What to watch for today
Tesco repents for its sins. The British supermarket chain will announce its turn-around strategy, which is likely to include cost cuts and asset write-downs, after the company issued four profit warnings (paywall) last year and admitted to over-reporting profits to the tune of over £250 million ($377 million).
Sri Lanka chooses its next president. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will likely remain in power, despite having been head honcho since 2005. His opponent, Maithripala Sirisena, promises a more balanced, pro-US foreign policy, which would prove problematic for China.
Ukraine begs the IMF for mercy. Kiev is hoping the international lender will grant it access to another $15 billion after perusing its finances, in the face of financial collapse. That’s on top of the $30 billion already promised from international creditors, including the fund’s own $17 billion program.
Xiaomi struggles for India’s approval. The country’s justice system weighs in again on the legality of the Chinese smartphone maker’s devices, which have flip-flopped between being banned and allowed again amid a patent dispute with Swedish telecom giant Ericsson.
While you were sleeping
Three gunmen attacked the office of a satirical magazine in Paris. An attack by three gunmen at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly, killed at least 12 people and wounded several more. Paris deputy mayor Patrick Klugman confirmed that police had identified the three men responsible. At the scene, French president François Hollande called it a “terrorist attack” of “exceptional barbarity.” The French capital hasn’t seen an attack this gruesome since 1995 (paywall) when a bomb killed eight people in a subway station.
US job growth in December was the biggest since June. Private payroll firm ADP says payrolls expanded by 241,000 in December, and that November’s initial reporting of 208,000 was revised upward to 227,000. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were hoping to see at least 225,000 new jobs—which means the American economy surprised everyone, again.
Europe experienced deflation for the first time since 2009. The official inflation figure for the month of December came in at negative 0.2%—economists were expecting negative 0.1%. Prices for food, alcohol, and tobacco stayed the same; it was the 6.3% dip in energy prices that brought the euro zone’s numbers down. Had energy prices remained constant, inflation would have come in at 0.6%.
Indian politician urges women to procreate. Sakshi Maharaj wants the Hindu religion to thrive, so he’s urging women who belong to the faith to have a minimum of four children. The MP, who is part of prime minister Narendra Modi’s political party, has said controversial things before—like when he recently called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin a patriot.
Italian unemployment hit a new record. Standing at 13.4% in the month of November, it’s the highest rate of joblessness the country has seen since 1977. More worryingly, the unemployment rate for those between the ages of 15 and 24 hit 43.9%. On the same day these numbers were published, Germany announced its lowest unemployment in more than two decades.
Quartz obsession interlude
Devjyot Ghoshal and Manu Balachandran on India’s impending energy crisis. ”‘It is time for coal workers to do or die,’ a veteran union leader declared on Jan. 6, as some 500,000 Indian coal workers launched a massive, five-day strike that has already cut coal production by more than half—and pushed India’s power sector to the brink of a crisis.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The Charlie Hebdo attack was a PR move by al-Qaeda. If the gunmen were in fact from al-Qaeda in Yemen, then the move may have been an old-style attack designed to create global attention and compete with the kind of jihadism coming from the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Should a man serving life in prison for murder be allowed euthanasia? Two academics and a lawyer say yes, no, and maybe.
Lawmakers can’t control oil prices. Forget the impact of Keystone XL or OPEC—prices are being driven by supply and demand.
Europe is failing to integrate its immigrants. When 18,000 Germans take to the streets to protest the presence of foreigners, it’s about time to change tack (paywall).
Countries are resorting to segregating the sexes on public transport. Providing women-only transport is a nice safety assurance for women threatened by sexual harassment, but why not just teach men to behave?
Fidgeting is cold, hard proof of lying. Scientists at the University of Cambridge say $12,000 motion capture suits are the new polygraph.
Your parents were delicious, so you will be, too. Farmers are breeding cattle for their ability to produce a good steak (paywall).
Menial servants are back in vogue. A politician in Turkey has been suspended for allegedly allowing locals to schlep him on their backs so he wouldn’t mess up his shoes in the snow.
Yet another reason to hate your printer. A printing malfunction deprived a New Mexico man of the $500,000 he believed he had won by botching his scratch-off lottery ticket.
The obstacle course business has gone off the deep end. Tough Mudder is adding tear gas to its list of torture devices in its latest grueling obstacle course for thrill-seekers.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, genetically-altered steaks, and blinded obstacle course lovers to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.