What to watch for today
An escalation in Ukraine? Yesterday, after clashes in eastern Ukraine killed three, Russian president Vladimir Putin held a marathon news conference (complete with a guest appearance from Edward Snowden) that included provocative references to eastern Ukraine as “new Russia,” even as diplomats reached a pact aimed at de-escalation.
The search continues for survivors of Korea’s ferry disaster. Time is running out for the 271 passengers who may still be trapped in the semi-submerged vessel, and chances of finding survivors is “slim” officials say. The captain was away from the helm when the ferry capsized.
An election result in Algeria. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks set to win a fourth five-year term, and one aide has already declared victory, even though he has scarcely been heard from in two years (paywall) and had to vote from a wheelchair. In 2009, he claimed to have got 90% of the vote; some predict an 80% abstention rate this time.
Markets in many countries close for Good Friday. A happy Easter if you’re celebrating this weekend.
While you were sleeping
A potential bailout for Mt. Gox. Investors hoping to buy the troubled bitcoin exchange set up a website asking creditors to prevent liquidation. Savegox.com thinks liquidation would be bad for both investors and—quite rightly—bitcoin’s reputation.
An auspicious debut for Weibo. The Chinese social media service went public on the Nasdaq in New York, closing up 19% from its initial price despite weak initial demand and concerns about censorship by the Chinese government.
Ford and IBM were called to court, to face charges over apartheid-era business deals. The companies are accused of encouraging race-based human rights abuses in South Africa.
PepsiCo bet on a winning combination. The soda maker beat expectations with a first-quarter profit 13% higher than last year’s; a slight contraction in soda sales was more than made up for by the company’s huge snack food divisions.
Goldman Sachs’ beat expectations and killed it in investment banking. The Wall Street bank saw trading income continue its downward trend—Morgan Stanley was the only Wall Street bank this quarter to avoid trading losses—but beat expectations with one of its best-ever quarters of investment banking revenue.
Gabriel García Márquez died. The 87-year-old Colombian novelist, who won the 1982 Nobel for literature and whose writing reputedly outsold everything in Spanish except the Bible, succumbed in his Mexico City home. Here’s an obituary from the New York Times, and long interviews with him from the Atlantic in 1973 and the Paris Review in 1981.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on how sewage from China’s exploding population is feeding massive algal blooms. “In July 2013, the biggest algal bloom ever recorded in China covered 28,900 square kilometers (11,158 square miles) of the Yellow Sea—meaning more than three New York City metro areas of ocean was carpeted in green muck—requiring Qingdao city officials to bulldoze 7,335 tonnes (8,085 tons) of beached scum. A similar incident almost shut down the sailing competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The army dispatched 15,000 soldiers to remove 1 million tons of algae, costing more than $100 million.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Prepare yourself for the coming global famine. Even without a Mao or a Stalin to help, climate change could make Malthus’s prediction come true.
Give up pushing for a Palestinian state. With peace talks foundering again, it’s time to switch gears and work towards a binational Jewish-Palestinian state.
How to prepare for American urbanization. Stop subsidizing the suburbs.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is a tech Machiavelli. She’s got a cunning plan to turn Apple against Google.
In the United States, even empiricism is an ideology. New news outlets that propose to do data-led journalism will still be seen as partisan.
Forget digital, land is the most precious commodity. In the age of information technology it is “inevitable” that we value most what that economy can’t create.
Netflix got faster following its Comcast deal.Viewers got a lot less buffering once the company tied with the business that distributes internet.
An earth-like planet just 500 light-years away. Scientists say it’s in the “Goldilocks zone” for creating life: Just right.
The complete guide to structuring your workday. Why isn’t there more nap time?
If you “like” a company online, you might not be able to sue it later. On the legal implications of every click you make.
Christians save while abstaining during Lent. A clear conscience also adds a few hundred dollars in your pocket.