Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Afghan presidential palace attacked, Obama’s climate plan, Snowden hunting

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What to watch for today

Afghanistan’s presidential palace is under attack. Gunmen began an attack in the early hours of Tuesday as reporters gathered for a press conference with President Hamid Karzai. Details are still emerging.

Bankers convene. Over 1,000 of the world’s top bankers and policymakers will meet in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday at a conference of the Institute of International Finance. Top of the agenda: Fixing Europe and adapting to new regulation.

Will Sprint close the deal? Sprint shareholders will vote on SoftBank’s sweetened offer, worth $21.6 billion. Sprint’s other suitor, Dish Network, abandoned its bid last week after a long bidding war.

Obama’s climate vision. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a slew of measures including limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants, which account for 40% of the annual emissions in the US.

Digital drag for Barnes and Noble. The retailer is expected to report a loss for the fourth straight quarter, while revenues may see a 4% drop. The drag is coming from the Nook division, which includes e-readers, tablets and e-books.

Homebuyers are back. Economists expect new US home sales to increase 2.2% in May. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for April and durable goods orders for May are also due.

While you were sleeping

Where in the world is Edward Snowden? US intelligence agencies and a lot of frustrated journalists continued their hunt for the NSA whistleblower after he didn’t board a flight from Moscow to Havana. The US criticized China for letting Snowden leave Hong Kong for Moscow—if in fact he ever went there.

Indonesia apologized for wayward pollution. Taking full responsibility for illegal fires on the island of Sumatra, President Yudhoyono called for an end to the bickering that has soured the relationship between Indonesia and its smoke-choked neighbors, Malaysia and Singapore.

Berlusconi’s Bunga-bunga boo-boo. Italy’s former prime minister was sentenced to seven years in jail and banned from public office for having sex with an underage prostitute. The ruling threatens to destabilize Italy’s ruling coalition, although he is unlikely to ever see the inside of a prison cell.

Dilma Rousseff goes to the people. Brazil’s president responded to days of nationwide protest by offering to hold a referendum on political reform and invest 50 billion reais ($25 billion) in public transport.

Affirmative action goes back to the drawing board. The US Supreme Court sidestepped a sweeping decision on race-conscious admission policies by asking lower courts to take fresh look under more demanding standards. But make no mistake, affirmative action is already dead.

Rivals Microsoft and Oracle team up. Both companies are struggling to preserve their market share in cloud computing in the face of stiff competition from cheaper alternatives. Oracle has been under fire from its shareholders for missing software sales targets for a second quarter running.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on what the US and Chinese central banks have learned about bubbles. “Before the global financial crisis hit, central bankers didn’t try to deflate asset bubbles. Instead, they just waited until they popped and tried to contain the damage and pick up the pieces. But that hand-off approach appears to be no longer in vogue. The evidence? Look no further than the most recent market upheaval, which was sparked by central banks in the world’s two largest economies doing their best to deflate bubblicious conditions in key financial markets.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s opacity makes it a dangerous investment. Beijing has lost control of its Frankenstein economy.

Global warming is making the world un-insurable. Governments are the only ones who can do something about it.

The next merger boom is already here. M&A volumes will rise even though most mergers continue to disappoint.

The coffee critics are wrong. The science shows that caffeine can drive creativity.

Surprising discoveries

Get important people to answer your emails. Six secrets on how to get responses.

Avoiding US extradition treaties is a toughie. This map will help.

Influential statistics. The most persuasive word you can use in a meeting is “yeah.” 

Wine connoisseurs can’t tell the difference. Only 10% knew they were being given the same wine over and over.

Visit the Burj Khalifa for free. Google Street View now takes you into the world’s tallest building.

The 1% of the 1%. 0.01% of the US population contributed 28% of campaign donations in the 2012 elections.

America’s best-loved pets. Dogs are an overwhelming favorite. But tigers are the top exotic pet.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tips for escaping world powers and unidentifiable vintages to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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