What to watch for today
Yemen’s warring parties begin to talk. The United Nations will host peace talks in Geneva between representatives of Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia-backed supporters of Yemen’s ousted president. No one seems eager for a settlement, despite the country’s escalating humanitarian crisis. Both sides initially refused to even sit at the same table.
An EU-wide stance on data privacy takes shape. The European Union Justice Ministers Council will move forward with Europe’s ambitious and long-negotiated effort to codify rules on data protection and privacy. Negotiations on the deal will substantially affect how tech firms operate in the region.
Draghi speaks. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi will give his quarterly update to the European Parliament at 15:00 CET after an update on the bank’s quantitative easing efforts. Draghi has been optimistic in past updates as the Euro and oil prices fell, and monetary policy kicked in. This may change now that negotiations with Greece have deteriorated.
Jeb Bush kicks things off. Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush is expected to announce his 2016 campaign for the US presidency in Miami. He has already released an unofficial logo, and a video preview hinting at a platform that focuses on society’s “most vulnerable.”
A string of economic data is released. The US will report industrial production numbers, which are expected to rise, as is the NAHB/Wells Fargo housing market index. Also forthcoming: an update from Brazil’s central bank, Russia’s GDP data and central bank rate decision, and an Israeli inflation update.
Over the weekend
It’s a Jurassic world. The fourth movie in Universal’s Jurassic series was expected to do well, but not this well. Boosted by a massive $100 million take in China and a strong performance in the US, Jurassic World overtook the last Harry Potter film to book the highest-grossing opening weekend in history at $511.8 million.
Alibaba is getting into streaming. Not content with the many businesses it already dominates, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced this weekend that it plans to emulate HBO and Netflix, with a new service called TMall Box Office. The company plans to both purchase content and produce its own.
Swiss voters turn down inheritance taxes. Seventy-one percent of Swiss voters rejected a proposed federal inheritance tax. Introduced by the Protestant People’s Party, the tax would have levied 20% on direct inheritances greater than 2 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million).
Germany warned Greece. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a delegation to Brussels for emergency weekend talks after negotiations with the IMF broke down last week. Those fall apart too, with no deal due to a $2.3 billion dollar gap on fiscal concessions.
Hillary made her first big speech. Hillary Clinton’s first major speech (of her second US presidential campaign) hit on a variety of progressive and populist themes including sick leave, income parity, and a higher minimum wage. Speaking before a friendly crowd at Roosevelt Island in New York City, the former secretary of state joked that she was finally in “a place with absolutely no ceilings.”
Quartz obsession interlude
Melvin Backman on how digital banking may undermine a US civil rights law. ”With the increasing popularity of mobile and online banking, regulators have proposed an update to the CRA [Community Reinvestment Act] that would give less weight to physical branches. This is despite concerns that doing so will perpetuate discrimination against minorities and the poor—as well as letting banks off the hook for decades of such discrimination in the past.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
China has the best universities in Asia. Japan has lost its crown.
France has lost its intellectual side. Postmodernism and political decline have demoralized the nation’s former avant-garde.
Americans aren’t funny. They’re incapable of telling jokes with a straight face.
Marijuana is the new casino. Marijuana companies are trying to talk Native American tribal leaders into a new business venture.
Nudity is not ok. Free-spirited tourists are appalling locals around the world.
Your lost luggage is probably in Alabama, USA. The Unclaimed Baggage Center has been buying left bags from US airports for decades.
Tuxedo rentals are going out of vogue. There just aren’t as many weddings to attend.
Some toothpicks are made from hedgehog quills. You can buy them in North Korea.
Iceland is struggling with inequality. The tiny island’s economic transformation has reshaped society.
You can 3-D print your face. Doctors use the new technology to show patients what they’ll look like after plastic surgery.