What to watch for today
Nerves of steel in Australia. The central bank has faced pressure to cut its interest rates from their current 2.5% due to a stagnant non-mining sector. But a recent spate of more promising data suggests policymakers might be able to resist this fate at their meeting today.
Small steps for an oil giant. BP is set to post a loss in its fourth quarter, although its longer-term outlook isn’t so miserable. But the oil giant is still plagued by legal payments from the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico; it has already dished out $40 billion.
Another step for marriage equality.
Scotland’s parliament holds its
. Despite ongoing opposition, the bill is expected to pass, making Scotland the
to legalize same-sex marriage. (In the UK, marriage law is devolved to the country level.)
Facebook turns 10. The social network launched on Feb. 4, 2004, and has since acquired over 1.2 billion users and attained a market cap of some $135 billion. Here are some more Facebook facts and figures.
While you were sleeping
Europe realized the cost of corruption. Corruption costs the EU economy a “breathtaking” €120 billion ($162.3 billion) each year, according to a new report from the European Commission. That’s about the same figure as the EU’s annual budget.
The US debt ceiling loomed yet again. Treasury secretary Jack Lew warned that the country will run out of ways to pay off its financial obligations at the end of this month unless the limit on how much it can borrow is raised. We’ve been here before, and before, and before.
Costa Rica voted outside the box. Luis Guillermo Solis, the outsider leftist candidate, led by 1% in Costa Rica’s presidential election with more than 80% of the vote counted. Both Costa Rica and El Salvador will now have to hold run-off elections in the coming months.
Formula One attracted a bidder. John Malone, the US cable magnate, is in talks with CVC Capital Partners about buying its 35% stake in Formula One racing (paywall)—a move that will surely irritate fellow tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who tried unsuccessfully to buy into F1 three years ago.
Ryanair reported a dismal third quarter. The Irish airline posted a third-quarter loss of €35 million ($47.3 million), down from its €18.1 million profit last year, and its worst third quarter in five years. Shares jumped 6%, however, on news that both traffic and priority bookings are on the rise.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on how the US invented the 401(k), its major retirement solution, by accident. ”There’s just one little problem: For all the big changes section that 401(k) wrought on American society, more than half of US retirees’ haven’t saved enough to continue their normal lifestyle when they’re done working, even when with Social Security’s public pension payments.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Banks are no longer local lenders, and that’s bad. The problem is, “shadow banking”—borrowing from hedge funds and private equity firms—is riskier, more expensive and less transparent.
The middle class is crumbling. In post-recession America, high-end business is outliving mass-market models (paywall).
The Sochi Olympics are an embarrassment. They’re the biggest boondoggle—a wasteful show of political power—in the history of the Games.
Upworthy’s success won’t last. The “curiosity-gap” headline that the viral content site uses is not a good indicator of what people actually want to click on.
The wealthiest super-PACs are Democrat. They made around four times as much cash as their Republican counterparts in 2013.
How to pronounce “February.” It’s all about that pesky first “r”.
Marriage increases inequality. People are more likely to marry people of their own wealth and educational level.
What it pays to be the king. Juan Carlos, the king of Spain, will earn €292,752 ($395,918) this year, out of a royal family budget of $10.6 million.
The face of Burmese identity. Although legally prohibited, the culture of Burmese women tattooing their faces lives on.