Quartz Daily Brief—Europe’s disinflation woe, Icahn’s mortgage bet, A meaty bidding war, Argentina’s dirty soccer

June 3, 2014
June 3, 2014

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

A peek at the future of the euro zone. The European Commission publishes a report on whether member states are ready to adopt the euro currency. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden are all considered—as well as Lithuania, the only country ever-before rejected, which hopes to adopt the euro in 2015.

South Koreans vote in local elections. The results will be seen as a referendum on President Park Geun-Hye’s handling of a ferry disaster last month, in which the deaths of 300 people (mostly schoolchildren) shed light on “a culture of institutional negligence, greed and incompetence.”

G7 leaders meet in Brussels. For the first time in 17 years, Russia is excluded from the power nations’ summit after a relocation from the planned venue of Sochi in protest of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. That conflict will likely be top of the agenda, as G7 leaders affirm their support of Ukraine’s new president (and former “chocolate king”) Petro Poroshenko.

Heathrow’s Terminal 2 opens. The first flight—a United Airlines jet from Chicago—is set to land at 6 a.m. local time, marking the opening of the £2.5 billion ($4.2 billion) refurbishment of T2, which closed in 2009. Heathrow is building up to full capacity over several months, after Terminal 5’s botched opening in 2008.

While you were sleeping

Europe flirted with deflation. Inflation across the euro zone dropped to 0.5% from its April reading of 0.7%, which will increase pressure on the European Central Bank to intervene when it meets on Thursday. The bloc’s unemployment rate fell slightly, from 11.8% to 11.7%.

Icahn bet on US mortgage companies. Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor, bought $51 million worth of shares in the US mortgage agencies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which own or guarantee 60% of US home loans. Some investors have been lapping up stock on the belief that the companies will go private.

A barrage of omission requests hit Google. More than 41,000 people in Europe have asked Google to erase them from its search results after the tech giant released a form on Friday allowing individuals to request that their personal details be omitted. That’s an average of seven requests every minute (paywall).

Russia and China took ratings into their own hands. The two countries agreed to create their own securities rating agency so they won’t have to rely on American investor services such Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

A meat giant sparked a bidding war. Pilgrim’s Pride upped its offer for Hillshire Brands from $45-per-share to $55-per-share, after Tyson Foods stepped in last week with a $50-per-share bid. The offers now stand at  $7.7 billion versus $6.8 billion.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the future of mobile phones (Hint: it doesn’t include phone calls). “The idea of using a mobile phone to actually talk to people already seems quaint to many young people. According to data presented in Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report (pdf), a biannual study of how the world uses phones, mobile phones will be used less and less for calls, and more for video. The report contains some fascinating nuggets, chief among them this: Voice traffic on mobile networks will peak in 2015, then revert back to around 2011 levels by 2019.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The case for managers. Ditching supervisory positions makes it harder to define career goals, especially when it comes to switching jobs.

Sugar should be treated like a drug. It’s addictive, pervasive, and Americans are overdosing.

Investors should keep a close eye on the Stanley Cup finals. The Rangers-Kings hockey championship could bump up the value of its host venue, Madison Square Garden.

Apple operates on Stockholm Syndrome. Forget new products; its main aim is to keep its current customers happy captives.

Surprising discoveries

A US ambassador was sworn in on an e-reader. America’s representative to Switzerland took her oath on a Kindle Touch.

Twitter’s new font doesn’t support Arabic or Cyrillic characters. They’re just the scripts used in two of its fastest-growing markets .

America’s history of economic espionage. When the British Isles were Silicon Valley, the US wasn’t afraid to pirate the latest loom-tech.

Argentina plays the dirtiest soccer. Refs have handed the country 99 yellow cards and seven reds since 1970.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, loom blueprints and red cards to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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