What to watch for today and over the weekend
Japan marks the 70th anniversary of its World War II defeat. Prime minister Shinzo Abe is expected to make a speech, and suspense is mounting in South Korea and China over whether he will apologize for the war, as his predecessors have.
Brazilians march against Dilma Rousseff. Dissatisfaction with the president, ranging from allegations of corruption to the weakening economy, are expected to drive hundreds of thousands of protestors on the streets nationwide on Sunday. One of the organizing groups has said that protests are already confirmed for 114 cities.
The US reopens its embassy in Cuba. Secretary John Kerry will lead a flag-raising ceremony more than 50 years after the embassy was closed. The same three Marines who took the US flag down in 1961 will hoist it once again.
Industrial data from North America. US factory output is expected to have increased by 0.4% in July, following a 0.1% drop a month earlier, while the University of Michigan publishes its preliminary consumer sentiment index for August. In Canada, factory sales are expected to have risen 2.1% in June.
While you were sleeping
China increased the value of the yuan. The central bank raised the reference rate by 0.05% this morning, after letting it fall by at least 1.1% daily for the past three days. Some analysts called this the end of the rout, suggesting that the yuan had found its new market-defined value, but the currency will still be free to change daily.
Greece voted to accept draft bailout terms. An all-night parliamentary debate resulted in the backing of draft terms such as tax increases and spending cuts in return for an €85-billion ($94.7-billion) bailout from euro-zone members. The decision comes ahead of an Aug. 20 deadline by which Greece must make a €3.2-billion repayment to the European Central Bank.
Euro-zone GDP growth missed expectations. The 19-country bloc reported second-quarter economic growth of 1.2% compared with a year earlier—just shy of expectations of 1.3% growth. Germany and France both failed to meet expectations. Yesterday, Greece reported surprisingly strong growth.
Five more banks settled with US investors over forex trading. HSBC, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, and BNP Paribas agreed to to pay at least $1 billion between them to end charges of manipulating the foreign-exchange currency market. The settlement also requires the banks to cooperate with prosecutors against seven remaining defending banks.
India’s wholesale inflation tanked. The price of goods received by wholesalers dropped 4.05% in July (paywall), far worse than an expected 2.9% drop and the ninth consecutive monthly decline. That tumble is largely due to the falling price of oil, as India is a net importer of petroleum; last year, the country was struggling to keep inflation low.
Goldman Sachs bought GE Capital’s online bank. No terms for the deal were disclosed, but the purchase gives the US’s largest investment bank $16 billion in deposits. That’s a small fraction of its $860 billion in assets, but the deal may please critics who want the investment bank to behave more like a universal bank, following the financial crisis. GE has been offloading several of its financial businesses of late.
Quartz obsession interlude
Max Nisen on how one undergrad lost his summer internship at Facebook. ”Arun Khanna found out the hard way that Facebook doesn’t particularly appreciate it when potential employees reveal embarrassing privacy gaps. The Harvard student was all set to be a summer intern at the tech firm until his exposure of a flaw in the company’s Messenger app went viral in a blog post on Medium in May.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The best person to fix a company is the one who created it. Companies in trouble habitually rehire their founding CEOs.
Prison inmates need newspapers. They are a crucial learning tool for people with low literacy skills.
Airbnb is bad for city residents. An increasing number of rental homes are owned by outside investors.
Don’t put Elon Musk on a pedestal. The “Great Man” myth of innovation is hurting the tech industry.
The Paleo diet has carbs all wrong. Cavemen loved and needed carbohydrates just like us.
China’s air pollution kills 4,000 people a day. Particulate matter from coal burning causes heart attacks, cancer, and asthma.
A South Korean road charges electric vehicles as they drive. It only works with buses at present, but research into the technology is developing fast.
American restaurants are running out of cooks. Entry-level kitchen positions are going unfilled.
You can make opioids with yeast. The fungus that gives us bread can be modified to produce prescription painkillers, too.
Donald Trump owns thousands of websites. He even purchased DonaldTrumpSucks.com.
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