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%. European stock markets rose at start of trading in anticipation of the closely watched Labor Department release at 8:30am ET.
China’s leaders turn their attention to the economy. Premier Li Keqiang will lay out the annual budget and clarify the country’s GDP target on Saturday when the National People’s Congress begins. The annual plenary session runs through Mar. 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 want to know if 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 Mar. 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, 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 Tumi’s market value. The purchase bolsters Samsonite’s status as the world’s largest luggage maker; its share price jumped on the news.
China announced a hike in military spending. The armed forces budget will increase by 8% in 2016, according to a parliamentary spokesperson. That would end a a nearly unbroken two-decade run of double-digit percentage increases.
Dalian Wanda bought more movie screens. The Chinese conglomerate’s US movie-theater company, AMC, is set to buy Carmike for $1.1 billion, creating the US’s biggest cinema chain. Dalian Wanda bought Legendary Entertainment, the studio behind blockbusters like Jurassic World, for $3.5 billion in January.
Japan put the brakes on a US army base. Prime minister Shinzo Abe agreed to temporarily stop construction on relocating a US Marines base in Okinawa in response to local protests. The base will have to move eventually, per the terms of a bilateral agreement to reduce the US military presence on the Island.
Quartz obsession interlude
Joon Ian Wong on an easy method to break into millions of iPhones. “The US government has unlocked iPhones before, without permission from Apple or anyone else, using off-the-shelf equipment that can be bought on eBay. There may be more than 100 million iPhones in use today that can be unlocked this way.” Read more here.
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 may be turning a corner. Protests and progress against corruption are helping 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.
Sleep deprivation can give you the munchies. It acts on the same parts of the brain as marijuana.
Banksy has been outed—by science. Researchers say geographic profiling revealed the elusive graffiti artist’s identity.
Indonesia’s tsunami-warning buoys don’t work. When an earthquake struck this week, it had to rely on neighboring countries’ systems as its own have been inoperable since last year.
Some fearless teenage girls in Pakistan are taking up boxing. “No one teaches us how to defend ourselves,” says one.
Americans in Cuba aren’t allowed to go to the beach. But a presidential visit to Havana will push some US visitors tantalizingly close to the forbidden sandy shores.