Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Nokia’s Microsoft vote, Paris manhunt, JPMorgan settlement, live-streaming planet Earth

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What to watch for today

Indonesia’s rumbling volcanoes. The spectacular eruptions of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra and Mount Merapi in Central Java have triggered warnings for planes that might be affected by airborne particles.

Nokia and Microsoft at the crossroads. Shareholders are expected to approve the deal to sell the majority of Nokia’s mobile phone unit to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. Separately, Microsoft holds its annual shareholder meeting, where it could drop hints about its hunt for a new CEO.

A better Best Buy. Investors will be watching Best Buy’s same-store sales growth this quarter after it dropped 0.4% in the last quarter.

EasyJet flying high. Shrugging off the woes of its budget competitor Ryanair, the British airline is set to report pre-tax earnings growth of around 50% this year, with revenues-per-seat up 6%, thanks partly to strong summer bookings.

World Toilet Day. This year marks the United Nations’s first official day to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis. A third of the world’s population—2.5 billion people—still don’t have access to a toilet, and poor sanitation costs countries up to 7% of their GDP.

While you were sleeping

Argentina’s president is back. Cristina Fernandez returned after five weeks of rest following brain surgery and named a new economy minister: Axel Kicillof, the man who led the country’s successful effort last year to expropriate the energy firm YPF.

Manhunt in Paris. Police are searching for a gunman who opened fire yesterday in the offices of the newspaper Liberation—seriously wounding a man—and outside the Societe Generale bank headquarters.

Sony Entertainment is trimming the fat. Bain & Company has been hired to find $100 million or more in cost cuts in Sony’s moviemaking operations.

China is overhauling its accounting system. The country’s National Bureau of Statistics will bring its system for measuring China’s mistrusted economic data in line with international standards.

Indonesia/Australia relations have taken a hit. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Canberra’s reported monitoring of his phone calls was a “hurtful action” that has strained ties between the countries.

JPMorgan accepted its lashings. JPMorgan and the Justice Department agreed to a $13 billion settlement over the bank’s sale of mortgage-backed securities during the 2008 financial crisis—the biggest-ever settlement between a company and the US government.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Pasick on China and bitcoin’s love affair. “China and bitcoin are an ideal match for a host of reasons. In particular, bitcoin appeals to Chinese investors who cannot freely trade the renminbi because of government regulations, and the hype has been fanned by positive state-run media reports about the currency—even after the collapse of a trading platform called Global Bond Limited, which turned out to be a swindle, as the New York Times reported today. There also aren’t many places yet to spend bitcoins in China, although online search firm Baidu accepts them, along with a Shanghai real estate developer.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

GDP data don’t reflect the digital economy. The growing number of big companies providing free Web services means we get a distorted picture of what goods are worth.

The failure of Obamacare is a myth. The numbers show that beneficiaries greatly outnumber victims.

People are courting natural disasters. As the global population continues to grow, more people are moving to cities along coastlines, putting themselves in harm’s way.

(Mostly) believe the Bitcoin hype. The digital currency’s has promise as a money transfer platform. Counterpoint: Bitcoin is disintegrating. We’re witnessing a short squeeze that is sending prices to astronomical levels.

Surprising discoveries

Americans hate their jobs the most, according to a study of workers in the US, Canada, India, and Europe.

Live-streaming Planet Earth. A camera system set to launch next week would provide the first-ever high-definition, real-time video of our planet from the International Space Station.

A food drive for Walmart employees, by Walmart employees. A store in Canton, Ohio is refocusing the spotlight on the  retailer’s sub-living wages.

Email apnea. About 80% of people stop breathing while they type.

Yonic architecture. Phallic buildings are nothing new, but the design for Qatar’s new World Cup stadium is drawing a more feminine comparison.

Facebook for the dead. Neshama is a website where people can log gravestones in memory of the deceased.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, breathing techniques and vegetarian meat recipes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.


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