What to watch for today
NASA visits a new planet. If all goes according to plan, the Dawn spacecraft will enter the orbit of the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn, launched into space in 2007, made a 14-month pit stop at another planet, Vesta. Scientists want to get to the bottom of what appear to be bright spots of light on Ceres.
The head of Sands China steps down. The world’s largest casino business is bidding farewell to the head of its faltering regional arm, 62-year-old Ed Tracy, who announced he is retiring and returning to the US (paywall). The sharp downturn in Macau has been linked to China’s crackdown on corruption.
American unemployment figures. The US Labor Department’s jobs report for February is expected to show that unemployment dipped to 5.6% from 5.7%, which would be impressive in the face of global uncertainty and bad weather.
India celebrates Holi. Better known as the festival of colors, the event ushers in the beginning of spring. Its official March 6 start has been preceded by jubilant celebrations in many parts of the country.
While you were sleeping
The ECB set a date for the launch of quantitative easing. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi finally revealed the details of the bank’s €60 billion ($66.2 billion) per month debt purchase program to stoke growth in the euro zone, to begin March 9. The bank hopes buying public and private bonds will help push the inflation rate (paywall) closer to its target of near but below 2%. The news sent the euro to an 11-year low (paywall).
The US Federal Reserve’s stress test results came in. All 31 of the country’s largest banks met the Fed’s main capital thresholds, the first time that’s happened since testing began in 2009. Even Citibank, which had failed Fed stress tests twice in three years (paywall) as of last March, made the cut.
Top US officials pushed Obama to arm Ukraine. US House of Representatives speaker John Boehner, along with House members from both parties, penned a letter urging president Barack Obama to authorize the provisioning of lethal weapons to Ukrainian forces to fight pro-Russia rebels. Obama and European leaders are weighing whether to provide weapons and ramp up sanctions against Russia for supporting rebels.
An airplane slid off the runway in New York. The city’s LaGuardia airport said it would close until 7PM Eastern time after Delta Flight 1086—carrying 125 passengers and five crew members—skidded and crashed through a fence, amid wintry conditions. No serious injuries have been reported. The incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Hillary Clinton said she wants you to read her email. The former US first lady, who is under the microscope for using a personal email account to conduct official state business during her four years as US secretary of State, has asked the State Department to release her emails to the public. The move is an attempt to stave off criticism as she prepares to run for president in 2016.
Quartz obsession interlude
Leo Mirani on growing public concern about online privacy. “For years, conventional wisdom has had it that people just don’t care about privacy online. Mark Zuckerberg famously declared back in 2010 that privacy was no longer a social norm. Similar sentiments continue to find their way into the headlines, including at this publication. But various pieces of research have shown the very opposite.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Hillary Clinton isn’t ready. Her recent email scandal should send a message to the US Democratic party that the former first lady may have more skeletons in her closet.
Video game engines will power the future of film and architecture. With the impending rise of virtual reality, the ability to easily create 3D worlds will become useful to industrial designers, architects, and film makers.
Pay less attention to China’s latest growth target. Premier Li Keqiang set the country’s yearly GDP growth target to roughly 7%, the slowest in recent history. But the goal of creating 10 million new jobs didn’t change, a sign the government is focusing more on the quality of economic growth.
America’s healthcare system doesn’t jibe with the American dream. The daunting maze of Medicaid was too much for this Cuban immigrant, who is now struggling to return home to Cuba where the medications he needs are free.
Russian sanctions will backfire. Just as drone strikes in Pakistan may have fueled negative public sentiment in the country against the US, so too could sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine cause similar blowback among Russians (paywall).
Cows are gaining power in India. Eating a steak in the Indian state of Maharashtra—home to the city of Mumbai—can now result in five years of jail time, a win for Hindu groups who want to protect cows for religious reasons.
Elephants are ditching the circus. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus said it will stop using elephants in its act in 2018, given concerns about animal treatment.
Be careful what you say on Facebook. An American expat who complained about his employer in the United Arab Emirates was arrested for breaking its harsh cyber-slander laws when he returned to the country.
Autism is genetic. A new study of 516 twins by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College in London found that autism is a hereditary disease in 74% to 98% of cases.