What to watch for today
India announces elections results. The world’s largest exercise in democracy comes to a head as India counts around 550 million votes, cast in nine phases over the last two months. The BJP and its controversial candidate Narendra Modi are expected to surpass the 272-seat threshold that would make him prime minister. Here’s how it looks on Twitter.
China’s annual fishing ban begins. To prevent overfishing, northern parts of the South China Sea will be off limits to fishing vessels until August 1. The Philippines has rejected China’s claim of sovereignty over a region of the sea and does not recognize the ban, but will likely implement its own.
High expectations for US housing. Analysts are betting that weak housing starts and building permits for March were due mostly to bad weather. They are also hoping builders will be racing to make up for lost time in April, amid the worst US housing construction slowdown since World War II.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in the limelight. Midnight on a private beach in the south of France seems an appropriate place for the first screening of the movie about the former IMF chief’s sex scandal. “Welcome to New York” stars Gerard Depardieu as DSK.
While you were sleeping
The FCC ruled on net neutrality. Internet providers will be banned from blocking or slowing access to websites but will be able to charge for faster connections, under proposed new rules from the US communications regulator. The public now has four months to weigh in on plans that could turn the free internet into something more like cable TV.
China blamed the US for Asian strife. Speaking in Washington DC, People’s Liberation Army general Fang Fenghui accused the US of inflating tensions through its ”pivot” toward Asia, while defending China’s towing of an oil rig into disputed waters.
China’s bad loans spiked. The country’s non-performing loans rose by 54 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) to 646.1 billion yuan in the first quarter as the economy slowed down—the tenth straight quarterly increase, and the highest level since 2008.
Pre-World Cup riots ripped through Brazil. Demonstrators blocked highways and set tires on fire to protest the vast sums being spent on the tournament, which they would rather see put toward housing and education.
GM issued yet another recall. The number of cars General Motors has recalled this year now stands at 12.8 million, after it called back a further 2.7 million vehicles (paywall), mostly Chevrolet Malibus. Potential faults affected brake lights, headlamps, stopping distances and steering control.
Uber ordered up an eye-popping valuation. The car-booking app is reportedly in talks to raise up to $1 billion in additional funding, which would make it worth more than $10 billion—nearly triple its value at its last funding round in August.
Quartz obsession interlude
Rachel Feltman on why Samsung’s pharmaceutical foray should worry drug companies. “Big pharma has largely ignored the possibility for app-enabled medical devices. Moreover, many consumers are wary of the industry’s focus on the bottom line. It’s likely that no one would want to offer up reams of health data to the companies that design their drugs. However, people trust Samsung as a brand, and are already growing accustomed to tracking and using their health data on mobile devices. With a foot in both industries, Samsung could be poised to create smart, innovative medical tech that’s designed to win over physicians, consumers, and regulatory agencies alike.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
It never hurts to be overconfident. Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, the downsides are minimal.
Robots have the right to free speech. It’s right there in the US constitution.
Venezuela is like a wayward trust-fund kid. “Gauche, confused, spending more money than it has, addicted to oil revenues and in denial. (paywall).”
Bond traders should keep a close eye on the World Cup. Wagers on a grand scale are a perfect laboratory for how markets work. (paywall).
Jupiter’s great red spot is shrinking. Once three times bigger than Earth, the giant hurricane is now just 40% of its size in 1980. The cause of the downsizing is unknown.
How to make money from millennials. Go long on sports and organic food, and short on junk-food.
Your city could pay you to be late for work. Easing congestion saves the city money, and you get to skip rush hour.
VR goggles could make chickens think they’re free-range. It’s like The Matrix for poultry.
Cute cat pictures were a thing long before the internet. Here are a whole bunch of them from 100 years ago.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dystopian chicken sci-fi, and antique viral cat memes to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.