Quartz Daily Brief—Snowden’s asylum in Russia, Berlusconi blowback, US jobs report, Big Oil shale woes

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Will Berlusconi’s conviction bring down Italy’s government? The country’s supreme court called for a re-examination of a ban on his holding public office, but did not reject the ban. Will Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s fractious right-left coalition hold it together?

A sluggish US recovery. The economy is expected to have added fewer jobs in July than in June; unemployment is forecast to slip to 7.5% from June’s 7.6%; and core inflation for June will likely come in below the Fed’s 2% target.

Dell shareholders may finally bite the bullet. Dell shareholders are expected to vote on founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake’s buyout bid, after their request to change voting rules was rejected. Activist investor Carl Icahn has sued Dell (paywall) to prevent more voting delays.

Earnings scorecard. Toyota’s profits are expected to surge over 50% thanks to the weaker yen. Chevron is likely to report lower earnings after rising material and labor costs ate into production and profits. Viacom, Royal Bank of Scotland and Allianz will also report earnings.

A fresh start for Mali? Mali is expecting results from Sunday’s presidential election, originally scheduled for Thursday. The country has endured 18 months of turmoil including a soldier-led coup, an al Qaeda-linked rebel occupation in the north, and French meddling.

While you were sleeping

Edward Snowden found a home. Russia defied American warnings and granted the NSA whistleblower asylum, ending his 5-week confinement at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. The US scolded the Kremlin and signaled that President Obama might boycott a presidential summit in September. Meanwhile, Snowden already has a job offer at the popular Russian social network VKontakte.

Asia’s richest man is shopping for European telecoms. Li Ka-Shing’s Hutchison Whampoa plans to increase acquisitions and market share through its 3 Group Europe subsidiary.

Fabulous Fab was nabbed for securities fraud. In a win for the US Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal jury found former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre liable of misleading investors in a mortgage deal that collapsed during the financial crisis. No other big US bank employee has lost a court case related to the crisis.

Bank of America’s housing crisis hangover. BofA expects a civil lawsuit from the Justice Department over housing-boom era mortgage securitizations, and it said that the SEC and New York Attorney General’s office are also moving ahead with investigations.

Big Oil missed out on the shale boom. Exxon Mobil’s profits fell 57% after its late arrival into the US shale gas market led to rising expenses and falling oil-and-gas production. Shell also wrote off $2.2 billion for its US shale gas business.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why New York’s ban on illegal shark fin trading may do nothing. “Sonja Fordham, president of Shark Advocates International, says that because the fins of various shark species are notoriously hard to tell apart, “There will be a whole lot more wiggle room for undetected finning” of sharks whose fins can pass for smooth dogfish fins. And with that oddly high 12% fin-to-carcass ratio for dogfish, fishermen will be tempted to pile up fins—of smooth dogfish and anything else they catch—until they hit the legal weight limit. In fact, that 12% quota is almost an invitation to illegal finners to keep finning.” Read more here.

Simone Foxman on why global economy may be doomed to lower growth—forever. “Typically, the “aggregate earnings growth rate” of the S&P 500—the average rate at which all companies grow—is 5% at the end of earnings season. So far, it’s at a measly 1.8%, according to Factset. What’s going on? With pressure on China, cash flowing out of emerging markets, and continuing tensions in Europe, no one’s surprised things are sluggish right now. However, a small but prominent group of CEOs, investors, and economists suggest that this isn’t temporary, but the start of a completely new era of slower growth.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Global warming increases violent crime. A rise in domestic violence, assault, and murder can be traced directly to rising temperatures.

China’s official unemployment rate is a basically worthless. 230 million migrant workers and a large surplus agriculture labor force aren’t factored in.

The West is misreading Hassan Rouhani. Iran’s president-elect won’t challenge the conservative clergy or end the nuclear program.

Changing the definition of cancer is no cure. Changing the terminology without improving communication will leave patients sick as well as confused.

Warren Buffett’s son’s claim that philanthropists give with one hand and take with the other is wrong. The argument belies a lack of understanding of both economics and of the extremity of global poverty.

