What to watch for today
The last day of voting kicks off in India. More than 90% of the country has already voted, but that doesn’t mean the outcome is predictable. (The results won’t be out until May 16.) India’s exit polls have a history of getting it wrong, and it’s possible that a coalition government will have to be forged.
Detroit’s bankruptcy proposal vote begins. Detroit’s 170,000 creditors will receive information about the city’s restructuring plan to cut $18 billion of debt and reinvest $1.4 billion in services over the next decade, after a judge approved the proposal last week. Creditors have two months to return their ballots.
A barometer on the TV industry. It’s “upfronts” week, when American TV networks unveil their 2014-2015 primetime line-ups. Morgan Stanley expects broadcast networks to roll in $9.1 billion in advanced ad sales and cable stations to notch up $11.2 billion. But this could be the fourth year that upfront ad commitments stay flat or fall.
Iran prepares for a nuclear agreement. Representatives from Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency hold unofficial talks in Vienna, ahead of a meeting later this week when Iran and major world powers are expected to start drawing up a draft of a final nuclear deal.
Over the weekend
Eastern Ukrainians voted for independence. Before polls closed, pro-Moscow separatists prepared to announce victory in referendums calling for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to secede, although it wasn’t clear what that would entail. In one town, Ukrainian guardsmen opened fire on the crowd.
China said slowth is the new growth. President Xi Jinping enjoined his compatriots to stay “cool-minded” and “adapt to a new normal” of slower GDP growth, as policymakers struggle to keep to a 7.5% growth target for the year.
Samsung’s president was hospitalized. Lee Kun-Hee underwent emergency surgery for heart failure. The 72-year-old is South Korea’s richest man, with a net worth of about $10.8 billion.
Britain’s richest got richer. The Sunday Times rich list found 104 billionaires in the UK—up from 88 last year—with a combined net worth of £301 billion ($507 billion). That’s more billionaires per capita than any other country.
The “bearded lady” won Eurovision. Conchita Wurst, a.k.a. Thomas Neuwirth, an Austrian drag queen with a luxurious beard, took first place in the 37-country musical kitschfest; Russia’s entrants were booed in the wake of calls from Russia, Armenia and Belarus to have Wurst excluded or edited out.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on the evidence that soccer has finally found its place in the American psyche. “In total, 30 million viewers have tuned in for Premier League matches this season, more than double the total last year when Fox Sports had the television rights. Nine of the 10 most watched Premier League games ever took place during the current season, and matches have, on average, drawn 440,000 viewers each, compared to 221,000 last year. This Sunday (May 11), for the season finale, NBC will air all 10 matches live across its various channels. Let’s stop to reflect on this. A foreign game, a foreign league, is being aired on US television, and people are actually watching it.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The City is losing to Wall Street. Barclays’ downsizing has taken British investment banking back 20 years (paywall).
Indian mangoes are better than Pakistani ones. Mango nationalism is a matter of cultural identity and political loyalty.
Asians are less self-centered than Westerners because of… rice. New research suggests rice-farming breeds a more collective society than wheat-farming.
Apple isn’t buying Beats for the headphones. It could be part of an unknown plan, like a new type of wearable tech.
Irony and technology have become cultural masks. Why deal with a potentially uncomfortable situation when you can make a joke or fidget with your smartphone?
Dracula’s Castle, Transylvania, is on the market. Perfect if you love views and hate neighbors.
The divorce rate in Maine correlates with the US’s per capita consumption of margarine. And dozens of other spurious correlation charts.
How different English soccer would look if it used only English players. Instead of winning the league, Manchester City would be up for relegation (paywall).
The gene for (part of) intelligence. A gene variation called KL-VS can increase a person’s IQ by six points.
One third of the World Bank’s reports have never been downloaded. The secret to world peace could be buried within those PDFs.
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