What to watch for today
The central bankers’ powwow starts, without its stars. The central bank heads of the US (Ben Bernanke), the UK (Mark Carney), and the EU (Mario Draghi) will all skip the annual Jackson Hole Symposium. But Bernanke will still be the center of attention, as everyone ponders who’ll replace him.
Gauging global business activity. The euro-zone purchasing managers’ index is expected to show a recovery picking up steam, with Germany leading the way. Manufacturing data from China for clues (paywall) will hint at how bad the slowdown there is. Weekly US jobless claims will also be closely watched.
Bo Xilai’s trial begins; China’s leaders take the credit. The former regional party boss accused of corruption and abuse of power will inevitably face a jail sentence. Chinese media are depicting it as a triumph for the new leadership’s anti-corruption campaign, though that started after Bo’s downfall.
The “Pharaoh” walks free. Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak could today leave prison, where he was serving life for complicity in the killing of demonstrators during the 2011 revolution. In an attempt not to look too lenient, the military will then put him under house arrest.
Robert Mugabe kicks off his fifth term. The 89-year-old leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe for 33 years, will be sworn in after a constitutional court dismissed opposition claims that the elections had been rigged.
While you were sleeping
The UN Security Council jaw-jawed about Syria. Diplomats went into emergency session after rebels accused president Bashar al-Assad’s forces of killing hundreds of people with chemical weapons early Wednesday. But as Russia has a veto, no-one expects a decisive result.
The Fed gave a weak signal on “tapering.” Minutes of the US central bank’s July 30-31 meeting showed officials still divided on when exactly to start paring back the $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program. But most supported it some time this year, and both US and Canadian stocks fell in response.
Bradley Manning got fewer decades in jail than he might have. The US soldier who gave classified files to WikiLeaks got 35 years—not the possible 90 he faced, but the longest sentence ever handed down for leaking secrets to the media.
Hewlett-Packard sounded the warning bell. CEO Meg Whitman said she no longer expects HP to grow its revenues in the next fiscal year, due to weakness in several divisions. The tech giant also reported weak earnings and shuffled its top management.
Facebook announced its grand vision. The social network is teaming up with six other firms including Samsung, Nokia, and Qualcomm, to get the world’s five billion remaining people online. Besides its idealism, the plan is good for business, and not just Facebook’s.
Quartz obsession interlude
Nandagopal J. Nair on why Malaysia could be the next country after India and Indonesia to fall prey to investor panic. “What’s behind Malaysia’s woes? Falling commodity prices and weakening demand from China. But what makes the country particularly vulnerable to international investor sentiment is the fact that investors hold nearly 50% of its bonds (paywall), much higher than 30% on average for emerging markets.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
China’s crackdown on Big Pharma is necessary. It will mean a fairer market and improve the investment climate for foreign businesses.
Why India is flexing its muscles in East Asia. To counter China’s growing influence, India is boosting its military ties in the region.
All the oil we need… to destroy the planet. New drilling technologies could increase the world’s petroleum supplies six-fold in the coming years. Bad news.
Did taxes cause the financial crisis? The theory that the US tax system made companies take on too much debt needs to be taken more seriously.
Don’t publish a book until you know who would read it. Using big data to identify readers is a cure to the publishing industry’s woes.
Detroit is going to the dogs—literally. Around 50,000 abandoned dogs are roaming the streets as more people leave the struggling city.
The backbone of BlackBerry World. A single firm in Hong Kong develops a third of the 120,000 BlackBerry apps.
Never do another workout? A new drug, tested in mice, mimicked the effects of aerobic exercise, making them leaner, more muscular, and more energetic.
An underwear party on Merkel’s jet. A bodybuilder sneaked on to the German chancellor’s plane with a bag full of drugs and went wild.