What to watch for today
NASA visits a new planet. The Dawn spacecraft is due to enter the orbit of the dwarf planet Ceres. Scientists hope to get to the bottom of what appear to be bright spots of light on the planet’s surface.
US unemployment figures. The labor department’s February jobs report is expected to show a dip in unemployment to 5.6% from 5.7%, which would be impressive in the face of global uncertainty and bad weather.
The UN mulls chemical weapons in Syria. The security council votes on a US-drafted resolution condemning of the use of chlorine weapons in the Syrian civil war. The resolution does not assign blame for past incidents, but calls for unspecified measures to be taken against those who use chlorine weapons in the future.
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
US banks aced the Fed’s stress tests. All 31 of the country’s largest banks met the Federal Reserve’s main capital thresholds, for the first time since testing began in 2009. The tests examined banks’ ability to continue lending to households and businesses during “a period marked by severe recession and financial market volatility.”
Commerzbank neared a $1.4 billion settlement. Germany’s second-largest lender has reportedly agreed to pay US regulators a hefty fine to settle allegations it violated US sanctions against countries including Iran and Sudan. BNP Paribas paid $8.9 billion to settle similar charges last year.
Amazon opened an Alibaba store. The US e-commerce giant opened on rival Alibaba’s Tmall site, despite having its own site in China. The move hints at Tmall’s dominance as “China’s virtual main street.”
A merger to rival 7-Eleven. FamilyMart and UNY Group, the Japanese operator of Circle K convenience stores, are discussing a deal that would create the country’s second-largest convenience store chain. The companies have a combined value of 680 billion yen ($5.7 billion), compared to the 4 trillion yen market cap (paywall) of 7-Eleven Japan’s parent company, which also includes the country’s Denny’s outlets.
Harrison Ford crash-landed a World War II-era plane. The 72-year-old actor was flying a Ryan PT-22 Recruit when he encountered engine trouble and made a hard landing on a gold course. He sustained non-life threatening injuries and is expected to recover.
Congress pressed Obama to arm Ukraine. US House speaker John Boehner, along with congressmen from both parties, penned a letter urging the US president to authorize the provision of lethal weapons to fight pro-Russia rebels.
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 to run for president. Her email scandal suggests there are more skeletons in her closet.
Video games will power the future. Designers, architects, and filmmakers will all utilize gaming technology on the job.
One-night stands lead to better marriages. Casual hook-ups often a gateway to a long-term, committed partnership.
China is chasing higher-quality growth. It lowered its GDP target but not its goal of creating 10 million new jobs per year.
Russian sanctions will backfire. Cutting economic ties will turn Russia’s middle class against Western-led globalization (paywall).
Germany’s intelligence agency suffered a major leak. Thieves stole faucets from its headquarters, causing extensive water damage.
Lions can open car doors. One family learned why you should always lock your doors on safari.
You can watch the same supernova more than once. Gravitational lensing means the same explosion appears in different parts of the sky.
A Toronto tunnel-digger caused a security scare. Police suspected terrorists but instead found an underground man cave.
“The greatest show on earth” is phasing out elephants. Ringling Bros. Circus was long the target of animal cruelty complaints.