What to watch for today
Some clues about ECB stimulus. Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann has been the biggest skeptic of calls for the European Central Bank to do something radical in the face of looming euro-zone deflation. But the German central bank head is coming around, and his speech today could give hints about what measures the ECB might take in June.
A comprehensive look at Africa’s economy. The annual African Economic Outlook, from a raft of international agencies, will cover all 54 countries on the continent for the first time, and look at what global trade and industrialization can do for Africa’s growth.
AstraZeneca rejects an inflated final offer. Pfizer raised to $119 billion its bid for the British-Swedish company, but AstraZeneca is likely to reject it (paywall). Pfizer said it would not go hostile if AstraZeneca turns down their latest offer.
Details on YouTube’s purchase of Twitch. The video streaming site is reportedly in talks to buy Twitch, a live video game streaming site, for $1 billion, although conflicting accounts cast doubt on how close the deal is. Twitch has 1 million unique users and—during peak hours—uses more bandwidth than Google.
Over the weekend
Gunfire rocked Libya’s parliament. Rebel fighters tried to storm Libya’s interim parliament in Tripoli, sending MPs fleeing. One group has claimed responsibility but eyewitness accounts are contradictory. The country has had three prime ministers since March, and its constitution remains unwritten.
AT&T and DirecTV announced a tie-up. The $48.5 billion acquisition will, if approved by regulators, give AT&T a satellite-TV network alongside its wireless and broadband businesses, enabling it to compete in the rapidly consolidating US telecom and media industries.
Apple and Google made peace. Late on Friday the tech giants agreed to end a long-running war of smartphone patent lawsuits and countersuits. They also agreed to work together on patent reform. Samsung and Apple are still at odds, though last week a key ruling went in Apple’s favor.
Putin stroked China’s ego… The Russian president made an unmistakable attempt at solidifying Russia’s partnership with China in a state-media interview. Putin revived memories of Russia as “the liberator” of China, and denounced Ukrainian “neo-Nazis.” Putin will travel to Shanghai later this week to continue talks on exporting natural gas to China.
…And Chinese fled Vietnam. China evacuated some 3,000 citizens, after rioters killed several Chinese last week in protest at China’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters. Vietnamese authorities, which allowed previous peaceful demonstrations, are now cracking down on the protests.
Turkey made arrests after its mining catastrophe. As the final death toll in last week’s coal-mine fire was set at 301, making it the worst mining disaster in Turkey’s history, police arrested 24 people, including executives from the mine’s owner, Soma Holdings.
South Korea disbanded its coastguard. President Park Geun-hye also said she will reform her entire government to make it more responsive to disasters after the coastguard failed to save hundreds of students from a sinking ferry last month. Park said she would make the tragedy an opportunity for “reform and great transformation.”
Deutsche Bank got a Qatari shareholder. The German bank launched a plan to sell some €8 billion ($11 billion) in shares, with €1.75 billion coming from investment vehicle controlled by a member of Qatar’s royal family. As one of Europe’s most weakly capitalized banks, Deutsche needs to shore itself up ahead of ECB stress tests later this year.
Switzerland rejected a new minimum wage bid. A proposed 22-franc ($25)-per-hour minimum wage was rejected in the Swiss parliament—if it were accepted it would have been the highest minimum wage in the world. Nine in 10 Swiss employees already earn over that level.
Quartz obsession interlude
S. Mitra Kalita on how Narendra Modi won over her family. “For much of India’s 67-year history, the majority of my family has supported Congress… Then last month, amid the biggest election in human history, I landed in an India that somehow and suddenly felt different. The revolution was not as I’d expected—no mass protest in the streets over inequality and women’s rights, graft and malnutrition, wages and labor conditions. Yet there was a palpable shift in a nation’s psyche, most evident in my own family. Dozens of relatives were firmly in Modi’s camp.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Sharing doesn’t equal caring. The rise of the sharing economy means more collaboration and less consumption, but it also means we are commercializing our relationships.
Overseas Chinese are China’s Achilles heel. The fact that Beijing can do little to protect its citizens abroad offers a strategic advantage to countries like Vietnam.
Even at record highs, the stock markets are your best long-term bet. An investment in stocks, unlike in gold or real estate, is an investment in the creative potential of people.
The US needs a new Brown v Board of Education. The historic Supreme Court ruling 60 years ago created a movement for racial equality and inclusion that has since petered out.
Finding work for farmers ought to be one of Modi’s top goals. But a romantic view of farming will probably prevent that.
Dilma Rousseff is looking desperate. Brazil’s president doesn’t seem to realize the damage her economic policies are doing.
You can drink this suntan lotion. Drinking 2ml of the stuff every four hours can cancel 97% of the sun’s rays, the manufacturer says.
Mobile payment apps make you tip more. One restaurant company reported a 45% increase in tip value after switching.
The riot police in Brazil look just like the ones in Brazil. The elite World Cup “robo-cops” of Rio bear an uncanny resemblance to those in the dystopian 1985 movie classic.
Forbidden photos of North Korea. They show ordinary life, not military parades or mass synchronized baton-twirling.
Norway has a human zoo. Two artists created it to remind Norwegians about hidden racism.
Watch out, it’s bee swarming season. Which means clumps of thousands of bees take up residence in all kinds of unlikely places.
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