What to watch for today
New steps to stop the spread of bird flu in China. Traces of the H7N9 virus were found in pigeons at a Shanghai marketplace, so authorities began slaughtering poultry there early Friday to contain the spread. Five have died since the virus was first identified in humans last week, and scientists are debating whether they should shift limited resources to producing a vaccine. The confirmation that people can pass the virus to each other may sway that decision.
The latest US jobs report. The pulse of the American economy will be taken when the March unemployment numbers are released at 8:30 a.m. EST, and the leading indicators suggest a bit of a flutter.
Regulating fracking in California. The state’s air-quality regulators will decide whether to demand more transparency about environmental impacts from oil and gas drillers who use hydraulic fracturing.
Russian continues its turn on the global stage. After the country’s cameo appearance in the Cyprus fiasco, Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev is convening the leaders of the Baltic Sea states in St. Petersburg to talk environmental protection.
While you were sleeping
HP shook up its board. Hewlett-Packard chairman Ray Lane and two other board members stepped down after shareholders queried a troubled acquisition and the slow pace of turnaround at the computer maker.
Apple pulled an app in China that featured banned books. It looks like the latest step in the PRC’s crackdown on the company, one of the few that had circumvented the Great Firewall.
Millions of leaked records revealed the world of offshore finance. Investigative journalists are making life tough for a variety of politicians, businessmen, crony capitalists, heirs and other users of disguised off-shore companies who appear in a collection of 2.5 million leaked corporate records.
The European Central Bank kept rates steady. The ECB left interest rates at 0.75% despite signs of recession, suggesting that chief Mario Draghi’s principle is save the euro, not the euro zone economies.
The Syrian refugee crisis is too big to contain. A UN official warned that 3.6 million Syrians displaced by their country’s civil war could destabilize the region.
Facebook wants to occupy your phone. The company’s new software, Facebook Home, redesigns Android phones around “people, not apps“—though in fact, it really redesigns them around one app, namely Facebook’s. Here’s why it wants to do that.
The UK dodged a recession. Activity in the services industry expanded in February, raising hopes that the country’s economy hasn’t been shrinking for the last six months.
Egypt and the IMF make a deal. The Egyptian government says a $4.8 billion loan should be secured within two weeks to avoid a worsening economic crisis.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford and Ritchie King explain Abenomics by drawing a diagram: “The Bank of Japan’s unveiling of its new monetary policy earlier today marked the first real test of ‘Abenomics,’ as the world now calls prime minister Shinzo Abe’s bundle of policies aimed at escaping 20-plus years of deflation. And it passed the test—markets responded positively. There will be many more tests, though, for the BoJ’s monetary policy, as well as for the other two prongs of Abenomics: fiscal stimulus and, much more amorphously, structural reform.” Read more (and look at the diagram) here.
Matters of debate
China is an ATM machine for African autocrats. Every bank account comes with strings attached.
The ECB could be doing so much more. Why isn’t it following the example of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England?
Americans should watch cricket. It’s wealthy, corrupt, and lasts for days—what’s not to like?
The missing internet productivity boom? Has today’s technology failed us, or is it just too soon to tell?
Apple’s new headquarters cost more than the new World Trade Center complex. But hey, what’s $5 billion when you have $137 billion in cash reserves?
A majority of Americans support legal marijuana. It’s the first time that the surveyors have gotten that result in more than 40 years of asking.
It’s fairly easy to hide an $8.3 billion bet from your bosses at Goldman Sachs. But it’s very hard to hide the losses when it goes wrong.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hidden billions and plans for your corporate headquarters to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.