Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Janet Yellen discusses rates. The head of the Federal Reserve will speak at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, and will likely be pushed to provide more details on whether rates will rise at the start of next year.
A curtain-raiser for US jobs day. Paycheck-processing company ADP’s reading on US private-sector job creation in June may shed some light on labor market trends. The official jobs report will be out on Thursday morning, instead of the usual Friday, due to the US Independence Day holiday.
Deal-making resumes on Iranian nukes. The P5+1—the five permanent members of the UN security council, plus Germany—resume negotiations with Iran over its nuclear development program. There’s a July 20 deadline for a deal.
Renzi talks to his “boring old aunt.” Italy’s prime minister will lay out his vision for a more expansive growth policy before the European Parliament. Italy has just assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union, which Renzi recently likened to a “boring old aunt” for its fixation on fiscal rectitude rather than growth.
While you were sleeping
Hong Kong’s democracy protests ended with mass arrests. Demonstrators who vowed to occupy the city’s central business district were hauled away by police, who made more than 500 arrests. Organizers said half a million protesters turned up to rail against Beijing’s control over the city’s supposedly autonomous elections.
Jamie Dimon has throat cancer. JP Morgan’s CEO said he caught the cancer early enough for it to be treated, and that he expects to remain active in running the bank. His treatment is likely to last about eight weeks.
Australia’s trade deficit blew up. Declining natural resource exports led to a deficit of A$1.9 billion ($1.8 billion) for May—almost ten times the amount a Bloomberg survey predicted. Fading demand from China is hurting prices for iron ore and coal.
US auto sales gained momentum. With the exception of Honda, leading automakers all reported better-than-expected June car sales. And, yes, that included General Motors; the company saw a moderate rise in sales over June 2013, despite a slew of safety recalls.
Moody’s kicked Puerto Rico deeper into the junkyard. The ratings agency downgraded all the island’s major debt issuers. Puerto Rico was already perilously close to overtaking Argentina as the sovereign considered most likely to default.
Quartz obsession interlude
Dan Fromer explains why Twitter’s next trick is to prove it can actually become a stable, grown-up company. “Twitter is simply too good an idea—and too successful already—that it shouldn’t someday have billions of users and billions of dollars in revenue. … The challenge will be to make the product and the business work in harmony, at much greater scale than it does today.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
American values are to blame for the world’s chaos. Forcing democracy on other countries has backfired dramatically.
Li Ka-shing’s exit plans should worry Hong Kongers. When even the billionaires who benefited from the status quo start investing elsewhere, there is reason to be concerned.
The secret to Belgium’s economic success: no government. Without one, it can’t pursue the austerity policies that have crippled its neighbors (paywall).
You really need to get more sleep. The productivity you gain more than makes up for the time you lose (paywall).
All of the World Cup teams that banned sex have been eliminated. Of course, a lot of more permissive teams have lost too.
New Zealand is the home of the free. 94% of citizens are satisfied with their freedom, the highest percentage of any country.
Mug shots can be head shots. A California convict scored a $30,000 modeling gig after the internet went gaga over his looks.
Supercomputers can be chefs. Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, just came out with its own barbecue sauce, Bengali Butternut BBQ Sauce, which has a “slow, warm heat and a kick.”
Iranian TV has a frame-for-frame ripoff of Modern Family. Minus the gay characters, of course.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, modeling mugshots, and algorithmically-derived barbecue sauce recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.
The Senate voted 78-17 on Monday to advance an aid and sanctions package in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, setting up a final vote later this week.
The legislation includes reforms to the International Monetary Fund that is opposed by many Republicans. A similar package in the GOP-led House does not include the IMF provisions.
BERLIN, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Germany is considering giving Greece more leeway to decide itself which reforms to take if it requires a third bailout package, a German daily reported on Tuesday, citing government sources.
Creditors would no longer dictate in detail which reforms Athens should carry out. “We want to get away form this approach that came above all from the experiences of the International Monetary Fund in developing countries,” Die Welt quoted an unnamed source as saying. Instead of listing more than 100 measures to take, international lenders could give the Greek government 20 goals to reach, the paper said.
“The Greeks could then decide themselves which measures to take to reach these goals,” Die Welt quoted asource as saying.
