What to watch for today
Indian inflation edges upwards. Analysts expect increased food prices after heavy rains will push consumer prices up 5.5% in March from a year earlier. The central bank has already lowered interest rates twice this year, but inflation remains below its upper limit of 6%.
Strong Mexico retail sales. Mexican retailers association ANTAD is expected to report healthy growth in same store retail sales for March, following an increase of 5.5% in January and 5.1% in February. Retail sales are forecast to grow 2.3% this year.
Greece negotiations restart, at a low point. Greece’s finance ministry was accused by German media over the weekend of acting “like a taxi driver” demanding payment, which may set the tone for this week’s talks. Brussels remains unconvinced that Athens should get further financial aid, as the country nears bankruptcy.
Sudan’s election gets underway. Three days of voting start today, but none of the candidates running against president Umar al-Bashir have a chance of winning, analysts say, because major opposition parties refuse to participate.
Over the weekend
Hillary Clinton entered the 2016 US presidential race. The former secretary of state, senator, and first lady announced her campaign on Sunday, establishing herself as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. ”The deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” Clinton said in a campaign video, adding that she wants to champion “everyday Americans.”
Spotify was valued at $8 billion. The music streaming service is raising around $400 million at double the valuation it received in November 2013, according to Bloomberg. The service faces new competition in the form of streaming services from Apple and Jay Z.
China’s exports slumped. Exports counted in Chinese yuan dropped 14.6% in March from a year earlier, compared with expectations of a 12% rise in dollar terms (China normally publishes data in dollar terms, but did not this month). That brings China’s trade surplus to its smallest in 13 months and is the latest evidence of China’s slowing economy.
Barack Obama and Raul Castro met in Panama. The presidents of Cuba and the US met on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas, the first such meeting in over 50 years. The meeting lasted around one hour and focused on “practical” issues surrounding the warming ties between the two countries.
The pope called the 1915 Armenian killings “genocide.” Pope Francis described the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman rule, in what is now the Republic of Turkey, as “the first genocide of the 21st century.” The Turkish government recalled its ambassador to the Vatican and said it felt “disappointment and sadness” at the pope’s use of the word.
Quartz obsession interlude
Meredith Bennett-Smith takes a close look at ”the Great Cannon,” China’s new powerful censorship weapon. ”While the Great Cannon’s ability to target and potentially take down websites is worrying enough, it’s also possible that the technology could be tweaked in order to plant malware in millions of computers communicating with vulnerable Chinese servers.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Hillary Clinton will win the White House. There is an emerging democratic majority in the US; and Clinton’s not all that unpopular either.
Governments should force people to spend more… Interest rates and growth are low because there is way too much money and not enough to do with it.
…Or abolish cash altogether. Citi’s Willem Buiter says having physical currencies hurts the ability of central banks to spur growth.
Fixing the tenure system could improve gender balances in academia. High-pressure tenure deadlines often overlap with the years when women face additional maternity and parenting burdens.
Rand Paul is selling “Hillary Clinton hard drives.” The Republican presidential hopeful wants to remind people of his Democratic challenger’s recent email scandal.
US airports raked in almost $675,000 in loose change last year. Flyers emptying their pockets at security checkpoints often don’t pick up their change again.
Your phone may soon help detect earthquakes. Scientists say the GPS receivers on smartphones can be used as earthquake-warning systems; especially useful in countries that don’t have sophisticated equipment.
Edward Snowden tribute art is a thing. Projections, statues, paintings: artists are using all sorts of media to pay homage to the National Security Agency leaker.
Kalashnikov’s rebranding is being led by a Russian socialite.
Former “sexiest TV host” Tina Kandelaki is trying to
image to ”weapons of peace.”