What to watch for today
Portugal braces for protests. The country’s largest union has called for a strike to protest the government’s austerity measures.
Watch a double-dip recession magically disappear. Revised UK GDP figures are expected to show that the economy didn’t, in fact, contract in the first quarter of 2012.
Nike’s China challenge. The footwear giant is expected to post just a 2.6% increase in revenue, as sluggish sales in China outweigh strong growth in the US.
The US Ambassador to China visits Tibet. In the first visit by an American ambassador since 2010, Gary Locke is expected to raise concerns over a recent spate of self-immolations and deteriorating human rights conditions.
Data deluge. Japanese inflation data, euro zone economic confidence, German unemployment and French consumer confidence are due to be released. Across the pond, investors will digest US personal income and spending figures, pending home sales, and initial jobless claims.
While you were sleeping
Sharing the pain on bailouts. After hours of late night discussions, European finance ministers agreed on a framework for bank bailouts. Shareholders, depositors and bondholders with more than €100,000 will be liable for some of the cost.
Protests, protests, everywhere. In Egypt, President Mursi offered up constitutional changes to bring an end to ongoing street violence and opposition protests. In Brazil, politicians gave in to many protester demands, but that didn’t stop tens of thousands or people from returning to the streets to demand better public services.
The US grew less than it thought. Revised data showed first-quarter growth was only 1.8%, as against the earlier estimate of 2.4%. Weak business investment and a slowdown in consumer spending were the main drags.
No rush on Snowden. Ecuador said it would take weeks to arrive at a decision on the NSA leaker’s asylum request. Ecuador also asked the US to make its case for Snowden’s extradition.
Dish got double-dashed. A months-long bidding war ended after US satellite TV company Dish Networks, which earlier this week lost its last hope of buying wireless provider Sprint Nextel, also gave up a bidding contest with Sprint to buy Clearwire.
How do you “vet” a rebel? The US will reportedly to start arming Syrian rebels—though only “vetted” ones—within a month.
Quartz obsession interlude
Roberto A. Ferdman on how Argentina’s dollar policy has blown up in its face. “In an attempt to tamp down capital flight and prevent Argentines from hoarding dollars—both of which deprive the central bank of foreign reserves—Kirchner has, since late 2011, progressively introduced a series of forcible measures known as the ‘dollar clamp’ that restrict Argentines’ ability to buy them. But a problem has surfaced. By limiting access to dollars, the government has made them more desirable, and led to even fewer of them reaching the central bank than before.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Why drones fail. The guidelines for how the US uses drones have fallen behind how easy it is to use them.
Why drones work. Devastating al Qaeda at little financial cost, no risk to U.S. forces, with fewer civilian casualties.
Ixnay “say on pay.” Shareholders don’t care about compensation, as long as their stocks are going up.
Russia is keeping the UN corrupt. Business is business, after all.
The dark side of stimulus. China’s ghost cities epitomize the problem of printing money Paul-Krugman-style.
The running of the interns. When a big US Supreme Court decision is released, young staffers race up their sneakers.
Refugee tents by Ikea. The UN’s new housing units come with solar powered roofs (some assembly required).
The countries with the biggest gender pay gap. Austria, Korea, Norway, Britain and the US.
Afghan diplomats are defecting en masse. As the withdrawal of Western forces nears, many just aren’t coming home.
Not enough criminals. The Netherlands is shutting eight prisons because of a drop in the crime rate.
North Korea has built its own tablet. Without internet access, natch.