Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Snowden on the run, China’s shadow banking crackdown, Mandela critical

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Snowden goes globetrotting. Whistleblower Edward Snowden fled Hong Kong for Moscow with the help of WikiLeaks (and the acquiescence of Beijing), and has requested asylum from Ecuador.

Nelson Mandela’s condition worsened. The 94-year-old former South African president has been in the hospital for two weeks with a lung infection, and his condition has become “critical” in the last 24 hours.

Chen Guangcheng speaks in Taiwan. The Chinese dissident arrived on Sunday after a bitter split with New York University. Beijing is not likely to take kindly to his planned schedule of human rights and democracy speeches.

Berlusconi’s sex trial verdict. The 76-year-old former Italian prime minister is accused of sexual misconduct with an underage prostitute and could receive a six-year sentence and lifetime ban from public office.

Vodafone über alles. The UK telecom giant reportedly reached a preliminary deal to buy Kabel Deutschland for €7.7 billion ($10.1 billion.) after trumping a rival bid by Liberty Global.

A week of high-stakes legal rulings in the US. The Supreme Court is expected to issue decisions on politically explosive issues like same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and voting rights.

Over the weekend

China’s war on shadow banking. A funding squeeze by the central bank was explained by the state-run news agency: “It’s not that there’s no money, it’s that the money is not in the right places.” Analysts think there’s more squeezing to come.

Rio Tinto kept its diamonds. The mining giant scrapped the sale of its diamond mining unit, casting doubt on its plans to pare off up to $19 billion of assets.

Malaysia gasped for breath. A massive cloud of smoke caused by crop burning on the Indonesian island of Sumatra moved on from Singapore.

China and Britain inked a currency deal. The three-year swap line will allow the Bank of England to draw up to 200 billion yuan ($32.6 billion) from the Chinese central bank in the event of a shortage of yuan funds in the UK. It could boost London’s position as a center for issuing bonds denominated in China’s currency.

EU split on bank bailouts. Euro zone finance ministers failed to reach a new deal on how to rescue troubled banks. The bone of contention: whether taxpayers bear the cost of bailouts.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on extreme-weather architecture: ”The emerging class of architecture suggests the onset of a global design-and-construction industry worth tens of billions of dollars in the coming years. Places such as the Netherlands have had to build around environmental- and weather-related challenges for years. But to the degree that extreme-weather architecture and construction moves to the mainstream, it would become one of the biggest infrastructure businesses on the planet, straddling US, Europe, Asia and Latin America.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Introducing the Tabarrok Curve. Too much protection of intellectual property is bad for innovation.

The global middle class is revolting, and that’s a good thing. The wave of protests in Brazil, Turkey, and elsewhere is an essential check on government excess.

Dismantling the BRICS. The BROOMS are the real frontier markets.

Conflict produces innovation. Managers can learn to use tension to create breakthrough products.

Selfies are not an ideal tool for self-reflection. The self-portraits shot on smartphones are edited to fit the boundaries of who we think we are.

Surprising discoveries

Plants do precise mathematical calculations at night… Biological fractions attuned to a body clock.

…and supermarket vegetables defend themselves against bugs. As long as the light is right.

TGIT, RIP. Saudi Arabia changed its weekend from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday.

Barack Obama personally chooses gifts for his inner circle. The US president gave one former press secretary a framed necktie.

Larry Ellison owns an airline in Hawaii. And the Oracle CEO may be interested in buying a second one.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, super-powered zucchinis and developing market acronyms to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.