Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—China’s first default, Turkey Facebook ban, Spotify IPO prep, bitcoin car chase

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What to watch for today

America’s job market perks up. Analysts expect that the US economy added 163,000 new jobs in February (paywall), compared to only 113,000 the month before. But even if the data disappoint, investors will probably chalk it up to an anomaly, or the extreme cold weather; many other employment indicators look strong.

A little rally in Germany. Consensus estimates have industrial production for January rising by 0.7%, after a 0.6% drop in December. It might even come in higher: Yesterday’s data on industrial orders showed double the expected increase, giving hope for a more bullish 2014.

The Winter Paralympics opening ceremony. The follow-up to the Olympic Games kicks off despite global boycotts of the event, also held in Sochi, due to Russia’s intervention in Crimea.

While you were sleeping

A historic Chinese bond default took place. Struggling solar equipment maker Shanghai Chaori failed to make an interest payment (paywall)—the first time a mainland Chinese company has ever defaulted. Now that government bailouts are no longer a certainty, investors will have to reconsider how to price in risk

Erdogan mulled a ban on Facebook and YouTube. The Turkish prime minister said that he would rather shut the sites down (paywall) than allow them to be used by his opponents. Erdogan’s private conversations were recently leaked to social media sites.

Pimco aired its dirty laundry. Co-founder Bill Gross claimed outgoing CEO Mohamed El-Erian is “undermining” him, and told  a Reuters reporter: “Great, he’s got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger.”

Japan’s largest wireless carrier may miss its earnings target. NTT Docomo blamed discounted iPhones from its competitors, part of a “grueling” price war.

Bitcoin’s creator was allegedly unmasked. An absurdist media car chase took place in Los Angeles after Newsweek reported that the man who invented the cryptocurrency under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto is really named Satoshi Nakamoto.

Obama and Putin had a chat about Ukraine. Putin said that US-Russia relations should not suffer. Obama urged a diplomatic resolution in the Crimea stand-off, and described Russia’s actions in Crimea as a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable are being probed. The US justice department launched an anti-trust investigation into the $45 billion takeover. The department also recused its top antitrust official (paywall) to avoid a possible conflict of interest.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on the hints that Spotify could be about to go public. “The music-streaming service Spotify is doing what looks like some pre-IPO spring cleaning. Spotify announced today that it has bought the company behind the algorithms it uses to power its personalized radio service. It is also reportedly talking to banks about establishing a credit facility, a common step before companies go public. And Spotify hired a senior executive from its newest rival, Beats Music, this week.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s no chance of another world war. The globe has become too economically interconnected 

Wall Street is weaning itself off transaction commissions. Advisory firms are making a momentous shift to fee-based  revenues.

Facebook should buy Tata Communications. After its purchase of WhatsApp, buying the Indian telco wouldn’t be a crazy thing to do.

America isn’t a developed country… Its education, criminal justice system and gun violence record rank far below countries it calls “third-world.”

…And it’s not having enough babies. The long slow birth rate decline has big implications for consumption.

Surprising discoveries

Bill Gates and Ben Bernanke got near-perfect SAT scores. So did James Franco and Ben Affleck.

Supporting the wrong cricket team in India is a crime. Kashmiri students cheering for Pakistan briefly faced charges.

@GSElevator lost his book deal. Now that the creator of the spoof Twitter account has been outed, Simon and Schuster isn’t interested.

North Korea holds elections too. They work a little differently from the ones you’re used to.

WhatsApp’s founders use clunky old cell phones. And it’s not because they’re Luddites.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, SAT scores, and book offers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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