STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Fed guidance, Putin on Crimea, MH370 scenarios, Tennessee whiskey war

What to watch for today

The US Federal Reserve rethinks its forward guidance. The central bank is expected to leave rates untouched and continue tapering its bond purchases. But the Fed could tweak its methods for communicating how long interest rates will remain low.

Disney’s investors battle for more power. Shareholders will vote on a resolution that would give smaller stake owners the right to nominate board members. A similar vote failed last year.

Putin speaks on Crimea’s secession. The Russian president will make a speech at 11:00a.m. GMT, on Russia’s intentions toward the Ukrainian province.

A whiskey war in Tennessee. State legislators will debate a law that lays down strict restrictions on whiskey manufacturing, in a fight that pits Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman against Diageo, the world’s biggest liquor company.

While you were sleeping

Chinese housing growth slowed for a second month… Prices were up 0.3% in China’s 70 major cities versus January. The government is trying to increase the affordability of homes without decimating real estate firms like property developer Zhejiang Xingrun, which collapsed yesterday.

…As its currency neared a red line. The yuan continued its decline after the government loosened its trading band, nearing the critical level of 6.20 to the dollar (paywall), which would trigger major trading losses in China and around the world.

Japan sanctioned Russia. Talks on an investment pact between the two countries and a relaxation of visa requirements were suspended by the Japanese government, which said it does not recognize the referendum in Crimea.

MH370 scenarios shifted yet again. The Malaysia Airlines flight was diverted from its original path by someone who entered a new destination in its flight computer, strengthening suspicions that foul play was involved in its disappearance.

Another General Motors recall.The US automaker recalled 1.5 million vehicles, just one month after announcing a recall of 1.6 million cars suffering from a faulty ignition switch. More than a million SUVs need their side airbags fixed, while overheating brakes on thousands of Cadillac sedans have already caused two fires.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the three charts that prove global markets don’t really care whether Crimea joins Russia. “To many observers the imposition of sanctions might sound like a worsening of the diplomatic situation. And it is. But markets seem to like the fact that the sanctions spotlighted individuals and largely left companies and payment systems alone. If the Obama administration was really looking to play rough, it could have taken a lot of tougher approaches. (Just look at Iran, for example.)” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The era of Facebook is an anomaly. When else in history did everyone turn up to the same space to do their socializing?

The iPhone notification system benefits businesses, not users. There’s no easy way to unsubscribe from the pesky pop-up alerts.

Rupert Murdoch needs a Twitter chaperone. The media magnate’s tweets about the missing Malaysian flight are not appropriate for a CEO. His tweet about beer maker Guinness being “bullied by gay orgs” isn’t any better.

Leaning in doesn’t always work. This female academic lost a job offer because she pushed for equal pay.

Russian sanctions are laughable. None of the named individuals has EU or US assets to freeze, and Putin got off scot-free.

Surprising discoveries

Thank goodness for the €500 note. Without that slip of paper, the world financial system would’ve been in far more trouble in 2008.

Even male babysitters earn more than their female counterparts. Just 3% of US babysitters are men, but they earn an average $15 an hour to a woman’s $14.50.

Snail venom is a potent painkiller. Conotoxins are 100 times more powerful than morphine.

A new luxury jet won’t have any windows. The plane will have display screens that could show the scenery outside, videos, or even work documents.

Greece is drowning in pharmacists. Per capita, it has 74% more than the runner-up, Bulgaria.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, snail venom, and over-the-top private jet plans to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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