What to watch for today
Palestine joins the International Criminal Court. Becoming the body’s 123rd member poses a dilemma to Israel, which is not a member, and opposes the court. Palestine may bring cases related to Israel’s Gaza settlements and military conduct to the ICC.
GoDaddy IPOs at more than $3 billion. The domain-name registration and hosting company priced shares in its IPO at $20, above the expected $17-$19 range, according to Bloomberg. The company generates revenue from hosting websites, but lost $143 million last year.
Japan recognizes same-sex couples—kind of. The country’s constitution still defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, but same-sex couples can get certificates—which technically have no legal force—according them the same rights as heterosexual ones (paywall).
European cows start working overtime. Decades-old quotas limiting milk production will be lifted, opening up the market for export to countries like China. Ireland is set to produce 50% more milk by the end of the decade. The Netherlands and Germany are also increasing production by 20%.
An Iran deal is—hopefully—on its way. The deadline for an agreement between six world powers and Iran over its nuclear program was extended after an apparent breakthrough.
It’s April Fool’s Day. So don’t trust everything you read.
While you were sleeping
Economic sluggishness in China. The HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index was 49.6 in March, down from 50.7 in February, marking a slide from expansion in commercial activity to contraction. China’s official figure, which includes larger state-owned enterprises, was 50.1, from 49.9 in February. A weak property market is weighing on domestic demand.
Japan’s business spending slumped. The central bank’s quarterly Tankan survey showed a 1.2% drop in large businesses’ spending plans for the fiscal year, compared with expectations of a 0.5% rise. That brings companies’ spending outlook to the lowest in two years, and could confound the central bank’s attempt to raise inflation.
Etsy planned a $267 million IPO. The arts and craft e-commerce giant set a share price range of $14-$16, valuing the company at $1.8 billion. Up next is an Etsy road show to raise support for the IPO, amid reports that the bigger it gets, the unhappier its core retailers have become (paywall).
Lufthansa said it knew Andreas Lubitz had been depressed. The 27-year-old Germanwings co-pilot who crashed a passenger jet last week told his employer in 2009 that he’d had an “episode of severe depression” before becoming a pilot. Harrowing cellphone video footage has also been recovered from the final seconds of the flight, though it is not public.
Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s president. Unofficial vote counts put the 72-year-old former dictator ahead at the polls, and incumbent Goodluck Jonathan called to congratulate him on winning. Buhari inherits quite a few problems, including how to balance the books given the low price of oil.
Quartz obsession interlude
Richard Macauley on China and Hong Kong’s appetite for Western businesses. “From Hutchison Whampoa’s $15.3 billion deal for O2, the UK mobile network owned by Telefonica, to Pirelli’s acquisition by a Chinese state-run chemical company, deal-making between Chinese and Hong Kong buyers and European sellers has been fast and furious in recent weeks.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
A person’s criminal history shouldn’t stop them getting a job. Keeping felons out of work makes us poorer, not safer.
India’s anti-corruption party is falling apart. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was supposed to bring change, but its members are fighting for control.
Debt will be China’s downfall. Once local governments and large businesses start defaulting on their loans, it is going to be Japan all over again.
America has too much democracy. Lee Kuan Yew’s death should teach us all that leading means making unpopular decisions.
Jordan could provide a template for Arab politics. It is rehabilitating its Muslim Brotherhood party as a force for the status-quo.
Ants adapt quickly to zero-gravity. In space, they use each other as anchors to get around, or sometimes “flatten” themselves to return to a surface.
A 10th Century eye medicine can fight superbugs. Scientists brewed up an ancient potion and found it was effective against MRSA.
Over 1,000 police recruits were arrested in India. They are suspected of sending impersonators to take exams in their place.
Tampons can be tracking devices. UK researchers found they can point to which house is polluting local rivers.
There were once secret tunnels under the Playboy mansion. They led to the homes of like Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, and Kirk Douglas.