Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Eurozone deflation fears, Erdogan’s election win, Alibaba’s mall deal, childlike brain pills

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What to watch for today

Apple and Samsung butt heads again. Jury selection begins in the latest patent lawsuit between the tech giants, with Apple accusing Samsung of stealing its “slide to unlock” feature, among others. Samsung is counter-suing, and says it licensed the necessary patents from Google (paywall).

Janet Yellen explains herself. Two weeks ago, the chair of the US Federal Reserve suggested that rates may rise as early as next spring. She may offer up further details in a speech in Chicago.

Obamacare’s enrollment deadline. After reaching its 6 million target last week, the US government expects to see almost 7 million people enrolled in Obamacare by the end of the day. People without insurance could be fined 1% of their income, but that isn’t prompting everyone to jump on board.

Over the weekend

Euro zone inflation is almost nil. March inflation dipped to a lower-than expected 0.5%. That marks the sixth straight month in the European Central Bank’s deflation “danger zone,” which might prompt some action from the bank at its Thursday policy meeting.

North and South Korea exchanged fire. The North fired missiles into a disputed area Yellow Sea and the South returned fire, in the most dramatic exchange in four years. Pyongyang has also threatened to carry out a “new kind” of nuclear test.

Pervez Musharraf was charged with treason. The former Pakistani president and army chief pled not guilty to charges that he unlawfully suspended the constitution and instituted emergency rule in 2007. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Climate change is hitting the world’s food supply. Yields of the staple crops wheat, rice and corn have already declined due to hotter temperatures, an intergovernmental climate panel warned, with bigger declines to come.

Erdogan got a vote of confidence. The Turkish prime minister’s AK Party declared victory in local elections with about 44-46% of the vote, despite allegations of corruption and voting irregularities. The prime minister vowed to “root out” his opponents, whom he compared to “medieval assassins.”

Alibaba ventured offline. The Chinese online giant announced a $692 million investment in Intime Retail Group, which operates dozens of large shopping centres in China. The two companies will together create department stores, shopping malls, and supermarkets designed around the concept of online-to-offline retailing.

Huawei profits surged. The Chinese telecom equipment maker’s annual net income rose 36% to 21 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) as it became the largest smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple. Its CEO vowed that the company’s “crawling tortoise” would eventually be victorious over its fleeter competitors.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on why the rich keep getting richer, as explained by pop culture. “Modern pop culture tends to portray America as a meritocracy, where people with special skills do well. [French economist Thomas] Piketty illustrates this by turning to American television, citing the medical mystery-solving of House, the forensic investigators of Bones, and the brainy politicos of West Wing, with a president who has won the economics Nobel […] This meritocratic pop culture is behind the times, Piketty argues.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

French food is a shadow of its former self. But foreigners are breathing new life into moribund cuisine.

We’re making a big mistake with big data. Massive “found” data sets are vulnerable to sample bias.

Pretentious job titles are worth something. Thanks to the rise of LinkedIn, your title is now more than ever a status symbol (paywall).

Hot streaks exist. Not just in sports—the concept of the hot hand works in finance, too.

Surprising discoveries

The US government could save $136 million a year if it switched fonts. A 14-year-old kid from Pittsburgh figured it out.

Sparkling wine will get you drunkest on the fewest calories. These charts prove it.

You can tell a man’s intelligence by looking at his face. It doesn’t work on women, though.

This pill makes your brain return to a child-like state. It allows an adult to pick up new skills faster, which can help treat developmental disorders—and lazy eye.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, intelligent facial expressions, and skinny font suggestions to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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