Greece has received two aid packages from the International Monetary Fund and the euro zone since 2010 in return for spending cuts and reforms.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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What to watch for today
French belt-tightening. The government will present its 2014 budget, having revised its projections of the deficit and economic growth rate after the International Monetary Fund warned they were too optimistic. France’s business confidence index is out too, and is likely to have remained downbeat in August.
Mixed signals from the US economy. Durable goods orders in August are expected to have fallen 0.5% from July, due to a decline in aircraft orders. New home sales probably rebounded last month after plunging in July by the most in three years.
UN inspectors will hunt for more clues in Syria. Investigators who left the country when US air strikes seemed imminent will return to look for more proof of chemical weapons use. The team will also gather evidence from an alleged chemical attack in northern Syria in March.
Bed Bath & Beyond rides the US housing recovery. The home-furnishings retailer reports second quarter earnings, which are projected to rise. Investors will also pay close attention to the company’s efforts to fending off competition from online retailers like Amazon.
While you were sleeping
Telefonica tightens grip on Telecom Italia. The Spanish telecom group will gradually raise its stake in the Telco holding company that owns a 22% stake in Telecom Italia, in a cash and shares deal worth 860 million euros ($1.2 billion).
JP Morgan probe tab may reach $3 billion. The bank is reportedly negotiating (paywall) with the US Justice department to settle over half a dozen mortgage investigations in one go. But even if the deal goes through, the bank will still face criminal investigations by federal prosecutors.
Kenya proclaimed victory over al-Shabaab. President Uhuru Kenyatta said security forces killed five militants and captured 11 others in the standoff at the Westgate mall in Nairobi. At least 67 people were killed in the siege, and authorities say more bodies could be found in the collapsed shopping center.
The US government is seeking a hefty SAC settlement. Federal prosecutors want hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors to pay $1.5 billion to $2 billion to settle insider trading charges. Any deal would require founder Steven A. Cohen to plead guilty.
UK brokerage facing Libor charges. The US Justice Department is preparing to charge staff at the London-based firm ICAP with rigging benchmark interest rates, according to the Wall Street Journal.
AIG’s chief executive apologized for lynching remarks. The insurer’s head, Bob Benmosche, said he was sorry for his comments comparing disapproval of bankers’ bonuses to Deep South hangings.
A 28-year-old woman completed a solo rowing trip from Japan to Alaska. British adventurer Sarah Outen arrived in the Aleutian Islands after nearly five months of rowing, covering 3,750 miles.
Sponsor content by Siemens
Quartz obsession interlude
Todd Woody on why the number of killer thunderstorms could jump 40% by 2070. “In a first-of-its-kind study published yesterday, scientists at Stanford University have linked climate change to the increasing frequency of such super storms. By 2070, the number of severe thunderstorms, which often spawn deadly tornadoes, could increase by 40% in the eastern US, according to the computer model developed by the Stanford scientists.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Angela Merkel’s re-election is a disaster for Greece. It will result in crushing austerity unless a leftist Greek government is elected to power.
47% of American jobs could soon be done by robots… Only those professions that require creative and social intelligence will be safe from computers of the future.
…but don’t blame them for falling wages. Most of the last 25 years’ drop in US workers’ pay is due to trade, not automation.
Time to delete your LinkedIn account? The site’s email marketing policy is inherently abusive.
Amazon is not the bookstore-killer it is made out to be. Independent bookstores are, in fact, growing in the US.
Uncertainty over climate change is a good thing. It means science is working.
A notorious Twitter spambot is actually a human being. @Horse_ebooks mastermind Jacob Bakkila unveiled his conceptual art project in a New York art gallery.
A trader lost $4 million betting on Mitt Romney in an attempt to manipulate the prediction marketplace InTrade.
The CIA’s non-human spies. In the Cold War, the US intelligence agency trained ravens to retrieve objects, pigeons to warn of enemy ambushes, and cats to eavesdrop on conversations.
A strip club is suing Oracle. The San Francisco establishment wants the software giant to pick up a $33,540 tab racked up by one of its employees.
The reason newborn babies smell so good. They trigger the same circuits in the brain as satisfying a craving for food (but please don’t eat them).
Who says newspapers are dead? A number of publications founded in the 1600s are still alive today.