What to watch for today
A space mission comes down to earth. Three astronauts who were stuck at the International Space Station for an extra month due to a rocket failure will return home by way of a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan.
US retail sales. Analysts expect a 1% rise in May, which would bolster signs of an economic uptick after last week’s strong jobs report.
More macro data: South Korea’s central bank announces its latest benchmark interest rate decision, and Australia releases unemployment numbers.
While you were sleeping
A Japanese insurer paid a premium to acquire an American rival. Tokio Marine, Japan’s largest insurance company, bought Texas-based HCC Insurance for $7.5 billion. The acquisition will help Tokio Marine “diversify geographical exposure to natural disasters,” according to Reuters.
FIFA suspended bidding on the 2026 World Cup. Choosing a host country will have to wait until the scandal-ridden organization settles more pressing matters—including choosing a new president to replace Sepp Blatter. The United States, Mexico, and Canada had been expected to bid.
The pope is getting rid of bishops who covered up sexual abuse. Pope Francis announced the creation of a tribunal to remove bishops who knew about children being sexually abused by priests. No bishop has ever received disciplinary action for allowing clergy members to commit their crimes.
Bayer sold its diabetes business to Panasonic Healthcare. The Japanese medical giant agreed to pay €1 billion ($1.2 billion) for the unit, which it will combine with its own blood glucose monitoring business. The sector is getting hit by falling government subsidies, but Panasonic plans to combine the businesses to reduce costs.
The US pulled back on its attempt to export its insane drug prices. American negotiators gave up on efforts to include drug price protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. But it’s still angling to give big pharmaceutical companies more leverage against foreign governments.
Microsoft rolled out its gigantic new tablet. The touchscreen Surface Hub comes in 55- and 84-inch (137-213 cm) versions. Unlike most consumer electronics, it is made in America.
Quartz obsession interlude
Melvin Backman on tectonic shifts in the energy sector: “Thanks to controversial fracking techniques and massive investments in shale, the US has raised its oil output dramatically. It now produces more of the stuff than Saudi Arabia for the first time since 1991—a fact that gives an extra edge to the two countries’ battle for energy supremacy.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Developing economies are leaking dirty money. For every $1 invested or donated in the Philippines, almost $5 leaves illicitly.
It’s time for central banks to abandon zero percent interest rates. The strategy has outlived its usefulness.
Electricity is just about everything in Africa. Former UK PM Tony Blair argues it is the precondition for success.
Failure is preferable to delay. “Before I begin” is the most destructive phrase in the English language.
Scientists invented a computer that runs on water. Alas, its function is limited to mixing and matching droplets.
Surgeons used 3D printing to separate conjoined twins. They used a printed model of their bodies to plan the operation.
Jamie Dimon wants to mansplain banking to Elizabeth Warren. He doesn’t think she “fully understands the global banking system.”
More than 5,000 streets in Russia are named after Lenin. But only one bears the name of Vladimir Putin.
US-Cuban diplomatic relations are trickling into fashion. Fidel lookalikes are showing up in magazine spreads.