Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Central bank day, a Facebook phone, bird flu profiteering

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What to watch for today

It’s central bank day, as the world’s setters of monetary policy struggle to keep ahead of a soft global economy:

– Start the day in Tokyo, with the first interest rate decision from Japan’s new central bank governor, Harujiko Kuroda, who faces the difficult task of ending deflation and may kick off a new bond-buying program. Here’s what’s needed to get Abenomics working.

– Then to London, where observers expect a newly-empowered Bank of England to make no big moves before new governor Mark Carney takes over in July.

– Next is Frankfurt, where European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is expected not to cut rates despite the mess in Cyprus, since they can’t go much lower than their current 0.75%.

– Finally, US Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke speaks at an investors conference. Perhaps more importantly, so will his potential successor Janet Yellen. Investors will be watching for clues on how long the Fed will keep up quantitative easing.

– Relevant digression: Read an excerpt from Neil Irwin’s new book on how central bankers saved the world during the financial crisis.

North Korea tiptoes toward doomsday. It orders all South Korean workers out of the Kaesong factory complex, as the US deploys an anti-missile battery in Guam.

Facebook unveils something, probably a phone. If you don’t understand why anyone would buy a Facebook phone, you probably don’t live in India.

China is getting better at bird flu. But it has a long way to go as H7N9 cases mount.

While you were sleeping

China’s exports surged. Unfortunately, the data are probably fraudulent.

A big step towards an AIDS vaccine. Scientists now understand more clearly how some immune systems evolve to fight the virus.

Did Deutsche Bank hide a $12 billion loss during the financial crisis? The Bundesbank is sending regulators to New York to find out.

Bad news for US jobs? Payroll processing company ADP reported fewer hires in March than expected, which may bode ill for today’s data on unemployment insurance claims and Friday’s official jobs report.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on Chinese firms doing well because of bird flu fears: ”Even though there is no vaccine for the virus (part of the reason authorities are so worried) investors appear to be anticipating a run on medicines and rice wine, which is believed to prevent or even cure bird flu.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Bitcoin isn’t the future. But just because the trendy digital cash won’t work for long doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.  

Does the US need to balance the budget… ever? Trying to figure out why balancing matters.

Conditions are right for a boom in M&A. One minor flaw: March saw the fewest deals since July 2009.

Business books are basically useless. Would you want to emulate Circuit City, Fannie Mae and Atari?

Born at the right time. PIMCO’s Bill Gross admits that he and fellow investing legends like Buffett and Soros might just be lucky.

Surprising discoveries

The US Army accumulated $900 million in largely useless spare parts. That’s roughly the entire military budget of Serbia.

Are you old enough to read the news? If you’re 12 or under in the US, you’re probably breaking the law.

Yelp! reviews for prisons. Two stars for the ambience, minus one star for the inflexible check-out policy.

The optimal daily schedule includes 106 minutes of “intimate relations.” Hold all my calls.

Fat is a life-saver. At least if you get hit by a car.

A whole lot of nothing. Seinfeld has generated $3.1 billion in re-run fees (paywall)—not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, prison reviews, and business books that aren’t useless to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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