Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—G8 crisis management, Bitcoin’s roller-coaster, the Fed’s red faces

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What to watch for today

How will the North Korea standoff end? Kim Jong-un’s endgame may be diplomatic recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state. The crisis has already aided the US strategic pivot toward Asia—much to China’s dismay.

G8 talks end. It’s no surprise that North Korea and Syria have been top of the agenda. Foreign ministers will also discuss Iran’s nuclear program.

Marks & Spencer looks a little shabby. The largest British clothing retailer is expected to report a disappointing performance when it reveals sales numbers and other data. In the US, drugstore company Rite Aid will report earnings.

Brazil retail sales. Latin America’s biggest economy is expected to show a modest uptick as its recovery gains pace.

While you were sleeping

Grim Australian jobs data. Unemployment unexpectedly rose to 5.6% in March from 5.4% in February, causing the Aussie dollar to fall versus the US dollar.

Yum Brands’s China revenues plunged. Sales at Pizza Hut and KFC fell 13 percent in March, and the worsening bird flu outbreak will make things even worse.

The Fed debated dialing back easy money. But the discussion, related in the latest Fed minutes, was held before the most recent dismal US jobs numbers, which might make the central bank prolong its growth policy. (Meanwhile, red faces all round as some people accidentally got the minutes five hours early.)

Obama unveiled his budget proposal, and dared Republicans to reject it. They dared him back.

Bitcoin went on a roller-coaster. The digital currency plunged from $250 to $105 and then rebounded part-way back as speculation and volatility surged. Follow the wild ride in real-time.

Lagarde predicted the next crisis. The IMF managing director said the world was dividing into three groups—countries that are doing well, recovering or are still in trouble—and that imbalances could create the next financial crisis.

A new batch of dead pigs in China. More than 70 carcasses were found in a river near Mao’s birthplace. At least they tested negative for bird flu.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why gold is the worst investment: ”We’ve told you several times that gold has been the dog of global markets this year… Now Goldman Sachs commodities analysts suggest the selloff in the yellow metal could be about to gain momentum. In a research note Wednesday they write not even the stress over Cyprus could generate much of a rally in gold prices. And they come to the conclusion that “long” enthusiasm over gold prices is ebbing fast.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Capitalism won’t change North Korea. And its leaders are rational to the extreme.

How Iran won the war on drugs. And what it can teach Afghanistan.

US Senator Mitch McConnell is more dangerous than Kim Jong-un.

Italy and France are trouble. They are threats to the euro zone because they’re out of sync with Germany.

Gun control is a waste of time. At least Barack Obama’s time.

Surprising discoveries

Finland apologizes to Putin. Its police put the Russian president on a blacklist of criminals. Oops.

Bookies cut the odds on the name Alexandra for Kate Middleton’s baby. They are also betting it’s a girl.

Even more hurricanes this year. Mother Nature is expected to be worse in 2013.

When you are driving, daydreaming is more dangerous than texting.

How to procrastinate at work. The Quartz complete guide: read it now (or not).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Bitcoin war stories, and KMid baby names to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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