daily brief

Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Eurozone bailout plans, Fed un-easing, frequent flier crackdown

June 20, 2013
June 20, 2013

What to watch for today

Too big to fail? Eurozone ministers will meet to decide how their bailout fund can recapitalize struggling banks. Leaders hope that deciding on the mechanics will give confidence to struggling European banks and boost lending.

Salvaging the Afghan peace process. The US scrambled to revive peace talks after the Taliban scored a publicity coup with their newly opened “peace office” in Qatar.

Apple’s last chance to woo the judge. Lawyers for Apple and the Justice Department are scheduled to make closing arguments in the trial in Manhattan, where Apple is accused of price-fixing with e-book publishers.

Data deluge. US economic indicators include initial jobless claims and existing home sales for May, and there are purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data from the US, euro zone and China.

Oracle’s cloudy future. The business-software giant is expected to post a meager 7% growth in earnings per share and a 2% increase in revenue as it continues to struggle with cloud computing.

While you were sleeping

Chinese manufacturing spluttered, again. Preliminary data from HSBC/Markit shows that China’s crucial manufacturing sector contracted in June to a nine-month low, adding to concerns that the world’s second-biggest economy is unable to halt a slowdown in growth and ease a worsening cash crunch.

Japan’s stubborn cash hoard. Japanese companies have stockpiled $2.4 trillion, or more than the size of Italy’s entire economy, according to the country’s central bank, despite unprecedented efforts by officials to encourage spending.

A timeline on quantitative un-easing. US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed will start paring its $85-billion-a-month bond buying program by the end of the year, and that it could end altogether by mid-2014 if unemployment continues to decline. The S&P jittered and Asian markets opened lower on Thursday.

Southeast Asia’s Amazon? Lazada, a German-owned e-commerce company operating in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, has secured $100 million in additional financing to persude the region’s consumers that internet shopping is the way of the future.

Prison stripes are in this year? Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were handed prison sentences of one year and eight months for evading taxes on income of around €1 billion, though they are unlikely to serve actual jail time. The designer duo were also fined  €500,000.

China and Russia have been demoted. A US report on human trafficking put them in the worst tier of violating countries, opening the door to potential sanctions and even more strained diplomatic relations.

Airlines cracked down on frequent fliers. United joined its rivals in requiring customers to spend a minimum amount of money to obtain premium status, instead of merely racking up miles.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on how Amazon is staffing up for its $600 million “private cloud” for the CIA. “One thing that’s mysterious, and possibly telling, about Amazon’s job announcement for a “Systems Engineer—Government Cleared” is that the location of this job—Herndon, Virginia—may or may not coincide with the location of the CIA’s own cloud computing centers. CIA headquarters is in Langley, but Herndon, about 15 miles to the west, is also thought to be home to a CIA building.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

South Korea needs more failures. The government is trying to change the culture to encourage entrepreneurs.

The G8 pact to stop paying terrorist ransoms won’t work. It isn’t even a very good idea.

Bribery is changing shape in India. Corporate deals are the new conduits, instead of cash.

The most important part of 1984 is the Appendix. Big Brother did not get the last word.

Surprising discoveries

Anti-virus video goes viral. John McAfee mocks his old company, and himself.

Batteries are now as small as a grain of sand. Thanks to 3D printing.

HD rocks. NASA just took a billion-pixel photo of Mars.

Generation Tinder. An iPhone app is revolutionizing the way young professionals are dating.

Tequila is about to go massive in China. Good news for Mexico.

The isle of the rich. Hong Kong now has more millionaires than Singapore.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, whimsical millionaire videos and high-definition rock close-ups to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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