Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Egypt tense, Japan GDP, duel for Dell, energy-drink loving moms

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What to watch for today

Crisis in Egypt may escalate. The police are expected to start breaking up camps set up in Cairo by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Western and Arab mediators have asked the army to avoid further bloodshed by refraining from using force against the protesters.

Trigger sales tax hike in Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pegged the fate of the proposed sales tax hike to second-quarter GDP growth. The data are expected to show that the economy grew an annualized 3.6% (paywall), which will be the third straight quarter of growth.

US’s economic eight ball. The deficit projections in the the treasury’s budget will give the markets a clear sense of how much the US government will have to borrow to finance its operations. The government’s tax receipts will also give investors insight into the state of the economy.

Dell duel heads to court. A Delaware corporate-law tribunal is set to fast-track Carl Icahn’s legal challenge (paywall) to Michael Dell’s $24.8 billion buyout offer. The activist investor argues that recent changes to Dell’s voting rules have robbed shareholders of the right to choose between two competing offers.

Beaching the London Whale. US authorities are planning to arrest two former JP Morgan employees suspected of masking $6.2 billion in trading losses. The employees, Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, could be extradited under an agreement with British authorities.

Over the weekend

Pharmaceutical giants under fire in Asia. China is reportedly investigating French drugmaker Sanofi for allegedly bribing more than 500 doctors with about 1.7 million yuan ($277,600) in late 2007. Meanwhile in Japan, investigations into Novartis’s research have uncovered attempts to alter data (paywall) in order to produce inaccurate results.

Brazil may go it alone with the EU. After failing to reach a trade deal with the European Union alongside its neighbors—Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay—Brazil will consider negotiating a separate agreement (paywall) for itself. The deal would cover $80 billion of bilateral trade between EU and Brazil.

Israel raises temperature ahead of peace talks. Israel is pushing ahead with plans to build over 1,000 housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and several large West Bank settlements. Palestinians have condemned the expansion of the housing settlements, but have stopped short of threatening to abandon the negotiations, which are due to start on Wednesday.

Edward Snowden’s dad goes to Russia. Lon Snowden and the family’s lawyer will encourage the former intelligence contractor to return to the US to face federal charges for revealing secret American surveillance programs to journalists, if acceptable trial conditions can be negotiated.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the coming deluge of digital currencies and the people who control them. ”Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin or Litecoin are drastically different from social currencies like Ven or the now deceased Facebook Credits. The first kind promise anonymity, have no central exchange mechanism, and their mining requires technical skill and cryptography. The second class are transparent and centralized, and can be created in various ways.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China is too big to fail. Beijing must reform its interest rate and regulatory regime before deregulating its financial sector.

An era where bankers can do no right. The incredibly slow implementation of financial reform is helping banks misbehave.

Economic activity is shifting out of India. The government should kickstart the economy and reforms, instead of inventing rules to prevent outflows.

Retailers are tracking consumers, too. The practice of monitoring merchandise returns raises privacy concerns.

Advertising yourself as a specialist can harm your job prospects. Businesses have a bias toward generalists and candidates with multiple skill sets.

Surprising discoveries

Moms love their energy drinks. Data show that young mothers are more likely to drink them than college grads and singles in their twenties and thirties.

Replacing potential Snowdens with computers. The US National Security Agency will replace 90% of its systems administrators with machines to prevent further leaks.

Self-esteem can be an ego trap. Those with big heads can’t see where they fall short, making self-improvement difficult.

Autism’s unexpected link to cancer. Studies show some people with autism have mutated cancer genes that apparently caused their brain disorder.

Camels may be the carrier of the deadly MERS virus. Presence of antibodies suggests that camels may be the source of the coronavirus that has claimed almost 50 lives in the Middle East.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unlikely energy-drink fans, and unknown ego traps, to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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