Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Australia interest rates, Washington Post sale, baboons on strike

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What to watch for today

Another rate cut Down Under. The Australian central bank will probably cut interest rates by 25 basis points to a record low 2.5% in the face of weak Chinese demand for Australian natural resources. It’ll be the eighth rate cut since 2011.

A pan-European recovery? Germany manufacturing orders are likely to pick up in June, industrial production data from UK and Italy are expected to improve, and Italy’s 2Q GDP is expected to have shrunk only 2.2% year-on-year, which in Italy counts as good news.

More demand for US goods. June’s trade deficit should narrow to $43 billion as exports picked up steam and the value of imports cools from its second-highest level on record. Canada will also report its trade balance.

Earnings season rolls on. It’s a bit of a media day, with Disney, Time Warner, Liberty Media and Deutsche Post all reporting earnings. Standard Chartered bank is likely to bounce back from a sluggish first quarter despite the slowdown in China, and Crédit Agricole, Porsche, and Merck report, among others.

While you were sleeping

Another fine for energy market manipulation. The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has threatened to slap a $28 million fine on BP for allegedly manipulating the price of physical gas through false trades, a week after it settled with JP Morgan for $410 million.

Fukushima faces a new “emergency.” Japan’s nuclear watchdog says a barrier built to contain radioactive ground water in the tsunami-hit nuclear plant has been breached, raising the possibility that contaminated water could start pouring into the Pacific Ocean.

Jeff Bezos will buy the Washington Post. The Amazon founder will pay $250 million for the iconic US newspaper. It’s the third print media deal in three days, following the sales of the Boston Globe for $70 million and Newsweek for an undisclosed (but probably tiny) amount.

HSBC said it could be fined $1.6 billion. While reporting surging first-half profits, the bank warned of the sum it might have to pony up if a lawsuit filed by a US regulator over improperly sold mortgage-backed securities succeeds.

Kenya wants a bigger share of its mining resources. The government increased royalties on minerals mined there and scrapped all mining and prospecting licenses granted in the first five months of the year, after concerns that they had been granted without transparency.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on whether the US government is an intellectual-property hypocrite or just in love with Apple. “The move to keep Apple’s products in stores isn’t much different from how other countries protect their own companies, but analysts fear it will undermine US aspirations for a more objective IP order. Critics of the US IP push note that the US is favoring an open interpretation of patent law here to favor Apple, even as it pushes back against other countries who use similar logic to push back on patents for products like medicine.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It doesn’t matter who replaces Ben Bernanke. Whoever chairs the Fed will have to follow much the same policies.

Don’t believe talk of a European recovery. Hopeful economic data mask spreading joblessness, growing bailout fatigue, and continued weakness in the private sector.

A $45 million idea to solve Africa’s $2 billion brain drain. The African Development Bank’s plan to set up a university geared toward science, technology and innovation is a good first step.

The only winner in the Snowden saga is Vladimir Putin. The NSA whistleblower’s revelations have hurt the West’s credibility and given Russia a reason to dismiss criticism of its authoritarian rule.

Outsourcing some parenting doesn’t make you a bad parent. Nannies and daycare can free you up to do more important things with your child.

Surprising discoveries

The toxins of the 1%. The notionally healthier lifestyles of the rich mean they absorb higher levels of certain pollutants than the poor.

Men are better at gauging risks and rewards. In financial decisions, men focus on the bigger picture, while women pay closer attention to detail.

How to buy the silence of children. Two US kids were given lifelong ban on talking about fracking as part of their parents’ settlement with an oil gas company.

The mystery of the hunger-striking baboons. Zoologists are baffled as to why an entire colony of 112 primates in a Dutch zoo are refusing food and sitting still.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, risk analyses and strange animal tales to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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