Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Japan grows, Korea slows, Chinese aid flows, Queen Beatrix goes

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What to watch for today

Long live the king! The investiture of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands will take place immediately after his mother, the queen, abdicates in Amsterdam to make way for a “new generation.” Today is also her official birthday, when all of the Netherlands dresses in orange and parties on the street.

The final test for India’s Companies Bill of 2012. Lawmakers in the upper house of the Indian parliament will vote on the proposal to increase transparency by forcing companies to consult their boards of directors (pdf) more frequently. The measure has already passed in the lower house.

Inflation in the euro area. Data for April will be key to predicting whether the European Central Bank will cut interest rates later this week—though we’ve argued it won’t help the economy much anyway.

Earnings madness continues: Rosneft, Thomson Reuters, Gazprom, Anheuser-Busch, InBev, BP, Pfizer, Marks & Spencer, and Softbank report. We’ll also hear more from UBS and Deutsche Bank in their conference calls.

Also today: We’ll also have new reads on Spanish first-quarter GDP and the US S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.

While you were sleeping

Was a woman involved in the Boston bombings? Authorities have found female DNA on bomb debris.

Japan enjoyed its fourth straight month of increased industrial production, up 0.2% in March and 1.9% for the quarter, with unemployment down 0.2%. South Korea showed a 2.6% decline in February, the third consecutive month of contraction.

Taiwan reported underwhelming GDP growth. At 1.5% for the quarter, it fell short of expectations.

Alibaba bought an 18% stake in Sina Weibo. China’s biggest e-commerce company paid $586 million for the stake, valuing Weibo at around $3.2 billion.

Deutsche Bank announced plans to raise €2.8 billion ($3.7 billion)The German bank wanted to bolster its capital position, and released its first quarter earnings report a day early. Deutsche’s Basel III core Tier 1 capital ratio was 8.8%, which meets Basel stipulations right now, but standards are set to get tougher.

Putin and Abe decided they should officially end World War II. The leaders of Russia and Japan “agreed that the situation where, 67 years after the conclusion of [World War II], we have still been unable to conclude a bilateral peace treaty, looks abnormal.” They’re still fighting over the Kuril Islands, which Japan still claims, but are looking to cut a deal on natural gas.

The CIA delivers. The New York Times reported (paywall)—and Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged (paywall)—that the CIA has been dropping off millions of dollars in backpacks, suitcases, and even plastic bags at Karzai’s offices for years. Some of the money ended up with warlords, and Karzai has very good reasons to keep them happy.

The first athlete in a major American team sport came out as gay. NBA veteran Jason Collins made a landmark announcement with this Sports Illustrated editorial.

El Celler de Can Roca is the world’s best restaurant. The eatery in Catalonia fuses traditional dishes with modern, surrealist touches.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why a dispute between former NBA star Michael Jordan and a Chinese sportswear company is a big deal: ”Today was the first day of trial in the lawsuit brought by Michael Jordan—you know, “Air Jordan”—against Qiaodan Sports Co. (乔丹, an ostensible Mandarin transliteration of “Jordan,” pronounced “chee-ow dahn.”) The suit will test the Chinese legal system’s recognition of personal trademarks, something increasingly important to the country as it seeks to upgrade its protection of intellectual property.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

North Korea closed its cross-border factories with the South because they were too successful.

Goldman Sachs is becoming Apple’s go-to bank under Tim Cook. Steve Jobs looked down on bankers.

China is secretly pouring far more aid money into Africa than it has ever disclosed.

The US tech talent shortage is a myth. What that means for immigration reform.

One of these four people could be the future CEO of JP Morgan. When Jamie Dimon steps down, that is.

More money, more happiness. And “if there is a satiation point, we are yet to reach it.”

Surprising discoveries

Death of the upgrade. Airlines are auctioning off empty business class seats to the peasants in economy class.

We may never run out of fossil fuels. Crystalline natural gas would be a miracle—and a disaster.

The world’s population by latitude and longitude. On average, the world lives 24 degrees from the equator.

The Margaret Thatcher hairdo. The Iron Lady’s death has set off a fashion frenzy.

A great photographer goes kaput. The European Space Agency’s Herschel telescope finally ran out of helium, meaning it will stop taking beautiful pictures of the universe.

In case you missed it: Our latest redesign is making prettier.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Thatcher-inspired hairdos, and business class game theory tactics to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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