What to watch for today
More European green shoots. Economists expect the 0.6% initial estimate of UK second-quarter growth to be revised slightly higher. Germany’s growth is likely to remain unchanged at 0.7%, but look for signs of strength in private consumption and investments.
Bahrain braces for protests. Inspired by the Egyptians, the main Bahraini opposition groups including Islamists, liberals and nationalists have called for day of pro-democracy protests. The police used tear gas and birdshot to disperse similar protests last week.
So does Egypt. Muslim Brotherhood supporters called for a “Friday of Martyrs,” a week after a heavy-handed crackdown from Egypt’s military killed hundreds, and a day after the country’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was freed from prison pending house arrest.
Surprises from Bo Xilai? The trial of China’s fallen Chongqing party chief enters its second day, after a slew of surprises yesterday, while analysts debate whether Bo’s denials and counter-accusations were carefully scripted or a legal showdown.
While you were sleeping
Nasdaq flat-lined for three hours. Errors in the feed used to distribute quotes and prices forced America’s second-biggest exchange operator to halt trading in all of the 3,200 companies listed on it. No cause is yet known, but two previous disruptions were blamed on squirrels.
The UN demanded access to Syria’s dead. The United Nations chemical weapons team in Syria has been denied access to the site where an alleged attack killed hundreds of people, just miles from where the UN team was staying. Earlier, France said outside powers should consider using force against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Carl Icahn plans dinner with Tim Cook. The billionaire activist investor, who recently made headlines with a fight against Michael Dell, said on Twitter he was planning to discuss the magnitude of Apple’s buyback program with its CEO, after taking a large position in the company.
Chelsea Manning said she was female. The US soldier formerly known as Bradley, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking secrets, said she had decided to live as a woman. The army said it won’t give her hormone therapy in jail; her bid for it could set a legal precedent.
Israel and Lebanon clashed again. The Israeli air force bombed a militant target inside Lebanon, a day after rockets fired by Islamic radicals were launched at a border city.
The UN intervened in Congo violence. Peacekeeping troops were ordered to protect civilians and prevent a rebel advance at the Rwandan-Congolese border city of Goma, as fighting between M23 rebels and the Congolese military ended on Thursday with shells hitting the city.
Quartz obsession interlude
Zachary M. Seward, Gina Chon, and Kevin J. Delaney on how Apple plans to bypass cable providers and realize its grand vision for TV. “Apple is negotiating with production studios and networks to provide content for a television set that would emphasize apps over cable TV, according to people familiar with those discussions. Among the companies that have talked to Apple are Disney’s ESPN, Time Warner’s HBO, and Viacom, which owns MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central… Sources say Apple’s strategy could include forming its own pay TV service, essentially becoming a cable company itself, except with content delivered entirely over the internet.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Data crashes are inevitable and mostly harmless. Information processors like the Nasdaq are lucky they don’t crash more often and there was little real impact from the Nasdaq’s flatline.
Give the people the entertainment they want and they’ll pay for it. Kevin Spacey explains why TV, film and web media need to throw the labels out.
Even more pain is coming to emerging markets… The stampede of foreign capital for the exits may be only just beginning.
…but this isn’t a repeat of the Asian financial crisis. Bigger foreign reserves, better-run banks, and a more manageable level of foreign debt will help avert a 1997-style meltdown.
Nightmares can actually be caused by the things you eat. Eating spicy or junk food just before bed can prolong the dream state.
The secret to immortality. The reason honey never goes bad—a perfect chemical makeup and a lot of hard work from bees.
Hong Kong’s pollution could kill you. A local air-pollution index hit 187, a level health experts say could trigger heart attacks or strokes.
A real-life superhero. A 27-year-old Japanese man in a green outfit and a matching mask helps commuters haul bags and babies at a Tokyo subway station.