What to watch for today
Credit Suisse gets grilled on tax evasion. The bank faces US senators to discuss allegations that it helped 22,000 Americans dodge taxes with shredded documents and business deals conducted in secret elevators.
European gets a cigarette makeover. The EU parliament is expected to approve legislation designed to make tobacco products less appealing to young people, banning packs that contain fewer than 20 cigarettes and increasing the size of health warnings.
South Africa’s economic recovery plan could include a tax hike when its new budget is unveiled, as the government is forced to choose between a series of unattractive options during a period of slowing economic growth.
Abercrombie & Fitch dresses up its profits. Investors will be closely examining online sales for the US clothing retailer, which had a better-than-expected holiday season but otherwise a pretty dismal year.
A read on Barnes & Noble’s future. The struggling book retailer posts fourth-quarter results a few days after private equity firm G Asset Management made an offer to buy 51% of the company.
While you were sleeping
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was subpoenaed. US prosecutors want to know more about the Tokyo-based exchange that crashed this week, stranding bitcoin owners and threatening confidence in the popular digital currency. Japanese authorities are also investigating.
Hong Kong stays on track. Financial secretary John Tsang said the territory’s growth will be between 3% and 4% this year. He also has a $2.5 billion fiscal relief package for the city’s working class.
Mexico wants to try El Chapo at home. The Mexican government says it will keep Joaquin Guzman in its highest-security prison for the foreseeable future, heading off a US plan to seek his extradition.
Elon Musk’s fortune got a charge. Two of the tycoon’s companies—electric carmaker Tesla and solar power company SolarCity Corp—both closed at record highs due to investor optimism over his plans to build one of the world’s biggest rechargeable battery factories.
Argentina and Repsol made up. Argentina agreed to cough up $5 billion worth of bonds to settle a two-year dispute with Repsol, the Spanish oil company that initially asked for $10.5 billion in compensation after it was partially nationalized.
A fine for San Francisco’s crash landing. Asiana Airlines was handed a $500,000 fine for its mishandling of a 2012 plane crash, including taking five days to notify all the passengers’ families and not having translators and trained crash staff on board.
Corporate America weighed in against Arizona’s discrimination bill. If passed, it would allow business owners to refuse to serve customers on religious grounds.
Quartz obsession interlude
Leo Mirani on why there’s no point banning Google Glass in cars—at least, not yet. “In the coming years, cars are going to change unrecognizably. We will interact with them not through buttons and dials but by waving our hands, talking to them or, with eye-tracking technology, simply by looking around. Legislation is not prepared for that sort of change. Does talking to your car constitute the same sort of distraction as talking to somebody else on a hands-free device? Are larger and larger dashboard display screens the equivalent of looking at a Facebook post? Arguably not, because you’re looking to the screens and talking to your car about road-related things while a Facebook update from your ex-boyfriend might trigger an emotional, and therefore distracting, response.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The Comcast–Netflix deal has nothing to do with net neutrality. Most of the mainstream commentary is ignorant of how the internet actually works.
Higher education’s golden age is over. The failure to adapt to today’s realities has created a big opportunity for online education.
Ghostbusters isn’t really about ghosts. The classic ’80s film is “a Reaganite carnival of ideological triumph.”
We’re managing the internet all wrong. It’s a utility, not a luxury, and should be treated as such.
Silicon Valley is the new Wall Street. The center of the financial world is moving west.
Americans are actually getting skinnier. There’s been a 43% drop in obesity among young children in the United States over the past decade.
The internet of washing machines is upon us. Control all the functions from your smartphone, for some reason.
Harnessing Tetris’s distractive qualities. Playing the game for just three minutes can reduce the urge to eat, smoke and drink.
Cosmetic surgery for hipsters. The beard trend has led to a rise in facial-hair transplants.