What to watch for today
US unemployment falls to a five-and-a-half year low. Analysts expect to see 200,000 jobs added in March, up from February’s 175,000, as the economy thaws out from a harsh winter. The unemployment rate is projected to be 6.6%, its lowest level since October 2008.
Tunisia shifts from security to finances. New prime minister Mehdi Jomaa meets with US president Barack Obama to discuss the economic recovery of the country that kicked off the Arab Spring. Jomaa will also meet with technology experts from Google and Microsoft.
Taiwan woos the US. Officials will petition the US to support its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc. The US has been lukewarm toward Taiwan due to concerns about cross-straight political implications and a spat over US beef exports.
Moody’s gives Greece a bump. Some analysts expect the ratings agency to increase Greece’s debt rating from its current Caa3 position—two pegs below S&P’s B- classification—citing the country’s reduced risk of default and its government’s commitment to reforms.
While you were sleeping
Mylan eyed its Swedish rival. US-based Mylan has begun to prepare a bid for fellow generic drugmaker Meda (paywall), according to the Financial Times. A merger would create a $23 billion generic drugs giant, and might also offer Mylan the chance to avoid US taxes.
China will stress test its banks… Regulators will conduct both regional and national exercises after a spike in bad loans in 2013. They’re concerned that banks are suffering from a hangover from a lending binge that was designed to soften the effects of the 2008 financial crash.
…And its corrupt officials. To cap off a week in which more than $20 billion was seized due to corruption probes, the government will conduct new investigations into its ministry of science and technology, Shanghai-based Fudan University, and a state-owned food and grain company.
Google wants its own wireless service. The company has reportedly had talks with Verizon and Sprint in cities where it’s already operating a fiber optic network.
Obama’s NSA overhaul may store even more call data. Telecom carriers currently don’t store calls from flat-rate subscribers, but that may end as a result on the president’s new rules. The end result: carriers will have to collect data they previously didn’t bother with.
Mozilla’s CEO resigned over his anti-gay marriage views. Brendan Eich, co-founder of the software company that makes the Firefox browser, resigned after just one month due to protests over his donations to California’s Proposition 8 campaign against same-sex marriage. Dating site OKCupid asked its users not to log on through a Mozilla browser
Anadarko coughed up to clean up. The US Justice Department scored its largest ever environmental cleanup settlement, as Anadarko Petroleum agreed to pay $5.15 billion to clean up 85 years worth of damage—both pollution and injury claims—caused by its Kerr-McGee unit. The US initially sought $25 billion.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on why it’s so hard to tell whether China has a housing bubble. “Before 2000, homes were built to be sold cheaply to poor and middle-class families. In addition to being small and spartan, these flats often included kitchens or bathrooms shared with the entire floor—no longer acceptable to today’s rising middle class […] Around 60-70% of China’s overall housing stock is such ‘crappy legacy housing,’ says Halpin. Subtract that housing stock, then, and it turns out China might actually have a housing shortage.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
NASA’s Russia snub is a bargaining tactic. The space agency is using the spat over Ukraine to press Congress for more money.
New railways and housing won’t fix China’s economy. There just aren’t many valuable projects left to build.
Ivy League schools are biased against Asians. They need better SAT scores than white students to get an admissions offer.
Siri is bad for children. An automated personal assistant who never says no will result in selfish and rebellious kids.
Chinese monks have formed an anti-terror unit. They’re using pepper spray and truncheons, not kung-fu.
Miley Cyrus is Putin’s latest victim. Her concert could be canceled as a result of US sanctions against Russia.
Tunisian kids are scared of math homework. Dutch and Scandinavian students seem the least fazed.
Turkey blamed a cat for its election-day blackout. The feline must have been an Erdogan supporter.
Gawker banned internet slang. Words like massive, epic, and amazeballs are totes verboten.
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