Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Kenya elections, HSBC earnings, Swiss referendum, HIV cure

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

European finance ministers meet, with plenty to fret about. On the agenda for the Brussels talks today are austerity measures, a Cypriot bailout, and, well, what to do about Italy?

Kenyans vote in an historic election. The last national election in 2007 spurred ethnic violence across the country. This time around, poll monitors and new vote-counting technology are being touted as safeguards against violence.

American austerity measures set in. Spending cuts, a.k.a. the sequester, kicked in Friday amid political gridlock. Today, American lawmakers face the $85 billion in cuts, which will hit most areas of the federal government aside from entitlement spending—though those, too, may face the ax.

Interest rates are set to fall further. Central banks in Europe, the UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan all make announcements this week that are expected to augur even easier monetary policy.

HSBC announces full-year earnings. British banks have had a lousy year thanks to fines for fixing LIBOR rates and repayments for mis-sold insurance, but HSBC is expected to buck the trend and post pre-tax profits of $23 billion today.

Turkey and Romania report on inflation. Both nations are expected to post higher figures, based on January forecasts. The Turkish central bank responded in February by reducing borrowing and lending rates. In Romania, however, the central bank opted to keep interest rates unchanged, arguing the inflation was limited to energy and food prices.

Over the weekend

Bomb blasts in Karachi killed 45. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions, which went off in a largely Shia-dominated part of the city—the third attack on Pakistan’s minority community in as many months.

Switzerland followed the EU in curbing executive pay. Hot on the heels of a decision by the European Parliament to cap bankers’ bonuses, the Swiss voted by a majority of 68% in favor of giving shareholders the power to decide management salaries and prohibit golden hellos and goodbyes.

Baby cured of HIV. An American baby born with the virus has been cured following two and a half years of aggressive antiretroviral treatment. If doctors are able to replicate the success, that could lead to the method being adopted worldwide.

Warren Buffett remained optimistic. In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, the Oracle of Omaha said he’s not backing off large-scale investments, even after his $28 billion purchase of Heinz. The letter also included a slew of words that Buffett had never used in previous missives; check them out in our interactive version of the shareholder letter.

Safe landing for SpaceX. A privately owned supply capsule successfully arrived at the International Space Station after a rocky start.

A victory for the opposition in Thailand. Sukhumbhand Paribatra was re-elected governor of Bangkok in a crucial show of support for the Democrat Party. The Puea Thai Party, which controls the national government, had hoped to solidify its power with a win in the capital.

Quartz obsession interlude

Claudia Bracholdt on Germany versus Google. “Last week, members of parliament asked five German publishers (German) whether they’re in need of government funding. No, said the five publishers in unison. But we do need you to make a law to get money from search engines like Google, or rather just Google, which has a 96% market share in Germany (German). Publishers have accused Google of making money off of their content, which they are especially sensitive to since they haven’t yet figured out how to be profitable online.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Why women can’t have it allthe same reason there were cliques in high school.

But why is the rum gone? A look into India’s drunkest state.

Vote young: why aging leaders might be bad for the world.

Seeing the future better. We might be able to make better predictions about complex connections.

Britain’s economic policy is failing. Things are in a mess.”

Surprising discoveries

Dennis Rodman to Barack Obama: give Kim Jong-Un a call.

Eurozone jitters aren’t bad for everyone.

We swear, your beer isn’t too watery. And Anheuser Busch wants you to know it. But they might be on the verge of a beer monopoly.

Wall Street goes to the mat. Literally—bankers want wrestling back in the Olympics.

Downton Abbey has a lot to teach us about personal finance.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, or foreign policy advice from Dennis Rodman to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.