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WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
The European Commission releases its spring economic forecast. Its latest expectations for growth, inflation, and budget deficits will be central to gauging the state of the EU economy.
The EU-Japan summit kicks off. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk will hold a press conference at the start of their meeting in Brussels. They will discuss a free trade agreement that has been in the works since 2013.
Halliburton faces its shareholders. The oil services giant will have to explain what went wrong in a failed merger with Baker Hughes, as well as an expected 40% decline in quarterly revenue. CVS, Estée Lauder, and Starwood also report earnings (pdf).
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
HSBC profits fell less than expected. Europe’s biggest bankreported a pretax profit of $6.1 billion for the first quarter, down from $7.1 billion a year ago, but above the average forecast. The bank’s trading income tumbled during the period.
Brazil shut down WhatsApp. A judge in the northeastern state of Sergipe ordered carriers to block access to the messaging platform, used by 100 million Brazilians, for 72 hours—the second such decision in five months. The shutdowns are part of a larger battle between technology companies and governments over data encryption.
Australia’s central bank cut interest rates to a record low. Citing a weaker outlook for inflation than previously forecast, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate to 1.75%. The Australian dollar tumbled on the news.
John Kerry tried to salvage the Syria ceasefire. The US secretary of state is working with Moscow to re-establish a truce in Aleppo, where violence has severely escalated in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Sky News reported that the Assad regime has been colluding with ISIL on various battleground deals.
Puerto Rico missed a bond payment. The tardy $442 million payment pushed the US territory deeper into a financial crisis. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said he was forced to choose between basic services and debt obligations, blaming hedge fundsand the US Congress for failing to restructure the territory’s debt.
Leicester City won the English Premier League against extraordinary odds. The club clinched victory after Tottenham Hotspur drew at Chelsea, ending one of the craziest seasons in football history. Leicester City were 5,000-to-1 underdogs when the season began.
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Sarah Todd on how sex education shortchanges teenage girls: “As attitudes toward premarital sex evolve, many parents, teachers, and other authorities have begun to emphasize safe sex and consent. Yet despite all these changes, girls remain deeply unequal in the bedroom. Just because they’re making the choice to have protected sex with boys doesn’t mean they’re having fun.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Hundred-year-old lines on a map are responsible for untold human misery. It’s the anniversary of the Sykes-Picot treaty thatcarved up the Ottoman empire.
It doesn’t really matter who invented bitcoin. An Australian’s disputed claim will have little impact on the disruptive digital currency.
Chinese police will soon patrol in Rome and Milan. They will “reinforce the sense of safety” for tourists.
Expensive money transfers are bleeding Africa dry. Lower remittance costs could save $16 billion a year.
A Maryland dog is saving the bees. He is trained to sniff out adeadly bacterial disease.
More single men means more beards. It’s an evolutionary strategy that draws women’s attention.
There’s an upscale alternative to the Burning Man festival. At Further Future, held outside Las Vegas, luxuries like fine dining and spa treatments are encouraged, not frowned upon.