Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Defending Abenomics, Google’s gaming console, Goldman’s scavenger hunt

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What to watch for today

A defense of Abenomics. Ice cream-loving Japan finance minister Taro Aso’s speech, “Abenomics and the outlook of Japan’s economy,” comes as the country’s institutional investors cut their holding of Japanese shares to a historic low. Separately, Japan’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.1% for May, and retail sales rose 0.8% from a year earlier, after four straight months of year-on-year declines.

Good, bad or ugly. US economy-watchers will keenly await the consumer sentiment index for June and Chicago PMI for May, after US GDP was revised down earlier this week.

Does anyone want new BlackBerrys? The smartphone maker will divulge information about sales of its new touchscreen BlackBerry Z10, an all-or-nothing bet to revive its fortunes.

German inflation. Europe’s largest economy will report inflation statistics for June. Analyst expect a 1.8% rise in the consumer prices index from a year ago. Retail sales figures are also due.

While you were sleeping

Google is developing more toys. In direct competition with several of the world’s biggest tech companies, Google is developing a smartwatch and videogame console based on its Android operating system.

Corporate snooping. The US charged one of China’s largest wind turbine manufacturers with corporate espionage. Sinovel is accused of trying to steal information that would be tantamount to “attempted corporate homicide.”

US immigration reform cleared the Senate, voting 68-32 to approve an overhaul that would give millions of immigrants work visas and a path to citizenship. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where its odds are longer.

Will the next Bernanke please stand up? The White House has started assembling a list of potential candidates for the Federal Reserve chairmanship. A formal nomination is unlikely before fall.

Winner’s curse? Myanmar awarded mobile telecom licenses to Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo. The duo will get access to one of the world’s last untapped markets, but the going won’t be easy.

Bangladesh got slapped on the wrist. The US is will suspend trade privileges for Bangladesh over concerns about employee safety in that country’s garment industry. But the penalties will affect less than 1 percent of America’s $4.9 billion in annual imports from Bangladesh, and the lure of cheap labor will survive.

No barter for Snowden. President Barack Obama said there will be no “wheeling and dealing” in US attempts to extradite NSA intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. Meanwhile, Ecuador broke a trade pact with the US in protest at pressure from Washington. Snowden remains in Moscow—and he might want to think about staying there.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on why you shouldn’t get too excited about the UK’s new finding of shale gas reserves. ”In its announcement, the Geological Survey said that the Bowland shale contains about 1,300 trillion cubic feet (40 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas ‘in place.’ The tricky metric—after you know the resource in place—is the ‘recovery rate,’ the percentage that can actually be extracted, and here is where the hyperbole has appeared.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Social networks and blogs do more harm than good, says internet impressario and former Facebook president Sean Parker.

Rising interest rates aren’t necessarily bad. They’ll encourage savings, reduce leverage and spur diversification.

The BRICs got suckered into big-league sport. In the pursuit of national prestige, the needs of the common man were forgotten.

It’s an unequal world. US CEOs now earn 273 times the average worker’s pay.

Surprising discoveries

Midnight madness. Inside the epic all-night Goldman Sachs scavenger hunt featuring brainteasers and lasers.

The FBI had a Wikileaks insider. A most un-Bond-like cherubic 18-year-old. 

Mom and Dad plus one. The UK backs three-person IVF.

Paypal shoots for the stars. Launching electronic payments in space.

How not to report on floods. A TV journalist gets fired after sitting on the shoulders of a flood victim to avoid getting wet.

Do you take this brick? A wedding dress made out of Legos.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cryptic scavenger hunt clues and unusual wedding dresses to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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