What to watch for today
Fed chair lobbying heats up. Senate Democrats are preparing a letter to the White House in support of vice-chair Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke, making the odds longer for rival candidate Larry Summers.
Tunisia braces for unrest after assassination. All flights to and from the country have been cancelled for a general strike to protest the fatal shooting of opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi. His sister blamed the ruling Islamist party for his death, the second such assassination this year.
Details emerge on the Spanish train crash. The conductor is under police guard in a hospital as investigators question why the train was traveling well over the speed limit when it crashed, killing at least 80 people. Security camera footage shows the high-speed train going off the rails.
Bearing gifts to Greeks. European lenders are likely to approve €5.8 billion ($7.7 billion) in bailout funds after Greek lawmakers approved a new tax code and finalized a plan to put 25,000 civil servants in a special labor reserve.
Wipro earnings. Shares in the Indian IT giant fell more than 5%, before recovering slightly ahead of what are expected to be lackluster results, with flat revenues and falling profit margins.
While you were sleeping
Activision Blizzard takes back the controller. The world’s biggest video game publisher bought out Vivendi’s controlling stake for $8.17 billion, led by a group of current executives and other investors, including China’s Tencent.
Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi was detained on new accusations. The former prime minister will be held for at least another 15 days for a range of allegations including killing soldiers and conspiring with Hamas, according to the state news agency. Both pro- and anti-Morsi protesters are expected to turn out in large numbers on Friday.
Japanese inflation at last. Excluding fresh food, consumer prices rose by 0.4% in June from last year, giving a boost to Abenomics and indicating that Japan might be finally ridding itself of deflation.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 wasn’t such a star. The South Korean electronics giant missed estimates as the performance of its flagship handset flagged in the saturated high-end mobile market.
Nissan’s strategy paid off. The Japanese automaker reported a 14% rise in second-quarter profit, driven by a price-slashing policy in the US and the weak yen. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kia Motors beat estimates on strong China sales, as net profit hit 1.18 trillion won ($1.06 billion), up 7.7%.
India announced an investigation into Wednesday’s Dreamliner fire. The Boeing 787 airliner was part way through an internal flight when smoke was discovered in a galley oven, but authorities do not believe there was a serious mechanical problem.
Quartz obsession interlude
Todd Woody on why saving the bees will be incredibly difficult. “Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Attempts to level the investment playing field are pure folly. It’s permanently skewed.
The world is drifting into an oil price shock. Blame it on shale and Arab unrest.
The US sequester imperils the fledgling private space industry. There’s a big prize at the end, but very little funding to get there.
GlaxoSmithKline’s Chinese scandal is really about politics. One coincidence too many suggests that bribery isn’t the true cause.
Sexting shouldn’t ruin Anthony Weiner. Terrible political instincts and a lack of compassion should.
High-frequency dining. Bots are competing to book the most popular restaurants.
The US city with the worst drivers is…Miami.
Drinking coffee can reduce the incidence of suicide. By as much as 50%.
Don’t try this at home. Scientists discover that knocking out a single gene can help a worm regrow its head.
Robots are more baffled by Bernanke than humans. Currency funds that rely on computer trading have fared much worse than human traders in 2013.