Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Central bank action, Microsoft’s rejig, Apple’s loss, solar system’s tail

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What to watch for today

Asian central banks react to Fed tapering. Several of them are holding their first policy meetings since the  news that the US Federal Reserve could start to wind down its stimulus plan this year, which prompted capital outflows from Asia. The Bank of Japan is unlikely to change rates, but the governor’s remarks will be closely watched after Japanese consumer confidence fell in June. Malaysia and South Korea are expected to keep rates steady too, but Bank Indonesia may hike them for the second consecutive month.

Will the US jobs cheer continue? Initial jobless claims for last week will offer clues into the strength of the US labor market recovery. Minutes of its June 18-19  meeting released on Wednesday showed that the Fed board was split over when to start reducing its stimulus.

Big shakeup at Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer is reportedly looking to reorganize the company into software and devices divisions, a move that may involve moving a lot of high-ranking executives around. Ballmer may also change the way the company reports its earnings.

While you were sleeping

Apple lost its case on e-books pricing. A US judge ruled that the tech giant conspired with publishers to raise prices of e-books before it entered the market. Apple will now face another trial to set damages. Investors meanwhile will remain in the dark about what this litigation is costing Apple.

Germany said no to the EU’s bank windup plan. The EU proposed a “single resolution mechanism” backed by a €55 billion fund to sever the link between distressed banks and their sovereigns. Germany said the plan would contravene EU treaties (paywall).

Tribune will split like News Corp and Time Warner. The Chicago-based company will separate its broadcasting and publishing units, as part of its efforts to focus more on its TV operations. The news comes just days after Tribune’s $2.73 billion deal to buy 19 local TV stations.

American retailers’ watered-down proposal for Bangladesh factories. 17 North American retailers including Wal-mart and Gap unveiled a five-year worker safety plan that included annual factory inspections and a $42 million fund. They had deemed a European plan, announced on Monday, too binding.

The West upped efforts to isolate Iran. Companies that do business with Iran’s shipping and energy industries could be shut out of the US financial system and have their US assets frozen (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why China’s slowdown could be great for the US. “It’s unlikely any global player will emerge with the voracious appetite for US Treasurys that China has had. But that might be fine. Why? Because America might need to borrow less. And that means it will need fewer borrowers of its debt.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s North Korea pivot. China is unwilling to tolerate North Korea’s provocations anymore.

Minimum wages must be tied to average hourly wages. It’ll help the lowest earners reap the benefits of rising productivity.

Who drives corporate transformations. A survey—for a CIO conference, mind—shows that CIOs rival CEOs in terms of clout.

Fighting terror will get more tricky. As the US scales back in the “war on terror,” al-Qaeda and its mutations have decentralized and spread.

There is no “bee-pocalypse”. Yes, more honey bees are mysteriously dying, but their populations are stable.

Round tables are the best way to boost collaboration at work. Those who sit in angular arrangements are likely to be more self-centered.

Surprising discoveries

Holland’s greener highways. Every Dutch citizen will live within 31 miles of an electric vehicle charging station by 2015.

Our solar system has a tail. It’s 8 billion miles long and looks like this.

A Polish startup claims to predict soccer games with 90% accuracy. Next goal: predicting the scoreline.

These worms can regrow their decapitated heads.  And stranger still, their memories too.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, soccer predictions, and memory regeneration tricks to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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