Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Boston bombs, Bank of America, a reality show on Mars

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What to watch for today

Softbank woos Sprint. The Japanese firm still expects to beat a rival bid from Dish Networks—but will also book a $4 billion profit on hedges and break-up fees if the deal falls through.

Brazil’s war on inflation. The central bank is set to announce an interest-rate hike at a two-day policy meeting. Residents are angry over the rising price of food staples.

Slovenia isn’t Cyprus. Or so Slovenia hopes to prove by auctioning €500 million ($652 million) in new treasury bills. The goal is to convince foreign lenders it can recapitalize its troubled banks without a bailout.

Canada isn’t perfect. It was seen as something of an economic miracle after the financial crisis, but the Bank of Canada is expected to lower its GDP growth forecast today. The IMF yesterday dropped its own forecast to 1.5% from 1.8%.

First quarter results party: Bank of America, Tata Motors, Tesco, Kinder Morgan, eBay, and Mattel all report earnings.

The Iron Lady is laid to rest. The cost to taxpayers is about £10 million—equivalent to 272 new teachers, two years of aid to Iraq, or two pints of milk for everyone living in London.

While you were sleeping

The Boston Marathon bombs were pressure cookers packed with gun powder and shrapnelThe simple design, built to maim as many people as possible, suggests either an amateur or a sophisticated bomber keen on covering his tracks. A female graduate student from China was identified as the third person killed in the attack.

BHP Billiton affirmed production targets. Iron ore and petroleum output were slightly lower than expected.

Glencore-Xstrata merger approved by China. The deal’s final hurdle was cleared after Glencore agreed to sell its stake in Xstrata’s Peruvian copper mine to a buyer approved by Beijing.

Iran-Pakistan quake fatalities were less dire than many feared. The biggest quake in Iran’s history took place 56 miles beneath the surface, in a sparsely populated area. The current death toll of about 35 people is far below the hundreds of fatalities that authorities initially feared.

American Airlines’ cloud failure. The airline’s connection to its online booking and data systems went down, stranding passengers across the US for several hours. One of them was one of ours.

A rebound for gold prices and US stocks. US stocks got a boost after Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, and Coca-Cola reported first quarter earnings that met or beat expectations. Intel met expectations, but it’s in decline; Yahoo didn’t do so great.  Spot prices for gold also rose almost 2% by late afternoon, after an 8% drop the day before.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on what’s wrong with Intel: “The unofficial motto of Intel, articulated by former CEO Andy Grove, is that “only the paranoid survive.” And yet so far Intel has mostly gone with business as usual, continuing its cycle of putting most of its development effort behind the ever more powerful chips that are only suitable for PCs and high-end servers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Does high government debt hurt growth? New research casts doubt on an influential paper cited by austerity fans, but perhaps we should have been more skeptical of the results in the first place. And here’s how to avoid the simple Excel error that tripped up the researchers.

The price of gold is plummeting because of bitcoin.

Cocaine caused the global financial crisis. “[I]rrational decisions as a result of megalomania brought on by cocaine usage.”

Indian politicians fighting on Twitter is a sign of progress.

Surprising discoveries

You could be on a reality TV show on Mars. Really. A non-profit will be accepting applications in July for human colonists to send to the red planet by 2023.

Microsoft makes a lot of money from Android. Its patents reap an estimated $5 to $15 per handset. It signed a Foxconn patent deal today.

About two million people in Beijing are living in bomb shelters because of a real estate shortage.

Hospitals make more money when surgeons make mistakes.

Chinese counterfeits make up almost 2% of global trade.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Excel boo-boos and reality-show applications to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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