What to watch for today
The Bank of England stays the course on interest rates. The UK’s economic outlook is looking stormy, with a possible Brexit on the horizon. BoE officials will likely hold the benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.5% to avoid rocking the boat.
Brazil’s senate slogs through an impeachment vote. President Dilma Rousseff, who is accused of illegally using public funds to cover up flaws on the country’s balance sheet, may have only hours left in office. Vice president Michel Temer is set to fill her position, but he’s also facing impeachment on corruption charges.
The US turns on its European missile defense shield. The massive project has been in the works for years, and is billed by the US as a measure to protect NATO from Iranian nuclear weapons. Russia argues that it’s actually meant to neutralize missiles from Moscow, and violates a nuclear treaty that helped to end the Cold War.
The EU parliament debates China’s trade status. Politicians will discuss whether China deserves “market economy status” within the World Trade Organization, which would make it harder to level sanctions against the world’s second-biggest economy. EU officials are concerned (paywall) that China might use its new status to undercut European manufacturing.
David Cameron hosts an anti-corruption summit in London. The UK prime minister is welcoming political, business, and civil society leaders from around the world to galvanize a global response to corruption. He was recently caught on camera describing Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt.”
While you were sleeping
China’s Cosco Pacific invested in Europe’s busiest container port. Amid an overseas expansion drive by Chinese companies, the container-terminal operator said it will buy 35% of another such operator, Euromax Terminal Rotterdam.
Japan posted its biggest current account surplus in nine years. An improved trade balance and strong returns from overseas investments contributed to an impressive March (paywall). It was the 21st surplus in a row.
Scientists proved that Zika is responsible for birth defects in Brazil. By infecting mice pups and clusters of lab-grown brain cells with the virus, they were able to observe the effects and draw a causal link between Zika and brain damage. Their findings suggest that the infection takes hold in the first trimester, stunting neurological development.
Nissan confirmed it’s in advanced talks to take over Mitsubishi Motors. The automaker is prepared to invest 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion) for a roughly one-third stake that would give it control over its rival. Mitsubishi has lost about 42% of its market value since a cheating scandal broke on April 20.
Elon Musk’s “hyperloop” successfully completed its first test. The Hyperloop One startup, which has secured $80 million in funding to create a working version of Musk’s transportation concept, carried out a passenger-less run-through of its propulsion system. The long-term vision is to transport people in giant tubes at more than 750 mph (1,200 kmh).
Quartz obsession interlude
Marc Y. Rosenberg on Apple’s battle with Chinese authorities. “No matter how popular their products or how ‘borderless’ their services, technology’s brave new world will increasingly clash with the older realm of borders and governments. As a result, both financial and physical costs will increase for tech companies and their customers.” Read more here.
Does it feel lonely
Rolling down an empty aisle?
Wobbly shopping cart
Matters of debate
Don’t waste money on graduate school. Unless you want to be a lawyer, doctor, or academic, it doesn’t make financial sense.
No one really ever trusted Facebook. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has its own biases.
The US Federal Reserve made the poor even poorer. Inequality rose because of tight monetary policy.
Old iPods are now expensive collectibles. An in-box second-generation iPod Classic could be worth $20,000.
Finding Dory could be bad for real fishies. The blue tang fish in Pixar’s movie doesn’t fare well in captivity.
The English language could get really weird if Britain leaves the EU. Brussels institutions are already home to strange linguistic distortions.
It took 43 years to build America’s newest nuclear plant. Due to safety concerns and fluctuating demand, it’s the first new plant in two decades.
North Carolina’s bathroom law could cost the state $5 billion a year. Most of it is lost federal funding as the state fights the US government in court.