What to watch for today
The E3 conference kicks off. The biggest video-game conference (paywall) on the industry calendar opens in Los Angeles. Look for new installments of popular franchises such as Halo and Uncharted. Virtual reality is a major theme this year, with Oculus expected to offer hands-on demos of its VR headset.
Saudi Arabia opens its stock market to foreign investors. The $560 billion market will be accessible to investors with more than $5 billion (paywall) in assets under management. Part of continued financial reform, the move could boost the private sector and reduce the economy’s dependence on oil (paywall).
Yemen’s warring parties begin to talk. The United Nations hosts peace talks in Geneva between representatives of Yemen’s Houthi rebels and of the country’s ousted president. No one seems eager for a settlement, despite an escalating humanitarian crisis.
Mario Draghi speaks. The head of the European Central Bank delivers his quarterly update to the European Parliament at 15:00 CET after a few notes 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.
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.
Over the weekend
“Jurassic World” hit a new box office record. The fourth movie in Universal’s Jurassic series booked the highest-grossing opening weekend in history at $511.8 million. That was boosted by a $100 million take in China, and could continue to fuel the current trend for sequels.
Alibaba revealed more online video plans. The Chinese e-commerce giant plans to emulate HBO and Netflix with a new service called TMall Box Office, which will show original and purchased content. Alibaba is competing with Tencent to dominate China’s $6 billion online video market.
A US airstrike killed a top Islamist in Libya. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who ordered the deadly 2013 attack on an Algerian gas plant, was killed in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, according to Libyan officials. US officials have yet to confirm his death, which has been misreported in the past.
Air Asia announced plans to raise cash. The Singaporean budget carrier said it plans a convertible bond issue worth $300 million, and may sell and lease back up to 20 of its aircraft, according to Reuters. CEO Tony Fernandes disclosed the information to investors after the company’s share price hit a five-year low on Friday.
Greek talks failed yet again. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras sent a delegation to Brussels for emergency weekend talks after negotiations with the IMF broke down last week. But they too fell apart, thanks to a $2.3 billion dollar gap on fiscal concessions.
China’s equity market topped $10 trillion. The stock market’s capitalization rose from $3.4 trillion a year earlier, according to Bloomberg. That makes China’s equity market the world’s second largest after the US, following a massive surge in new investors.
Hillary Clinton made a presidential-bid speech. The first major speech in the US presidential hopeful’s second campaign hit on a variety of progressive and populist themes including sick leave, income parity, and a higher minimum wage. Speaking 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
France has lost its intellectual side. Postmodernism and political decline have demoralized the nation’s former avant-garde.
Apple should kill off the Mac. It’s stretching itself too thin, and doing so would allow it to focus on products of the future (paywall).
Americans aren’t funny. They’re incapable of telling jokes with a straight face.
Marijuana is the new casino. Weed 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. The Unclaimed Baggage Center has been buying lost bags from US airports for decades.
Tuxedo rentals are going out of vogue. That’s partly because there 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.