Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—China’s leaders convene, Miramax is sold, filibuster record

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What to watch for today

China’s leaders convene under smoggy skies in Beijing. The Communist Party’s rubber-stamp legislature begins its annual session (paywall), along with parallel meetings of top government officials. Air-quality levels are extremely low due to industrial pollution and seasonal sandstorms.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise reports earnings. The corporate hardware and services business is expected to show low profits on weak IT spending. Investors will likely hear about some cost-cutting plans.

Brazil’s woeful GDP. The economy is expected to post a 3.7% decline for 2015—the biggest drop since 1990. Brazil is struggling with low demand for its natural resources, government austerity programs, and stagnant consumer spending.

More information on potential MH370 debris. There is a “high possibility” that wreckage discovered in Mozambique came from a Boeing 777, the same type of aircraft used for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. The debris will be examined by Australian investigators.

The Geneva International Motor Show begins. Automakers unveil their latest high-performance cars as they look to navigate a rapidly changing industry. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, arriving early in Switzerland, suggested that Apple should hire a traditional carmaker to build its long-rumored vehicle.

While you were sleeping

North Korea lashed out at new sanctions. The isolated nation fired short-range projectiles into waters off the peninsula, said South Korea’s defense ministry, which earlier reported the objects as ”missiles.” The defiant act followed the UN issuing stringent sanctions against the country yesterday.

Toshiba sought another $1.8 billion to continue restructuring. The struggling Japanese electronics company approached three lenders for the loan, according to Reuters. The news sent shares—previously hammered by an accounting scandal—soaring.

LinkedIn’s CEO passed his stock options to employees. Jeff Weiner forewent his annual stocks grant for 2016 and instead requested the shares, worth $14 million, be put into the employee pool, according to Recode. That follows a collapse in the company’s share price.

Samsonite edged closer to buying a luxury rival. The luggage maker could pay up to $2 billion for Tumi, which makes high-end luggage and other cases, reported the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Both companies have seen their share price decline due to the strong dollar and a slowing Chinese economy.

A media group in Qatar bought Miramax. BeIN Media, an offshoot of Al Jazeera, bought the studio behind Pulp Fiction for an undisclosed sum. The Weinstein Company, owned by the studio’s founders, had been considered a likely buyer (paywall).

A pioneering shale gas executive died—a day after being indicted. Aubrey McClendon, the former Chesapeake Energy CEO, died in a single-car crash in which he reportedly drove at high speed into an embankment. McClendon, who spearheaded the shale oil revolution that reshaped global energy markets, was accused of breaking US antitrust laws.

El Chapo wants out of Mexico ASAP. Drug kingpin Joaquin Guzmán is attempting to speed up his extradition to the US in hopes of finding better prison conditions. The multiple escapee is complaining about oppressive hourly check-ins by prison guards.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Pasick on the anonymous hipsters helping Spotify find hot new tracks. “The music streaming giant is taking a new approach with the expansion of its Fresh Finds playlists. They come out once a week, just like Discover Weekly. But Fresh Finds playlists aren’t personalized—instead they rely on the tastemakers among Spotify’s 100 million users, using them like an early-warning system for music.” Read more here.

Quartz markets haiku

After a brief rest
Old man continues his climb
On unsteady legs

Matters of debate

The cold, hard truth: It’s game over for Bernie Sanders. He needs to face up to his defeat.

There’s yet another upside to plunging oil prices. It puts pressure on autocratic regimes.

No, Mozart won’t make your baby smarter. The persistent parenthood myth is completely unsupported by science.

Surprising discoveries

A professor has discovered a novel way to get students to study. He presented an end-of-term test as optional—unless students’ work fell below a standard.

Osama bin Laden cared more about climate change than most politicians. He called for a “political revolution” to save the world from “harmful gases.”

South Korean lawmakers set a new global filibuster record. They spent almost nine days reading aloud from George Orwell’s novel 1984—and random internet comments.

There is a machine that plays pop music using 2,000 marbles. Swedish musician and inventor Martin Molin operates it with a crank.

By century’s end, much of the world may be “practically uninhabitable” in summer. Climate change will hit central Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East particularly hard.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, marble tunes, and filibuster readings to And download our new iPhone app for news throughout the day.

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