What to watch for today
The future of euro zone inflation. Don’t expect the European Central Bank to cut interest rates again, after it surprised analysts by doing so last month. But markets are waiting for the bank’s first inflation forecast, expected to look as far ahead as 2015, and an upward revision to euro-zone growth forecasts.
British lives get better. A pledge to improve living standards will be front and center of UK chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement today, so the income-tax threshold could rise. Also on the agenda are a capital gains tax on property sales and an expected upgrade in growth projections.
Banksy hits the auction block. The second Banksy piece to be auctioned in the US, “Flower Girl,” goes under the hammer in Beverly Hills and is expected to fetch up to $300,000. The silhouette of a girl looking at a plant topped by a security camera was first painted on the wall of a Hollywood gas station in 2008.
While you were sleeping
China barred banks from using Bitcoin. Financial institutions cannot handle transactions involving the virtual currency, the country’s central bank said, after speculation caused its value to skyrocket in recent months. Members of the public can still use bitcoin, though.
India’s main opposition made gains. Exit polls showed the Bharatiya Janata Party will win four out of five of the past month’s state elections, giving it momentum before next year’s national voting, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition being blamed for corruption and inflation.
Thailand’s role in human trafficking. A Reuters investigation illuminates the country’s secret policy of providing Rohingya Muslims, who are refugees from neighboring Myanmar, to human traffickers who hold them hostage.
Biden discussed China’s airspace zone. The vice president told a group of US business executives in Beijing that China’s airspace zone “caused significant apprehension in the region.” Having already met with President Xi Jinping, Biden’s tour through Asia takes him to South Korea later today.
China Mobile will finally offer the iPhone. Apple and China’s largest cell phone operator signed a long-awaited deal to offer the device (paywall), according to the Wall Street Journal. China Mobile is one of the world’s last big carriers not to offer the gadget; the deal will also give Apple a boost in a crucial market.
Westfield is investing in New York City. Australia’s biggest shopping mall operator is spending $800 million to take over all of the World Trade Center’s retail space, bringing its total investment to $1.4 billion by buying out stakes in the project from New Jersey and the Port Authority of New York.
A coming dementia epidemic? New analysis from Alzheimer’s Disease International says the number of people with the condition will triple by 2050, rising from 44 million today to 135 million, thanks in part to longer life expectancies in Southeast Asia and Africa.
Quartz obsession interlude
Lily Kuo and Gang Yang on the genius tricks Beijing drivers use to get a license plate. “Since 2011, the plates have been awarded in a lottery system that people joke is more difficult to win than the country’s actual lottery. It was put in place as cars poured on to Beijing’s roads, causing traffic jams and choking fumes—they more than doubled (link in Chinese) in 10 years, to 5.2 million in 2012. Last month, Beijing announced it would make things even tougher, by cutting the number of new license plates it issues to drivers by over a third to further battle congestion and pollution. Starting next year officials will make things tougher still…” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Let the world’s poor use fossil fuels. 3.5 million people die each year from burning dirty fuels in their homes. The West shouldn’t stand in the way of developing nations turning to coal—despite climate change.
Katie Couric is wrong about the HPV vaccine. The daytime talk show host is bowing to anti-vaccination alarmists despite a lack of evidence showing the HVP vaccine is dangerous.
The Iranian nuclear deal doesn’t solve much. Here are six reasons why we shouldn’t relax just yet.
For the next decade the moon will be back at the center of the space race. For a bunch of reasons, including the fact that it’s a lot closer than Mars.
Bans on child labor don’t work. In India, at least, a ban actually increased the practice.
A sweater that displays your mood. The garment, which relies on Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), uses sensors to change color depending on how you feel.
A third of all US bank tellers get government help. Researchers say tellers’ average $12.40 hourly wage means many receive federal assistance in the form of Medicaid, tax credits, or food stamps.
How the NSA finds “co-travelers.” The US spy agency tracks the movements of phones all over the world from one cell tower to the next to identify people who might be with a known suspect.