Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Japan’s triumph, Amazon’s taxes, Erdogan meets Obama, underground KFC

May 16, 2013
May 16, 2013

What to watch for today

Commodities giant’s first meet-up. Glencore Xstrata has its annual meeting just weeks after finalizing a long-awaited merger to become the fourth-largest miner in the world. Despite recent good news from its mining holdings, expect managers to outline their response to the sector’s global price slump.

Will the US Federal Reserve keep missing its inflation target? The target is 2%, but April’s consumer prices revealed today are expected to have once again undershot. It’s the same story in Europe, where the European Central Bank will confront its own slowing economy.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the US. Turkey’s prime minister will meet Barack Obama and talk about Syria, among other things. Yesterday, 107 nations called for Syrian president Bashar Assad to leave in a UN resolution, which Russia opposed. Syria, meanwhile, had its internet plug pulled once again.

A big day for retail. Nordstrom, JC Penney and Wal-Mart all report earnings today.

While you were sleeping

Abenomics appeared to be working. Japan’s GDP grew at an annualized 3.5% in the first quarter, ahead even of analysts’ expectations of 2.8%. That’s a huge improvement over the 1% growth posted at the end of 2012.

JP Morgan asked Bloomberg what it knows. The bank wants to know which Bloomberg staff have been looking at its use of Bloomberg’s terminals.

Britain isn’t even thinking about leaving the EU. Yet. A vote to include an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU as part of this year’s legislative agenda did not go through.

No luck in Iran nuke talks. But nobody was expecting very much considering Iran’s presidential elections are only a month away.

Obama fired the US’s top taxman. The president was forced to remove Steven Miller, the head of the Internal Revenue Service, after it emerged the agency had targeted Obama’s political opponents with investigations.

Amazon paid £2.4 million in tax in the UK last year. On sales of £4.3 billion, that works out to less than 0.1%. And the British government gave Amazon about the same amount—£2.5 million—in grants.

Google gained on improved services. Google stock closed at an all-time high of $915.89 after its developers’ conference revealed a bunch of new and upgraded services including Hangouts, maps and streaming music, the latter a genuine Spotify competitor. And here’s something interesting: You will be able to send money via Gmail.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on Android’s deceptively large market share. “It is hardly disputable that Android has a clear lead over iOS in terms of the number of people using it. Just yesterday, a report put its worldwide market share in the first quarter of this year at nearly 75% of all smartphone sales. That number is worth looking at more closely. What are all these Android owners doing with their phones?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The UK needs better arguments to stay in the EU. The Swiss seem to be doing alright.

Financiers are right to doubt the Fed’s track record. Remember the housing bubble? And the internet bubble?

You don’t need austerity to fix a broken economy. Give the feckless politicians more credit.

Is Mexico’s reformist president threatened by his own party? The old guard may not tolerate threats to their economic power.

Surprising discoveries

Are India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong the least racially tolerant countries in the world? More than 40% of survey respondents wouldn’t want a neighbor of a different race.

The inside story of Ranbaxy’s criminal fraud. The fabricated test results behind the $500 million guilty plea.

Underground tunnels deliver KFC from Egypt to the Gaza strip. After three hours under the border, it’s apparently still finger-lickin’ good.

The best value-for-money degree you can get? Georgia Tech will offer a $7,000 master’s in computer science to 10,000 online students.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, reasons to love the EU and arguments for austerity to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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