlin today for talks with his German counterpart Peter Altmaier.

The meeting comes in the wake of the Europe Commission’s decision to block the proposed merger of tech conglomerate Siemens and rail transport company Alstom earlier this month. The merger was proposed to help Europe compete with foreign train-makers, such as China’s CRRC. However, the EC was concerned that the deal would be unfair for competition on the continent.

The talks will focus on how to ensure that European companies aren’t left behind by international competitors. Both France and Germany have warned of this in recent days, as well as the risk of allowing China to go unchallenged in the technology sector.

Expert warns of technological threat to politics

Emma Norris, Director of Research at the Institute for Government, will discuss the future of politics and the impact of technology on policymaking with Jamie Susskind, author of Future Politics: Living together in a World Transformed by Tech.

In his book, Susskind argues that the size and strength of technology giants like Facebook and Google poses a threat to democracy. According to Susskind, tech firms will increasingly use the data they gather on their users to control their lives, and governments must act now.

The role of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been thrown back into the spotlight by the United Kingdom’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s recently published report on disinformation and fake news. DCMS has called for the “era of self-regulation for tech companies” to end and proposed strict new regulation and harsh sanctions in order to take power away from these companies.

The event is taking place at the Institute for Government in London, UK, this evening, starting at 6pm local time.

Walmart to publish Q4 results

Walmart will today publish its financial results from the fourth quarter of 2018. Despite falling consumer spending over the Christmas period and the United States government shutdown threatening results, the leading retailer is expected to announce quarterly earnings of $1.33 per share on revenues of $139bn.

If estimates are correct, Walmart will have achieved results at the top end of its guidance of $1.25-$1.35 per share announced in November.

Walmart is heading for annual earnings growth of 9%, climbing from $13.3bn in 2017 to $14.3bn in 2018. Analysts have noted that the retailer’s expansion into e-commerce and online grocery delivery services will continue to fuel growth in the future.

Results will be announced via a pre-recorded webcast, which will be published on the Walmart investors website at 6am CST.

Monday’s Highlights


Call not to ban Huawei 5G kit welcomed by former senior British intelligence officer

Australian government cyberattack: More governments likely to be targeted in 2019

Is Facebook being unfairly singled out over fake news?