Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Russia-US talks redux, Facebook bans firearms, LA bans e-smoking, Mongolian ninja turtles

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What to watch for today

A tetchy US-Russia follow-up meeting. US secretary of state John Kerry meets Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss Ukraine for the second time, this time in Rome. Meanwhile, US congressional leaders vote on sanctions against Russia and European leaders meet in Brussels to consider sanctions of their own.

Costco’s cold-weather report. Analysts expect the US retailer to post a 6% rise in earnings per share, on 7% higher revenues. Investors will be looking out for how Costco is toughing out the exceptionally cold winter.

Mario Draghi hints at his next steps. The European Central Bank’s main refinancing rate is expected to remain unchanged at 0.25%, but the ECB president’s speech could shed light on how the bloc plans to tackle inflation and unemployment, and what measures the bank could take to boost private investment.

Three Dewey execs to face criminal charges. The bankrupt law firm’s former chairman, CFO, and executive director are set to be indicted for allegedly misleading lawyers and banks about the firm’s dire financial situation.

While you were sleeping

IBM workers went on strike in China. More than 1,000 employees in Shenzhen demanded higher wages for those who stay on when ownership of their plant is transferred to Lenovo later this year, as well as better redundancy packages for those who don’t.

Singapore opened an investigation into the death of Autumn Radtke. The 28-year-old CEO of the virtual currency exchange First Meta was found dead in her apartment late last month.

Qatar upset its neighbours. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain all pulled their ambassadors to protest the country’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar has been courting moderate Islamists throughout the Middle East in the wake of the Arab spring.

China’s railways opened to investors. State-owned China Railway Corporation will be one of the country’s first SOEs to accept private capital, as part of a $100 billion development fund to pay for expansion.

Emerging market growth slowed for third straight month. HSBC’s PMI index for emerging markets fell to 51.1 in February, weighed down by weak manufacturing in Russia and China.

Facebook cracked down on gun sales. The social network said it will no longer allow users to post offers to sell firearms illegally. It will also block users under the age of 18 from seeing posts about gun sales.

Vaping lost some steam. Los Angeles banned the use of electronic cigarettes in the city’s public places, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs. New York, Boston and Chicago already limit the use of e-cigarettes, and there is evidence that second-hand vapor may not be entirely harmless.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how Facebook and WhatsApp have killed Europe’s chat apps. “WhatsApp’s growth has come at the expense of native European social networks. According to research from GlobalWebIndex cited by Macquarie Equities today, some of Europe’s original social networks experienced sharp drops in active user numbers in the last six months of 2013, due to the growth in chat apps such as WhatsApp, and of course the relentless spread of Facebook.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Putin isn’t crazy, he’s on a mission. The Russian president doesn’t want to absorb Crimea—he wants a Russia-dependent Crimea.

The Fed’s super-easy monetary policy is working. Just look at auto and home sales.

Workers see their bosses as parent figures. We learn how to deal with other people at home, and struggle to keep those emotions out of the workplace (paywall).

Europe is less likely than the US to sanction Russia. The bloc depends too heavily on Russian money and energy.

Wall sockets have no place in the future of technology. Energy is everywhere, and wireless power is on its way.

Surprising discoveries

95% of fish are hiding from us. So-called mesopelagic fish live 100 to 1000 meters (328 to 3280 feet) below the surface, where they can avoid birds and fishermen’s nets.

We are 93% stardust. The rest of us—the hydrogen inside water molecules—is derived directly from the Big Bang.

This company wants to get more women into Silicon Valley. But not as entrepreneurs—as dates for all the single men.

Ninja miners are messing with Mongolia’s gold. They carry green bowls on their back, resembling the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (paywall).

Indian men don’t do housework. Japanese, Korean and Turkish men rank nearly as badly.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hidden fish, and ninja turtles to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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