Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—G20, Moscow Stock Exchange, Airbus, asteroids, the Blade Runner

February 15, 2013
February 15, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

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.

G20 finance ministers talk in Moscow. Group of 20 finance ministers are meeting for two days to figure out how comfortable they are with a weakening yen and other currency issues. So far, the ministers have failed to find common ground.

British food regulator says no more horsing around. More than 1,000 test results on whether products marked “beef” contain horse meat will be announced today. French wholesaler had intentionally labelled horse meat as beef, after buying it from Romanian suppliers via a Dutch trader based in Cyprus to sell to a producer in Luxembourg who then sold it on to British and other retailers. (Now that’s European union.)

Libyans take to the streets. Protests are expected in Benghazi today, on the second anniversary of Muammar Gaddafi’s ousting. The demonstrators are blaming the government for not disarming militias or making progress on a constitution.

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 wee hours of Saturday morning. Also: it’s probably not worth $195 billion. Meanwhile, a meteor passing through Russia’s Ural Mountains this morning caused explosions and injured more than 500, but scientists say the two space events are unrelated.

Cyprus votes.  The first round of elections in the tiny Mediterranean nation takes place on Sunday. The EU and the IMF will be watching the results closely, in hopes that a new government will be more amenable to a bail-out deal.

While you were sleeping

Moscow stock exchange went public. MICEX raised $498 million in Russia’s biggest IPO since 2007.

British retail suffered from bad weather. January retail sales fell unexpectedly by 0.6%, compared to an expected rise of 0.5%, as storms hurt food and other retailers. Analysts worry this could mean the British economy may be on track for a triple-dip recession.

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.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius wept in court. Prosecutors said they were charging the South African double amputee (i.e. the “Blade Runner”) for premeditated murder of his model girlfriend, who was shot dead on Valentines Day. Pistorius was reportedly weeping in court.

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.

Overweight 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

A Cambridge college has started its own bank. There is a “rather strong possibility that the college would make a great deal of money“.

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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