What to watch for today
Viktor Yanukovych reappears in Russia. The ousted Ukrainian president will give a press conference at 5pm Moscow time. The Swiss government is set to issue a decree freezing Yanukovych’s funds.
US economic growth is pared back. The second estimate of fourth-quarter GDP growth is set to be revised down to 2.7%, after an initial estimate of 3.2%, on the back of lower retail sales.
India’s growth remains sluggish. We erroneously told you this was happening yesterday, but India reports its GDP today. Economists predict it will post growth of 4.9% for the last quarter of 2013—its fifth straight quarter below 5%, and a far cry from the 9% rate it had been used to.
Rio Carnival opens. Two million people per day are expected to walk the streets of Rio de Janeiro during the annual festival. With the World Cup less than four months away, people will be watching closely for clues about Brazil’s safety and tourism efforts.
While you were sleeping
Crimea’s airports seized. Armed men searched Simferopol International Airport for Ukranian troops. John Kerry warned Russia to back off, which appears to have little impact on Russia’s larger strategic plan. Later, another armed group, believed to be pro-Russian militants, took over Crimea’s other main airport.
Apple avoided a $2.15 billion claim. A German court dismissed a claim from German patent manager IPCom seeking damages related to technology that allows phones to make emergency calls even when networks are overloaded.
Euro zone employment stalled. Unemployment was stuck at 12% in January, meaning modest declines in previous months did not necessarily mark the beginning of a trend.
Japan growth: Not so shabby. Consumer prices, industrial production and the labor market all showed improvements (paywall), bolstering evidence of recent growth.
The UK property market came alive. Bank of England chief economist Spencer Dale said that the market’s rebound is healthy, and not a sign of overheating.
Quartz obsession interlude
Heather Timmons and Adam Pasick on how Asia’s flagship airlines are losing out to low-cost carriers. “Specifically, Qantas is getting killed by competition from Virgin Australia, a fast-growing, money-losing budget airline controlled by three other so-called flag carriers—Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore Airlines. Qantas’s fate is being echoed across Asia and around the world, as Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad expand into new territories, and low-cost carriers (LCCs) like Air Asia, Southwest, Easyjet, and Ryanair fight aggressive fare wars against their older rivals.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Breastfeeding is overrated. An Ohio State University study finds no statistically significant health benefits for children who were breastfed, when compared to their bottle-fed siblings.
Taiwan is toast. After a few more decades of Chinese ascendancy, Taiwan’s only hope may be Hong Kong-style autonomy from the mainland.
Taxing banks won’t make them less likely to fail. It will push them toward riskier assets and a sense of entitlement to bailout funds.
“Your an idiot” (sic) is the internet’s most internet phrase. “It is both a symbol and a symptom of our computer-reliant times.”
Bitcoin needs to learn from PayPal’s early problems. Fraud attempts will never end, and guarding against them costs money.
The SEC’s uncanny timing. Research suggests SEC employees are suspiciously good at offloading stocks just ahead of SEC investigations.
A World War I law meant New Jersey ran out of salt, or: How the Jones Act made getting salt for icy roads such a problem.
George W. Bush is getting his own art exhibition. The presidential paintings will go on display in Dallas this spring.
Comedy is part wrong, part right, part subversion. The best jokes take something awful and make them silly.
People still use landlines. Some of them would rather give up the internet than their home phones.