Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Portuguese protests, paper purchasers, Dish defeat, defecting diplomats

June 26, 2013
June 26, 2013

What to watch for today

Portugal braces for protests.  The country’s largest union has called for a strike to protest the government’s austerity measures.

Brussels braces for meetings. European Union leaders will meet to discuss the debt crisis, unemployment and long-term budgets.

Britain’s double-dip recession magically vanishes. Revised UK GDP figures are expected to show that the economy didn’t, in fact, contract in the first quarter of 2012.

Nike’s China challenge. The footwear giant is expected to post just a 2.6% increase in sales to $6.6 billion (paywall). Sluggish sales in China are outweighing strong growth in the US.

Who wants to buy a paper? It’s the deadline for submitting offers to New York Times Company for the Boston Globe and other assets in its New England Media Group. At least eight buyers are reportedly weighing bids.

Data, data everywhere. Investors will digest US personal income and spending, pending home sales and initial jobless claims data. Across the pond, euro-area economic confidence, German unemployment and French consumer confidence for June are coming out. Japanese inflation for May is also on tap.

While you were sleeping

Gay marriage got a boost. The US Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which denied same-sex married couples federal benefits. The court also cleared the way for resumption of same-sex marriages in California, though didn’t make them legal nationwide, as it could have. The decision could speed up employment protection for gays and lesbians too.

The US grew less than it thought. Revised data showed first-quarter growth was only 1.8%, as against the earlier estimate of 2.4%. Weak business investment and a slowdown in consumer spending were the main drags.

Ecuador is in no hurry. The South American nation said it would take weeks to arrive at a decision on Edward Snowden’s asylum request. Ecuador also asked the US to make its case for the NSA leaker’s extradition.

A double defeat for Dish. A months-long bidding war ended after US satellite TV company Dish Networks, which earlier this week lost its last hope of buying wireless provider Sprint Nextel, also gave up a bidding contest with Sprint to buy Clearwire.

Derivatives probed.  Italy started an investigation into the US Treasury’s use of derivatives to hedge public debt (paywall). Reports showed that Italy could lose about €8 billion ($10.4 billion) on derivative contracts that were restructured during the financial crisis.

Yes, but how do you “vet” a rebel? The US is reportedly to start arming Syrian rebels—though only “vetted” ones—within a month (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Roberto A. Ferdman on how Argentina’s dollar policy has blown up in its face. “In an attempt to tamp down capital flight and prevent Argentines from hoarding dollars—both of which deprive the central bank of foreign reserves—Kirchner has, since late 2011, progressively introduced a series of forcible measures known as the ‘dollar clamp’ that restrict Argentines’ ability to buy them. But a problem has surfaced. By limiting access to dollars, the government has made them more desirable, and led to even fewer of them reaching the central bank than before.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Focus on profits, not growth. Start-ups should realize that while growth is great, it’s not proof of long-term viability.

Sure, austerity is risky, but so is stimulus. China’s ghost cities epitomize the problem of printing money Paul-Krugman-style.

Germany’s case against the ECB. Why it’s opposing one of the main rescue schemes for euro-zone countries in trouble.

The US Supreme Court matters less than you think. What matters more is how people respond to it.

Surprising discoveries

The countries with the biggest gender pay gap.  Austria, Korea, Norway, Britain and the US.

Aghan diplomats are defecting en masse. As the withdrawal of Western forces nears, many just aren’t coming home.

Not enough criminals. The Netherlands is shutting eight prisons because of a drop in the crime rate.

North Korea has built its own tabletWithout internet access, natch.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Afghan diplomat sightings, and apps for North Korea to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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