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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Bernankean smoke signals, Europe vs. tax havens, Sony weighs breakup bid, SAP’s autism hires

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Bernankean smoke signals. The Federal Reserve chairman testifies before Congress the same day the Fed releases minutes of its most recent meeting. Investors will be looking for more hints of how soon Bernanke will scale back quantitative easing.

Targeting tax dodgers. Cracking down on tax havens and multinationals are top of the agenda at the EU summit in Brussels. Ireland will be grilled for its special treatment of companies like Apple, which used a loophole to pay only 2 percent tax on $74 billion in overseas income.

Osborne braces for a beating. The austerity soap opera rolls on in the United Kingdom, where the International Monetary Fund will critique Chancellor George Osborne’s economic plans as growth-hindering. The Bank of England voted 6-3 against restarting its bond purchase program.

More bad news for PCs? Hewlett-Packard reports earnings today, along with US retailers Lowe’s and Target.

While you were sleeping

Bank of Japan stayed the course. The bank concluded its two-day meeting and maintained its monetary easing policy. Japan’s trade deficit unexpectedly worsened despite a weaker yen, though exports did rise slightly.

Sony kept an open mind, and said it will consider activist investor Dan Loeb’s proposal to spin off a portion of its entertainment business.

Bird flu got beat. Health authorities say the H7N9 outbreak has been contained—at least for now.

A US immigration bill advanced. A Senate panel voted 13-5 to advance the measure, setting the stage for a full debate next month. If it passes, 11 million undocumented residents will be one step closer to a path to citizenship.

Bob Lutz wants Fisker. The longtime auto executive teamed up with Wanxiang Group, China’s largest auto parts maker, to make an offer for the bankrupt electric car maker. 

Riots in Sweden. Unrest continued for a third night in Stockholm after police killed a 69-year-old man in an immigrant neighborhood.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on the future of food. ”Anjan Contractor’s 3D food printer just got a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype of his universal food synthesizer … Contractor envisions a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store.” Read more.

Matters of debate

Greece isn’t turning the corner. Don’t believe all the hype.

The new Xbox is an Apple killer. At least in the living room.

Anti-Americanism on the rise in Russia. The latest spy scandal is proof.

Satirist Bassem Youssef is the most important man in Egypt.

Surprising discoveries

Breaking Bad in Taiwan. A former chemistry teacher cooks up an illegal food additive that can cause kidney damage.

Autism as a job requirement. German software firm SAP wants people with autism to account for about 1% of it workforce because of their high scores for intelligence and concentration.

China’s bear bile IPO: A pharmaceutical firm that “milks” bile from captive bears was foiled by China’s nascent animal rights movement.

Tornadoes never strike twice. Unless you live in Moore, Oklahoma, in which case the last time was 1999.

Pedal-powered pubs. Riding a quadracycle and drinking alcohol is the new new thing at bachelorette parties.

Toothbrush rush. Colgate-Palmolive applied for a patent that infuses caffeine into a patch attached to a toothbrush.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tax loopholes and SAP job applications to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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