What to watch for today
John Kerry is in Malaysia. The US secretary of state will attend talks with the Association of South East Asian Nations, including an expected focus on China’s activity in the South China Sea. The timing is a bit awkward: Malaysia’s human trafficking record is under scrutiny, and a $675 million “donation” was recently discovered in prime minister Najib Razak’s bank account.
A piece of potential MH370 debris goes under the microscope. French investigators will begin examining the barnacle-encrusted Boeing 777 fragment that was found on Réunion Island last week, as they look for clues to the disappearance of the Malaysian plane.
The US mulls a CEO pay disclosure rule. The securities and exchange commission is expected to approve a contentious policy ordering companies to publish the ratio of CEO pay to the median pay of all employees. Consumer advocates hope the ratio will shame companies with outsize CEO pay ratios.
Entertainment companies report earnings. Time Warner investors will be listening for hints about HBO Now’s success, while Dish Network will have an update on its $20-a-month Sling TV offering. Twenty-First Century Fox will respond to worries about rising programming costs after yet another struggling quarter, and CBS is projected to report a slight increase in revenue despite losing viewers this summer.
While you were sleeping
Shire Pharmaceuticals revealed a hostile $30 billion bid for Baxalta. Shire, looking to create a biotech company that focuses on rare diseases, says it made the unsolicited offer to Baxalta last month, and went public only after the offer was ignored. The proposed deal could make 2015 the biggest year ever for pharma M&A.
Disney missed expectations despite a blockbuster summer. The entertainment giant fell short of analysts’s revenue estimates for the first time in two years, as attendance dipped at its theme parks outside of North America, sending its shares down 2% in after-hours trading. Disney’s studio business reported higher revenues thanks to ”Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Someone bombed a US-backed pipeline in Turkey. No one was reported injured in the explosion on a pipeline that transports natural gas from Azerbaijan, which Turkey blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). But the bombing threatened to undermined US attempts to weaken Russia’s hold on its neighbors.
Russia claimed a huge chunk of the Arctic. Moscow pressed the United Nations to recognize its control of 1.2 million sq. kilometers (463,000 sq. miles) of oil- and gas-rich territory, part of a claim that it first made in 2002. The US, Canada, Denmark, and Norway are also vying for rights to the polar region, which is estimated to contain one-fourth of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves.
Zimbabwe suspended hunting in the region where Cecil the lion was killed. The outrage over Cecil, who was killed just outside the boundaries of Hwange National Park, has prompted Zimbabwean authorities to suspend the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in areas bordering the park. However, it left open the possibility of allowing new hunting applications in the future.
Quartz obsession interlude
Leo Mirani on Facebook’s hard sell of internet.org in India. “Facebook redirects users to a page asking them to support services like Facebook’s internet.org, which, as Quartz and several others have written before, provides a subpar internet experience that restricts the poorest and least educated users in the world to a walled garden of Facebook-approved content.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The new Ebola vaccine may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Cutting clinical trials short means we’ll never know its true effectiveness.
US convicts shouldn’t be sentenced based on their future crimes. Predicting the odds of recidivism is an inexact science.
The coming age of automation will be bad for men… Jobs commonly held by women are not easily done by robots.
…And particularly bad for economists. Technology will destroy the concepts of scarcity and demand.
The United States doesn’t need an official language. Declaring one would actually be un-American.
Human life in sunlight-deprived Britain requires supplements. A government panel is advising Britons to take vitamin D.
An American chicken is getting a prosthetic leg. It’s a $2,500, 3D-printed replacement for the bird’s torn tendon.
Brain training games can help treat schizophrenia. Naturally, there’s an app for that.
Websites can track you by monitoring your smartphone’s battery level. The technique could track users even if they take steps to protect their privacy.
Kids who are very picky eaters are more likely to be anxious or depressed. But it only applies to the extremely selective.
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