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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Tesla’s battery reveal, Asian economies lag, restricting the NSA, embracing “dadbod”

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

What to watch for today

Tesla unveils standalone batteries. Elon Musk will introduce a battery system called “Powerwall” for homes and businesses, which could eventually store cheaper off-peak energy to use when power grids are strained and electricity is more expensive.

Turkey braces for Labor Day protests. The government is readying at least 10,000 police officers in Istanbul and erecting iron barricades in the city center in anticipation of possible unrest. Last year’s Labor Day demonstrations resulted in 140 arrests and 90 injuries.

Malaysia Airlines gets a new CEO. Christoph Mueller takes the helm at the airline that lost two planes and more than 500 lives in 2014. The former head of Aer Lingus will cut 6,000 jobs and restructure its fleet, including the sale or lease of its Airbus A380s and other large jets.

China launches a deposit insurance program. The system will secure up to 500,000 yuan ($80,550) of bank deposits for businesses and individuals. The new policy is designed to boost borrower’s confidence, but also risks making major banks “too big to fail.”

Earnings, earnings, earnings. Companies opening up their books today: Chevron, CVS, Lloyds Bank, Wynn Resorts, and Yahoo Japan.

While you were sleeping

More bad news than good in Japan… The core inflation rate rose a tiny bit in March, to 0.2% from 0%, but household spending slumped and real wages fell for the 23rd straight month. The underwhelming numbers put more pressure on the central bank, which earlier this week opted not to expand its stimulus program.

…And China’s economy also lagged. The government’s purchasing manufacturer’s index for April, which mostly looks at large state-owned firms, held steady at 50.1, barely above the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction. The country’s ruling Politburo said it will also increase government spending and cut taxes.

The US moved to revamp the Patriot Act and rein in the NSA. A bipartisan bill that would limit the bulk collection of US citizens’ telephone records cleared a key House committee ahead of its likely passage. A parallel Senate bill has support from Democrats and several key Republicans, including presidential candidate Rand Paul.

Investors freaked over LinkedIn’s unremarkable earnings. The earnings themselves were fine, but the company’s outlook for the next quarter and fiscal year fell far short of expectations. The stock dropped 25% within minutes, wiping out around $6 billion in market capitalization.

The US Navy began escorting ships through the Strait of Hormuz. The move was a response to Iran’s seizure of a ship last week in the strategically crucial waterway. The US has also dispatched an aircraft carrier to deter potential Iranian military aid to rebels in Yemen.

Time Warner Cable’s earnings flopped, but it may have another suitor. The US cable television and broadband provider posted a first-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates, thanks to TV channels charging more for their content. In the wake of the failed Comcast acquisition of Time Warner, Charter Communications is reportedly looking into making its own bid (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Akshat Rathi on hacking your coffee habit. “You probably don’t want to be that person who cries, ‘I need coffee. I can’t think.’ But there is a way of enjoying some of coffee’s benefits without getting addicted to it. You just need to know how to hack coffee’s half-life.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Racial stereotypes are relative. What if Asian Americans talked about white Americans the way whites talk about black Americans?

The Pope has made it halfway to truly supporting women. His goal of “radical gender equality” also requires access to contraception.

The most important feature in self-driving cars will be human control. Automation will always fail, at least some of the time

Germany does globalization right. Shifting power from shareholders and management to labor has kept high-skilled jobs at home.

Think like a hostage negotiator to get a bigger raise. “The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don’t know you’re in.” 

Surprising discoveries

“Dadbod” is the male version of the ”yummy mummy.” The in-vogue physique requires both exercise and a moderate pizza intake.

Prepare yourself for drone graffiti. In a sign of things to come, a drone vandalized one of New York City’s biggest billboards this week.

Italy is growing its own weed. A military base has opened a grow house to produce 100 kg (220 lb) of medical marijuana a year.

Humblebragging doesn’t work. Simply bragging without the fake humility is actually more effective.

Wearing a suit changes your brain. Suited-up research subjects ignored fine-grained details and more easily grasped the big picture.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dadbod workout and diet tips, and drone grafitti tags to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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