What to watch for today
Greece’s latest last-ditch bailout deal. Euro-zone finance ministers will decide whether to release a €6.3 billion ($8.1 billion) installment of rescue funds at a meeting starting at 1300 GMT. Greece’s finance minister is “optimistic” about a deal with the troika of European lenders; EU commissioner Olli Rehn gave it a slightly more lukewarm “reasonable chance.”
Trade and surveillance talks. US-EU discussions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership begin, though divisions remain on issues like regulation of financial services firms (paywall). European officials will also want to bring up recent revelations that the US has been spying on them.
US earnings season kicks off. Alcoa’s second-quarter revenues are expected to decline to $5.92 billion, but earnings per share are forecast to improve slightly. Though it’s no longer considered a bellwether, details of Alcoa’s sales to the many industries that use aluminium could still prove interesting.
US Congress returns from recess. The immigration reform passed last month by the Senate is unlikely to get through the House of Representatives in its current form. Other contentious issues include student loan interest rates and the farm bill, which includes $800 billion in food aid for poor Americans.
Over the weekend
Pessimism in Japan. A sentiment survey of taxi drivers, hotel workers, restaurant staff, and others who are closely attuned to business trends fell for a third straight month.
Ping An buys into the City. The insurance and financial firm bought the signature Lloyd’s building in London for £260 million ($387 million), adding to the £1.84 billion that Chinese firms have invested in the Square Mile since the beginning of 2012.
Egypt’s new prime minister is… Not Mohamed ElBaradei, said the president’s office, backtracking on an earlier statement. Islamists and secularists (paywall) reached a tentative deal to nominate the Social Democratic Party’s Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, a London-trained economist, as tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohammad Morsi returned to the streets.
HTC shares reverted to 2005 levels. Disappointing quarterly results caused a massive sell-off in the Taiwanese smartphone maker’s shares, leading one analyst to conclude: “The window of opportunity is over.”
Two Chinese teens killed in San Francisco plane crash. A South Korean jetliner burst into flames upon landing on Saturday, killing two—including one possibly run over by emergency services crews—and injuring 182. The plane was flying lower than normal before touchdown, and the pilot at the controls was relatively new to the Boeing 777.
Music to Carlos Slim’s ears. The Mexican telecoms tycoon invested $40 million in music-recognition app Shazam, reportedly valuing (paywall) the UK-based company at $400 million. Slim’s América Móvil will pre-install the app in the smartphones it sells in Latin America.
North and South Korea made headway, reacahing a tentative agreement to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Park about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of the border. Work at the factory, which is a major source of income for the North, was halted by Kim Jong-un’s regime earlier this year.
China corruption verdict. An ex-rail minister was given a suspended death sentence, which will probably be commuted to life in prison, for accepting millions of dollars worth of bribes. But much of the pervasive bribery in China is surprisingly cheap.
Quartz obsession interlude
Christopher Mims on why every major consumer-electronics firm is working on a smart watch. “Analysts are declaring 2013 the year of the smart watch, and seem sure that an entirely new product category is about to be born. Watches are already a $60-billion-a-year business worldwide, so perhaps the Rolexes and Seikos of the world could see new competition from a motley crew of manufacturers usually associated with PCs, smartphones and televisions.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Priests should not drive fancy cars. Pope Francis says to “choose a more humble one.”
American consumers are under too much pressure. They shoulder a heavy economic burden for the rest of the world, and may not be up to the task (paywall).
Fascism is on the rise in Greece. But Athens is a long way yet from 1930s Berlin.
Free-trade is a charade. The two regional trade agreements that US is working on will only serve the special interests in the West.
DIY: Drone it yourself. Anything can be turned into a drone if you have the right kit.
Bullets in America are so scarce that people are making their own. They call it “reloading.”
The secret to making meetings more productive: more discussions and fewer presentations.
The “buzz” that makes things go viral. Scientists discover the regions of the brain that help ideas spread.
All those cheap tables add up. IKEA uses a staggering 1% of the world’s wood every year.