What to watch for today
Indonesia picks a new president. The world’s third-largest democracy casts ballots in an extremely tight race between a Suharto-era former general and an ex-furniture maker with no ties to the old regime. There are fears that an ambiguous result may spark unrest.
Citigroup’s mortgage mega-fine. The bank is close to agreeing with prosecutors on a mammoth $7 billion settlement, according to Reuters. Analysts estimate Citi has around $3 billion in reserve; the reported deal would be mostly in cash with some money set aside to help struggling borrowers.
Laying the ground for Modinomics. A day before India’s prime minister presents his first budget, the finance ministry’s annual economic survey will outline the country’s economic prospects and highlight issues like job creation, over-consumption, and inflation.
The Fed’s tea leaves are read. Economists will pore over the Federal Reserve’s minutes of its June policy meeting, when it hinted that it thought the US job market was still looking weak. But the subsequent strong June jobs report may have superseded whatever the Fed was thinking at the time.
World Cupdate. The tournament’s second semi-final—Netherlands v Argentina, at 9pm (BST)—will determine who faces Germany in the final showdown.
While you were sleeping
China’s inflation slowed… Consumer prices rose by a less-than-expected 2.3% in the year to June, versus 2.5% in May, giving the government more room for further stimulus. Producer prices fell 1.1%—the 28th consecutive month of declines.
…As John Kerry pressed Beijing on the yuan. The US secretary of state prodded China to move its currency towards a market exchange rate, citing the need for a level playing field. Kerry and treasury secretary Jack Lew are in Beijing for an annual strategic and economic dialogue between the two countries.
Smallpox was discovered in a storage closet. Six vials of freeze-dried virus were found in a research center belonging to the US Food and Drug Administration—the government’s second recent mishandling of dangerous germs including an anthrax scare last month.
América Móvil prepared to break up. Carlos Slim’s Latin American telecoms behemoth announced the divestiture of some of its Mexican assets, in response to an anti-trust legislation that is moving through the Mexican legislature.
Another Islamist extremist group wreaked havoc. Somali troops repulsed an attack on the presidential palace in Mogadishu by al-Shabaab, the militia that also carried out last September’s shopping-mall massacre in Kenya. Along with ISIL in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria, al Shabaab is part of an extremist resurgence.
Israel and Hamas traded attacks. Israeli jets targeted about 50 sites on the Gaza Strip after the heaviest Palestinian rocket fire on to Israeli towns in 20 months, including at least one rocket that reached Jerusalem.
Quartz obsession interlude
Michael Silverberg shares writing tips from the CIA’s style manual. “As revealed in the manual, the CIA is a prescriptivist scold, a believer in the serial comma, and a champion of ‘crisp and pungent’ language ‘devoid of jargon.’ It takes a firm stand against false titles used attributively and urges intelligence writers to lowercase the w in Vietnam war (‘undeclared’).” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The US has a lot to learn from Germany’s minimum wage hike. The country’s decision to move to €8.50 ($11.60) an hour by 2015 should serve as an example for Washington.
There’s nothing wrong with paying high school interns $6,000 per month. Given the amount of time we spend complaining about unpaid interns, this is great news.
Uber’s strategy: Be too big to ban. If enough people love the car service, it will become politically bulletproof.
Stop picking on Taylor Swift. It’s easy to ridicule her optimistic column about the music industry’s future, but she has evidence on her side.
Another Olympics would be good for Beijing. The 2022 Winter Games could give the city an impetus to finally clean up its pollution problem.
Harry Potter is almost 34 years old. And he’s busy watching the Quidditch world cup, according to a new J.K. Rowling short story.
IKEA uses 1% of the world’s commercial wood supply. And it has a separate company of 15,000 people to source it.
Tour De France selfies are dangerous. Spectators are posing with their backs to oncoming bikes.
Seoul insects are moving on up. Mayor Park Won-soon is building miniature high-rise hotels for bugs to protect environmental diversity.
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