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 prime minister Najib Razak continues to dodge accusations of corruption.
A piece of potential MH 370 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 SEC 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 outsized 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. CBS is projected to report a slight increase in revenue despite losing viewers this summer, and 21st Century Fox will respond to worries about rising programming costs after yet another rough quarter.
While you were sleeping
Société Générale won on the euro zone’s economic recovery. France’s second-biggest bank reported a second-quarter net profit of €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion), almost 25% higher than a year earlier and well above expectations (paywall). That came on the back of increased equities trading and a stronger euro zone, thanks to the European Central Bank’s stimulus efforts.
Ten candidates were chosen for a US presidential debate. A primetime TV debate scheduled for Thursday forced the Fox network to select 10 Republican candidates from the nearly two dozen running. Billionaire Donald Trump made the cut, but Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum will appear on an earlier debate, among others.
Greece pushed for a full bailout agreement. The ruling Syriza party said that it would no longer accept any more reform conditions in return for a bridge loan, only if a full bailout is agreed. Spokesperson Nikos Filis said that the party is negotiating for a €25-billion ($27.1-billion) instalment; its next deadline for debt payments is Aug. 20.
ING’s profit rose on a European recovery. The Netherlands’ largest financial group reported a second-quarter net income of €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion), up 21% compared to a year earlier. ING said it added more than half a million new customers in the three-month period, and cited strength in markets throughout Europe.
China’s service sector got a much-needed boost. The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for services rose to 53.8 in July, from 51.8 in June, pushing ahead of the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. The biggest rise in 11 months will be particularly welcome as China looks to services to ensure sustainable growth.
The euro zone’s service sector growth slowed. The Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for non-manufacturing companies fell to 54 in July, from 54.4 in June, on weak growth in France and Italy. Any number above 50 signals expansion.
Quartz obsession interlude
Leo Mirani on Facebook’s hard sell 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.
The right’s “onslaught of discrimination” has a silver lining. Discrimination is becoming so pervasive that the privileged can no longer ignore it.
Adoptees should have the right to annul the contract with their adoptive parents. Currently, the only way to get out of a family is to be adopted by another adult.
The coming age of automation will be bad for men. Jobs commonly held by women are not easily done by robots.
The United States shouldn’t have an official language. Declaring one would be un-American.
Human life in sunlight-deprived Britain requires supplements. A government panel is advising Britons to take vitamin D.
A Swedish far-right party plastered Stockholm with anti-begging posters. They apologised to tourists, in English, for “the mess.”
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. And yes, 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.
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