Ransomware shutting computers in 74 countries; Europe warns US about laptop ban; Mexico says it has alternatives

Profitable Moment

World Tourism Organization needs a credible leader

Today, the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) recommended Georgia’s representative Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili to be the organization’s next Secretary General, beating out the candidate from Zimbabwe. 
There are some serious concerns that must be voiced about this result. First, there are allegations that the Georgian government struck deals with other governments to barter votes (CNN cannot confirm these allegations). Secondly, the candidate did not take part in any debates or interviews to set out publicly his position on tourism issues. We invited him numerous times to come on Quest Means Business, and were refused.
Under its current head Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO has become relevant in the world of tourism. Dr Rifai has given tourism the profile it deserves as the world’s largest industry. That is now at risk.

Pololikashvili’s appointment needs to be confirmed by the UN General Assembly, which should do so only after it has looked into the allegations and its members are satisfied that everything in this election was above board. This is as much for Polokashvili’s future credibility, if confirmed. The last thing he needs is his tenure starting under a cloud of allegations and scandal.
The future relevance of the UNWTO demands nothing less.


What’s new… what’s next

By Matt Egan, Patrick Gillespie and Paul R. La Monica of CNNMoney

1. Massive ransomware attacks hits 74 countries

Tens of thousands of ransomware attacks have targeted organizations around the world. Security firm Kaspersky Lab recorded more than 45,000 attacks in 74 countries on Friday, including the UK, Spain, China and Russia. The ransomware, called “WannaCry,” locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer’s administrator to pay $300 or more within hours in order to regain control of them. There were reports of the ransomware affecting hospitals in the UK, Spanish telecom company Telefonica and a university in China.

2. Europe warns US of safety risk from laptop ban

Europe is warning the US that imposing a laptop ban on Trans-Atlantic flights could pose a risk to safety. The Trump administration is considering banning large electronic devices from the cabins of flights from Europe, extending restrictions imposed earlier this year on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa. Aviation experts say putting lots of electronic devices with lithium batteries in the cargo constitutes a fire risk. If the ban goes through, here are all the gadgets you can use instead of a laptop. 

3. OPEC failed to kill this US shale oil driller

Saudi Arabia-led OPEC launched a price war in late 2014 that sent oil prices spiraling lower, forcing dozens of US shale companies into bankruptcy. Lilis Energy nearly went out of business, too. The tiny shale company laid off almost its entire workforce and stopped drilling. Now, Lilis is part of a turnaround in the US oil industry that is creating new headaches for OPEC. Avi Mirman, the CEO of Lilis, said this comeback shows how OPEC’s strategy “totally backfired.”

4. Mexico: ‘We have a lot of alternatives’ 

As the US gets ready to launch its negotiation process for NAFTA, Mexico is sending a sharp message: We have lots of other friends. Mexican officials announced they’ll visit China in September — around the time NAFTA talks could start. Mexico’s agriculture ministry also led a group of Mexican companies to Brazil and Argentina this week to talk about buying more corn from South America. Mexico is currently one of the top buyers of US corn. 

5. The Trump rally is built on Obama-like hope

Stocks remain near their all-time highs despite the drama in Washington. Why? Adam Abelson of Stralem & Co. says Wall Street still believes in Trump’s pro-growth agenda. “The allure of deregulation is strong,” he said, adding that “hope is a powerful thing” and that “everything Trump represents is great for big business.” Still, some sectors that were expected to do really well under Trump, such as energy, finance and real estate, have all fallen since the inauguration.

6. Quick Takes:

US TreasSec Mnuchin asked about tax reform plans at G7 meeting in Italy

Europe steps up its fight against cheap Chinese steel…

…but China is still poised to become a global trade leader as US retreats

Meanwhile, Trump’s China trade deal won’t wipe out big deficit for America

Not about Trump or China! Mars and other candy makers pledge to cut calories

This British virtual reality startup has just hit unicorn status — worth $1 billion

Heart of glass. Apple investing $200 million in Gorilla Glass owner Corning

Uber dealt a blow in legal battle with Alphabet’s Waymo over self-driving cars

7. What’s next:

China’s One Belt, One Road: Some of the world’s most powerful leaders are huddling in Beijing this weekend for a summit focused on China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. The program is the centerpiece of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attempt to boost China’s influence beyond its borders.
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