Don Trump / Digital Tax Tussle
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Sunday, 18.08.2019
Good morning
dear reader,
+  Syria: A German Take  +  Don Trump  +  Digital Tax Tussle
The crisis in Syria is on all our minds these days. Today, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin will announce new sanctions against Russia – this time against companies that support Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons production. Vladimir Putin warns that the move could cause global “chaos” and believes the military strike carried out by US, British and French forces this past weekend in Syria violates the UN Charter. What’s the German perspective on all this? Find out today in Handelsblatt Global. READ MORE  
Syria is turning into the bloody battlefield of an everyone-against-everyone-else war. Today, EU foreign ministers will meet in Luxembourg to look for a way to restore peace to the battered nation. France will take on a leading role at the meeting as officials search for a political settlement. World history will once again prove to be the sum total of things that could have been avoided.
There hasn’t been too much good news coming out of the book market lately: fewer readers, problems with circulation numbers, high prices. What has helped is the Donald Trump effect. Not only was Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” an enormous success, it looks like there will also be a huge response to ex-FBI chief James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty,” due on bookstore shelves tomorrow. The ex-state prosecutor, who told all yesterday evening on ABC, said the US president reminds him a lot of a mafia boss. Someday Don Trump, who already penned great works the likes of “The Art of the Deal,” will delight the book industry with his own view, titled “I, Donald” or something along those lines.    
Information warfare has many faces, but almost always leads to either economic or armed conflict. The US government is vehemently opposing the EU’s plan to effectively tax America’s digital giants, such as Google or Facebook, with an EU-wide digital tariff. The US plans to take the matter to a WTO tribunal, said US representatives at a recent OECD meeting. The Europeans, for their part, had made no secret of their misgivings about the legality of recent US tax reform. The art of collecting taxes is still a matter of plucking the goose to get the largest number of feathers with the least amount of hissing. READ MORE
Germany’s vaunted Mittelstand is in for a bumpy ride as a generation of founders and managers trots toward retirement. The main hurdle facing these family-owned, small- and mid-sized companies is how to assure an orderly succession. According to development bank KfW, around 236,000 Mittelstand companies will be looking to hand over the reins by the end of 2019. Hardly any of the current owners and bosses want to look outside the family. But more often than not, there’s no available, willing or able successor in the clan. Adlai Stevenson comes to mind: “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”
Last Saturday we had the pleasure of welcoming around one thousand guests, including 200 children, to the new Handelsblatt Media Group headquarters in Dusseldorf. During our “Family & Friends Day,” they enjoyed the view from the rooftop terrace, chatted in our 6,500-square-foot “Debate Hall” and took a load off in our colorful conference rooms. They experienced first-hand a building for the digital age – both open and modern, approachable and welcoming. Good architecture makes good journalism easier.
And lastly, I’d like to like to ask you to take a moment and give me some feedback on the look and feel of today’s Morning Briefing. Did you think: “Something was different today, I just can’t put my finger on it.” Or is it more like: “Wow, that’s a spanking new look!” Or maybe it’s: “They could have just left it the way it was; a new look is overrated.” Please share your views and tell me how else we could improve:

Looking forward to hearing from you! With kind regards
Hans-Jürgen Jakobs
Senior Editor / Handelsblatt Author
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Author of the Morning Briefing editorial: Hans-Jürgen Jakobs

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