Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—UK austerity, Obama’s safari, goldbug rout, mile-high heist

Quartz

What to watch for today

EU bailout talks, round two. Officials will try again to find common ground on how future bank bailouts will be managed in the European Union. Talks in Luxembourg last week collapsed when the French and Germans disagreed on how bigger bank depositors should shoulder the burden.

George the Austere. UK chancellor George Osborne will give details about £11 billion ($17 billion) more of spending cuts that will kick in from April 2015. The Bank of England’s financial stability report will also be released.

Obama’s African safari.  The US president will start his 8-day visit to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. His trip could be overshadowed by the deteriorating health of Nelson Mandela.

Doesn’t anyone eat breakfast anymore? US food giant General Mills is expected to post a 11% decline in earnings, as the maker of Cheerios struggles to boost sales of its two largest categories—cereal and yogurt. Monsanto and Bed Bath & Beyond will also report earnings.

HD Supply prices its IPO. The industrial and hardware supply company could raise up to $1.25 billion, making it the third-largest US IPO this year.

While you were sleeping

Peace through war. The US and Afghanistan reaffirmed their commitment to begin negotiating with the Taliban, despite an attack on the CIA office in Kabul on Tuesday.

Gold is heading for it’s biggest quarterly loss in 40 years. Bullion has lost more than 20% of its value since April as investors prepare for the end of the Fed’s quantitative easing program.

Edward Snowden in airport limbo. Russian president Vladimir Putin confirmed that the NSA whistleblower was still in the transit lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. He said Russia would not extradite Snowden to the US, but that the sooner Snowden chooses where to go next, “the better it will be both for us and for him.”

Funding for the Nicaragua Canal. The Chinese billionaire behind Nicaragua’s plan to compete with the Panama Canal said he has investors and work could start by the end of 2014.

Obama the green warrior. The US president unveiled a plan to fight climate change, which included controversial proposals like limits on carbon emissions from new and existing power plants. As notable as his plan was his combative mood.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on why smart watches are so terrible. “The woes of current smart watches are myriad, from inadequate battery life (imagine charging your watch daily, like your smartphone) to low-resolution screens to a lack of third-party apps (i.e., the software that makes smartphones so useful). But the primary issue with smart watches is that there has yet to be a category-defining device worth copying by all its competitors.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Can Silicon Valley save the world? Probably not, but it can still help usher in an age of digital do-gooding.

The European Union’s biggest problem isn’t debt. Its people don’t trust it any more.

Japan’s economic success hinges on deregulation. The third arrow of Abenomics is the most critical one.

Higher US minimum wages are a win-win. Republicans should support the proposal for their own good.

Don’t get so upset about Chinese counterfeiting. It could even be a good thing for foreign firms.

Master the art of the mea culpa. If done right, apologies can resolve conflict and improve relationships.

Surprising discoveries

Selling picks & shovels for the cannabis gold rush.  A private equity fund has one cardinal rule:  “Don’t touch the leaf.”

Your tax dollars at work. IRS employees used company credit cards to buy pornography and Nerf footballs.

The Goldilocks solar system.  Scientists have discovered a nearby sun crowded with potentially habitable super-Earths.

Paging D.B. Cooper. $1.2 million went missing on a flight from Zurich to New York. 

Escaping la migra is fun for the entire family. A Mexican amusement park offers a fake border-crossing attraction.

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs. Street signs of the future will be able to give you restaurant recommendations.

Porn with a conscience. Activists run a sex site to save the rainforest.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Snowden sightings and half-baked investment opportunities to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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