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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Democrats block Obama, Amtrak train derails, Mark Carney emerges, “Ed Stone” missing

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

What to watch for today

Japan holds its first-ever defense industry trade fair. In a marker of the country’s gradual (though still very limited) re-militarization under prime minister Shinzo Abe, MAST Asia kicks off in Yokohama. China, North Korea, and Islamist terrorism are the key threats driving Abe’s military policies.

Euro-zone growth picks up a bit. Analysts predict today’s data will show a 0.5% rise in first-quarter GDP from the previous quarter. Low oil prices, a weak euro, and the European Central Bank’s bond-buying should help—it could even be the first time in years that the euro zone outperforms the US economy.

Mark Carney comes out of seclusion. The Bank of England’s governor speaks for the first time after a self-imposed six-week silence during Britain’s election campaign. He’ll unveil the monthly inflation report and economic forecast, and may tell investors to expect an interest-rate hike sooner rather than later.

A tricky moment for Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales’s “black spider memos,” in which he badgered government ministers with his opinions, will be published after a 10-year legal battle by the Guardian. The government argued publication might undermine Charles’s political neutrality as the heir to the throne.

Earnings: Cisco, Macy’s, Vimpelcom and Nissan are among those releasing quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Democrats blocked Obama’s free-trade fast-track. After a weeks-long public battle, a bill to give the president authority to negotiate trade deals was voted down in the Senate. Democrats like Elizabeth Warren were concerned about the pact’s impact on US manufacturing jobs, especially after Republicans blocked related bills that would have helped displaced workers.

North Korea’s defense chief was executed. Hyon Yong-chol was reportedly publicly killed by anti-aircraft fire for showing disloyalty to leader Kim Jong-un, according to a briefing by South Korean intelligence to the country’s legislature. Hyon was reportedly spotted napping at a recent event attended by Kim.

An Amtrak train derailed near Philadelphia. A train travelling from Washington D.C. to New York crashed, overturning some train cars and injuring at least 50 people. The cause of the crash is not yet known, but comes after another Amtrak crash on Sunday, and an earlier crash in March.

Prosecutors built a case against Bashar al-Assad. The Commission for International Justice and Accountability said it has enough evidence to indict the Syrian leader and 24 members of his government in international court, according the Guardian. The commission is focussing its case on Assad’s involvement in the suppression of protests in 2011.

Chicago lost its investment rating. Ratings agency Moody’s lowered its assessment of the city’s debt two notches to junk status. The city is struggling with an underfunded pension system, and Moody’s signaled it could lower its rating event further.

The second Nepal earthquake’s death toll rose. The number of people killed in the 7.3-magnitude quake that struck on Tuesday stands at about 70, including 17 people in India and one in Tibet. A much larger quake three weeks ago killed several thousand people.

Quartz obsession interlude

Heather Timmons and Zheping Huang on the most popular foreign CEOs in China.“Foreigners trying to reach citizens in China, whether they’re celebrities, athletes, businessmen or politicians, are flocking to Sina Weibo, which counts some 400 million registered users, 66 million of whom are active daily. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was the latest head of state to sign on, amassing a respectable 40,000 fans in just a few days.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hillary is beating Jeb Bush on one key metric. People remember Bill Clinton fondly; they don’t feel the same about George W. Bush.

Take a vacation from your kids. They are better off having parents who remember why they fell in love in the first place.

Drilling in the Arctic is why we may never beat climate change. It’s like putting a cigarette machine in a cancer ward (paywall).

You can be homosexual without being gay. The former is a matter of biology, but the latter is a culture.

Arms makers are the merchants of death.Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war,” says Pope Francis.

Surprising discoveries

The ”Ed Stone” is missing. UK media are hunting for the giant tablet engraved with campaign promises by Labour’s Ed Miliband.

You’re eating Greek yogurt the wrong way. It’s a soft cheese that is best served in savory dishes—not with fruit and granola.

Domino’s customers can order pizza with an emoji. It’s part of the company’s new Twitter tie-in, aimed at millennials.

Wes Anderson designed a Milan cafe. Now the director’s fans can enjoy their own meticulously designed real-world space.

Harry Potter’s Moaning Myrtle has a full name. It’s remarkably similar to a certain US senator mentioned earlier in this briefing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Ed Stone locations, and Greek yogurt recipes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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