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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Chinese retail doldrums, Rinehart’s big win, Mt. Gox finds bitcoins, Starbucks does booze

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Tiffany sparkles. The high-end jeweler is set to post a jump in profit, but investors will be more interested in Tiffany’s outlook for the year ahead on the back of one of its strongest holiday seasons ever. The low price of gold is also a good sign for the company’s margins.

Thailand’s economic check-up. The Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy report should shed light on the country’s dismal economic situation, which has been bruised by political strife. Speaking of which, the country’s constitutional court is also due to rule on the validity of last month’s disrupted general election.

Russia approves Crimea’s annexation. The upper house of parliament will rubber-stamp incorporating Crimea into Russia; the lower house vote was 445 votes to 1. Europe’s council for constitutional law, also known as the Venice Commission, will in turn declare last weekend’s secession referendum undemocratic and unconstitutional.

An asteroid won’t hit Earth. Despite internet rumors, an asteroid called 2003 QQ47 will not collide with our planet on March 21, instead whizzing safely past at a distance about 50 times further away than the moon next week.

While you were sleeping

Europe added 12 names to the Russia sanctions list. Travel bans and asset freezes were imposed on Russians and Crimeans, bringing the total number of people sanctioned by the EU to 33. An EU-Russia summit scheduled for June has also been called off.

China’s slowdown hit the high street. A raft of weak data led by poor retail performance made it increasingly unlikely that premier Li Keqiang will achieve GDP growth of 7.5% this year without a stimulus.

Mt. Gox found some spare change. The bankrupt exchange said it discovered 200,000 bitcoins, worth $115 million, that it thought it had lost.

A $7.2 billion win for Gina Rinehart. The controversial Australian mining billionaire secured a record-setting debt financing deal for her massive Roy Hill iron ore project. When mine comes online, there are fears it could exacerbate a looming supply glut in iron ore.

Airbnb is worth more than several high-end hotels. The rental site announced a new round of private fundraising (paywall) that will value it at $10 billion. That’s four times its valuation two years ago, and more than the Hyatt and InterContinental hotel chains.

Starbucks boozed up. The coffee-shop chain will start serving beer and wine (but not hard liquor) in stores across the US, part of its drive to pull in customers at all times of the day.

Mexico upped its spending by a fifth. Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s finance minister, said government spending increased by 19.9% compared to the year before, and was similarly “robust” in February, as part of a bid to help the country crawl out of its worst economic hole since the 2009 recession.

Quartz obsession interlude

Mark DeCambre on Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s comeback as a hedge-fund boss. “Strauss-Kahn’s resume may be a tad unsavory for some potential hedge fund clients. But one shouldn’t underestimate him. He sits on the board of Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft, and calls Russian president Vladimir Putin a comrade. (Of course, given Putin’s recent adventures in Ukraine, that fact may do more harm than good.) ” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Putin is breaking the rules that prevent World War III. And he feels justified in doing so.

Unplugging from the internet is pointless puritanism. The “real world” is an insidious idea.

Child safety concerns are ruining childhood. Overprotected kids aren’t much safer anyway.

The days of economic growth are behind us. We must figure out a new model that doesn’t damage the environment or future generations.

Too much success can kill a company. After a culture of arrogance takes hold, it’s all downhill.

Surprising discoveries

How to disrupt Spotify. Listen to one band’s sound of silence.

Our brains are wired to binge-watch TV. Now you have another excuse to spend your whole evening with Netflix.

Seattle police have re-opened Kurt Cobain’s death, after developing some film that sat in an evidence vault for 20 years after his purported suicide.

Even Barack Obama might ditch his BlackBerry. The US president’s longtime favorite phone could be replaced by Samsung or LG.

The world’s youngest billionaire is a tax avoidance scheme. Meet 24-year-old Hong Kong heiress Perenna Kei Hoi-ting. 

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Cobain theories, and pictures of mountains to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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