Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Asian interest rates, Disney’s big moves, London’s gentrification, the “menaissance”

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What to watch for today

Steady as she goes in Japan. An interest-rate cut isn’t expected at the central bank’s monthly policy meeting, but look out for hints of future changes. The bank decided yesterday to keep its hefty monetary stimulus going.

A rate cut in Thailand. This could be the month that the central bank cuts rates to 2% from the current 2.25% to juice an economy unsettled by months of political unrest.

The US extends a hand to Ukraine. Ukraine’s interim president Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets with US president Barack Obama at the White House, in a show of American support. The two leaders will discuss US financial aid and Ukraine’s recent plea for Western military help.

The UK trade deficit grows. Britain’s consumption-driven economy is expected to produce a January deficit of $15 billion, up from $12.8 billion in December.

Krispy Kreme’s sticky growth. Analysts expect the US donut company to post fourth-quarter earnings-per-share of $0.13, up from $0.11 year-on-year. Investors will be looking for an update on when its K-Cup coffee packs will hit the market.

While you were sleeping

Herbalife was accused of breaking laws in China. The charges came from short seller William Ackman, whose hedge fund has placed a $1 billion bet against the nutrition and weight loss company.

Alibaba spent $800 million on TV and movies by buying a controlling stake in Hong Kong-based ChinaVision, part of its ever-expanding rivalry with Tencent, which is expanding into Alibaba’s home turf in e-commerce.

Fannie and Freddie took a tumble, as legislators agreed to overhaul the $9.9 billion US mortgage market. Shares of the government-backed lenders fell by as much as 44% and 39%, respectively.

A clothing retailer went shopping. Men’s Wearhouse agreed to buy smaller rival Jos. A. Bank for $1.8 billion in cash, combining the two largest independent men’s clothing retailers in the US.

Disney mulled a $500 million bid for a YouTube network… Disney may reportedly buy Maker Studios, which owns various young-adult channels on the popular video site.

…And its TV chief resigned. Anne Sweeney, head of Disney’s TV division and often called the most powerful woman in Hollywood, will step down in January. That rules her out as a replacement for Disney CEO Bob Iger; Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is a rumored contender.

Pimco’s Bill Gross had another bad day. Trustee William Popejoy said Pimco founder Bill Gross didn’t deserve his reported $200 million salary. Gross’s reputation has taken hits thanks to recent weak earnings at Pimco and an unflattering article (paywall) or two.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how a male youth boom could rattle emerging markets. “When there aren’t enough jobs to employ the supply of young men, that can galvanize conflict, argue the analysts—as can stagflation, rising income inequality, unaffordable property, and other problems facing emerging markets. Particularly if they’re unmarried, these young men have less to lose by banding together and committing crimes, unrest or violence. The latter point is a particular concern in China and India, where a cultural preference for boy children has led to sex selection of infants that now means there are tens of millions more young men than young women.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood. The Texas senator is the most shamelessly Machiavellian player in Washington.

Spritz, the speed-reading app, isn’t for books. Why would you want to rush a novel? It’s for skimming obligatory information, like emails and work documents.

Gentrification is good for London’s startup district. Its opponents just don’t want to be out-gentrified themselves.

Netflix is exaggerating its rivalry with HBO. It plays into Americans’ “love-to-hate” attitude to cable providers.

Surprising discoveries

TV was the hot ticket at SXSW this year. The interactive tech conference highlights the return of the idiot box.

Men’s clothing is booming. Euromonitor calls it “the global menaissance.”

Don’t search Google Maps for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Its images are often months old.

The Kremlin spends millions on PR in the US. It doesn’t seem to be paying off.

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