Quartz daily brief—Americas Edition—Kerry in Korea, renegotiating Cyprus, Singapore’s economy, liftoff for Putin

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What to watch for today

The state of JP Morgan. The bank is expected to report a small bump in profits—a much-needed piece of good news for Jamie Dimon, who is fighting to keep his chairman title and repeatedly apologizing for the London Whale trading loss. Wells Fargo also reports earnings.

EU finance ministers grapple with Cyprus. The messy bailout of Cyprus tops the agenda for the two-day meeting in Dublin. Germany’s growing reluctance over euro zone banking reform is also up for discussion.

How will North Korea insult John Kerry? The new US secretary of state’s visit to Seoul is filled with drama because of the possibility of a North Korean missile test. The US accidentally revealed that putting a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile is within Pyongyang’s grasp. Up next, Kerry meets with Chinese leaders to persuade them to calm Kim Jong-un down.

Hopeful successors to Chávez woo voters. There are only two days of campaigning left in Venezuela before the presidential vote on April 14. Chávez protege and acting president Nicolás Maduro, a former bus driver, faces opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

The Sudans meet for the first time since they divorced. Omar al-Bashir travels to Juba to meet his southern counterpart today. The presidents are expected to discuss border issues and oil trade.

While you were sleeping

An unpleasant surprise for Singapore. The island nation’s GDP contracted 1.4% in the first quarter and 0.6% year-on-year as manufacturing declined. Separately, the central bank said it would keep policy unchanged.

Vladimir Putin announced $50 billion in investment for Russia’s space program. Plans include a new launch pad that will start sending rockets into space by 2015 and people by 2018.

No turnaround for Infosys. The Indian tech bellwether’s stock slipped 18% on disappointing forecasts. The company said it expects to grow 6-10% in the 2013-14 financial year, substantially lower than the forecast 12-14%. At Rs 24 billion ($440 million), net profit was up a lackluster 3%.

UK house prices hit a five-year high. The average home now costs £230,078 ($354,000), up 0.2% from last month. Much of the rise is powered by London. Prices would have fallen 0.1% not counting the capital.

G8 ministers accomplished nothing. They didn’t resolve their differences on Syria or come up with a plan on North Korea. Not even a speech by Angelina Jolie put them in a compromising mood.

Former KPMG partner charged. Scott London is facing insider trading allegations, and nobody can work out why he threw away a career and perhaps his liberty for $25,000, a Rolex and some Bruce Springsteen tickets.

The H7N9 flu may be resistant to anti-viral drugs. Scientists found the new avian flu strain has a genetic mutation that makes Tamiflu and Relenza less effective.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on how cloud-computing firms are about to dunk their servers in vats of mineral oil. “[T]he fact that companies of this scale are seriously evaluating a technology long restricted to only the most demanding applications—places where price hardly matters, like military supercomputing clusters and Wall Street data centers where thousandths of a second can be worth millions of dollars—says a great deal about just how unsustainable current data center infrastructure has become.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

India needs more bureaucrats. They are good for democracy.

Containment for North Korea and Iran is better than regime change.

Taller people are smarter because of good genes.

You should live as if you were immortal instead of trying to learn from past mistakes.

Are the days of European offshore banking numbered? Countries across Europe are cracking down.

Surprising discoveries

The digital afterlife. Google wants to help with your post-mortem Internet plans.

Margaret Thatcher may get a street named after her… in Paris

The Winklevoss twins are Bitcoin fans. Mark Zuckerberg’s nemeses have $11 million worth of the virtual currency—at least, that was its value last time we looked.

A Carnival Caribbean cruise is cheaper than a Motel 6 budget hotel stay. But you might get stranded at sea. 

The New Dragon Bridge in Vietnam breathes fire, literally.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, digital wills and proof that short people are smart too to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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