What to watch for today
Mexico’s president delivers his state of the nation address. Enrique Pena Nieto’s approval ratings are lower than ever as he deals with corruption scandals, the escape of drug lord El Chapo, and an under-performing economy (paywall).
Brazil decides on interest rates. Economists expect the central bank to maintain its benchmark rate of 14.25%, after a series of hikes. The country faces a deepening fiscal deficit and is trying to avoid losing its investment-grade credit rating.
Millions of workers are on strike in India. Almost all of the country’s major trade unions agreed to a one-day nationwide strike to protest recent changes in labor laws and to demand a minimum wage. Expect major transport and service interruptions.
A former Congolese rebel leader goes on trial at the Hague. Bosco Ntaganda handed himself in to the US embassy in Rwanda in 2013, but denies 18 charges of murder, rape, and the recruitment of child soldiers.
While you were sleeping
China ordered brokerages to “clean up” gray-market lending. Beijing wants to end the practice, in which investors borrow money from outside the brokerage system in order to buy stocks, by the end of the month. But restricting sources of cash could backfire: around 1 trillion yuan ($157.1 billion) in stocks are thought to have been purchased with gray-market loans.
Everything—about Lego’s profit—is awesome. The Danish toymaker is now the biggest in the world (paywall), after reporting first-half profit of $2.1 billion, up 23% from a year earlier. The rest of the year remains a decisive period, but Lego plans to release hundreds of new sets, including a highly-anticipated Star Wars set.
Intel unveiled a radical new chip design. The chipmaker claimed that its latest device will be able to power computers the size of USB thumb drives, while providing far greater processing power despite using much less electricity than its predecessor. Intel hopes that will lure PC owners in to buying new computers, which have lost market share to smartphones and tablets.
Australian GDP hit the brakes. The economy grew by 0.2% in the second quarter—half the rate analysts expected—after a fall in China trade hurt its raw materials sectors and household spending slowed. Year-on-year growth reached 2%, but economic expansion is expected to remain at a snail’s pace for the foreseeable future.
Details of China’s new development bank were leaked. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s prospective challenger to the World Bank, will not ask borrowing nations to deregulate or to privatize businesses in order to obtain loans, sources told Reuters. That could make it more attractive to some borrowers than the World Bank—a concern for the US, which opposed the AIIB’s development.
Quartz obsession interlude
Melvin Backman on why oil prices are slumping. “Despite the relatively low prices, drillers around the world continue to produce at breakneck speed with an eye on retaining market share once prices—as they eventually must—go back up. Before they do turn around, prices are likely to drop very, very low—and stay there for a few years.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Don’t worry about murderous robots. The US military’s top robotics expert thinks we’ll all be just fine.
It’s not too late for US Democrats to ditch Hillary Clinton. She is terrible on the issues that the party cares about most.
The all-day breakfast is a mistake for McDonald’s. The restaurant is eliminating the very scarcity that drives demand.
China could go broke this year. The reserves used to stabilize its stocks and currency are in danger of running out.
Heroic actions are instinctual. If you ever risk your life to save someone else, it won’t be a conscious decision.
Ninety-nine percent of seabirds will have plastic in their stomachs by 2050. That doesn’t bode well for the health of the Earth’s oceans.
Vladimir Putin’s sweat pants appear to have cost almost $1,500. They look like Loro Piana silk-and-cashmere sweats.
Gadgets can slow down mental aging. Tech-savvy senior citizens can shave a decade off their mental age.
Britain’s national sperm bank only has nine donors. Its female boss wants men to prove their ”worth” by donating.
A man won $1 million in the lottery using a $20 bill he found. He may pay it forward by planting $20 bills for strangers to find.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, $1,000 sweatpants, and what to do when China does go broke to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.