Business review from the Economist
Investors boot Uber CEO Kalanick
Travis Kalanick resigned as Uber's chief executive. The ride-hailing firm has come under fire for its abrasive corporate culture and a series of sexism scandals, among other things. Kalanick had already announced an indefinite leave of absence. That was not enough for five of the firm's big shareholders, who signed a letter demanding his departure. He will continue to serve on Uber's board.
Amazon announced that it would acquire Whole Foods, an upscale supermarket chain specializing in organic food, for $13.7 billion. Share prices of other grocery stores plunged in the expectation that Amazon will change not just Whole Foods, but the whole sector.
The Bank of England voted to keep interest rates at 0.25 percent in light of Britain's weak economy, despite higher-than-expected inflation of 2.9 percent. The bank reckons inflation could rise above 3 percent in the autumn, and remain above its 2 percent target for an extended period, due to a weakening pound. The bank also appointed Silvana Tenreyro, a professor at the London School of Economics and a critic of Brexit, to its monetary policy committee.
America's current-account deficit widened to $117 billion in the first quarter of this year, up by 2.4 percent from the last quarter of 2016. That was still less than analysts had expected.
Klarna, a Swedish payments firm, gained a banking license. The firm, which has 60 million customers across Europe and processed €13 billion ($14.7 billion) in transactions last year, is the largest European financial-technology firm so far to become a fully fledged bank.
The integration of China into the world's financial markets took another step as MSCI, an index provider, decided to include shares of 222 companies listed in mainland China in its widely followed emerging-markets equity index, which is tracked by managers with $1.6 trillion in assets. The firms' shares will account for 0.73 percent of the total index, adding to the 28 percent already made up of Chinese shares listed elsewhere. MSCI held off on upgrading Argentina from a frontier market to an emerging market, contrary to the expectations of some.
Argentina nonetheless sold $2.75 billion in 100-year dollar-denominated bonds, joining the likes of Mexico, Ireland and Belgium in issuing such "century bonds." Argentina is the first to do so without the benefit of an investment-grade rating, having only recently returned to international capital markets. Demand from investors was strong, although the country has defaulted on its sovereign debt eight times since 1824.
Russia also sold more than $3 billion in sovereign debt, much of it to Western investors, in only its third issue after the imposition of sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine in 2014.
EQT Corporation, an American natural-gas firm, agreed to acquire its competitor, Rice Energy, in a $6.7 billion deal. Both firms are based in Pennsylvania and focus on fracking. The new firm will be America's largest natural-gas producer.
Global politics from the Economist
Saudi king taps reformist son as next leader
Saudi Arabia's monarch, King Salman, named his son Muhammad bin Salman as crown prince, putting him next in line to the throne. The move marked a sharp break with Saudi tradition. The new crown prince is known for impetuousness abroad (he backed a military intervention in Yemen). At home he favors bold economic reforms, such as selling shares in the national oil firm.
Theresa May launched her minority Conservative government's slimmed-down program for governing Britain over the next two years. The speech, as usual, was read out by the queen, but without much of the normal ceremony. The prime minister also used the speech as an opportunity to dump controversial manifesto promises on social care, selective education and corporate governance.
Otto Warmbier, an American student jailed by North Korea, died in his home state of Ohio, a few days after being released.
Forest fires in Portugal killed at least 64 people and burned more than 64,000 acres of land as temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit. More than 2,000 firefighters were deployed to fight the blazes.
Spyware sold to Mexico's government for snooping on criminals has been found on the mobile phones of prominent journalists and human-rights activists, according to the New York Times and other organizations. Among the people whose phones were infected with are Carmen Aristegui, a journalist who has been critical of Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, and employees of Centro Prodh, a group that worked with families of 43 students who disappeared in 2014.