Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Egypt on the edge, Samsung earnings, SAC indicted, cannibal lobsters

July 25, 2013
July 25, 2013

What to watch for today

Egypt braces for rival protests. Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and the army that toppled him will hold competing rallies. The military’s call for protests against “terrorism” has split the anti-Morsi camp, with some Islamists, leftists and liberals worrying that the armed forces are trying to scuttle the fledgling democracy. The US is calling for military restraint.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 problem. The world’s largest smartphone maker by shipments is likely to report its best-ever operating profits, but that won’t allay concerns about slowing sales of its flagship Galaxy S4. Samsung has already warned that it would disappoint analysts.

Europe’s troika keeps on giving. European lenders are likely to approve €5.8 billion ($7.7 billion) in bailout funds after Greek lawmakers approved a new tax code and finalized a plan to put 25,000 civil servants in a special labor reserve on Thursday.

One small step for Abenomics. Japan’s national consumer price inflation is expected to break into positive territory with a 0.1% reading. In May, CPI was flat, ending a seven-month streak of continuous price falls.

While you were sleeping

US regulators lobbed criminal charges at SAC Capital. A New York grand jury unveiled criminal fraud charges against the hedge fund run by the billionaire Steven Cohen, accusing the fund of repeatedly trading on inside information related to public companies. The indictment follows last week’s civil charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Cohen of failing to supervise employees suspected of insider trading.

GlaxoSmithKline named a new China chief. Herve Gisserot, who has been serving as co-head of GSK’s business in Europe, will take charge as the general manager of Chinese operations. The pharmaceuticals giant has been accused of bribing doctors, hospitals and government officials in an effort to sell more drugs at higher prices.

US federal prosecutors went after a massive credit card hacking scheme. Four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian were indicted by US federal prosecutors for hacking into computer networks and stealing at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers. JCPenney, 7-Eleven and Carrefour were among the victims of the scheme, which prosecutors said ran from 2005 until last year.

The UK economy grew 0.6% in the second quarter. A strong services sector helped growth double from the first three months of 2013. Old Blighty will still need to grow by 3.3% to reach its pre-financial crisis peak.

World domination stung Amazon.The e-commerce giant reported a surprise quarterly loss of $7 million, even though sales jumped 22%. The company amped up its push to become everything to everybody, including a same-day delivery grocer and a set-top box for TVs.

Quartz obsession interlude

Todd Woody on why averting beemageddon will be a doozie. “Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

US unemployment will get worse in 2014. Still short on confidence, businesses will focus solely on winning new customers.

China is drawing a new regional map. The country is tiptoeing into neighboring borderlands in a clever strategy to fundamentally alter Asian power dynamics.

Navel-gazing is a thing of the past for CEOs. Speed and responsiveness are essential for today’s leaders.

Malaysia looks ripe for an uprising. The only things preventing rampant corruption, rigged elections and racially divisive politics from subsuming the country are its rich natural resources.

Democratizing Russia would unlock its true potential. But thanks to Vladimir Putin, that ain’t gonna happen.

Surprising discoveries

Julian Assange is running for Australia’s senate. The WikiLeaks founder has floated a party and will run his campaign from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Robots are more baffled by Bernanke than humans. Currency funds that rely on computer trading have fared much worse than human traders in 2013.

Step away from the smartphone. A study shows that small gadgets make people less assertive.

Lobsters are turning into cannibals. Warmer waters have led to bigger lobsters that feed on their own young.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, lobster videos, campaign strategies for Assange, to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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