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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—More Sony losses, Vietnam’s China riots, Turkey’s mine fire, Zuck’s birthday

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

What to watch for today

Ukraine tries to talk things over. The Ukrainian parliament opened a national dialogue about the country’s current political crisis to “everybody who has legitimate political aims” and “those who don’t have blood on their hands.”

Mark Zuckerberg turns 30. The Facebook CEO, currently the world’s 22nd richest person, founded the company when he was 20. A decade later, it’s turning into a GE-style conglomerate for the internet age.

US inflation update. The producer price index is expected to have increased by only 0.2% in April and some economists expect an actual decline, complicating the Federal Reserve’s ability to raise interest rates.

Las Vegas bets on Japan. Gambling magnates descend on Tokyo for a three-day conference about the country’s potential legalization of casinos. Japan, as one of the world’s last untapped gaming markets, worth an estimated $40 billion in annual revenues.

While you were sleeping

Sony predicted another year of losses. The Japanese electronics maker expects to post a loss of 50 billion yen ($489 million) in the year to March 2015—its fifth annual loss in six years—as it exits the personal computer business and continues with its lengthy restructuring plan. On the bright side, this fiscal year’s revenues rose due to strong smartphone and PlayStation 4 sales.

UK jobless figures dropped to a five-year low. The unemployment rate for the three months to the end of March was 6.8% (paywall), dropping from 6.9% in the three months to February. Wage growth was softer than expected but outpaced inflation for the first time in years.

The European Central Bank prepared stimulus measures. The bank may take the unusual step of cutting its deposit rate below zero, according to Reuters, as part of a package of measures to jumpstart a weak euro zone economy that’s flirting with deflation.

China accused a UK pharma executive of bribery. Authorities said the former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s China operations, Mark Reilly, ordered staff to bribe doctors in order to sell more drugs in the country. Reilly remains in China, and now faces charges that could lead to a sentence of life in prison.

Vietnamese workers torched factories they thought were Chinese. Protests against China’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters escalated into violence as industrial facilities were burned and looted. Most of the factories weren’t owned by Chinese businesses, but rather companies from Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea.

A mine fire in Turkey killed at least 201. Hundreds more remain trapped in a coal mine that caught fire in the west of the country. A proposed inquiry into the safety of mines in the region was rejected by Turkey’s parliament only a month ago.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on why AT&T wants to get into the satellite TV business. “AT&T’s potential bid [for DirecTV] is really about the US. It could bundle DirecTV’s video product (including the popular NFL Sunday Ticket packages) in with its mobile subscriptions and/or landline broadband access. Bundling is a strategy telecoms and other subscription-based businesses use to hold on to customers—it’s harder to end a relationship with a company when you are getting multiple services from it—as well as to drive growth. Yet prominent analysts have questioned the rationale behind this rumored transaction.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The “right to be forgotten” is going to be a huge headache. Determining the balance between the public interest and a person’s privacy on the internet is no easy task.

Tech cash will stave off a dotcom crash. Silicon Valley stocks may be out of favor, but giant stockpiles will help companies avoid bankruptcy.

China’s housing crash has a silver lining. The sooner the correction, the sooner China’s banks will find a better recipe for growth (paywall).

The Indian elections are like “Game of Thrones.” They’re a tale of strong personalities and ruling family intrigue, but no dragons (yet).

In defense of ”so…” Putting the word at the beginning of a sentence communicates interest and evokes prior conversations.

Surprising discoveries

The new iPad will be even more of a notebook killer. Split-screen functionality and the ability to drag media between apps will make laptops even more redundant.

Starbucks door handles are designed to increase sales. Counters are also designed to make the customer feel as good as possible about buying coffee.

UN vs. the killer robots. The UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons wants to address the dangers of armed bots.

Apple likes to make announcements on a Tuesday. The reason is simple enough: the company’s weekly review and planning meeting happens on Monday.

France is no longer the world’s biggest wine market. The US drinks more, although on a per capita basis the French still drink six times as much.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, profit-enhancing door handles, and Zuckerberg birthday cards to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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