Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Vatican day two, banking banter, bitcoin crash, killer dolphins

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What to watch for today

Euro-zone industrial production. The latest read on the state of Europe’s fragile economy.

Day two in Vatican City. The first vote to name the next pope turned up black smoke, meaning that deliberations will continue today. White smoke means that the cardinals have reached an agreement.

Basel banters about banks. Members of the Basel Committee of banking supervision will meet in Basel, Switzerland. Debates about the amount of leverage banks should be allowed to take could be at the top of their agenda.

US Democrats propose a budget. The White House’s response to the Republican proposal on March 12 will be balanced, but not balanced.

While you were sleeping

India’s largest steel-maker plans for infrastructure. Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. plans to raise as much as 120 billion rupees ($2.2 billion) in order to double steelmaking and triple electricity generation activities. The Indian government has said it will invest $1 trillion to build power plants, roads, and ports.

Bitcoin flash-crash. A software glitch in bitcoin’s mint sent the digital currency spiraling down 22% before it recovered to record-high levels.

Running the ruble. Russian president Vladimir Putin named Elvira Nabiullina as Russia’s next central banker, making her the first female central banker in the country and the first in the G8.

Telecom tie-up. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved Deutsche Telekom’s bid to unite its T-Mobile with MetroPCS. The German company hopes the move will reboot its profitability in US markets. The merger still faces a shareholder vote—and significant opposition—to be held April 12.

The fate of the Tribune papers. The billionaire Koch brothers, bankrollers of America’s radical-right Tea Party, have reportedly expressed interest in buying the Tribune papers, including the left-leaning Los Angeles Times.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on why emerging markets are more likely to have female central bankers: “With an economy largely based on oil and natural resources, Russia is desperate for demand-driven growth and innovation. Although the country has opposed UN resolutions that advocate harsher penalties for violence against women, Putin’s choice of Nabiullina should make recessionary Europe and even the slow-growing US reexamine their own gender-skew.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Have the Republicans learned anything? Analyzing their latest budget plan.

The New York Times is too soft on Carlos Slim. But the paper will have to write more about the monopolist Mexican billionaire who is also its second largest shareholder.

Why markets should be freaking out over Italy. Be cynical, for a change.

Surprising discoveries

Was there once life on Mars? NASA scientists in charge of a rover examining the red planet’s surface say that they found chemicals in a rock harvested from a dry lake bed that would have been conducive to life. “You could have drank the water that flowed,” said the mission’s chief scientist.

Killer dolphins on a sex romp. Three dolphins trained by the Ukrainian navy to assassinate divers are unaccounted for after a military exercise—but they might just have gone to look for mates.

Can a taco save America? Only the Doritos kind.

Hack attack. Hackers stole and published credit reports—including social security numbers, addresses, credit card and banking details—of US celebrities and the heads of the FBI and Los Angeles police.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, stolen credit reports, and oversexed dolphin sightings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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