Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Venezuela and Pakistan seek calm, Japan joins trade bloc, fewer hedge funds

April 21, 2013
April 21, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Venezuela tries to make it, post-Chavez. Last Sunday’s election and the week of violence that followed made for a poor start to Nicolas Maduro’s presidency. The polarized nation may see an end to the riots this week, but it doesn’t look good for the nation’s future political peace.

Meanwhile, Pakistan struggles with pre-election violence. Ahead of voting on May 11, the Pakistani Taliban seems intent on disrupting the secular Awami National Party’s success.

Auto Shanghai 2013. China hosts its week-long car expo (paywall), which started Sunday in Shanghai. It could shed light on whether China’s luxury car industry—a marker of whether the country’s wealthiest consumers are willing to spend—remains stalled. Also in question is the Japanese auto industry’s relationship with the Chinese market.

A legal battle begins in Boston. Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains in the hospital, his condition unknown, but questions are already brewing over his trial and civil liberties. (The London Marathon, under heightened security, paid tribute to the Boston victims on Sunday.)

Economic indicators this week: US growth may have improved thanks to higher consumer spending in the first quarter. And earnings season continues with question marks about Apple, which reports on Tuesday. Halliburton and US Airways are among those reporting earnings today.

Over the weekend

Some resolution for Italy. Lawmakers voted president Giorgio Napolitano back for a second term. One of the his first tasks will be to help parliament out of its quagmire by forming coalitions.

Japan joined trade-bloc talks. Japan became the 12th nation—others include the US, Canada, Singapore, and Mexico—in discussions over the nascent Trans-Pacific-Partnership (paywall). The nations account for over 40% of global economic output, making the TPP a potentially massive new kind of trade agreement.

Disaster in China. An earthquake struck the southwest province of Sichuan Saturday, killing 184 people and injuring as many as 1,000, according to the government. It’s the worst quake in China in three years. Sichuan-based industry recovered quickly (paywall), but the human toll could grow worse.

Paraguay voted—and a newbie may win. Horacio Cartes, a millionaire from the center-right party, is the frontrunner over seasoned politician Efrain Alegre. In a nation plagued by poverty and political instability, the election results will impact the nation’s trade agenda and domestic agrarian reform.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on why passing immigration reform could reduce US debt. “With the debt now not due to start growing again for the next five years—and with so much uncertainty about how big deficits will be—the US Congress is more focused on other debates. Gun safety and, more feasibly, immigration reform seem more immediate and worthwhile than bridging a perhaps insurmountable gap between Democrats and Republicans on budget issues. That doesn’t mean, however, that working on border reform is putting off fiscal adjustment…More immigrants means a growing workforce that pays more taxes and creates more jobs, relieving some of the financing burdens that come with America’s aging population.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The debt debate. The Reinhart/Rogoff assumption that high debt kills growth has seeped into more corners of economic policy than we know.

How to save print media: Get an ideological financial backer on your side.

Religion makes human trafficking worse. Leave the saving to the secularists.

How data can make you a parent—before you’ve even conceived.

Surprising discoveries

Happy WHAT birthday? The world’s oldest living person turned 116 on Friday.

It’s not easy growing green. The pot industry is not as profitable as you might think.

Failed Olympic cities: What happens to metropoles that don’t win the bid.

Fewer new hedge funds. Why it’s getting harder to break into the business.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and birthday wishes for Jiroemon Kimura to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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