Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Bird flu, MF Global, Ferrari sales, Moscow traffic

April 5, 2013
April 5, 2013

What to watch for today

More steps to stop the spread of bird flu. Traces of the H7N9 virus were found in pigeons at a Shanghai marketplace, so authorities began slaughtering poultry there early today to contain the spread. Five have died since the virus was first identified in humans last week, and America’s Centers for Disease Control has started work on a vaccine. It’s now confirmed that people can pass the virus to each other. Asian airline shares have been falling.

The latest US jobs report. The pulse of the American economy will be taken when the March unemployment numbers are released at 8:30 a.m. EST, and the leading indicators suggest a bit of a flutter.

Regulating fracking in California. The state’s air-quality regulators will decide whether to demand more transparency about environmental impacts from oil and gas drillers who use hydraulic fracturing.

MF Global shows what’s in its pockets. The bankrupt brokerage tells a court how much and how soon it plans to repay creditors, the day after a yet another report blamed its collapse in 2011 on its erratic CEO, Jon Corzine.

Russian continues its turn on the global stage. After the country’s cameo appearance in the Cyprus fiasco, Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev is convening the leaders of the Baltic Sea states in St. Petersburg to talk environmental protection.   

While you were sleeping

Samsung went into space with the Galaxy. The electronics firm beat first-quarter profit expectations, thanks to strong sales of its mobile phones. Analysts reckon its mobile division increased sales by 40%, and its TV division only 6%.

HP shook up its board. Hewlett-Packard chairman Ray Lane and two other board members stepped down after shareholders queried a troubled acquisition and the slow pace of turnaround at the computer maker.

Mexico undercut China. Mexico’s hourly wages are now cheaper than China’s, a new report finds… though that might not be so good for Mexicans.

Ferrari showed where the optimists are. While the sports-car firm’s sales slumped in Europe and China last quarter, they went up 19% in the US and 40% in, of all places, Japan, in a sign of the hope around Abenomics.

Facebook wants to occupy your phone. The company’s new software, Facebook Home, redesigns Android phones around “people, not apps“—though in fact, it really redesigns them around one app, namely Facebook’s. Here’s why it wants to do that.

North Korea didn’t do much. After days of escalating threats to unleash nuclear war on America, the dictatorship had a quiet day. It moved a missile to its east coast, but it doesn’t have the range to hit the US.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford and Ritchie King explain Abenomics by drawing a diagram: “The Bank of Japan’s unveiling of its new monetary policy earlier today marked the first real test of ‘Abenomics,’ as the world now calls prime minister Shinzo Abe’s bundle of policies aimed at escaping 20-plus years of deflation. And it passed the test—markets responded positively. There will be many more tests, though, for the BoJ’s monetary policy, as well as for the other two prongs of Abenomics: fiscal stimulus and, much more amorphously, structural reform.” Read more (and look at the diagram) here.

Matters of debate

China is an ATM machine for African autocrats. Every bank account comes with strings attached 

The ECB could be doing so much more. Why isn’t it following the example of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England?

Yen depreciation—too much of a good thing? The Bank of Japan’s new easing measures could trigger a yen avalanche, says George Soros. (The yen hit a three-and-a-half year low against the dollar today.)

Let’s call Abenomics by its real name. It’s Bernankonomics.

Americans should watch cricket. It’s wealthy, corrupt, and lasts for days—what’s not to like?

The missing internet productivity boom? Has today’s technology failed us, or is it just too soon to tell?

Surprising discoveries

Apple’s new headquarters cost more than the new World Trade Center complex. But hey, what’s $5 billion when you have $137 billion in cash reserves?

A majority of Americans support legal marijuana. It’s the first time that the surveyors have gotten that result in more than 40 years of asking.

Moscow is the world’s most congested city. The authorities’ solution: make room for even more cars.

It’s fairly easy to hide an $8.3 billion bet from your bosses at Goldman Sachs. But it’s very hard to hide the losses when it goes wrong.

R.I.P. Roger Ebert. The celebrated American film critic and writer died at age 70 after suffering from throat cancer. Read his last column, and this profile.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hidden billions and Moscow traffic snapshots to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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