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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Nigerian explosion, Yahoo earnings, the ECB’s bazooka, holy pot

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Panic over taxes. Many Americans will be scrambling to file their tax returns by the end of the day. Some companies will offer unusual promotions, like fast food chain Arby’s, giving away curly fries. The good news: government budget cuts mean the chances of an audit are lower than they have been in years.

No panic over inflation. Consumer prices in the US are expected to have edged up by only 0.1% in March. In the UK, inflation is expected to have slowed from recent peaks, with consumer price increases falling below wage increases for the first time in seven years. In India, inflation should keep slowing after hitting a two-year low for February.

Good news from Yahoo, for once. The tech giant’s earnings report is expected to include a blockbuster performance by Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, of which Yahoo owns 24%. Alibaba’s IPO later this year will leave CEO Marissa Mayer with some important decisions.

Good news from Intel, perhaps. The chip maker’s over-reliance on the waning PC industry has had observers worried for a time, but there are signs it’s making headway in chips for mobile devices—though the fruits of that labor may not yet show up in today’s earnings. 

While you were sleeping

A bus explosion in Nigeria killed at least 71. It was the deadliest ever attack on the Nigerian capital, Abuja, according to Reuters. If Boko Haram turns out to be responsible, it will be the first strike at the capital in two years by the Islamist insurgency, which has concentrated on the country’s northeast.

Google bought a drone-maker. It snapped up Titan Aerospace, a maker of high altitude drones that Facebook considered buying last year as part of a push to deliver the internet aerially to unconnected regions.

Citigroup gave everyone a pleasant surprise. It was an unexpectedly decent quarter for the giant bank, which posted its highest first-quarter profit since 2009, thanks to lower expenses and a decrease in bad loans.

SpaceX scrubbed a key rocket launch. The company promised a fix by the next launch window on April 18 after a helium leak grounded its Falcon 9 rocket. The launch is a resupply mission to the International Space Station, but will also double as a test of a reusable rocket that could dramatically bring down the cost of space flight.

Ukraine’s president called in the UN. Acting president Oleksandr Turchynov wants UN peacekeepers in the country’s troubled east. The request for assistance came after a crowd of pro-Russian activists stormed and took control of a police station in Horlivka, near Donetsk.

Twitter’s top shareholders put their money where their mouths are. Co-founders Jack Dorsey and Ev Williams, and CEO Dick Costolo pledged not to sell shares when the company’s lockup period expires in May. It looks like an attempt to boost confidence in the stock, now trading at little more than half its December peak.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on the €1 trillion bazooka that the European Central Bank is debating whether to use. “Ever since former US treasury secretary Hank Paulson described America’s economic bailout strategy as akin to packing a financial ‘bazooka,’ analysts have questioned whether Europe can muster similar firepower. The ECB has reportedly readied a plan to bombard the euro zone with some €1 trillion ($1.38 trillion) in newly created money, but nobody is sure whether it would ever be willing to put it into action.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

world’s poor remain (pdf) “overwhelmingly rural and still highly dependent on farming.”

Economists are terrible at predicting recessions. It could be because of poor models, or because they have an incentive not to, in case they call them wrong.

Russia has a secret economic weapon against the West. Along with South Africa, Russia dominates the world supply of palladium—and South Africa’s miners are on strike. 

The US should lift its embargo on Cuba. And if it really wants to destabilize the Castro regime, it should just send hordes of college students there on spring break.

Anecdotes are the new facts. Real-life anecdotes that dramatize and personalize complex policy issues are trumping hard facts and data in the US, and both sides of politics are to blame.

Surprising discoveries

Hail Marijuana full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Five pot-farming brothers are convincing evangelicals in Colorado to embrace legal weed.

What it’s like to fly on Air Force One. Not that different from a commercial flight, but with more food and real towels.

The Netherlands has a glow-in-the-dark highway. The 500-meter (1,600 feet) stretch of road is an experiment in replacing streetlights with road markings, and is said to feel like “driving through a fairytale.”

The Quartz haroset recipe. If you’re not too picky about kosher rules, try our news editor’s bourbon-infused variation for the second day of Passover.

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