Quartz Daily Brief—Malaysia Airlines clues, Japan’s GDP, China’s trade deficit, banning “bossy”

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What to watch for today

The search continues for flight MH370. Authorities may have located some debris from the Beijing-bouind Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing in the Gulf of Thailand this weekend. Four passengers reportedly boarded using stolen passports, raising suspicions of possible foul play.

Europe’s banks better start saving. Five of Europe’s biggest lenders could face an extra €10 billion ($13.8 billion) in legal costs (paywall) to deal with allegations of foreign exchange manipulation—more than the payouts from the Libor scandal.

Transatlantic trade gets a boost. The EU and the US meet for the fourth round of negotiations in Washington DC, aiming to boost jobs and aid economic recovery by encouraging commerce between the two blocs.

SafeCharge hits the stock exchange. Israeli tech billionaire Teddy Sagi plans to raise $100 million when payment provider SafeCharge lists on London’s alternative stock exchange today (paywall), valuing the company at up to £230 million ($384.7 million).

Over the weekend

Japan’s revised GDP growth slowed to 0.7% in the fourth quarter, from 1.1% in the third quarter. The country also posted a record current account deficit of $15.4 billion.

China posted a $23 billion trade deficit. Exports fell 18.1% in February, surprising analysts that expected a 6.8% rise in exports and a trade surplus of $14.5 billion.

Tencent bought a stake in The $215 million deal reinforced an alliance between Tencent, the owner of the popular messaging app WeChat, and, China’s second-largest e-commerce company, in their battle against online retail giant Alibaba Group.

Boeing discovered Dreamliner defects. The company is looking for hairline cracks in the Mitsubishi-made wings of 43 of its jets, none of which have been delivered to clients. Separately, a Japan Airlines Dreamliner made an emergency landing in Honolulu after developing engine problems.

Russia ramped up pressure. Russian forces tightened their grip over Crimea, surrounding their 11th Ukrainian base in 10 days and offering to hand over 40 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) in financial support if Crimea votes to join Russia. The US won’t recognize next weekend’s succession referendum, which Angela Merkel said was illegal.

North Korea held a single-candidate election. North Korea reported a perfect turnout (paywall) in its first national “election” under Kim Jong-un, which served as an unofficial census and a check-up on officials’ loyalty to the regime.

Scientists discovered more damaging man-made gases that are gnawing away at the ozone layer, possibly originating from insecticide chemicals or cleaning solvents.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how Deutsche Telekom’s change of heart. “Speculation has been rife for months that T-Mobile, the smallest of America’s four wireless carriers, which almost merged with AT&T in 2011, could soon be bought out by Sprint, which is owned by Japan’s Softbank. That would give Deutsche Telekom the exit it has long desired. But over the past year things have changed pretty dramatically for T-Mobile, and suddenly the messages coming out of Deutsche Telekom sound different.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s time to fix black boxes. Transmitting information instantly and continuously to the cloud is an obvious step toward safer flights.

Ban the word “bossy.” The b-word is mainly used to describe confident young women (paywall).

Solving inequality will be the biggest issue for democracies. Technology is both the cause and the solution.

The future of TV is online. Top content that’s cheaper than cable, multi-device friendly and personally organized? Sign us up.

Surprising discoveries

A dead tree renaissance. Paper companies are outperforming the S&P 500 thanks to luxury stationery and photo books (paywall).

MIT researchers want to translate Shakespeare into GIFs. They’re making a database of emotions.

The yakuza is losing members. Japan’s organized crime ranks are at their thinnest in more than 20 years.

Fitness trackers aren’t great at counting calories, and other lessons from wearing four at once.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, daily calorie counts, and letters on personalized stationery to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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