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Biden aces G7 exam with flying colours | TICKER VIEWS

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President Joe Biden accomplished what he wanted to do in his first outing as America’s leader on the world stage:  to demonstrate that America is back and that the United States is again the principal leader of Western democracies.  

“BIDEN WANTED TO GO INTO THE G7 TO SHOW AMERICA IS BACK” WOLPE TOLD BRITTANY COLES ON TICKER NEWS.

Biden was warmly welcomed, and all the heads of government – from G7 host Boris Johnson to Japan’s Prime Minister Suga – were clearly in concert and at ease with Biden’s embrace of a renewed agenda to make the world healthier, safer, more secure and more prosperous.

In his press conference at the conclusion of the meeting, Biden said:

“Over the past few weeks, the nations of the G7 have affirmed that democratic values that underpin everything we hope to achieve in our shared future, that we’re committed to put them to work: One, delivering vaccines and ending the pandemic. Two, driving substantial, inclusive economic recovery around the world. Three, in fueling infrastructure development in places that most badly need it. And four, in fighting climate change.”

Biden called out the threats and challenges posed by both Russia and China.  In his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin, Biden will not be intimidated by Russian provocation. Where the US and Russia can work constructively together, they will. 

Where they face divergent interests, those will be contested.

Biden brings in Western allies to have competitive stance towards China

With respect to China, Biden is determined that the Western allies be competitive with China on global infrastructure and meet China’s challenges on and actions on human rights and forced labour – Xinjiang and Hong Kong were explicitly mentioned – and the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea.

WOLPE ON THE CALL OUT OF CHINA’S HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES AT THE G7 SUMMIT.

Biden believed it was essential to have in place these extensive consultations and the convergence on views that emerged before seeing Putin this week.  This process will continue at NATO tomorrow.

However, it has also served as a predicate for a meeting with China’s President Xi, and we can now expect movement towards a Biden-Xi summit later this year. 

Biden is intent to have in hand – and to use – the leverage of this alignment for the US with all the Western leaders in his discussions with Russia and China.

Behind the smiles, is America’s democracy under continuous pressure?

Behind the smiles and arm-in-arm walks Biden enjoyed with his colleagues, there remain significant doubts about how enduring America’s renewal as the indispensable Western leader will be. 

“THEY’RE GOING TO CLASH ON RUSSIAN BEHAVIOUR AND PUTIN WILL HAVE THE LAUNDRY LIST OF HIS OWN,” WOLPE SAYS ON PUTIN AND BIDEN MEETING.

The G7 and NATO leaders know that the forces of Trump and Trumpism – its isolationism, nativism, and nationalism – remain potent, and that America’s democracy is under continuous pressure.  

COMPARISON BETWEEN TRUMP AND BIDEN.

Biden made the most of the moment, “I noticed there was a lot of coverage of my individual comments made by my colleagues about how we were all getting along together.

But the truth of the matter is: We did.

It wasn’t — I felt it wasn’t about me, but it was about America. I felt a genuine sense of enthusiasm that America was back at the table and fully, fully engaged.”

For the balance if his presidency, this is Biden’s road.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Global markets hit record highs all thanks to AI

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Is AI the main contributor behind the soaring markets in Australia, the US, Japan, and Germany?

Financial markets worldwide have witnessed record highs, creating a wave of optimism among investors.

The surge is attributed to a combination of positive economic indicators, policy developments, and the integration of AI across key economies, including Australia, the United States, Japan, and Germany. #ticker today #featured

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Dune Part 2 sets box office ablaze with $178m worldwide

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As “Dune: Part Two” continues its intergalactic journey on the silver screen, director Denis Villeneuve’s epic sequel has ignited the international box office, amassing a stellar $97 million from 71 overseas markets.

This impressive overseas performance has propelled the film’s global tally to a promising $178.5 million, further solidifying its status as a cinematic force to be reckoned with.

Starring powerhouse talents such as Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, “Dune: Part Two” has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, earning widespread acclaim and enthusiastic support.

The film’s success in North American theaters, where it secured the biggest domestic opening weekend of the year with $81.5 million, has been complemented by robust ticket sales in international territories.

Large formats

The immense popularity of “Dune: Part Two” has been particularly evident in premium large formats, such as Imax, which accounted for 48% of initial sales, driving up the film’s revenue even further. Mary Parent, producer of “Dune,” remarked on the film’s cultural impact, expressing confidence in its longevity at the box office.

Despite facing challenges due to the hefty production and promotional costs—reportedly totaling $190 million and $100 million respectively—the sequel has already demonstrated its box office prowess, surpassing expectations in its initial run.

With a global audience eagerly embracing the continuation of Frank Herbert’s epic saga, “Dune: Part Two” is poised for a successful box office run.

The film’s international debut marks a significant milestone in Villeneuve’s career, achieving the largest opening weekend in all 71 markets—a testament to its universal appeal. Notable highlights include the United Kingdom, where it earned $11.8 million, as well as France ($9.6 million), Germany ($9.1 million), Korea ($6.9 million), and Australia ($6 million).

With upcoming releases in key markets such as China and Japan, “Dune: Part Two” is poised to further bolster its global box office performance.

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Can’t beat ’em, buy ’em – Will Apple buy an EV maker next?

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Tesla’s competitors, including Rivian, Lucid, and Fisker, find themselves grappling with significant challenges, sparking speculation about potential acquisitions and partnerships within the industry.

Rivian, once hailed as a formidable rival to Tesla, has faced a stark reversal of fortunes.

Following a disappointing quarter and outlook, the company announced a workforce reduction of approximately 10%, while its market capitalization plummeted from a peak of $153 billion in 2021 to $11 billion.

Speculation arose about tech giant Apple considering an acquisition of Rivian, with industry experts citing the company’s low valuation as a potential attraction.

Gene Munster, managing partner of Deepwater Asset Management, suggested that Apple, having recently abandoned its own EV project, might view Rivian as an opportunity to enter the EV market.

Apple’s bad luck

While Apple’s history of acquisitions has been relatively conservative, Munster emphasized the potential significance of such a move for the tech giant.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered a grim assessment of Rivian’s prospects, highlighting the urgency for cost-cutting measures and operational improvements. Musk’s remarks underscored the precarious position facing Rivian as it navigates through challenging market conditions.

In a similar vein, Lucid Motors has experienced a substantial decline in its market capitalization, dropping from a peak of $91.4 billion to $7.6 billion.

The company’s production targets have been revised downwards significantly, leading to speculation about its future viability. Despite rumors of a potential acquisition by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, no such deal has materialized, leaving Lucid to confront its operational and financial hurdles independently.

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