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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Intel’s good news, Motorola’s sell-off, the ECB’s bazooka, evangelical marijuana

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Americans stress out over taxes. Many will be scrambling to file their tax returns on time by the end of the day. The good news for filers: budget cuts mean the chances of an audit are lower than they have been in years—plus Arby’s is offering free curly fries.

No global stress 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 falling after hitting a two-year low for February.

Good news from Yahoo, for once. The tech giant’s earnings report is expected to be bolstered by a blockbuster performance from 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 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 this quarter’s earnings. 

While you were sleeping

Motorola Solutions’ enterprise business sold for $3.5 billion. Zebra Technologies, an inventory-tracking company, has agreed to an all-cash deal to create a company that provides services “at the intersection of technology and the distribution of physical goods,” according to the Financial Times.

Asian developer CapitaLand is taking its mall business private. Shares in CapitaMalls Asia rose 22% after its parent company, southeast Asia’s biggest property developer, announced it would spend $2.4 billion to buy the 35% of the company it doesn’t already own.

China credit growth slowed. The amount of new aggregate financing—including so-called “shadow banking”—was 2.07 trillion yuan ($333 billion) in March, down 19% from a year ago, as the government tries to clamp down on levels of debt in the economy.

Google bought a drone-maker. It snapped up Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered high altitude drones that Facebook considered buying last year, as part of an increasingly competitive race to deliver internet access to unconnected regions.

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.

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

Higher food prices reduce poverty in the long term. That’s because the world’s poor remain (pdf) “overwhelmingly rural and still highly dependent on farming.”

“The Grapes of Wrath” is more relevant than ever. As Steinbeck’s novel turns 75, migrant workers are still being exploited by the rich and powerful.

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.

Surprising discoveries

A Chinese company 3-D printed 10 houses in a day. Well, it printed out the flat-pack parts, at least.

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

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tax tips, and haroset recipies  to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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