Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Ukraine tensions, China house prices, Japan-US stalemate, another Earth

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What to watch for today

More unrest in Ukraine? Pro-Russian militants refused to leave government buildings in Donetsk, threatening to derail a recent agreement between the US, the EU, Ukraine, and Russia that all illegal groups must disarm.

An election result in Algeria. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks set to win a fourth five-year term, and one aide has already declared victory, even though he has scarcely been heard from in two years (paywall) and had to vote from a wheelchair. In 2009, he claimed to have got 90% of the vote; some predict an 80% abstention rate this time.

The search continues for survivors of Korea’s ferry disaster. There are 268 missing passengers who may still be trapped in the semi-submerged vessel, and chances of finding survivors is “slim” officials say. The captain was away from the helm when the ferry capsized.

Markets in many countries close for Good Friday. A happy Easter if you’re celebrating this weekend.

While you were sleeping

China’s house price rise slowed… Average home prices for 70 cities grew by 7.7% in March—the slowest growth in eight months. Prices rose 0.2% from February, lower than the 0.3% rise between January and February.

… and homes are out of reach in the UK. Most young people can no longer afford to save for a mortgage deposit, according to a recent British survey of 20-45 year olds. 57% said they cannot afford a deposit, compared with 42% a year ago.

An avalanche killed 12 on Mount Everest.A group of about 50 people were hit by the avalanche at 20,000 feet, leaving three severely injured and an unknown number missing. Most of the group were Nepali Sherpas and rescue teams have begun hunting for the missing.

Japan-US trade talks got stuck. Japan is asking for a timetable for the US to reduce tariffs and the US is asking Japan to open its rice, pork, beef and dairy sectors. The talks are aimed at building the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will facilitate trade between the Americas and Asia.

A potential bailout for Mt. Gox. Investors hoping to buy the troubled bitcoin exchange set up a website asking creditors to prevent liquidation. thinks liquidation would be bad for both investors and—quite rightly—bitcoin’s reputation.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how sewage from China’s exploding population is feeding massive algal blooms. “In July 2013, the biggest algal bloom ever recorded in China covered 28,900 square kilometers (11,158 square miles) of the Yellow Sea—meaning more than three New York City metro areas of ocean was carpeted in green muck—requiring Qingdao city officials to bulldoze 7,335 tonnes (8,085 tons) of beached scum. A similar incident almost shut down the sailing competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The army dispatched 15,000 soldiers to remove 1 million tons of algae, costing more than $100 million.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Prepare yourself for the coming global famine. Even without a Mao or a Stalin to help, climate change could make Malthus’s prediction come true.

Give up on an independent Palestine. With peace talks foundering again, it’s time to switch gears and work towards a bi-national Jewish-Palestinian state.

How to prepare for American urbanization. Stop subsidizing the suburbs.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is a tech Machiavelli. She’s got a cunning plan to turn Apple against Google.

In the United States, even empiricism is an ideology. New news outlets that propose to do data-led journalism will still be seen as partisan.

Forget digital, land is the most precious commodity. In the age of information technology it is “inevitable” that we value most what that economy can’t create.

Surprising discoveries

Netflix got faster following its Comcast deal.Viewers got a lot less buffering once the company tied with the business that distributes internet.

An earth-like planet just 500 light-years away. Scientists say it’s in the “Goldilocks zone” for creating life: Just right.

The complete guide to structuring your workday. Why isn’t there more nap time?

If you “like” a company online, you might not be able to sue it later. On the legal implications of every click you make.

Christians save while abstaining during Lent. A clear conscience also adds a few hundred dollars in your pocket.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, land acquisition tips and Lent savings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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