Quartz Daily Brief—European edition—EU banking union, Twitter IPO, Syria negotiations, lab-made eggs

September 13, 2013
September 13, 2013

What to watch for today

Europe discusses a banking union. Top policymakers will discuss the broad aspects of the union, but are unlikely to get into the nitty-gritty. The project got a boost on Thursday when the European parliament agreed to give the European Central Bank oversight of 130 of the region’s largest banks.

Sentences in India’s gang rape case. Four men are likely to be sentenced on Friday by an Indian judge after they were found guilty of raping and murdering a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a New Delhi bus. The case has drawn international attention and sparked a debate in India about the treatment of women.

Rising US spending power. Retail sales probably rose 0.4% in August, thanks to strong car sales. But consumer sentiment is likely to have dipped in September. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the US economy, will be a key factor in the Federal Reserve’s decision next week on its stimulus program.

It’s Friday the 13th. Here’s a look at the cultural and religious roots of a superstition that costs the US an estimated $800-900 million in lost business each time.

While you were sleeping

Twitter set its IPO in motion. The social media giant announced—in a tweet, naturally—that it had submitted a confidential filing for an initial public offering, which allows companies with under $1 billion in revenue to keep their financials secret for longer. Goldman Sachs is reportedly the lead underwriter, but whether Twitter will list on the NYSE or the Nasdaq isn’t yet known.

Syria: claims, doubts and demands. The Syrian government said it had become a part of the Chemical Weapons Convention, but it’s not clear that it has met the conditions. The US insisted that Syria quickly disclose all data about its arsenal before it surrenders its chemical weapons, which Damascus countered with demands that the US drop military threats and stop arming rebels. Meanwhile, an elite government unit in Syria appears to be moving stocks of chemical weapons around (paywall) to make them harder to track.

An enraged Dilma Rousseff hits back at the US. The Brazilian president is seeking new legislation to force companies like Google and Facebook to store locally collected data inside Brazil, after intelligence leaks revealed that the NSA had spied on Rousseff and obtained user data from complaint US companies.

US stock exchanges get a red button. After a private meeting with regulators, the exchanges agreed to build a kill switch into their systems which could be triggered in the event of a trading emergency, like the glitch that shut down the Nasdaq for three hours last month.

Pessimism stalks the BRICS. Global investors are least optimistic about the outlook for big emerging market economies, which fell far behind the US and EU in a Bloomberg poll.

Fresenius SE’s Helios to create Europe’s largest chain of hospitals. Fresenius will buy another German company, Rhoen-Klinikum, for 3.07 billion euros ($4.1 billion), adding 43 private hospitals to its existing 74.

Vodafone’s call to Kabel Deutschland goes through. More than 75% of the German cable group’s shareholders approved Vodafone’s €7.7 billion ($10 billion) offer for the company. The deal still needs clearance from the European Commission.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why the biggest bond deal ever from Verizon might mark the end of the easy money era. “Now the size of the deal would likely mean that Verizon would have to pay some kind of premium. (For a $49 billion offering to succeed, it needs to coax a lot of people to buy.) But it’s also true that investors have been starting to move away from fixed-income products and tilt their money a bit more back into stocks. Such dynamics should, by rights, translate into higher borrowing costs for corporates.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

These days Apple is more like a fashion label than an electronics company. When the big “change” in a product launch is color, Apple has become more like Prada and less like Edison.

Anders Breivik is welcome at the University of Oslo. He committed an atrocity, but it is good that the Norwegian mass murderer will study democracy and justice.

Obama is walking right into Putin’s trap. The proposal to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons will be a waste of US time and resources.

This is the best time for foreign investors to enter India. The rupee has fallen a lot in recent years, making assets relatively cheap.

Surprising discoveries

You can now buy lab-made eggs to go with your lab-grown burger. Beyond Eggs hit the shelves this week, promising to be a substitute for the real thing.

The inventor of the mechanical gear is an insect. The three-millimeter-long insect called Issus coleoptratus uses a toothed gear in its legs to jump.

Interstellar voyager. The Voyager I spacecraft, launched by NASA way back in 1977, has become the first man-made object to exit the solar system.

The world’s wasted food is responsible for over 3.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide gases. That’s more emissions than any country except China and the US.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments and pictures from interstellar space to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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