What to watch for today
The results of the Spanish elections. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that the era of two-party rule is over, and that no party can expect to win an absolute majority. Forming a government will probably require pacts between more than two parties–and according to a survey, 58.2% of Spanish voters would be happy with that.
The Force has awakened to slice through revenue records. The newest entry in the Star Wars series had the single best opening night ever. It also broke the record for best opening weekend in the US and Canada–earning $238 million. (Why, then, is Disney stock down?)
Investigation into the Air France bomb scare. Four people have been arrested over a very fake looking bomb–think cardboard and a kitchen timer–found in the bathroom of a 777 bound for Paris, from Mauritius. The plane diverted to Kenya, where authorities are trying to piece together an explanation.
Oil keeps falling. US oil prices are nearing $35 a barrel, which is a seven-year low. A new Goldman Sachs report warns that prices could fall as low as $20 a barrel. OPEC may boost production to shore up revenue, which could force US producers to start shutting down some capacity.
Over the weekend
A US presidential debate happened. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley met in the third debate on Saturday night. The debate did little, it seems, to change the dynamics of the race or Clinton’s frontrunner status. In fact, most pundits think Sanders’ focus on income inequality hurt him, given renewed attention on matters of security and terrorism.
Farm export subsidies are history. At a WTO meeting in Nairobi, a deal was reached that has developed countries eliminating export subsidies immediately, and developing countries phasing them out until 2018. The organization’s director called it “the WTO’s most significant outcome on agriculture.”
David Cameron wants to reform the EU. The UK prime minister wants a more flexible body and has laid out a series of proposals that 28 member states will meet to discuss this week. Underlying the proposals is the promise Cameron has made to hold a referendum on membership–which could lead to a Brexit.
No peace yet for Yemen. “Yemen’s warring parties wrapped up peace talks in Switzerland on Sunday with no major breakthrough but vowed to meet again next month, even as fighting raged on the ground.” The government has been battling the Huthi, who are supported by Iran and control Yemen’s capital city.
SpaceX pushes their rocket launch. An upgraded Falcon 9 was due to liftoff Sunday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with 11 Orbcomm communications satellites. Elon Musk pushed the launch to Monday, in hopes of improving the odds of the rocket’s first stage returning safely to the ground.
Quartz obsession interlude
Masha Gessen on the blossoming Donald Trump – Vladimir Putin love fest. “The two men do share an approach to politics. It is probably best described as principled dumbness. Both men love making inappropriate jokes–often inappropriate not just in the sense that they are obscene or offensive or both, but in the sense that they are non sequiturs. Putin’s favorite inappropriate joke is, ‘If grandpa had balls, he’d be grandma.’” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Our weird sleep pattern might be why we are the top species on the planet. A new study argues we sleep an exceptionally short period of time compared to other primates.
Women are more likely to successfully use the insanity defense. Probably because of stereotypes of how men and women are expected to behave.
2015 is the year the FCC finally grew a spine. Emboldened by a groundswell of support, chairman Tom Wheeler and co. issued sweeping new rules, but they can’t keep going it alone.
Malawi prisoners won a Grammy nomination. One of the songs they recorded is titled, “I See the Whole World Dying of AIDS.”
Models in France will now have to present a doctor’s note to prove they are healthy enough to work. Agencies that have models below a certain BMI can face a fine of $80,000.
Print book sales are on the rise again in the US. Partly because of books authored by YouTube stars.
There has been no rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in the UK after the Paris attacks. Instead, there has been a modest increase in those who agree that “Muslims have a lot to offer British culture.”