Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Earnings galore, Merkel’s dance, Obama’s web glitches, Japanese celibacy

October 21, 2013
October 21, 2013

What to watch for today

Merkel’s dance continues. Germany’s opposition Social Democrats set out their conditions of joining a coalition government under chancellor Angela Merkel. Their wish list—likely subject to weeks of negotiations—includes a statutory minimum wage and dual citizenship for immigrants.

The UK will greenlight a new nuclear power plant. After more than a year of talks, the government will allow plans to build the country’s first new nuclear plant in a generation to move forward.

Obama will addresses website glitches. In remarks from the Rose Garden, the president is expected to outline steps to fix technical issues hampering signups at its health insurance portal. Had it been a commercial startup, here’s how HealthCare.gov would have looked.

Big data’s return. The newly reopened US government begins to clear a backlog of economic data this week. It’s also peak week for the release of third-quarter earnings; amid sluggish sales so far, all eyes will be on companies’ revenue growth. McDonald’s, Netflix, Manpower, Halliburton and Texas Instruments are among those reporting today.

Best Frenemies Forever. Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh travels to Russia and China for one of his last major foreign visits before elections. In a meeting with Vladmir Putin today, Singh is expected to ask about arms purchases. Meanwhile, diplomats are hoping to finalize an agreement between India and China over longstanding border tensions.

Political sidestep. The US state of New Jersey begins performing same-sex marriages. New Jersey governor Chris Christie says he disagrees with the policy but will not stand in its way—a stumbling block as the prominent Republican seeks reelection, and possibly even higher office.

While you were sleeping

Mexico condemned US snooping.  Documents leaked by Edward Snowden claim the US accessed former Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s email; Mexico called the practice  “unacceptable” and “illegitimate.”

Japanese exports slowed. September data showed exports increased 11.5% from a year earlier, which was less than expected. A weaker Yen may not be be enough to make up for decreased emerging market demand.

Malaysia’s PM was weakened, but won. In important party elections, Najib Razak remained in control of his United Malays National Organization party, but his allies were pushed hard by conservatives.

AT&T’s tower deal. The company is leasing or selling rights to 9,700 of its wireless towers to Crown Castle for $4.85 billion to generate cash for a stock buy-back to revamp its cellular setup and fund acquisitions.

JPMorgan’s civil suit. The bank is set to pay the US government a record $13 billion to settle a civil probe into its mortgage-bonds business, but a criminal inquiry remains unresolved.

Is BofA next? The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, wants Bank of America to pay more than $6 billion for alleged securities law violations, the Financial Times reports.

Alan Greenspan’s blame game. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the former US Federal Reserve chairman said easy money under his tenure “had absolutely nothing to do with the housing bubble. That’s ridiculous.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Todd Woody on how you shouldn’t write Big Solar off yet. “There are currently 36,794 MW worth of projects under development in the US. SNL expects a building boom over the next two years with more than half of that solar coming online to qualify for a 30% federal tax credit that is set to fall to 10% by the end of 2016.” Read more here 

Matters of debate

Don’t forget India’s good men. Stories of male violence are much in the news, but the vast majority of men in India are “committed, concerned, cautious,” and family-focused.

Stop calling the Tea Party stupid. It will only embolden them. “Most of the Obama crowd has more in common with bike-sharing Europeans than small-town Americans.”

Lean in is a lazy movement. Susan Faludi asks: What is the movement really confronting?

The little engine that couldn’t. A train derailment in Canada over the weekend shows that oil transport has hardly kept up with the times.

Surprising discoveries

A “mobile” wallet to deter shopaholics. A Japanese company’s “living wallet” has wheels and propels itself away from owners’ grasping hands.

Madagascar’s Black Death warning. The island faces a bubonic plague explosion if the disease gets into rat-infested prisons.

The dead sea. An Australian yachtsman sailed from Melbourne to Osaka and was struck by the absence of fish, birds, and life.

Japan’s celibacy syndrome. Another reason for the country’s population bust: young people have stopped having sex.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fleeing wallets, and oil transport infrastructure innovations to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

 

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