What to watch for today
Jakarta is rocked by explosions and gunfire. Multiple blasts occurred near the Sarinah shopping center, close to the United Nations office, and at other neighborhoods around the city. At least seven people have been reported dead so far. Local police said five attackers had been killed.
There are at least three winners of a massive US lottery jackpot. The numbers for the record $1.5-billion Powerball lottery were picked by ticket buyers in California, Tennessee, and Florida, officials said. There may be more winners revealed in the next few hours.
Is the Ebola outbreak over? The World Health Organization will announce that Liberia is free of the disease, ending an epidemic that has killed more than 11,000 people across West Africa since 2013. Today marks 42 days since the the last Ebola patients in Liberia tested negative.
The Bank of England’s interest-rate decision. The UK central bank tends to follow the lead of the US Federal Reserve, but analysts expect the Bank will hold off on a long-anticipated hike in its benchmark rate. China’s market turmoil, plunging oil prices, and sluggish UK wages are all likely factors.
Intel reports its fourth-quarter earnings. The tech giant will likely reveal (pdf) a fourth-quarter profit slightly below analysts’ expectations. Though it’s diversifying into the higher-margin chips used in data centers, its main business is still making chips for personal computers—a shrinking market.
While you were sleeping
A police station in Turkey was bombed… At least six people died and 39 were injured in the car-bomb attack in the south-eastern part of the country, which was blamed on the Kurdistan Worker’s Party. The bomb was set off at the entrance of the Cinar district’s police compound.
…as it was revealed that Istanbul’s bomber entered as a refugee. Turkey said that the man who blew himself up last week in the historic center of the city, killing 10 German tourists, came from Syria in the flow of thousands of refugees. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s prime minister, said that five people were now under arrest in connection with the incident.
London’s police force started to look more American. The Metropolitan Police said it would employ 600 more armed officers—adding to the 2,200 already trained to use firearms—and keep a third of them on standby for a mass terror attack like that experienced by Paris last year. The numbers of police patrols that carry guns will also double.
A power struggle in Venezuela calmed—for now. The country’s Supreme Court had barred three opposition MPs at the center of an investigation into voting irregularities from taking office, but opposition leaders had sworn them in anyway. They have now stood aside, giving time for the matter to be cleared up.
Tesco had a merry Christmas. Shares in the UK-based supermarket chain jumped 7% after the retailer said sales rose 1.3% in the six weeks ending Jan. 9, compared to the previous year. International sales grew over the past quarter. ”We continued our strong positive sales momentum in both Europe and Asia, with our Thai business reaching its highest-ever market share,” CEO Damien Lewis said.
A strong earthquake struck northern Japan. The preliminary magnitude was 6.7, with no threat of a tsunami foreseen.
Quartz obsession interlude
Marc Bain on Michelle Obama’s sartorial statement at the State of the Union. “Its creator, Narciso Rodriguez, is a prominent American fashion designer who also happens to be a married gay man and the son of immigrants who fled Cuba to find a better life in the US. The First Lady notably chose a dress by Rodriguez for election night in 2008. It subtly endorsed the liberal values promoted by the left and by the president.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Obama’s “moonshot” metaphor for cancer is a bad match. Curing the disease is actually much, much harder than landing on the moon.
Spending billions on pandemic prevention could save trillions. Outbreaks will cost more lives and money than any other security threat.
The future is already obvious for cars. Electric cars, autonomously driven, summoned from our smartphones.
Squirrels are the real terrorists. They cause dozens of blackouts in the US every year.
Fossil fuels may be postponing the next Ice Age. By at least 100,000 years, new research indicates.
Radiohead creates shell corporations for every new album. It prevents financial disaster if an album flops (paywall).
Michael Dell’s best investment has nothing to do with PCs. He could reap billions from a US plan to buy back TV spectrum.
Low-fiber diets kill off healthy bacteria. Fill up on fruits and veggies to avoid a mass extinction in your gut.
A Russian prison official allegedly stole a road. He’s accused of dismantling the concrete slabs and selling them one by one.