Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—drones in DC, cleavers in London, a slowdown in China, toxic yoghurt waste

May 23, 2013
May 23, 2013

What to watch for today

Justifying drone strikes. Obama will lay out the rationale for his heavy use of drones to kill suspected terrorists, a day after his administration finally admitted killing four Americans.

How will Britain respond? A soldier was brutally murdered in London by two men armed with cleavers, one of whom said: “The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day.” Britain is treating it as a terrorist attack, and PM David Cameron has returned home for an emergency meeting.

Gap and Bangladesh. As the US retailer reports earnings, it will face questions about why it has refused to sign an agreement to improve worker safety in Bangladesh after the worst accident in the history of the garment industry.

Euro zone sings the blues. Economists expect that Europe manufacturing and services are still shrinking.

US houses and jobs. The Commerce Department will report new home sales for April and the Labor Department will unveil weekly jobless claims. Realtor data already showed US home sales are at a three-year high.

While you were sleeping

China’s economy sputtered. Surprise data from HSBC suggested that factory activity slowed for the first time in seven months.

Words can hurt. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke rattled markets when he told Congress that bond buying could taper off if economic conditions were right. But Bernanke also said that cutting off support for the markets too early would be damaging.

Twitter made itself safer. Users can now turn on two-step authentication—a password, plus a text message to a phone—after high-profile Twitter accounts suffered a spate of hackings.

Hewlett Packard’s slow turnaround. The PC maker reported that second quarter profits fell by 32%, but that still beat analyst expectations.

Singapore’s surprise. It’s economy grew instead of shrinking.

Tesla repaid Uncle Sam. The electric car company erased a $485 million loan from the US government, eight years ahead of schedule

Quartz obsession interlude

Zachary Seward on Steve Jobs’ hard-nosed tactics. ”The US government’s price-fixing lawsuit against Apple goes to trial next month in New York. Ahead of its court date, the US released emails that purport to show Apple was the “ringleader” in a scheme to set artificially high ebook prices with some of the largest American publishers, which have already settled the case. The emails have mostly been viewed in the context of the lawsuit, but they also provide an extraordinary view of high-stakes negotiation between the leaders of two powerful firms, Apple and News Corp.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

All good atheists go to Heaven. So says Pope Francis—whether they want to or not.

Wall Street justice should be delivered in the open. Enough with the behind the scenes deals in the Steve Cohen investigation.

But Syria talks should be held in private, not in the public eye.

American presidents always disappoint. Part of the problem is the high expectations.

Al Jazeera is the best thing to happen to journalism. Or maybe not.

Thomson Reuters doesn’t stand much of a chance toppling Bloomberg’s chat service. 

Surprising discoveries

Greek yogurt’s toxic downside. A byproduct of its manufacture has killed tens of thousands of fish.

Kim Jong-un loves making children cry. Actually, that’s not not very surprising.

Iceberg supper clubs. Dining on a piece of floating ice can be dangerous

A Belgian racing pigeon is worth almost $400,000. At least to a Chinese businessman.

GIF creator Steve Wilhite sets the record straight. It’s pronounced “jiff.”

Marijuana makes pigs hungry, too. What to do with those surplus leaves and stems.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, drone strike debate points and photos of Kim Jong-un bullying victims to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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