Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—Bird flu, Ferrari sales, Moscow traffic

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What to watch for today

More scary bird flu news. Traces of H7N9 were found in pigeons at a Shanghai market, so city authorities banned live poultry sales and began slaughtering birds to prevent the virus from spreading further.  Six people have died since the outbreak was disclosed last week, and the US Centers for Disease Control has started work on a vaccine.  Asian airline shares have been falling.

The latest US jobs report. The pulse of the American economy will be taken when the March unemployment numbers are released at 8:30 a.m. EST, and the leading indicators suggest a bit of a flutter.

Regulating fracking in California. The state’s air-quality regulators will decide whether to demand more transparency about environmental impacts from oil and gas drillers.

MF Global shows what’s in its pockets. The bankrupt brokerage tells a court how much and how soon it plans to repay creditors, the day after yet another report blamed its collapse in 2011 on its erratic CEO, Jon Corzine.

A possible AmBev-DoJ deal. Bloomberg reports that a settlement is near in the US lawsuit seeking to block AmBev’s acquisition of Grupo Modelo.

While you were sleeping

Samsung went into space with the Galaxy. The electronics firm beat first-quarter profit expectations, thanks to strong sales of its mobile phones. Analysts reckon its mobile division increased sales by 40%, and its TV division only 6%.

Reuters accused of giving sneak peeks.  A former employee alleges traders were given a two-second head-start on the University of Michigan consumer survey.

Ferrari showed where the optimists are. While the sports-car firm’s sales slumped in Europe and China last quarter, they went up 19% in the US and 40% in Japan—an indicator of hope around Abenomics.

North Korea didn’t do much. After days of escalating threats to unleash nuclear war on America, the dictatorship has been relatively quiet. It may be loading missiles that can hit Guam onto mobile platforms, but it doesn’t have the range to hit the US mainland.

EasyJet slashed losses. The European discount carrier was helped by poor weather that sent Brits and Northern Europeans in search of the sun.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford and Ritchie King explain Abenomics by drawing a diagram: ”The Bank of Japan’s unveiling of its new monetary policy earlier today marked the first real test of ‘Abenomics,’ as the world now calls prime minister Shinzo Abe’s bundle of policies aimed at escaping 20-plus years of deflation. And it passed the test—markets responded positively. There will be many more tests, though, for the BoJ’s monetary policy, as well as for the other two prongs of Abenomics: fiscal stimulus and, much more amorphously, structural reform.” Read more (and look at the diagram) here.

Matters of debate

China is an ATM machine for African autocrats. Cash always comes with strings attached 

The ECB could be doing so much more. Why isn’t it following the example of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England?

Yen depreciation—too much of a good thing? The Bank of Japan’s new easing measures could trigger a yen avalanche, says George Soros. (The yen hit a three-and-a-half year low against the dollar today.)

Let’s call Abenomics by its real name. It’s Bernankonomics.

Americans should watch cricket. It’s wealthy, corrupt, and lasts for days—what’s not to like?

The missing internet productivity boom. Has today’s technology failed us, or is it just too soon to tell?

Surprising discoveries

Apple’s new headquarters will cost more than the new World Trade Center. But hey, what’s $5 billion when you have $137 billion in cash reserves?

A majority of Americans support legal marijuana. It’s the first time that the pollsters have gotten that result in more than 40 years of asking.

Moscow is the world’s most congested city. The authorities’ solution: make room for even more cars.

Don’t mention the war (on graft). China is cracking down on corrupt officials but won’t tolerate protests against corruption.

It’s fairly easy to hide an $8.3 billion bet from your bosses at Goldman Sachs. It’s very hard to hide the losses.

R.I.P. Roger Ebert. The celebrated American film critic and writer died at age 70 after battling throat cancer. Read his last column, and this profile.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hidden billions and Moscow traffic snapshots to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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