Readings & Viewings: February 23, 2018

Weekly insights and news items from around the globe.

Welcome to this week's Readings & Viewings, a collection of news, analysis and other interesting snippets we've spotted from around the world during the latest week for your reading pleasure.

A new Harvard Business School study has found insider trading is still rampant on Wall Street. It backs up a Cambridge-Stanford study that found “strong evidence” of major US banks acting on insider knowledge during the GFC. 

It might be bullish, but it could just as likely be foolish. An anonymous trader has placed a $400 million bet on bitcoin. 

It was payday for travel companies listed on the ASX this week, with every single one in the space reporting stellar earnings. Seems like everyone wants to fly higher these days, with Brazil now getting in on the action and claiming its military base is just the launchpad SpaceX and Boeing need for their space travel dreams.

But someone seems to think Bali could be a better launch, or landing, pad than Brazil. We're just as confused as you about this plane.

Something that's plain and clear is what's going on with department stores. South Africa is blaming Australia for one of its recent losses, and we can't really blame it. 

General Motors has chosen South Korea over Australia. Fresh from shuttering its Australian operations, and in Europe and South Africa, GM desperately wants to restructure its South Korean operations, asking the Government for more than $1 billion in support.

Elsewhere, the February scorecard for Brexit has been posted, and the UK seems to be doing worse on five out of seven of the measures. It's no wonder this ‘radical proposal' for a tech giant tax grab over there is making headway.

Meanwhile, on that busted note, New Zealand's bankruptcy rate is about half that of Australia per capita. But just like here, more Kiwis are ‘just getting by' these days.

Professional problem-solver Google thinks it can now predict heart disease by looking into your eyes. It could be a huge breakthrough for non-invasive health evaluations.

Where's the best place to find out about all this new technology? With memories still fresh of Facebook's origins, Fortune 500 leaders have gone back to school to learn about blockchain.

Apple is eyeing opportunities in the commodities space. Apparently, Apple wants to be ethical with this – issues have been flagged around the ethical mining of battery metals – but chiefly the tech giant wants to make more money.

Getting the supply chain right is pretty important. The postie has stuffed up KFC plans all over the UK. Problems with a major new delivery partner left 640 of the UK's 900 KFC locations birdless this week.

Clean up the mess. The state of Minnesota is demanding that 3M cleans up its act. The chemical company has allegedly used Minnesota as a dumping ground for decades. Scotchguard might not be enough to protect this company in court. 

Get your act together. ‘Nuclear football' doesn't sound like anything we want to be playing anytime soon. We're just finding out now it's a game that Donald Trump played last year on a presidential trip to China. 

A relatively personal interview with Bill Gates reveals his biggest worry as a 31-year-old billionaire wasn't about how he would conquer the world, but looking after parents.

Different strokes for different (rich) folks. Michael Dell has just purchased the most expensive home ever sold in New York City.

Your annual trip to Toys R Us for the kids or grandkids might truly be cancelled for good, bankruptcy and restructuring experts reveal.

The day the music dies could be coming for this legendary company.

Want to get the creative juices flowing this weekend? Do the laundry!

A single tweet by Kylie Jenner is said to have wiped $US1.3 billion off Snap's market cap on Friday.

Ugh, so sad.


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