What to watch for today
Dubai World’s creditors back a restructuring. Look for share-price reaction after the state-owned conglomerate, which was nearly crippled by the 2009 financial crisis, has agreed to a $14.6-billion debt-restructuring plan that has been in the works since 2011 with its creditors.
Global growth data. There are a series of fourth-quarter GDP reports issuing from various countries: Japan, Israel, Thailand, Taiwan, and Ukraine, which of course has been at the center of a conflict with Russia over Crimea and its eastern region.
The euro zone discusses Greece. Finance ministers, central bankers, and European Commission figures meet to discuss Greece and its opposition to extending its bail-out. It comes after the European bail-out fund’s head warned on a Greek exit, saying it would be “the most expensive solution” in a German TV interview.
Public holidays—but for very different leaders. In the US, it’s Presidents Day and markets are closed. Meanwhile, North Korea marks the anniversary of the birth of the current leader’s father, Kim Jong-Il, with a major annual holiday.
Over the weekend
A shooting in Denmark. One person died and three police officers were wounded after a gunman opened fire at a free speech forum in Copenhagen, and later at a synagogue. The gunman was later killed by police. The contentious Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who attended, was unharmed.
Ukraine’s ceasefire 2.0 began—and held. The latest attempt to keep the peace in the eastern region of the country was generally holding, according to France and Germany. Those two countries managed to get Ukraine and Russia to agree a truce, and hope to proceed with the next steps towards a peace deal.
Iran’s Supreme Leader contacted the White House. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sent a secret letter to US president Barack Obama in “recent weeks”, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), following overtures from Obama last October.
Cricket’s World Cup got off to a flying start. India began its defense of its title with a victory over Pakistan—a longstanding rival on and off the oval pitch. Here’s a guide to cricket and the World Cup for beginners.
Quartz obsession interlude
Jason Karaian and David Yanofsky map and explain Angela Merkel’s crisis world tour. “The German chancellor has logged some 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometers) crisscrossing the globe over the past two weeks, darting from one crisis to the next. ‘Merkel here, Merkel there, Merkel everywhere,’ noted Deutsche Welle. ‘Merkel is needed, now more than ever, to put out the world’s fires’.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The FAA’s new drone rules are four years late and still don’t make sense. For starters, how will they even be enforced?
Apple actually has no interest in cars. This is all a big PR stunt.
Pentecostalism is a growing threat to the Catholic Church. It’s losing millions of followers in Latin America.
The Copenhagen attacks bring the free-speech wars full circle. It’s been 10 years since the first attacks against cartoonists there.
Coding is not the new literacy. Modeling (not the Fashion Week kind) is.
Privacy is a matter of “life and death.” So says Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The Ganges is a sewage-laden environmental disaster. No one’s sure it can be saved.
This is when you add salt in cooking. It’s all about the timing.
Lorne Michaels is the most important man in US comedy. And he’s Canadian.
One man taught his computer to write music with him. Well, if you can’t find yourself a Bernie Taupin…
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, well-salted lunch treats, favorite Elton John songs, and Kim Jong-Il tributes to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.