Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Tencent earnings, UK budget, Russia sanction payback, military “combat gum”

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What to watch for today

Tencent’s quarterly results. Investors will be looking for clarity after China’s central bank suspended the Chinese internet giant’s virtual credit card last week and deleted dozens of blogs on WeChat (paywall).

Thailand emerges from emergency. Eight weeks after declaring a state of emergency, Thailand lifts the decree as anti-government protests wind down. But the country’s political stalemate is no closer to a resolution.

Toyota’s recall settlement. The automaker will reportedly pay $1 billion in a deal with the US Justice Department. Toyota recalled millions of cars beginning in 2009 after customers complained about unintended acceleration.

Britain unveils its budget. With the economy looking a bit stronger, UK chancellor George Osborne is set to announce a rise in the tax-free allowance and child support subsidies. He will also, as is customary, bump up the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.

The Fed tries a new tack. In the first meeting with Janet Yellen as chair, the central bank expected to further cut monthly bond purchases to $55 billion, and tinker with forward guidance, its criteria for raising interest rates. Like Britain’s central bank, it had tied a rise in rates to a fall in unemployment, but is now reconsidering.

While you were sleeping

Russia warned of payback. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told US secretary of state John Kerry that sanctions over the annexing of Crimea are “unacceptable,” and vowed that Russia would retaliate.

A hedge fund bet on bitcoin. Fortress Investment Group will roll $13 million worth of bitcoins into a $150 million fund centered around digital currencies. Other investors include Benchmark, a venture capital firm that invested in Twitter and Snapchat.

GoldieBlox settled with the Beastie Boys. The toy company that used their song “Girls” in an ad without permission will donate a percentage of profits to a charity supporting girls’ education in science, technology, and math.

Big Data got some big money. Cloudera, which makes a version of Hadoop, the leading software for managing vast collections of data, raised $160 million from a group of public-market investors. Among them is T. Rowe Price, whose participation is often a sign that a firm is headed for an IPO.

Adobe’s suite results. The software firm said it would beat analysts’ profit and revenue estimates as it added a better-than-expected 405,000 users to its Creative Cloud suite, which includes Photoshop, during the second quarter.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on Goldman Sachs’s prediction that Elon Musk could be the next Steve Jobs or Henry Ford. “Comparing smartphones to electric cars might seem ridiculous, but Goldman says its analysis has been adjusted to reflect the different life cycles of these two products. And if the sales of Tesla cars were to grow at the same rate as the iPhone, it would be selling 3.1 million units a year by 2025—up from 22,000 last year —which would be 65.5% of all electric vehicles, or about 2.7% of all light vehicle sales, according to the analysis.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China is not facing a “Lehman moment.” The looming failure of Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate is more like the dotcom-era

The age of robots is already upon us. From sat-navs to ATMs, we rely on robots for a lot of things—we just don’t call them robots.

Nigeria could be Africa’s richest economy. But more Nigerians are nevertheless living in poverty.

The US wouldn’t even know if Putin had American assets. Neither the Russian president nor the US financial system is known for their transparency.

Surprising discoveries

Hong Kongers can invest in expensive whisky. A private equity fund is raising $10 million for the “sourcing of rare product from a proprietary network at under-market prices.”

Modern soldiers need “combat gum.” The US military is developing anti-cavity chewing gum to save money on emergency dental treatment.

The Swiss are winning at life. They have the have the highest levels of satisfaction, life expectancy,  and confidence in their government.

Dressing down makes you look more authoritative. It takes a certain amount of confidence to be non-conformist.

Saturated fats aren’t bad for you. They don’t increase your risk of heart disease—and supposedly healthy fatty acids don’t do much to prevent it.

Colombia’s vice president really loves his dog. He turned down the ambassadorship to Brazil because his german shepherd couldn’t bear the hot weather.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, investment-grade whiskey, and military-grade chewing gum to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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