Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—G20, Dropbox IPO, bionic eyes, cool badminton

February 15, 2013
February 15, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

G20 finance ministers meet in Moscow. No one is expected to make a big stir over this whole currency wars unpleasantness.

UK retail sales may have bounced a bit in January. But only after a pretty terrible fourth quarter.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius appears in court. The South African double amputee nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” the toast of last year’s London games, is accused of killing his girlfriend.

Did US industrial production keep up its momentum? Figures for January will show whether December, when production hit its highest level in more than four years, was just a blip.

An asteroid flies by. Space rock 2012 DA14 will pass closer to Earth than some satellites. From parts of Asia and Australia, it will be visible in the small hours of Saturday morning with a telescope. Also: it’s probably not worth $195 billion.

While you were sleeping

A new culprit in Europe’s horsemeat crisis. Turns out the French wholesaler Spanghero intentionally labelled horsemeat as beef, after buying it from Romanian suppliers via a Dutch trader based in Cyprus to sell to British and other retailers. (Now that’s European union.)

Democrats in the US Senate proposed a $110 billion plan to avoid the “sequester”. But it probably won’t even survive until a vote. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans delayed the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.

Bionic eyes became a reality. America’s Food and Drug Administration approved a retinal implant which consists of a camera hooked up to a receiver in the eye. The device will help people with a rare genetic disease to see movement and light.

Airbus dropped lithium-ion batteries. Its new A350 will use nickel-cadmium batteries instead of the type that caught fire on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

General Motors is still going strong. The US auto giant posted profits in 2012 for the third straight year after its 2009 bankruptcy. And that was despite its exposure to Europe, where its losses were double those in 2011.

Dropbox could be the next big tech IPO. The cloud-based file storage company is talking to banks, sources tell Quartz’s Gina Chon. It would have to defeat the skepticism about tech stocks since Facebook’s botched offering last year.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims explains why BlackBerry is doomed, even in its stronghold of corporate clients. “If BlackBerry is losing customers in enterprise and hasn’t created something compelling enough to lure ordinary consumers, what has the company got left? I’ll tell you: Revenue propped up by a dwindling supply of subscribers in the developing world, who are in the middle of a mass exodus to cheaper Android phones. It’s not time to stick a fork in Blackberry just yet, but as a business, it appears to be doing little more than coasting on its own momentum.”Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s everything to like about raising the minimum wage.

The US should let China buy more of its companies.

Complex models don’t kill financial systems; people do.

Fat Americans need the option of smaller-sized servings.

The New York Times review of the Tesla S electric car was not a deliberate hatchet job.

Surprising discoveries

There’s a 30% chance of an asteroid hitting Earth this century with the force of 700 Hiroshima bombs.

Canadian high schoolers sometimes “feel like crying.

In Singapore, there’s a boom in penny stock trading.

Teeth and grammar are the most important qualities in a potential date

India is launching a badminton league, prompting the question, “could badminton become cool?”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, asteroid predictions and smaller menu suggestions to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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