Surprising discoveries

US couch potatoes are going digital. Average time spent with digital media per day will surpass TV-viewing time for the first time this year.

No one rides used bicycles in Denmark. With world’s highest hourly wages, repairs could cost as much as $300.

Good looks could save you from bullies. A study shows that workplace bullies tend to pick on colleagues who are considered unattractive.

Queen Elizabeth had a “World War Three” speech ready. It was to be delivered in the event of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

South America may soon be covered in dust from the Sahara. Powerful winds are blowing thousands of tons of desert sand over the Atlantic Ocean.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Edward Snowden job offers and just-in-case war speeches to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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Quartz Daily Brief—Morsi’s ultimatum, Snowden’s savior, the Winklevoss Bitcoin IPO

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Good Morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Action from Australia’s central bank. A slowdown in China is denting demand for raw materials. But if the bank pushes rates below a record low of 2.75%, it could play a crucial role in Australia’s upcoming election.

US auto sales. Carmakers are projected to finish the first half of 2013 on a strong note, selling more cars last month than any previous June since 2007. Factory orders for May will also be released.

America’s biggest alcohol company reports. Constellation Brands is expected to post a 1% rise in per-share earnings and a 6% increase in revenue. A $4.5 billion deal with Grupo Modelo, which took Constellation to number one, was closed at the very end of the quarter.

Mozilla out-Googles Google. The first smartphones running on Mozilla’s new mobile operating system, based on the Firefox web browser, will go on sale in Spain. It’s a step ahead of what Google’s doing, but Google probably doesn’t care.

While you were sleeping

Edward Snowden can stay in Russia. President Vladimir Putin said the NSA whistleblower’s request for asylum would be granted if he would “stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.” Snowden blasted the Obama administration for making him “a stateless person.”

An ultimatum from Egypt’s generals. President Mohamed Morsi dismissed the army’s threat to intervene if he fails to defuse Egypt’s biggest ever street protests within 48 hours. If he is ousted it might not be another victory for the people, but for the military.

How Britain got its groove back. UK business confidence is the highest since 2007, according to a quarterly Chamber of Commerce survey, thanks in part to booming exports.

Rothschild to advise on RBS split. The British government is set to appoint the investment bank to divide the Royal Bank of Scotland into “good” and “bad” banks—raising eyebrows since a key Treasury official worked at Rothschild until a year ago.

Onyx is attracting more interested parties. Pfizer and Novartis may bid for the biotech company after Amgen’s offer was rejected. Onyx shares soared 51% on expectations of a bidding war.

The Winklevii are forming a bitcoin ETF. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss filed for a public listing of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust at a proposed valuation of $20 million. But investing will carry some unusual risks—like losing the fund’s bitcoins, or having bitcoins declared illegal.

Zynga’s CEO stepped down. To the surprise of some who expected more obstinacy, Marc Pincus is giving up the reins at the social gaming company to Don Mattrick, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division. Pincus will stay on as chairman.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why seven of the ten least affordable cities in the world are in China. ”Policies to curb housing inflation aren’t working. That’s worrying news for the government; housing prices are a major source of public resentment. The danger isn’t just the threat of popular unrest, though: It’s that soaring property prices make people feel less wealthy and less inclined to consume. And that’s exactly what the government needs them to do in order to wean the economy off its dependency on exports and credit-driven investment. Read more here.

Matters of debate

We aren’t growing enough food to feed the world. Expect big problems by 2050.

The biggest threat to Hong Kong’s AAA rating is China. It is becoming increasingly exposed to the mainland’s ill health.

Big data is overrated. Correlations and statistics are great, but sometimes gut instinct is too.

The losing battle to keep the internet free and open. It’s becoming more accountable to corporate shareholders than citizens.

Apple needs the iWatch more than you do. The gadget could help Apple arrest its stock’s fall.

Surprising discoveries

Human head transplants are now possible, thanks to advances in reconnecting severed spinal cords.

Babies know when a cuddle is coming. They tense up to prepare.

A mere 75 people dominate Bitcoin. Most owners barely trade at all.

The giant African land snail is freaking out Floridians. A molluscicide campaign has killed 121,000; they even have their own horrifying movie trailer.

