Quartz daily brief—Europe Edition—Maggie RIP, Chinese inflation slows, Bitcoin’s replacement?

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What to watch for today

North Korea’s next move. Will North Korea take another step toward the brink after shutting down the bellwether Kaesong industrial complex? It has been ratcheting up the rhetoric almost daily. And a tongue-lashing from China hasn’t made a difference so far.

UK economy by the numbers. The latest data on manufacturing and industrial production, along with trade balance figures, will be released today. So far, the trends have not been encouraging.

Jack Lew’s European tour… The US Treasury Secretary meets with his counterparts in Germany and France. His friendly advice yesterday: Europe should back off on austerity. Who’d have thought that an American politician would be the one telling Europe to spend more?

…and John Kerry’s Middle Eastern one. The US Secretary of State continues his trip in Israel to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to restart talks. He will later head to China, South Korea and Japan, where North Korea has everyone jumpy.

While you were sleeping

RIP the Iron Lady. Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher died of a stroke at 87. Her legacy on economics, foreign policy and Europe was debated around the world. Quartz writers point out that her years in power were hardly an economic miracle; then again, she laid the foundations for a big rise in real income.

Chinese inflation dropped sharply. Lower food prices pushed monthly consumer price increases down to 2.1% from 3.2%.

Israel’s richest man is moving to London. Billionaire Idan Ofer says taxes have nothing to do with it (paywall).

Another bolt-on deal for GE. The conglomerate acquired Lufkin Industries to add to its oil and gas unit in a $3.3 billion deal.

Alcoa kicked off earnings season… The aluminum company reported a net income increase amid market jitters after disappointing US jobs numbers last week. But the company is losing its bellwether status.

…and JC Penney kicked out Ron Johnson. The ailing US retailer dismissed its CEO, who led and then reversed a spectacularly failed retail strategy in his one year on the job, and brought back former boss Myron Ullman. (But we think Penney’s problems go deeper than who’s at the helm.)

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani says forget Bitcoin—mavros are where it’s at: ”To produce bitcoins, processors must hum away solving mathematical problems. But mavros, another virtual currency, are simpler. They exist because Sergey Mavrodi, their creator, says they do. And while the recent spike in bitcoin value is the result of speculation on the open market, the rate for mavros is “established personally by Mr. Sergey Mavrodi…. twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” Their value doubles every month, in fact.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Where the environmental movement went astray. It lost the knack of rallying popular pressure.

Going to the moon is not a priority. NASA’s chief says Mars is more important.

Don’t try to rescue fragile banks. Outsource the banking instead.

Green parachutes in Washington. Where former regulators and Congressional staffers cash in.

Surprising discoveries

Costly cheap date cities. Deutsche Bank indexes romance for cheapskates.

Blast from the past. WikiLeaks posts 1970s diplomatic and intelligence cables, including some from Henry Kissinger.

Paul Volcker is too old for bitcoin. “What’s that?“ he asks.

This is the future of warfare. Using lasers to shoot down drones.

The most important source of renewable energy in Europe? Not solar power. It’s wood.

Shanghai hotpot. Pigs, ducks, geese, and now fish found dead in the river.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Margaret Thatcher impressions and others who are too old for bitcoin to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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