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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—new SEC head, naming the Pope, Rovio on TV, unconstitutional bailouts

By Quartz Staff

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Start looking for white smoke. Catholic cardinals begin the process of electing a new pope at the Vatican. They’ll cast one vote today, and as many as four each subsequent day until a pope is elected. Whoever they pick, odds are he will call himself Leo.

The state of manufacturing—on both sides of the Atlantic. Both the UK and Mexico will release data on industrial production.

The SEC gets a new head. Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor and corporate lawyer, will face the Senate for a confirmation hearing today as head of America’s securities regulator. Her mixed record has some wondering whether she really will be tough on Wall Street.

Budget battles in Washington, DC. Representative Paul Ryan will announce the Republicans’ plan for the 2013 budget, which envisages $4.6 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. The probable outcome? Gridlock between liberals and conservatives. Yawn.

While you were sleeping

Nomura lost its European head. John Phizackerley is the latest of many high-ranking executives to ditch the Japanese bank.

Rovio wants bigger screens. The maker of Angry Birds is inching towards becoming an entertainment company as it looks to expand. Its first TV show, Angry Birds Toons, will hit a dozen countries this weekend. Rovio is also developing a feature film.

The last gasps of BoJ conservatism. The Bank of Japan released the minutes of its February meeting, the last under outgoing governor Masaaki Shirakawa. The Bank’s monetary policy committee discussed the need for greater monetary easing, something Shirakawa’s nominated successor, Haruhiko Kuroda, will probably see through. The yen fell to a three-and-a-half year low to ¥96.71.

China’s steel production, India’s industrial output both rose. China’s steel industry produced nearly 10% more of the stuff in February, compared to the previous year, as demand grew—and so did profits. India’s industrial production reversed course after December’s 0.5% year-on-year contraction to grow a decent 2.4% in January, beating (admittedly pessimistic) expectations.

AIG shareholders won the right to sue the US government. A federal judge allowed a class-action lawsuit led by AIG’s former CEO. The suit claims the government’s bail-out was unconstitutional.

Mexican telecoms could face a break-up. Legislators will weigh a new law that would espouse more stringent regulation and competition in the phone and broadcasting industries, where Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, and his América Móvil have long held dominance.

Quartz obsession interlude

Naomi Rovnick on why Chinese stocks are cheaper in Shanghai than in Hong Kong: “In theory, Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses should move more or less in sync. Hong Kong’s stock market is dominated by mainland Chinese companies, so events like rises and falls in China’s GDP ought to have similar effects on both bourses. But they have entirely separate groups of investors. Mainland Chinese funds and individuals are restricted to buying stocks at home, using the tightly controlled renminbi. Hong Kong’s market is for the territory’s locals and international money managers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Is Britain “a nation in decay”? The UK growth problem, explained.

Electric cars’ dirty secret. Can anyone say “carbon-dioxide emissions“? (paywall)

Italians didn’t just vote for two clowns. They sent a message of disillusionment with parties that should worry politicians everywhere.

Will the last tycoon to leave France please turn out the lights? Some of France’s richest and most successful people are leaving (paywall) as taxes rise and the economy stalls.

Surprising discoveries

Residents of the Falkland Islands voted to stay part of Britain. The surprising bit? Of 1,517 votes cast, three were in favor of leaving. That’s going to be awkward down at the pub.

Your family history of heart disease is longer than you think. Mummies got atherosclerosis, too.

China’s gripping new public-service campaign implores youth to care for their parents. Sob-worthy commercials aim to fix a social welfare system that is falling apart.

The next Jewish diaspora. Fleeing France.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mummy-related illnesses, and other reasons to leave France to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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