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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—US snooping secrets, European floods, Chinese exam day, Putin is single

By Jake Maxwell Watts
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

More surveillance secrets. A day after evidence emerged that the US National Security Agency is hoovering up Americans’ telephone data, the Washington Post and Guardian reported it also has a secret partnership with internet giants including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, giving the NSA real-time access to user data. (Twitter was noticeably absent.) The allegedly participating companies denied their involvement.

The world’s worst college entrance exam. About 9.2 million Chinese students will take the grueling nine-hour gaokao. New this year: some reforms to make it easier for students from rural areas to get into top schools.

Big-time US jobs day. The fate of the US growth story—and the Federal Reserve’s controversial quantitative easing program—could rest on this. Economists expect that 167,000 private, non-farm jobs will be added to the economy, and the unemployment rate will stay steady at 7.5%.

Barack Obama, meet Xi Jinping. The US and Chinese presidents will meet today in California for the first time since Xi took office. Here’s how to read all the photo ops and staged events.

While you were sleeping

Erdogan returned home to thunderous applause. More than 10,000 government supporters cheered the Turkish prime minister’s defiant speech at an airport in Istanbul, while his opponents massed in Taksim Square.

Huawei, go away. A UK security watchdog joined EU and US authorities in declaring that Chinese telecoms company Huawei—a major player in British telecommunications infrastructure—is a threat to national security. It has also been accused by the EU of anti-competitive behavior.

Austria quit a UN peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights, citing Syria’s spreading violence. It will withdraw 380 troops—a third of the international force.

China’s magic number is 7. Lawmakers will allow quarterly growth to slip to 7% before injecting new economic stimulus, according to economists involved in policy discussions.

Another affront to Abenomics. The yen strengthened sharply in midday US trading, suggesting that the Bank of Japan’s efforts to devalue the currency are being tested.

Vladimir Putin is single. Russia’s president announced he’s getting a divorce from his wife, Lyudmila. Russians jokingly asked which half of the country she’d be getting.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the lessons the US should learn from how Britain has done business with Huawei. “Put in place a robust system for the government to monitor investment into national infrastructure by foreign organisations, and to impose conditions for managing risk, such as setting up cells akin to the one monitoring Huawei. Good oversight beats bombastic protectionism any day of the week.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

How do you fix your reliance on a dozen easily hack-able passwords? Ask your subconscious.

The key to happiness: Remind yourself to be happy.

Earth to the IMF. The fund shouldn’t have been in the euro zone in the first place.

The real shortcomings of US border control. The cost of a long line.

Surprising discoveries

A Thai trader made a 3,400% return on the Smithfield-Shuanghui deal. Thanks to Facebook.

Jay-Z is just like Samsung. You’d be surprised at the similarities.

George Soros, an atheist, is allegedly behind an American Evangelical campaign. case of strange bedfellows.

Candy crackdown. Canadian authorities have charged Nestle and Mars with some not-so-sweet chocolate price-fixing.

Monster shark catch. A Texas man caught what might be the biggest mako shark ever reeled in, at 1,323 pounds (600 kg).

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