Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
China and Russia get closer. Russian president Vladimir Putin, currently in Shanghai, is reportedly close to signing a $400 billion deal to supply China with natural gas, ending years of price negotiations. Putin and other leaders from non-western nations are in town for a friendly get-together to sort out security in Asia.
Jamie Dimon’s pay is up for a vote. JP Morgan’s proposal to increase its CEO’s pay by 74% will face opposition, after advisory firm Glass, Lewis & Co recommended that shareholders reject the package. Three pension funds have already said they will vote against the salary bump.
UK inflation steadies. The consumer prices index has been falling steadily for the past nine months, to 1.6% in March. Analysts expect inflation to rebound slightly to 1.7% in April, easing possible fears of deflation but falling short of the central bank’s 2% target for the fourth consecutive month.
Microsoft unveils a mystery product. Earlier rumors suggested a smaller version of the Surface tablet, but recent leaks have pointed toward a totally new tablet, which could actually be on the larger side. Here are a couple of roundups of all the pre-reveal chatter.
Decoding Vodafone’s numbers. Full-year revenue is set to drop by £1 billion ($1.68 billion) to about £43.5 billion, but earnings will be skewed by Vodafone’s $130 billion sale of its Verizon stake. Investors may pay more attention to how much the telco’s decline in Europe is offset by growth in emerging markets (paywall).
While you were sleeping
Thailand’s military declared martial law. The army’s move to seize control of domestic security matters comes amid a months-long political stalemate and the possibility of clashes between pro-and anti-government protesters. The military occupied TV stations, strategic intersections, and prominent shopping malls, but claimed a coup d’état was not underway.
Credit Suisse pled guilty to an “extensive and wide-ranging conspiracy” to help US citizens evade taxes, and agreed to pay around $2.6 billion in fines (paywall)—the biggest US bank fine in 20 years. Credit Suisse, one of a dozen banks facing similar probes, escaped the worst-case scenario of its license being revoked.
Facebook signed up with Publicis. The French advertising giant agreed to a multi-year partnership worth hundreds of millions of dollars, in the wake of its failed merger with Omnicom. The deal will place Publicis clients’ video ads on Facebook, and give the advertising firm access to Facebook’s data on users’ responses.
Chile’s growth slowed. First-quarter GDP expanded only 2.6% (paywall), compared with 4.9% growth for the same period a year earlier. The central bank lowered full-year growth forecasts to 3-4%, compared with 4.1% in 2013.
The US probed more bitcoin exchanges. Authorities are investigating potential links between bitcoin exchanges—including Tokyo-based Mt. Gox—and the online drug bazaar Silk Road (paywall), the Wall Street Journal reports. The owner of one bitcoin exchange has already been charged.
Vietnamese rioting barely touched mainland Chinese factories. Only 14 factories affected by rioters last week belonged to mainland Chinese companies, out of 351 that were damaged. Nevertheless, thousands of Chinese have been evacuated, and some Hong Kong businesses are exiting the country.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on how the US National Football League could ruin the AT&T-DirecTV deal. “DirecTV shares are down about 2% this morning, which is a surprise, because yesterday the company agreed to be bought by AT&T in a blockbuster deal worth $48.5 billion. In early-morning trading, the stock was hovering around the $85 mark, which is about 11% below AT&T’s bid price (which works out to $95 per share). Why? In a word, American football. Investors are worried that the deal will collapse if DirecTV is unable to renew its exclusive rights to broadcast every National Football League match on Sundays.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
We’ve got eating and obesity the wrong way around. People aren’t fat because they’re especially hungry—they are hungry because they are fat.
“Fog computing” will trump cloud computing. Bandwidth constraints mean that storage and processing will take place on distributed devices, not distant servers (paywall).
MBAs now require a travel budget. Business degrees involve increasingly expensive travel for networking with fellow students.
Invisible racism is more insidious than the visible kind. When racist epithets are unacceptable, it makes institutionalized racism that much harder to see.
Online loan services are threatening banks. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending (paywall) can offer better deals to borrowers.
48 million channels, and nothing’s on. Netflix knows what TV will be like in 2025, but don’t worry—your device will know what you want to watch.
Light can be turned into matter. British labs are racing to be the first to smash enough photons together.
The dictionary is getting Twitter-fied. Collins’ lexicographers are looking for new words on the social platform.
The Wolf of Wall Street just had his best year ever… Jordan Belfort will repay the victims of his securities fraud with proceeds from his book and speaking tour.
…But Dominique Strauss-Kahn is suing the makers of his biopic. The former IMF chief is “heartbroken and terrified” over Welcome to New York.