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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Disney disappoints, Uber’s guild, vanishing islands

  • Quartz
By Quartz

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Russia punishes Google. Antitrust regulators will decide how much to fine the company for requiring the pre-installation of some of its applications on Android devices. Last year authorities sided with Google’s Russian competitor Yandex, but put off a decision about a penalty.

The World Economic Forum on Africa kicks off. The conference will focus on using digital technologies to accelerate the continent’s development. It convenes in Rwanda, which has become a regional tech hub, earning comparisons to Switzerland.

Macy’s investors are prepared for disappointment. The US department store is expected to post lower earnings and revenues as its business struggles against online retailers. Toyota also reports its quarterly results, which are expected to be strong.

While you were sleeping

Disney reported disappointing results. Earnings fell short of Wall Street expectations for the first time in five years. Despite the popularity of the films Star Wars and Zootopia, the company was hurt by lower ad revenue at ESPN, with more consumers moving from television to streaming services.

Uber agreed to create a drivers’ guild in New York City. It’s not quite a union: The guild will enable drivers to lobby for better terms and appeal decisions by the ride-hailing giant. But it won’t have the ability to collectively bargain or enjoy other labor protections.

Staples and Office Depot gave up on their merger. The office-supplies giants announced their decision after a US federal judge ordered a temporary halt to the $6.3 billion deal because of antitrust concerns. Staples will pay Office Depot a $250 million break-up fee.

NASA announced more than 1,200 new planets. The findings come courtesy of the Kepler space telescope, which the US space agency launched in 2009. Over 20 “exoplanets” are now known to have about the same size and orbit as the Earth to the sun.

Quartz markets haiku

Long petroleum?
It’s rising today because
Lol nothing matters

Quartz obsession interlude

Anne Quito on how procrastination is essential to creativity. “The purpose of procrastinating, said Konnikova, is ‘to make sure to have perspective before you start working.’ … [When] we’re developing an original idea, a pause gives our brains time to form creative associations, and recognize patterns, or simply see things from a different angle.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

We need to know who invented bitcoin. The real Satoshi Nakamoto could settle crucial disputes about the future of the crypto-currency.

Denmark isn’t the utopia it seems to be. The country has the highest levels of household debt in the developed world.  

Legal pot isn’t living up to its promise. Cops are still more likely to go after young black men for possession of marijuana.

Surprising discoveries

Mercenaries are Uganda’s biggest export. Its private military contractors can be found around the world’s trouble spots.

Five islands have been swallowed up by rising seas. They were uninhabited, but other islands with residents are also disappearing.

Engagement rings have a “tainted love” discount. A study found that rings with an unhappy backstory were more than 30% cheaper.

The next Silicon Valley trend is saying goodbye to perks. Free shuttles and laundry services are the first to go when VC money dries up.

Germany had so much renewable energy that it paid people to use electricity. The wind and solar surplus was brief, but a sign of things to come.

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