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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Egypt’s showdown, Snowden’s options, cloud commodities, robots to the rescue

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

High noon in Egypt. The 48-hour deadline that the country’s generals gave president Mohamed Morsi to meet the demands of Egypt’s massed protesters runs out today. Morsi is standing defiant. But if the army takes over from him, it risks quickly becoming unpopular with the people, and with the US.

Dark clouds over the euro zone. Retail sales and services and manufacturing PMI for June will be reported. And Greece and Portugal are in turmoil, with the former having lost its foreign and finance ministers and latter facing an imminent deadline to fulfill the promises it made to the “troika.”

The US shuts down early. The stock market will close at 1 pm EDT, ahead of the July 4 holiday on Thursday. The ADP employment report for June and initial weekly jobless claims for last week will be released today, as well as trade data for May.

A sentencing on Olympus. Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former chairman of Olympus, will be sentenced in an accounting fraud case. The electronics firm hid investment losses for years and used acquisitions to clean up its books.

While you were sleeping

The Fed signed off on international banking rules. The US Federal Reserve approved Basel III standards that would force big banks to hold about three times as much top-quality capital as is required under existing rules. Smaller banks will have to meet more relaxed standards.

US automakers raced ahead. Surge in pick-up sales and strong demand by fleet buyers pushed US car sales in June to a five-year high.

Edward Snowden is running out of options. The NSA whistleblower’s request for asylum to 20 countries largely came up short. Only Venezuela and Bolivia appeared to offer him a way out of Russia.

Japan’s biggest lender went shopping. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will buy up to 75% of Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya for around $5.6 billion. And there are more targets on Mitsubishi’s radar.

A rocket crash shut down the world’s busiest spaceport. An unmanned rocket carrying Russian satellites exploded a few seconds after liftoff over Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. The spaceport is used by private companies as well as NASA.

The hot new commodities market: the cloud. Traders will have a new toy to play with after Cloud Exchange AG, a new exchange for cloud computing capacity, launches its derivatives and futures based on capacity at computer data centers next year.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how to understand the protests shaking Egypt, Brazil, and Turkey—and what comes next. “We are watching ‘the summer of middle class discontent,’ write the Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola and Paula Moura. […] A key factor in all the countries involved is the emergence of an educated and aspirational middle class.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

How the US lost the Egyptian people. Though it advocates democracy, they see it as the ally of dictators.

Whose head is it anyway? The prospects of head transplants raise a whole new twist on the old mind-body problem.

EU farming subsidies don’t help poor farmers. They’re a blatant transfer of cash to the rich.

Surprising discoveries

Malls for free! Rising vacancies are forcing Chinese landlords to forgo rent and even pay retailers to outfit stores.

Robots to the rescue. Magnet-guided nanorobots can revolutionize eye surgeries.

More robots to the rescue. Tiny flying robots could substitute for bees to pollinate crops.

“Popeye power” debunked. The tale of how a misplaced decimal point created the legend around spinach’s nutritional value.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, advice for Edward Snowden, and suggested uses for tiny robots to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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