What to watch for today
Cyprus will not leave the euro. Cyprus and the “troika” of the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund reached a deal to save the country’s banking system at a contentious meeting late last night. Deposits below €100,000 will remain untouched, but bigger account holders at the country’s second-largest bank, Laiki, will have their funds frozen as the bank is effectively shut down. Shares rose in Australia, Singapore, Japan and across Asia on the news, but details have yet to emerge about how long capital controls will stay in place.
Dell’s board will indicate whether it’s seriously considering rival offers. The special committee of Dell’s board is expected to announce whether it needs more time to assess the preliminary offers by private equity firm Blackstone Group and the billionaire Carl Icahn, which could result in founder Michael Dell losing control over his company.
Detroit becomes the largest US city ever to fall under state control. It’s the first day on the job for bankruptcy lawyer Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency financial manager. His unenviable job is to pull off one of the most ambitious financial turnarounds in urban history.
Over the weekend
China Construction Bank posted higher earnings. The first major Chinese bank to report 2012 results beat analyst estimates, suggesting that pessimism over bad loan charges may be overblown.
Deutsche Bank prepared for a hefty fine for doing Iran-linked business. A German paper on Sunday reported that the bank has set aside more than $390 million as it prepares for US authorities to impose stiff penalties for breaching sanctions on Iran. Last year Standard Chartered paid $667 million for violating US sanctions.
The original age of Russian oligarchs came to an end. Boris Berezovsky, the self-made billionaire and archetypical Russian tycoon, died at the age of 67 in London, where he had lived since falling out with the Putin-led Kremlin more than a decade ago. For a period in the 1990s, no one in Russia seemed more wealthy, powerful, and politically connected than the flamboyant Berezovsky.
China’s new leader flew to Africa. President Xi Jinping began his tour of the continent in Tanzania yesterday, just before the fifth annual BRICS summit starting Tuesday in South Africa. It’s probably time to start talking about China’s unequal trade relationship with the continent again.
China’s state-owned energy companies want to go shopping. Sinopec, PetroChina and Cnooc (paywall) together spent more than $35 billion last year on overseas acquisitions, and signaled more could be in store for 2013. The companies are expected to benefit from planned loosening of state gas and diesel price controls.
Pervez Musharraf returned to Pakistan. The former president ended his self-imposed four-year exile abroad in hopes of finding a place in politics once more. As the country gears up for elections in May, Musharraf’s return adds more fuel to an already fiery political scene.
A tycoon took the lead in Paraguay’s election polls. Horacio Cartes, a millionaire businessman and political newbie, held a lead over career politician Efrain Alegre in polls released Sunday.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on why so few Indians have Internet access at home: “It’s still notable that only 150 million Indians have [home] internet access in a country of 1.2 billion. That’s significantly lower than other emerging markets. Consider this Gallup survey from January, which polled citizens around the globe about whether they have home internet access: While only 3% of Indians answered ‘yes,’ in China, 34% confirmed home internet access, with 51% penetration in Russia and 40% in Brazil…The country spends about 1% of its GDP on technology, compared to 2.5% around the world.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Cyprus is the ball in a geopolitical ping-pong match between Russia and the European Union.
Businesses should be able to pay employees what they choose. Or banks should be able to, at least.
Driving a Ferrari is good for the earth. A hybrid sports car might let drivers go 218 mph (351km/h) and still feel perfectly green.
Tax-free zones are a way to make culture thrive. China hopes to sprout arts and entertainment companies with the same playbook (paywall) it used for manufacturing.
Global warming paradoxically could mean more soccer games in blizzards. The US and Costa Rica teams’ snowy World Cup qualifier match could well just be the beginning.
The Chinese Dream: a license plate.
Norway’s rainy day cash reserve is now worth $140,000 per man, woman and child. Oil wealth also means Norwegians take lots of three-day weekends.
Canada produced 63.4% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2011. It’s hydropowering ahead.
The Beatles didn’t have a business model. It helps to be “part sexual, part showman”.
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