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What to watch for today
Euro group finance chiefs meet in Brussels to discuss aid to Cyprus and Greece. With EU members having reached agreement on a new seven-year budget Friday, the ministers are hoping to keep up the bloc’s recent momentum. One radical alternative to a full bailout of Cyprus could force losses on uninsured depositors in its banks and holders of Cypriot sovereign debt.
Tesla posts earnings. Investors, motorists and environmentalists are watching start-up electric-car maker Tesla today. Tesla, which has posted losses ever since it went public in 2010, reveals how many of its Model S cars, the first car the company has fully developed in-house, it is making every week. A lot rides on that number: if Tesla manages 400 a week, it will break even.
News on the creation of the world’s biggest airline. The news wires are reporting that an $11 billion merger between US Airways Group and AMR Corp (parent of American Airlines) could be announced this week.
More about Barclays’ planned overhaul. The Financial Times reports that investment banking in Asia and retail and commercial banking in parts of Europe were likely to be targeted in an estimated £2 billion ($3.2 billion) of cost cuts. But other sources told the Wall Street Journal that it may not be a complete bloodbath. There may some clarifying leaks to the press before the bank officially unveils its strategy on Tuesday (Feb. 12).
More protests in Egypt. Demonstrators commemorate the anniversary of ex-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster by taking to the streets against his successor Muhammed Morsi.
Over the weekend
The pope resigns. The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI will be resigning due to health reasons.
Europeans panicked about horsemeat. After reports of horsemeat in British burgers, European officials looked at their own supermarket burgers and did not like what they saw.
India got a new stock exchange. Promoted by the people behind India’s largest commodities exchange, the MCX-SX started trading this morning. The new bourse will compete with the Bombay Stock Exchange, Asia’s oldest, and the National Stock Exchange, India’s busiest.
The Brussels-US data protection spat got uglier. Private and government efforts to dilute Europe’s landmark data protection regulation triggered a strong reaction from the European Commission. Viviane Reding, the law’s architect, made it clear that ”if companies want to tap into the European market they have to apply European standards.”
Apple is working on a smart watch device. The New York Times said Apple is experimenting with devices that use glass that curves around a user’s wrist. The company has discussed designs for watches that would assume some functions of smartphones with manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry (a.k.a. Foxconn), according to The Wall Street Journal. In other news, Apple may also be planning solar-powered phones.
Quartz obsession interlude
Zachary Seward on Maker’s Mark’s decision to reduce the amount of alcohol in its bourbon in order to meet rising global consumer demand. “Watering down the drink is a risky move for a brand with customers as particular as Maker’s Mark’s, which explains why it reached out to its ‘ambassadors’ to disclose the change and potentially head off a backlash….Adding a little water to the drink is an easy way to increase Beam’s margins and do more with less, but at what cost? Some customers, of course, prefer their whiskey over ice or with a splash of soda, but they would surely say that watering down the drink is their prerogative alone.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The Netherlands is the ideal market for electric cars. The country is about 100 miles east to west and gas costs about $8.50 a gallon.
Drone warfare could usher in the demise of the political order of sovereign states that has been in place since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
What would happen if the United Kingdom broke up? An independent Scotland would have to renegotiate some 8,500 treaties.
Barking is likely a product of dog domestication. Wolves rarely bark.
It may take as long as 300-500 years for people to lose the economic advantages or disadvantages of their ancestors. In other words, family history generally overrides economic mobility, and plays out over long stretches of time.
Fixed-line telephone cords were originally longer in the US. A copper scarcity led to their being shortened by about one foot.
The news is full of rubbish. Literally.
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