Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Cyprus’s bailout drama. The president, Nicos Anastasiades, will seek parliament’s approval for a rescue package agreed over the weekend by the euro zone finance ministers. The deal involves forcing Cypriot bank-account holders to pay a levy to prop up the island’s banks. (Bad idea, say some.) Angry depositors have rushed to grab their cash from ATMs, which some worry will lead to an extended bank run across Europe.
Market jitters. The Cyprus bailout could affect reverse the gains of the past two weeks. Stocks in Australia, Singapore, and across East Asia declined this morning, with more slides expected as markets open in the rest of the world.
US Senate meets on the budget. Despite the lack of agreement, markets last week didn’t suffer. But policymakers say the debt crisis will worsen if the austerity measures continue.
Syria starts talking. The opposition group begins discussions today to form a cabinet and pick a PM. Talks over who will be interim leader of the area come after a high-ranking official defected to Jordan this weekend, on the two-year-anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian revolution.
Fortunes smiles on Airbus. The aircraft maker will reportedly close one of its biggest ever deals today when it signs an order with Indonesia’s Lion Air for over 200 A320 planes. The deal is worth about $20 billion. Over the weekend, Airbus inked a deal to sell 117 of the same aircraft to Turkish Airlines.
Over the weekend
Australia’s budget deficit widened. Another $4.8 billion was added to the deficit in January, more than twice the expectations of Wayne Swan, Australia’s treasurer, for a total of $27.7 billion this financial year, Swan said Australia will not make matters worse by making immediate spending cuts.
Wall Street Journal quelled bribery allegations. The Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper was investigated by the US Justice Department for bribing Chinese officials last year. Neither government officials nor the paper’s own probe seem to have turned up any proof.
Qatar may be eyeing Marks and Spencer. The quintessentially British supermarket chain might be subject to an £8 billion bid by Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund and private-equity investors. Marks and Spencer’s food arm is thriving but its clothing business has been in the doldrums for a while now.
China’s leadership hit the ground running. Xiao Gang of the Bank of China, an advocate of financial liberalization, was named regulatory chief and president Xi Jinping picked a new foreign policy team Saturday, including a tough-on-U.S. chief diplomat. The new PM Li Keqiang (paywall) made his first public address on Sunday, in which he criticized bureaucracy and promising easier private investments.
Pakistan’s government stepped down. The national election in May will pit the Bhutto family, a cricket player-turned-politician, and a host of incumbent political power machines against one another.
Volkswagen China ordered a recall. The company has opted to start a voluntary recall of cars with potential acceleration problems after a watchdog pointed out faults in a new gearbox.
Quartz obsession interlude
Lily Kuo on Asia’s rival trade blocs, which aren’t really such rivals. “As our map shows, a handful of countries will be part of both agreements. Japan’s entrance into the TPP talks is likely to be approved and South Korea, following the lead of its regional rival, is likely to ask to join as well… If that happens, the second- and fourth-largest economies in the region would be members of both blocs. Instead, one can think of the deal as serving different functions for countries of different levels of development.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
What will it take to get the British economy going again? £15 billion in spending and investment.
Blame the vitamins. A work-out supplement might be held responsible for a soldier’s death.
Why Carnival Cruise Lines has an unsinkable business model. It gets free rescues from the US Coast Guard.
Stop calling Sonia Gandhi “foreign.” She’s been in Indian politics for long enough now (paywall).
Berliners don’t want the Berlin Wall torn down. Protesters campaign to save the historic graffiti-covered stretch known as the East Side Gallery.
How to reduce gun violence: make guns safer. Biometric weapons that only their owners can fire are the hot new tech idea.
The Philippines is the new Las Vegas. A $1.2 billion casino has opened, which the president hopes will boost the archipelago’s economy.
Japan keeps making bathrooms better. Now you can add a remote control to your toilet.
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