Global business

The British government outlined proposals to give investors a stronger say on executive pay. The measures would give shareholders a binding vote on a company's pay policy once every three years. The company would have to adhere to this, or seek approval for any change. This year's annual shareholder meetings in Britain and America have been notable for the high number of investor revolts over executive pay.

Shareholders of the London Metal Exchange, the world's largest metals market, looked likely to accept a $2.2 billion bid from Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing after the board recommended the offer.

Oil prices continued to tumble. Brent crude reached an 18-month low and was trading below $92 a barrel; West Texas Intermediate was under $80.

Microsoft unveiled its Surface computer tablet, the first such product from the software company. The Surface, above, is slim and light and will run on Windows 8, a version of the operating system that will be launched shortly. A novel feature is a detachable magnetic cover that doubles as a keyboard. Techies wondered how well it will compete against the iPad and Android tablets, which have thousands more apps available.

A jury found Rajat Gupta guilty on charges related to insider trading. Gupta, an ex-boss of McKinsey, was convicted of passing tips about Goldman Sachs when he sat on its board to Raj Rajaratnam, who was convicted last year for profiting from insider information. Gupta will be sentenced in October.

Allen Stanford, a Texan banker who was convicted in March of a $7 billion fraud conducted through his offshore companies, was sentenced to 110 years in prison. (Bernie Madoff was sentenced in 2009 to 150 years for the biggest fraud in history.) Stanford used his riches to sponsor his own cricket tournament in the West Indies.

Political economy

China's securities regulator issued draft rules that would lower the barriers to foreign investors, such as reducing the minimum amount that fund managers must have in assets under management from $5 billion to $500 million. It also proposed freeing up access to China's bond markets, another step toward the government's goal of turning the yuan into a global currency.

Turkey's credit rating was upgraded to a notch below investment grade by Moody's because of the country's improving public finances.

François Hollande's Socialist Party won an absolute majority in the second round of parliamentary elections in France, taking 314 seats, well above the 289 needed to secure a majority. The Socialists now control almost all of France's political institutions.

Doctors in Britain took industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years by refusing to carry out non-urgent care in a dispute over pensions.

Talks in Moscow aimed at ending the crisis over the alleged military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program broke down. The gap between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, remains wide. Iran insists on recognition of its right to enrich uranium "for peaceful purposes" and a lifting of sanctions, but the six powers will not do so until Iran agrees to a range of "confidence-building" measures.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar's democracy movement, continued her two-week tour of Europe. She visited Norway to be presented with her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and Britain to accept an honorary doctorate from Oxford, which she had also been unable to collect while she was under house arrest in Myanmar.

Tension lessened in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines, when the Philippines withdrew its ships from the disputed Scarborough Shoal area because of a tropical storm.