Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Iraq reclaims Tikrit, stress tests redux, Marvin Gaye copyright verdict, meatless Finnish meatballs

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What to watch for today

Round two of stress tests. The US Federal Reserve will publish the second and final round of results in its examination of the nation’s banks. Last week, all 31 major banks passed capital thresholds. This week, Goldman Sachs may be in the Fed’s crosshairs.

NASA fires its most powerful rocket. The QM-1 is the largest solid rocket motor ever built. When it undergoes testing today at a testing facility in Utah, the 801-ton motor will produce the same amount of thrust as 14 Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

Greece talks with its debtors. Officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund will visit Athens, amid doubts whether the Greek government will open its books for inspection.

Japan remembers the Fukushima disaster. Four years ago, a 9.0 magnitude tremor caused tsunamis that killed nearly 20,000 people and caused a radiation leak that the government is still dealing with. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, is working on a new five-year plan to rebuild the areas affected.

While you were sleeping

Iraqi forces recaptured parts of Tikrit. Government troops backed by Shia militias retook a northern part of the Iraqi city, which has been under control of Islamic State militants since last summer. Observers fear the prospect of revenge attacks by the Shia forces against Tikrit’s majority Sunni population.

Marvin Gaye’s family won a courtroom victory against “Blurred Lines.” Songwriters Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have “Got to Give It Up” to the tune of $7.6 million, after a jury found that they copied elements of Gaye’s 1977 song for their 2013 hit. The trial was marked by a live courtroom performance from Thicke, who tried to demonstrate how many pop songs sound alike.

Google’s finance chief is retiring. CFO Patrick Pichette, on the job since 2008, will stay around long enough to help Google find a successor, which Google said should be within six months. The surprise announcement sent Google’s stock down 2.5% at its close in New York.

Australia’s property market and confidence slipped. Westpac’s monthly consumer confidence survey fell 1.2% in March to 99.5, below the 100 mark that indicates optimism. Meanwhile mortgage approvals in January fell 3.5%, as regulators try assessed whether the market is susceptible to a crash.

Ferguson city manager resigned. The city council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of John Shaw, Ferguson’s highest-ranking government official. The Missouri city’s municipal judge also stepped down in the wake of a federal report that found widespread institutional racism.

Quartz obsession interlude

Cassie Werber on Europe’s green superstars. “In 2010, the European Union set a goal of producing 20% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020. The latest figures show that the union as a whole reached the 15% mark in 2013. But the combined figure includes some countries already exceeding their targets, while others lag far behind. Three out of the 28 EU member states have surpassed their 2020 goals.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The “Blurred Lines” verdict is terrible news for music. It will put a chilling effect on new artists who try to evoke the influences of the past.

Skype is just the worst. For the money Microsoft paid to buy it, and vast numbers of people it serves, it is shockingly unreliable.

Spying on Wikipedia users could threaten their safety. Knowing what people are reading and writing could put them at risk (paywall).

Expect more quantitative easing in Japan. The previous rounds weren’t aggressive enough.

Future Apple Watches will collect emotional data. They could track how you feel about the content you’re consuming.

Surprising discoveries

Finnish meatballs are just called “balls” now. A processed meat giant was forced to relabel its ”52% meat” product.

Bill Clinton doesn’t use email. The US ex-president—who does use Twitter—ensured he won’t face the same problems as his wife.

There is a crowd-funded Back To The Future documentary. The film is seeking $50,000 and expects to be ready this year.

China is touchy about Photoshop. An digitally-enhanced ad for toothpaste resulted in a $1 million fine for Procter & Gamble.

You can teach young pigs new tricks. A six-month-old pig named Amy is winning in dog obedience classes.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, meat-free meatballs, and photoshopped Chines ads to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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