What to watch for today and over the weekend
Venezuela holds a huge military exercise as its economy disintegrates. Embattled president Nicolás Maduro called the exercises after expanding a state of emergency, as opposition forces call for a referendum to oust him. Meanwhile, the rule of law is crumbling, and the country can’t keep the lights on for more than a few days a week.
The G7 meets in Japan. The issue of Britain potentially leaving the European Union will be high on the agenda as finance leaders meet on Friday. Discussions on monetary policy, structural reforms, boosting global demand, and cyber security will continue over the weekend.
Austrians vote for a new president. The run-off vote on Sunday pits far-right Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer against former Green Party leader Alexander Van der Bellen. If anti-immigration populist Hofer wins, he could become the EU’s first far-right head of state.
While you were sleeping
Wreckage from the missing EgyptAir flight was found. Egyptian officials said they have identified debris and passengers’ belongings from the plane 180 miles off the coast of Alexandria. Flight MS804 disappeared from radar with 66 people on board on the way from Paris to Cairo early Thursday morning. The Egyptian Navy is now combing the area for the plane’s black box.
Taiwan swore in its first female president. Tsai Ing-wen represents the Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally favors independence from China. In her inauguration speech, Tsai urged China to “drop the baggage of history,” emphasized the need to reduce economic dependence on the mainland, and promised to safeguard democracy.
Richemont lost its sparkle. The Swiss luxury goods group said lackluster demand for watches in Hong Kong and Europe led to stuttering sales growth in the final quarter of its fiscal year and a 15% drop in April sales. “We are doubtful that any meaningful improvement in the trading environment is to be expected,” said the company chairman, a worrying sign for other luxury firms.
Germany’s builders kept busy. The number of residential building permits issued rose by over 30% in the first quarter of the year, buoyed by demand for cheaper accommodation for refugees. Low borrowing costs have also nudged many Germans, who tend to rent, to buy their own homes.
Yahoo’s value cratered. Bidders for the troubled company’s core business may offer $2 billion to $3 billion, less than half of original expectations, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Offers are due the first week of June.
US politicians reached a deal to save Puerto Rico. An agreement between the White House and Republican leaders would restructure the territory’s $70 billion debt (paywall), in a process resembling bankruptcy. Lawmakers will vote on the measure in June, ahead of a $1.9 billion debt payment due July 1.
Quartz obsession interlude
Roya Wolverson on letting go of attachment parenting. “When I stopped picking my two-year-old up from school, he stopped throwing mid-day tantrums and started cleaning his plate at lunch. He seemed genuinely happier to see me when I came downstairs to greet him after work, and for the rest of the day spent less time whining and more time enjoying my company.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Bayer-Monsanto is a merger 4,000 years in the making. Consolidation is the only growth strategy that agriculture has left.
Criminal justice has put too much stock in DNA testing. The technique is being applied widely and inaccurately.
Forbidden pleasures are overrated. Our brains undervalue the good stuff sitting right in front of us.
India recorded its hottest day since 1956. Temperatures in the state of Rajasthan hit a whopping 123.8°F (51°C).
A new wristband shocks users into saving money. It delivers a jolt when debts get out of hand.
A million Chinese visited Disneyland Shanghai in the past month. The theme park isn’t even open yet, but visitors have flocked to see its public areas.
Tokyo has more helipads than any other city. The Japanese capital’s 80 helipads are rarely used due to noise restrictions, and are there mainly for emergency evacuations.
The Burger King in Helsinki has its own sauna. Burgers taste better when you’re sweating profusely.