Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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Be careful when dancing with the bear. Russia has threatened “painful” retaliation against new sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they would make it all but impossible to achieve the Trump administration’s goal of improved relations. The EU also weighed in, warning it could retaliate “within a matter of days” should the U.S. unilaterally strengthen sanctions against Russia. European energy companies risk becoming collateral damage in the squabble. — Andy Reinhardt

Day from hell. Across Europe, stock watchers are preparing for Thursday, one of the busiest earnings days in years. Companies worth a combined $3 trillion will post their results. The dump could create volatility in share prices as investors struggle to digest the research notes they use to inform their buy and sell decisions.

Cryptocurrencies. From Hong Kong to London, bankers are abandoning lucrative careers to plunge into the murky world of initial coin offerings—investments in digital currencies that are being developed. The sales to investors are a way to make quick money without the hassle of banks or regulators. The allure of an incandescent new field far from financial red tape has proven irresistible even to accomplished professionals. So far this year, companies have raked in at least $1.25 billion.

A fuel gauge on a dashboard of a Volkswagen Passat TDI
Photographer: Miles Willis

Phasing out fossil fuels. Britain will ban sales of cars powered by diesel and gasoline in 2040, following a similar announcement by France two weeks ago. In the U.K., the decision is partly driven by stringent EU emission rules it must follow even as it prepares to leave the bloc. But Bloomberg New Energy Finance research says markets will practically kill off oil on their own before the regulations take effect.

Colorful company. Mike Ashley, the controversial founder of high street retailer Sports Direct, won a court ruling denying a former employee’s claim that Ashley had offered him a legally binding £15 million bonus deal in a London pub. The court case transfixed the U.K. public with its string of outlandish anecdotes and colorful quotes from the retail tycoon.

Looking for labor. U.K. businesses are struggling to replace migrant workers. Since the Brexit vote, some have gone home and others aren’t coming. “We just can’t find people,” says Mark Gorton, the co-founder of Traditional Norfolk Poultry. “They’re just not there to recruit.”

Bending the knee. The heroes of HBO’s Game of Thrones (don’t worry, no spoilers ahead) have plenty of demons to fight. But there’s one type of villain that isn’t worth the struggle: digital pirates. The mega-hit TV show has been crowned the most pirated show ever, with 91 million illegal downloads of its Season 7 premiere. At a cost of $6 million per episode, that’s bad news for HBO. But as the music industry learned in the 1990s, going after individuals is a waste of time.

A White Walker.
Photographer: Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha

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