What to watch for today and over the weekend
US jobs day. Analysts predict the economy added 195,000 jobs in February, and that the jobless rate held steady at an eight-year low of 4.9%. The Labor Department release is scheduled for Friday at 8:30am ET (1:30pm GMT).
China’s Communist Party pageant continues. Premier Li Keqiang will lay out the annual budget and official GDP target on Saturday at the opening of the National People’s Congress. The annual plenary session begins at 9am local time and runs through March 16.
Christine Lagarde speaks in Massachusetts. The head of the International Monetary Fund makes her first comments since a G20 meeting in Shanghai saw nations agree to do more to stimulate economic growth. Analysts will want to know whether she has any further suggestions.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation meets in Indonesia. It will discuss the independence of Palestine and ways to counter the “illegal occupation and apartheid policies by the Israeli government,” while meeting on March 6-7 in Jakarta. The OIC bills itself as the “collective voice of the Muslim world.”
While you were sleeping
US Republican presidential hopefuls debated. Donald Trump found himself on the defensive, and often shouting, as rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio teamed up to criticize the front-runner. At one point the discussion turned to the size of Trump’s hands and, by inference, another body part.
Samsonite agreed to buy Tumi. The luggage maker will pay $1.8 billion for its luxury rival, marking a 33% premium to Wednesday’s closing price. That adds to Samsonite’s status as the world’s largest luggage maker; its share price rose by over 6%.
China announced its military budget. Spending on its armed forces will increase by 8% in 2016 compared with a year earlier. That represents a smaller increase than in 2015, when it raised its budget by over 10%, to 886.9 billion yuan ($135.6 billion).
AT&T—a frequent NSA collaborator—backed Apple against the FBI. The telecom giant filed an amicus brief in support of Apple’s refusal to write custom software to help the Feds access a terrorist’s iPhone. Google, Facebook, and Twitter and other tech firms are also backing Apple.
Yahoo has a new plan to save itself. The floundering internet firm is considering selling off up to $3 billion in “non-core” assets such as patents and real estate, as an alternative to spinning off its core business, or selling it altogether under pressure from investors. Time and Verizon are among the potential buyers.
A US soccer star is donating her brain to study the effects of concussions. Brandi Chastain said her brain will go to researchers studying the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The degenerative brain disease is commonly found in male football players and boxers, but female athletes have rarely been studied.
Quartz obsession interlude
Joon Ian Wong on an easy method to break into millions of iPhones. “It’s a black box that connects to an iPhone and systematically runs through every possible PIN combination to unlock it. This method of hacking, called ‘brute forcing,’ is why Apple added an option for users to erase a phone’s data after 10 failed password attempts.” Read more here.
Quartz markets haiku
Nothing to see here
But stocks rose a bit
Matters of debate
Donald Trump could be the first US dictator. Constitutional law and political institutions might not protect the country from authoritarianism.
Latin America might be turning a corner. Protests and progress against corruption could help the continent shed its legacy of weak institutions.
Bernie Sanders can’t win because his campaign is too white. Clinton supporters more accurately mirror US demographics.
Bird poop shut down a New York nuclear power plant. It created an electrical disturbance on transmission lines.
Human traffickers are using RFID tags to track their victims. They’re similar to the ones that pet owners use.
Sleep deprivation can give you the munchies. It acts on some of the same parts of the brain as marijuana.
Some fearless teenage girls in Pakistan are taking up boxing. They demanded to learn how to defend themselves.
Americans in Cuba aren’t allowed to go to the beach. But a presidential visit to Havana is getting some US visitors tantalizingly close.