Good once-every-four-years morning

The most exciting part of my morning was reading that Apple might be releasing the iPad 3. On, like, Wednesday! It’s weird – three/four years ago, I would have scoffed at this being a piece of news. Just like I scoffed at the idea of an iPad: “What would I want an iPad for? Tell me what it will do that my iPhone and my Macbook between them won’t. Glorified e-reader rubbish. I’ll never abandon real books!” And then I abandoned real books. Because I realised that my iPad is a portable library with a sleek exterior and the ability to play Scrabble. Excited. Link: Apple to hold product event March 7.

The headlines:

  1. In Greek news, the Greek parliament has passed the first set of legislation relating to austerity cuts, with a second vote expected today. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that this happened a few weeks ago. Apparently not. Everything in bits and pieces. Every Greek union member everywhere is protesting. The opposition wants an election date. And Greece has been downgraded to “selective default” by S&P. It’s funny how this almost isn’t news – just expected. Link: Papademos gets backing for $4.3 billion of cuts
  2. Ireland is preparing to vote on the new Euro Fiscal treaty. Whilst the result of the vote is not expected to be an issue (only 12 members of the 17 countries need to approve of the treaty in order for it to take effect), the vote is being framed as the Irish sentiment on remaining in the Euro. After all the drama in Greece, could Ireland actually be the one to throw in the towel and secede? I personally doubt it – I keep saying that there is no loophole in any of the treaties; and it would be way more expensive for any country to leave than it would be to stay. Still – Bloomberg has found some doomsayers. Link: Irish open new front in Euro Debt Crisis.
  3. The Apple-Proview (Shenzhen) iPad trademark appeal case continues in Guangdong. I read what Apple is saying. I read what Proview (Shenzhen) is saying. And I am in awe that the Chinese firm believes that it can argue that the Taiwanese subsidiary had no authority to sell – after the chairman of its Shenzhen unit authorised the sale, and the deal was signed by the head of Shenzhen’s legal department! And even more in awe that the Lower Court in Guangdong ruled in Shenzhen’s favour. Link: The Case Update.
  4. And the Africa Business News in Brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The highlights:
    • The Kenyan Tea tax dispute has been resolved and auctions will recommence this week.
    • SA GDP growth beat consensus and accelerated to 3.2% in the 4th quarter of 2011.
    • Angola’s Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 10.25%. This in response to an apparent slowing in inflation in February – although no new official CPI figures were released.
    • Ethiopia’s exports are up – by around 21%. Which is staggering. Especially considering that coffee production (once Ethiopia’s principal source of export revenue) dropped by 40% last year.
    • Kenya has finalised terms for a $600 million international 2-year syndicated loan that it plans to use to finance infrastructure development. The deal is expected to be signed in two weeks. The loan is expected to replace around half of Kenya’s domestic borrowings – after yields on domestic borrowings increased from 2% in January 2011 to around 20% by December. Super pricey to borrow domestically, then.
That’s all for now.
Happy Leap Year.