Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—More bird flu in China, Korea gets scary, a royal wage hike

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What to watch for today

New cases of bird flu in China. The government announced four more people with the H7N9 virus late on Tuesday, and global health watchers are nervous about deadly possibilities. Here’s what you need to know.

The Korean conflict gets truly scary. South Korean workers are being denied access to North Korea’s Kaesong factory complex, staffed by managers from the South and the source of $2 billion in annual trade. This is really not a good sign.

A Hollande Day in Morocco. French president François Hollande visits Morocco, a major trading partner. Further south, French soldiers remain engaged in Mali’s civil war.

A second victory for Monsanto? The agricultural giant will look to beat expectations of $5.27 billion in revenue when it reports quarterly results today. A week ago US lawmakers created a legal safe harbor that will block lawsuits over any ill-effects from genetically modified seeds, at the request of the company’s lobbyists. Critics call it the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Shareholders might, too.

The world’s richest cricket league gets going. Backed by some of India’s biggest busineses and heavy on sponsorship, the Indian Premier League has plenty of money riding on it. It has political drama too, with India’s Sri Lanka policy affecting some matches. There’s said to be some sport as well.

An early peek at US employment. Payroll processing company ADP will release its employment numbers for March, generally a good guide to Friday’s official unemployment report.

While you were sleeping

The Ambani brothers kissed and made up. Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani signed a $221 million deal to share fibre-optic networks, the first thaw in fraternal relations since they fell out in 2005.

Australia’s trade deficit narrowed. The gap in February was $178 million smaller than January’s $1.2 billion. Australia’s central bank also reappointed governor Glenn Stevens for another three years.

The UN general assembly passed the first global arms trade treaty. The attempt to regulate the $70 billion business now needs to be ratified by 50 countries.  The US, the world’s top arms supplier, supported the treaty; weapons producers China, Russia and Cuba abstained. Syria, Iran and North Korea voted against.

US CEOs can tweet their news. The Securities and Exchange Commission says executives won’t get penalized for disclosing significant information about their companies on Twitter and Facebook, as long as they let investors know ahead of time. Reed Hastings and Rupert Murdoch, consider yourselves warned.

Fannie Mae posted a record profit. Just five years after being bailed out by the government, the US housing lender earned $17.2 billion in 2012. Some of that money may be returned to taxpayers, but the bigger question is how to fix the system so it won’t need another rescue.

Tesla pulled a fast one. Having promised a “really exciting” announcement, the car-maker unveiled… a financing deal for its Model S electric sports sedan, involving some highly imaginative math to make the car look cheaper.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the history behind Ireland’s mortgage problems: “Modern Irish patriotism first coalesced as a revolt against unfair evictions during the so-called land wars of the late 1800s. The period gave Ireland some of its earliest and most enduring political heroes—Charles Stuart Parnell, Michael Davitt—and villains, such as Charles Boycott,  an unpopular, English-born magistrate and collector of rents from Irish tenant farmers. He gave his name, or rather he had it given for him, to the method of organized, non-violent shunning of which he was the subject until he was ultimately driven from the island. Ancient history? Perhaps. But the notion of the sanctity of the family home still carries considerable weight in Ireland.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

What is the Chinese dream? Xi Jingping will need to figure that out.

Cheap energy won’t save US jobs. Why can’t fracking solve all our problems?

Ben Bernanke should just give everyone money. Could an actual helicopter drop do the trick?

The man behind “Web 2.0″ is a hustler. Evgeny Morozov has a problem with Tim O’Reilly’s “meme-engineering.”

Surprising discoveries

The Queen of England got a raise. Everyone could do with an extra £5 million ($7.5 million).

Phablets, PadFones, Gigantophones…Is there a hardware solution to these lexicographic monstrosities?

A 15-mile queue to load Brazilian soybeans onto ships. Or, infrastructure is important. 

Meet one of Hitler’s food tasters. It took 95-year old Margot Wolk a long time to enjoy food again.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, terrible tech portmanteaus and engineered memes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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