Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Abenomics gets into gear. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will announce details of at least ¥10.3 trillion ($12 billion) in stimulus measures that he hopes will help lift the country out of recession.
Chinese inflation rears its head in the cold. Rising food and fuel prices linked to a harsh winter are expected to have pushed China’s consumer-price index, to be reported today, up 2.4% last month, compared to December 2011.
Ireland’s turn to preside over the squabbling of the EU. Ireland takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for a term of six months. The cost of hosting the presidency is more widely known than the function of it: holding the launch event will cost Ireland €70 million.
While you were sleeping
Britain and Europe left rates alone. The European Central Bank left its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.75%, a move that, though expected, still soothed nerves in the euro zone. The Bank of England did likewise.
Closing the “gun show loophole”. US vice president Joe Biden said background checks for all gun buyers, not just those at stores, and a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips would be part of recommendations to president Barack Obama next week. Just as Biden was beginning his remarks, two people were shot at a high school in California.
The green card gives out the pink slip. American Express said it plans to downsize by 8.5%, cutting 5,400 jobs.
Uniqlo wins Asia’s hearts. Japan’s Fast Retailing Co. had good sales at its Uniqlo stores in China, South Korea, and Taiwan—all countries with historical beef with Japan.
Jack Lew promises to clean up his signature. President Obama nominated his chief of staff Jack Lew, a man of famously squiggly orthography, to the post of Treasury secretary, one of whose jobs is to sign the US’s dollar bills. You can check out what your signature would look like if Lew wrote it.
They would like to thank the Academy. Nominations for the Oscars were announced in Los Angeles.
Quartz obsession interlude
Steve Levine with six geopolitical predictions for 2013. “Earlier this week, we presented the 14 rules of global events, a Quartz algorithm for making sense of international news and creating your own scenario of what comes next. Now, we apply the rules to some of the biggest issues of 2013 and take a stab at predicting what lies ahead. We do not claim divining powers, only a vantage point on the news based on history and the observation that events seem generally to follow a set of rules.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Apple is in the clear. Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that is one of Apple’s biggest manufacturers, is looking into allegations its staff accepted bribes in China. But America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) only looks at bribes paid, not received.
Money does buy happiness. People with more money report higher well-being, at least up to the top 10% of earners.
The cheap smartphone is upon us. Apple was rumored this week to be working on a cut-price iPhone, and other smartphone makers that focus on higher-end markets are doing the same.
What constitution? The biggest problem with Egypt’s new constitution, which provides defenses against tyranny, is that it will probably be ignored.
Predictions for the next 150 years. Most likely for 2013: China’s Great Firewall won’t keep up with its citizens and Pinterest gets bought by Google. Most likely for 2062: You can choose your kids’ genes, world population peaks, and there’s a building over 10km (6 miles) high. And for 2162: We live to be 150.
Jackie Chan thinks America is rubbish. The actor insisted in a Chinese TV interview that the “United States is the most corrupt country in the world.” In 2009, he made waves for criticizing democracy and suggesting Chinese people need to be controlled.
You shouldn’t fear flying. You need to take about 5.3 million flights to be in a plane accident.
But maybe you should worry about being kidnapped. Kidnappings for ransom, a crime associated mostly with Latin America, is becoming common across the developing world.
Justin Bieber is a financial adviser. Bieber was named “best celebrity financial strategist” of 2012 and is promoting a prepaid debt card with BillMyParents.com—though with a net worth of over $110 million, he’s not the kind of guy who would ever need one.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, 2013 predictions and imitations of Jack Lew’s signature to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.