What to watch for today
Voters turn out for the New Hampshire primary in the US. Democratic senator Bernie Sanders has a significant lead over Hillary Clinton in the state polls, while Donald Trump continues to lead in the Republican race. Final results may not be confirmed until Wednesday morning, but punditry will run all night.
Scaled-back military drills kick off in Thailand. Cobra Gold, the largest annual multinational military exercise in the Asia-Pacific region, will include fewer US troops this year. That’s because of diplomatic friction between the US and the heavy-handed Thai military junta.
Congress snubs Obama’s budget. Republican lawmakers will break with tradition and decline to hear a presentation of the White House’s 2017 budget proposal. The $4 trillion budget, which proposes spending and avoids cuts, arrives on the same day as the New Hampshire primaries.
A big day for earnings. Viacom posts results after a shakeup that replaced longtime chairman Sumner Redstone. Disney’s results should be stellar, powered by Star Wars merchandise, but investors will look for plans regarding its struggling ESPN network. Coke is expected to take a hit over a global decline on soda sales.
While you were sleeping
A riot erupted in Hong Kong. Protests against an attempt by police to close down unlicensed food stalls turned violent after riot officers arrived. More than 40 were injured and 24 protestors were arrested in the clashes, which were fueled in part by dissatisfaction about the pro-Beijing government.
Michael Bloomberg confirmed his presidential plans. The media mogul told the Financial Times (paywall) that he considers the current state of the race to be “an outrage and an insult to the voters.” The billionaire’s long-shot candidacy would need to move fast and spend a lot of money to get onto state primary ballots by March.
Zenefits’ CEO stepped down over compliance issues. Parker Conrad, co-founder of the human resources startup, left the company after it was alleged to have used unlicensed brokers to sell health insurance. Zenefits, valued at $4.5 billion, offers free HR services to small businesses but makes money by selling health insurance to its customers.
Twenty-First Century Fox’s revenue fell. Lower DVD sales contributed to a 14% drop in fiscal second quarter earnings at its film studio unit. Its cable TV division made up for some of that thanks to increased audiences for NBA games and Republican debates. The company’s share price fell 2.5%.
A poor start for the trading day in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei fell by 4.9% in morning trading (paywall), while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down by 2.9%. Banking stocks led the decline, after doing the same in the US yesterday.
North Korea’s satellite reached orbit. It is not yet clear whether the technology on board is functioning, but South Korea’s defense ministry said that reaching orbit shows that the country has rockets capable of traveling 12,000 km (7,500 miles). Sunday’s launch was widely criticized.
Quartz obsession interlude
Alex Haddon on American football’s injury crisis. “Hints of an American football decline—at least among young players—are dovetailing with growth elsewhere. In particular, participation in soccer across the US has grown 8% over the last five years. In 2014, over 3 million boys and girls were registered as part of the US Youth Soccer League, the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Bernie Sanders is making voters feel poor. His presidential campaign inadvertently discourages people from voting by reminding them of their financial woes.
Hating Martin Shkreli misses the larger point. His grandstanding questioners could have addressed huge problems with the pharmaceutical industry.
South Africa is facing another unhinged political year. President Jacob Zuma is great at dodging scandals, but his influence is shrinking.
The US is holding $4 billion of Bernie Madoff’s ill-gotten gains. Thousands of victims are still waiting for repayment.
An Indian man was reportedly killed by a meteorite. It’s the first recorded death by falling star in 200 years.
Ocean acidification could leave fish lost at sea. Rising levels of carbon dioxide could dull their sense of direction.
Undiscovered species are hiding right under experts’ noses. Museums have closets and shelves full of likely candidates.
Millions of Americans have been incorrectly labeled “unhealthy.” The Body Mass Index is not an accurate measure of health.