Ecuador’s flower growers get Snowden shock. After Ecuador toyed with offering the NSA leaker asylum, the US delayed eliminating tariffs on imports of roses worth about $250 million a year.

The forthcoming cheap iPhone is hideous. Or lovely, if you like candy-colored smartphones.

Hitler had 15 food tasters. One recalls how good the food was and how terrified they all were.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cuddle alerts and bitcoin investment risk assessments to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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

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Good Morning, Quartz readers!

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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Quartz Daily Brief—Snowden checks out, SoftBank sweetens Sprint offer, new Apple gadgetry

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Good Morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Edward Snowden in the wind.  The NSA whistleblower left his hotel in Hong Kong just steps ahead of pursuing reporters, and the United States began preparing charges against him—a necessary step before extradition proceedings.

Air traffic controllers on strike. The French lead the way in protest against a European Commission plan to speed up the centralization of air control powers to Brussels. Significant disruptions are expected.

Was the ECB’s bond-buying scheme legal? Germany’s constitutional court will consider whether the policy violated Germany’s sovereign right to decide its own budget.

Immigration overhaul. The US Senate will start debating immigration legislation that has split the Republican party. Democrats, moderates Republicans and the White House are pushing for a vote before the July 4 recess.

An action plan for the EU steel industry. The European Commission will lay out its plan (paywall) to help steel producers.

While you were sleeping

SoftBank raised its bid for Sprint Nextel. The new offer is 7% higher, at $21.6 billion, and came just before a Sprint shareholder meeting was set to vote on the deal. Meanwhile, rival Dish Network hasn’t given up.

The Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has pledged to avoid “incremental” steps after unveiling unprecedented easing in April.

AstraZeneca agreed to buy Pearl. The $1.15 billion purchase will expand the drugmaker’s portfolio of respiratory-disease treatments.

S&P got optimistic about the US. The ratings agency upgraded the outlook on the US government’s debt from “negative” to “stable” in a vote of confidence for US politicians’ ability to reach a deal on the debt ceiling later this year. We’re a little skeptical.

Apple’s modest bag of tricks. There were no big surprises at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference as the company unveiled iTunes Radio, a free music streaming service. It also introduced a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS7, which presages the fusion of desktop and mobile software.

Facebook, the next blue-chip stock? The tech firm’s stock rose 4.5% in a day on rumors that it might be joining the S&P 500 next year. This is why.

Lululemon lost its leader. CEO Christine Day stepped down for “personal reasons”—supposedly unrelated to the company’s recent fracas with too-transparent yoga pants, which actually did less damage to its earnings than expected.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on two Thai billionaires and their $27 billion of acquisitions fueled by cheap credit. “The deals are worrisome for several reasons. Some of Dhanin and Charoen’s loans are precariously tied to real estate and the stock market. Also, Thai consumer spending would need to continue growing rapidly to justify these deals, Standard Chartered analyst Nirgunan Tiruchelvam told Reuters. And that’s unlikely to happen.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Edward Snowden: hero or villain?

Apple’s streaming radio is a lame duck. On demand play is the key.

Can Aung San Suu Kyi complete the transition from prisoner to politician? Lessons from Havel, Walesa and Mandela.

Dropped out of college with a load of debt? Fear not.

A strong yuan is bad for China. It gives state-owned companies too much buying power.

Americans are an anxious lot. Here’s how to manage a jittery workforce.

The secret to finding a job when you’re olderStart solving people’s problems.

Surprising discoveries

Verizon customers are already suing Uncle Sam. The first of many.

But 56% of Americans think that the NSA tracking phone calls is acceptable. Attitudes on email monitoring haven’t changed much either.

Nor is the US isn’t the most snooping of states. Just look at India, Italy… and Canada.

Twitter’s latest starHer name is Hillary

Want to keep your pet in shape? Get this app.

Napping at work can cost youAsk this German banker.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Edward Snowden asylum locations and pet fitness videos to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter herefor updates during the day.

You’re getting the Europe edition of the Quartz Daily Brief. To change your region, click here. We’d also love it if you shared this email with your friends. They can sign up for free here.