What to watch for today
The US Federal Reserve weighs in. The two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting comes to an end. In light of disappointing retail sales, the central bank is more likely than ever to hold interest rates steady.
The UK announces its budget. Chancellor George Osborne is expected to unveil £4 billion ($5.6 billion) in further spending cuts, a $2-billion education package, and investment in huge rail and road infrastructure projects. He still plans to get rid of the deficit by 2020.
FedEx reveals its quarterly earnings. The delivery giant is expected to report revenue of $12.4 billion, compared with $11.7 billion a year earlier. FedEx and its ilk are often bellwethers for the wider economy.
While you were sleeping
Donald Trump sent “little” Marco Rubio packing… Trump won Florida, prompting the home-state senator to bow out of the race. But he lost to John Kasich in Ohio, which could lead to a contested convention this summer.
…and Hillary Clinton had a great night. The Democratic front-runner racked up a convincing series of victories in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and especially Ohio, leaving Bernie Sanders well behind. She also looks set to take Missouri.
Deutsche Boerse and London Stock Exchange agreed a $30-billion merger. Shares in both exchanges rose 2% with the announcement of a deal that would give the German exchange a majority shareholding, with LSE’s equity holders getting 45.6%. The deal needs regulatory approval and there’s still a chance Intercontinental Exchange could make a higher offer.
German power companies took their government to court. Eon, RWE, and Vattenfall argue they shouldn’t have to foot the bill for decommissioning their nuclear plants (paywall) and seek billions damages for what they say is an expropriation of their assets.
China announced a dual-growth plan. At the end of the 12-day National People’s Congress, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said that China could implement its economic reforms without mass layoffs or derailing the nation’s growth trajectory, which is set at 6.5% over the next five years.
North Korea sentenced a US student to 15 years of hard labor. Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old undergraduate at a Virginia university, was found guilty of “crimes against the state” for removing a political banner from a hotel. The sentence will further stoke tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
Quartz obsession interlude
Amy Wang on music streaming’s fraud problem. “There are ‘tens of thousands of people out there with the technical ability’ to engage in click fraud on streaming services, says Rich Kahn, CEO of online advertising services company eZanga. A strong coding background and an ‘understanding of how the system works’ are all you need.” Read more.
Matters of debate
AI won’t be the death of humanity—probably. Even if they’re smarter than we are, humans can control artificial intelligences.
Bosnia and Albania should take in Syrian refugees. It would help build their case for EU membership.
Mobile payments are falling short in Africa. Kenya has been using smartphone payments for years, but it’s slow to take off in other countries.
Babies know when they don’t know something. It’s called metacognition, and it happens even before speech.
You can visit a monkey astronaut’s grave in Alabama. Miss Baker traveled to space and back in 1959.
Republicans don’t trust science, but they believe in magic. A new resolution recognizes the “rare and valuable art form.”
A 91-year-old French woman finally got her PhD. She wrote it over a period of 30 years, and is one of the oldest ever to get the distinction in France.
A factory in China releases 20 million infertile male mosquitos a week. They breed with wild mosquitos in an attempt to tackle the spread of diseases like dengue.
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