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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—JD.com IPO, HP job cuts, Thailand risks sanctions, the Pope shuns Facebook

What to watch for today

Ukraine gears up for its presidential election. European officials arrive ahead of Sunday’s poll to make sure things go smoothly. European integration and particularly the relationship with Russia will be front and center.

Mexico’s economy brightens a bit. Analysts expect first-quarter GDP growth to rebound slightly after last year’s GDP growth fell to a three-year low. That would be particularly welcome news for President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is pushing hard to enact tricky industrial reforms.

US new home sales rise. Analysts are optimistic that April sales will rise for the first time this year, after a slowdown caused in part by the Federal Reserve’s decision to taper its stimulus efforts. Sales are expected to be 425,000 for the month, compared with 384,000 in March.

Pakistan decides on India’s olive branch. India invited Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif to Narendra Modi’s swearing-in as prime minister. Sharif is reportedly keen, but he will have to convince his own suspicious army chiefs.

A unique meteor storm—perhaps. Earth will, for the first time, intersect the debris cloud of comet 209P/Linear, which has swung by the Sun every five years since 1803. It might produce a spectacular meteor shower, with optimal viewing will be on Friday night in North America.

While you were sleeping

Thailand risks sanctions over its coup. The military’s decision to seize power forces the US to review its relationship (paywall) and may trigger western sanctions. Ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and several of her relatives have been summed to appear before the military junta, but life is largely continuing as normal in most of the country.

JD.com rocked its first day of trading. Shares in China’s second-biggest e-commerce company climbed more than 10% after it raised $1.8 billion in its IPO, banking an overall valuation of more than $25 billion. The float was seen as an important precursor to its rival Alibaba’s US flotation later this summer.

HP announced 16,000 more job cuts. CEO Meg Whitman said the company is continually finding new areas to streamline, but investors worried that job cuts weren’t necessarily good news.. Three years ago HP said it needed to axe 27,000 jobs to remain competitive; the total is now approaching 50,000.

Google’s next tablet will have a 3D scanner. The company’s prototype device will have a seven-inch screen, two back cameras, infrared depth sensors and the ability to capture precise 3D images (paywall). The tablet could be released ahead of the company’s annual developer conference at the end of June.

Coca Cola will try selling water to Brits again, spending £3 billion ($5.06 billion) to promote “glacéau smartwater.” The company’s last attempt failed utterly due to complaints it was asking premium prices for tap water.

Wage protests continued at McDonald’s. One day after the fast-food giant was forced to close a building at its Illinois headquarters, McDonald’s boss Don Thompson refused to acquiesce to workers’ demands for higher pay.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on the battle between Alibaba and JD.com for poorer, inland China. “Outside the 35 biggest cities—megalopolises like Shanghai and provincial capitals like Chengdu—there are still 125 other cities whose populations exceed one million residents, and many hundreds more with populations of more than 500,000. Brick-and-mortar shopping options there are much scarcer than in the coastal major cities, limiting the quality, safety and selection of available products, says Alibaba’s prospectus (p.130).”Read more here.

Matters of debate

Colleges aren’t set up to deal with sexual assault. Faculty panels aren’t capable of dealing with criminal justice matters.

“Socialist” is no longer a dirty word in the US. A Seattle politician’s minimum wage campaign is proof that times have changed.

Resume-based job applications are a waste of time. They’re inefficient information sorters and minefields for bias.

Spy agencies shouldn’t snoop on humanitarian groups. Institutions such as Unicef rely on impartiality and anonymity.

Surprising discoveries

Pope Francis will not be joining Facebook. Twitter is preferable because profanity-ridden replies are easier to ignore.

Music has gone to the dogs. The Pittsburgh Symphony has hired five canine performers for a piece written by Mozart’s father.

You don’t need an Ivy League degree to work for a tech giant. Going to a school near its headquarters helps, though.

Desk envy is sweeping the nation. Chair-bound workers want standing desks (paywall) like their colleagues.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sheet music for pets, and standing desk wishlists to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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