What to watch for today
Modi’s European tour. The Indian prime minister begins a lengthy trip that starts in France, crosses the border into Germany, and then continues to Canada. The French visit will focus on accelerating India’s adoption of nuclear energy.
Greece repays the IMF. The head of the International Monetary Fund says she has received confirmation from finance minister Yanis Varoufakis that Greece will indeed pay the 458 million euros ($496 million) it owes today, despite fears among other euro zone members that it has run out of cash and could be ejected from the currency club.
Barack Obama may meet Raul Castro. The US president is in Panama to attend the Summit of the Americas, where he may cross paths with Cuban president Raul Castro to discuss their recent diplomatic thaw—though no meeting has been scheduled (paywall).
A second day of grounded flights in France. As many as half the flights to and from the country have been cancelled because of a strike by air-traffic controllers. They’re upset about a proposal to raise their retirement age.
While you were sleeping
The White House called for an end to LGBT “conversion therapy.” The Obama administration is backing a state-level ban on psychiatrists and other therapists trying to “repair” gay, lesbian, and transgender youth. The practice that is backed by many conservative and religious groups, but has been linked to a number of suicides.
Hong Kong’s stock market broke a trading volume record. The Hang Seng index hit a seven-year high thanks to new regulations that allow mainland mutual funds to invest in Hong Kong stocks. The rules have resulted in a flood of cash from Chinese investors seeking an alternative to expensive mainland stocks.
Uber’s Indian rival Ola raised $315 million. The investment, led by Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner’s DST Global, will help the ride-hailing service expand to 200 cities across India, from 52 at present. Ola has raised a total of $600 million to date, making it the country’s third-most funded startup.
Kik is reportedly seeking a suitor. The Canadian messaging app is actively looking for an acquirer or corporate investor in Silicon Valley and Asia, according to Bloomberg, amid a surge of interest in rivals like Snapchat. However, Kik told TechCrunch that it is merely looking to expand its contacts in the industry, and is not for sale.
South Korea kept its rates steady. Slowing growth, low inflation, and high unemployment couldn’t convince the Bank of Korea to lower its benchmark interest rate further, a month further after it dropped the rate to a record-low 1.75%. Concerns about rising household debt prevented the central bank from lowering rates again, but analysts see another reduction coming this quarter (paywall).
Moody’s raised its outlook on India. The ratings agency kept India’s credit rating at Baa3, its lowest-possible investment grade, but upped its outlook from “stable” to “positive.” The change comes on the back of efforts by prime minister Narendra Modi to simplify India’s business environment and encourage growth.
Quartz obsession interlude
Brian Kahn on why climate scientists should take the train. “While a few thousand scientists ditching their frequent flyer cards is a drop in the carbon emissions bucket, [Corinne] Le Quéré argues that those scientists carry a greater burden than the general public to consider their own emissions. That’s because they’re acutely aware of the risks climate change poses as well as the solutions needed.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The Iran nuclear deal may cause its own chain reaction. US allies in the Middle East are clamoring for their own nuclear capabilities.
What are the ethics of “burial” in space? Being freeze-dried in the vacuum of space may be the most human option.
Internet users have a right to bear strong encryption. Any attempt to create “backdoors” for governments are inherently unsafe.
The American Civil War was not about states’ rights. Confederate apologists claim otherwise, but the historical record is clear.
The Apple Watch is a “meh,” not a “wow.” The reviews are in, and they’re…okay.
Queen Victoria was a short-story writer at age 10. “The Adventures Of Alice Laselles” is about a young girl sent to boarding school.
There is a black market for old lottery tickets. US lottery winners are buying them to reduce their tax burden.
The euro statue needs a bailout. The symbol of European unity in Frankfurt requires a lot of upkeep.
FBI desk jockeys need to get in shape. Increasingly sedentary law enforcement work has left agents a bit plump.
Malawi police are protecting albinos. East Africa has seen a wave of violence against people with the skin pigment disorder, whose body parts are used for black magic.
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