What to watch for today
What lies ahead for Europe. The European Commission makes its growth forecast for 2013. The most recent forecast, in November, predicted 0.1% growth for the year, after a 0.5% contraction in 2012 (pdf). A tip down into recession for 2013 would be very gloomy indeed.
What lies ahead for Afghanistan. A summit of NATO defense ministers focused on the status of international forces in central Asia concludes today, with ministers considering a plan to pay for a larger Afghan army. That will no doubt thrill NATO’s finance ministers.
When Brazil met Africa. South American and African leaders convene for their third economic summit in seven years. Brazil dominates the trade relationship—competing with China, another emerging economy that has been trying to tap Africa’s markets and mines.
While you were sleeping
Thirteen killed in Hyderabad bombings. Two bombs exploded near a bus stop and movie theater in the Indian city. Officials suspect Islamist terrorists allied with the group behind 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Speak softly, carry a huge bond purchasing program. Markets did not like the idea that the US Federal Reserve might halt its bond-buying program sooner than expected, effectively tightening monetary policy, but the latest data suggest the US economy is still too slow for that.
Tax hikes hit American consumers. Wal-Mart’s revenue grew 3.9% in the last quarter of 2012, but expects flat sales in this quarter after the expiration of a temporary tax break on American workers.
Business is slow in Europe, too. Surveys of business activity showed contraction across the region, though Germany is rebounding on the strength of Asian exports.
French forces clashed with Islamists in Mali. Aren’t the French supposed to be pulling out in a few weeks?
Brewing some new Java. Oracle Software is scrambling to plug the holes, recently and notoriously exploited by hackers against Apple, Facebook and Twitter, in its popular Java software.
HP beat expectations. New CEO Meg Whitman is buying herself time to effect a turnaround: earnings fell 11%, less sharply than analysts anticipated.
Quartz obsession interlude
Lily Kuo on China’s efforts to control pollution by banning barbecue. “As one would say in Chinese with emphasis, fangpi–which means rubbish (or, literally, ‘fart’). True, coal-burning grills that make Xinjiang-style meat skewers dot many small streets in Chinese cities. But they are far from the real root of China’s pollution: resistance from state-owned companies and local governments, poor regulation, and the country’s large population. However, when pollution in Beijing in January reached more than 20 times international standards deemed as safe, it was blamed mostly on emissions from coal-burning power stations and car exhaust.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Can Japan spend $100 billion in just fifteen months? If not, we’d like to give it a shot.
Can America code its way to more factories? How software innovation makes for more hardware production.
Can food companies make food addictive? It’s all about flavor optimization.
What’s the best response to China’s cyber attacks? “Name and shame alone will not work.“
Egyptian protestors want to send President Morsi to space. And he will be sent there by the makers of Axe body spray.
There’s no shortage of PhD’s in America. Newly credentialed scientists are having a hard time finding jobs.
59% of America’s “tuna” isn’t tuna. Do you really want to know what it actually is?
Germans hate the smell of Abercrombie & Fitch. In Munich, citizens complained to authorities (German) about the heavily perfumed retailer, which announces its earnings todaymayb .
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