What to watch for today
China and South Korea discuss an annoying neighbor. In her first visit to China since taking office in February, South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in Beijing on Thursday for four days of talks, with North Korea at the top of the agenda.
Mandela appears close to the end. The 94-year-old former South African president’s condition deteriorated further, prompting President Jacob Zuma to cancel a foreign trip. President Obama is also due to visit South Africa this week on his tour of the continent.
The US Ambassador to China visits Tibet. In the first trip by an American ambassador since 2010, Gary Locke is raising concerns over self-immolations and deteriorating human rights conditions.
Data deluge. US personal income and spending figures, pending home sales, and initial jobless claims are all due.
Nike’s earnings. The footwear giant is expected to post just a 2.6% increase in revenue, as sluggish sales in China outweigh strong growth in the US.
While you were sleeping
Sharing the pain on bailouts. After hours of late night discussions, European finance ministers agreed on a framework for bank bailouts. Shareholders, depositors and bondholders with more than €100,000 will be liable for some of the cost.
A double-dip recession magically disappeared. Revised UK GDP figures show that the economy didn’t, in fact, contract in the first quarter of 2012. (It didn’t grow, either.)
Les Miserables. French consumer confidence is at an all time low, suggesting that France’s typical saving grace—consumer spending—will not save it this time. Meanwhile, Germany posted an unexpected fall in unemployment.
A chemical high. The US made its biggest ever synthetic drug bust, arresting 225 people in five countries and seizing 1,500kg of designer drugs, made mostly in India and China.
Mongolia’s pro-business president was re-elected. Ts Elbegdorj won a second term with over 50% of the vote. On his to-do list are re-writing a mining law and new measures to fight corruption.
More time with the family. An American executive who was held hostage since Friday by his own employees outside of Beijing was allowed to leave after making a deal on severance pay.
Quartz obsession interlude
Roberto A. Ferdman on how Argentina’s dollar policy has blown up in its face. “In an attempt to tamp down capital flight and prevent Argentines from hoarding dollars—both of which deprive the central bank of foreign reserves—Kirchner has, since late 2011, progressively introduced a series of forcible measures known as the ‘dollar clamp’ that restrict Argentines’ ability to buy them. But a problem has surfaced. By limiting access to dollars, the government has made them more desirable, and led to even fewer of them reaching the central bank than before.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The real fight in Afghanistan is not with the Taliban. It’s between India and Pakistan.
Why drones fail. The guidelines for how the US uses drones have fallen behind how easy it is to use them.
Why drones work. Devastating al Qaeda at little financial cost, no risk to U.S. forces, with fewer civilian casualties.
Ixnay “say on pay.” Shareholders don’t care about compensation, as long as their stocks are going up.
Russia is fighting to keep the UN corrupt. Business is business, after all.
Score one for online dating. Marriages that begin online are less likely to result in divorce and are more likely to be happy.
3D printing on the catwalk. A Malaysian fashion designer prints an entire runway show’s worth of outfits.
The running of the interns. When a big US Supreme Court decision is released, young staffers lace up their sneakers.
Refugee housing by Ikea. The UN’s new units come with solar powered roofs (some assembly required).
The countries with the biggest gender pay gaps: Austria, Korea, Norway, Britain and the US.
Afghan diplomats are defecting en masse. As the withdrawal of Western forces nears, many just aren’t coming home.
North Korea has built its own tablet. Without internet access, natch.