What to watch for today
Round two of stress test results. The Federal Reserve will publish the second and final results of its latest examination of the nation’s banks. Last week, all 31 major banks passed capital thresholds. This week, Goldman Sachs may be in the Fed’s crosshairs.
NASA tests its most powerful rocket. Known as the QM-1, it’s the “largest solid rocket motor ever built”. When it fires up today at a testing facility in the US state of Utah, the 801 ton motor will produce the same amount of thrust as 14 Boeing 747 jumbo jets taking off.
Greece talks with its debtors. Technical talks begin in Brussels instead of Athens, where officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund will try to figure out how to best move forward on the Grexit drama.
Iraqi troops are trying to take Tikrit back from ISIL. The city—home to former president Saddam Hussein—is a stepping stone away from Mosul, the country’s second largest city. If Tikrit is reclaimed, Mosul is next, though forces on the ground will likely need some help from the United States and its allies.
Japan remembers the earthquake that lead to the Fukushima disaster. Four years ago today, a 9.0 magnitude tremor resulted in tsunamis that killed nearly 20,000 and caused a radiation leak that the government is still dealing with. Shinzō Abe, Japan’s prime minister, says he’s working on a new five-year plan to rebuild the areas affected.
While you were sleeping
The Wikimedia Foundation sued the NSA. The nonprofit behind Wikipedia—the world’s encyclopedia—took issue with both the US National Security Agency and the US Justice Department for mass surveillance of users to siphon data. It’s a clear violation of privacy, the foundation says.
Europe put a cap on credit and debit card fees. On a continent where there are 1.5 plastic cards for every person, every penny saved counts. The European Parliament passed a measure—621 votes to 26—that’ll save retailers an estimated €6 billion ($6.5 billion) annually in fees they pay to the firms who process transactions. Consumers can expect to save €730 million ($785 million).
Sony said it’ll debut PlayStation 4 in China this month. Nearly 10 months after announcing plans to bring the gaming console to the People’s Republic, Sony has finally finished making changes sought by China’s government and committed to a date: March 20. It will also sell its portable PlayStation Vita on the mainland.
US markets erased 2015’s gains. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down over 1.7% today—wiping year-to-date gains off the map. Investors are blaming the ever-increasing strength of the dollar—which is quickly reaching parity with the euro—and the upcoming interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve.
Quartz obsession interlude
Cassie Werber on Europe’s green superstars. “In 2010, the European Union set a goal of producing 20% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020. The latest figures show that the union as a whole reached the 15% mark in 2013. But the combined figure includes some countries already exceeding their targets, while others lag far behind. Three out of the 28 EU member states have surpassed their 2020 goals.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Tipping workers is an insult. Or perhaps not. In Japan it’s rude to tip; in New York it’s rude not to. Either way, it makes no economic sense.
Wikipedia readers shouldn’t be spied on. In an op-ed by Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales, he argues that both Wikipedia readers and article creators deserve privacy (paywall).
Japan needs more quantitive easing. The previous two rounds of QE—while they seemed large at the time—weren’t aggressive enough to lift the country out of recession.
Egypt’s relationship with the US is tense. Despite the government being against the Islamic State, the way Egypt treats its people and the media will make things complicated.
A key feature of the Apple Watch is collecting biometric and emotional data. Maybe not the first generation model, but future wearables from Apple will be able to track how the content you’re consuming makes you feel.
Romania thinks France is Germany. If you’re going to give the Germans a gift to celebrate over a century of political relations, make sure you use an accurate map.
Using Photoshop will get you fined. A Procter & Gamble ad for a whitening toothpaste was digitally enhanced, resulting in a $1 million fine in China.
Are we there yet? There are three places in France called “La Plagne”—one bus full of skiers eager to hit the slopes found that out the hard way.
Pigs make the best dogs. Six month old “Amy” is the smartest “dog” in her obedience class; instead of being rewarded with bacon treats, she gets lettuce.
International Women’s Day is a thing in North Korea. Women get free makeup, which isn’t exactly politically correct, but this is Kim Jong Un we’re talking about.