Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Thai protests, Turkish corruption, Snowden’s message, Mao’s birthday

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What to watch for today

More protests in Thailand. Rallies continue in Bangkok as protesters descend on the home of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and a sports stadium. Protest leaders want the prime minister, who is already serving as a caretaker after dissolving parliament, to step down.

China commemorates Mao’s birthday. The founder of modern China was born 120 years ago. A $16 million gold and jade statue has been unveiled in Shenzhen and statues elsewhere will be washed to mark the anniversary of his birth.

Narendra Modi receives a verdict on 2002. A court in New Delhi will most likely clear the prime ministerial candidate of involvement in the 2002 riots that killed at least 1,000 Muslims.

While you were sleeping

Beijing lowered its growth target. The Chinese capital expects its economy to grow at 7.5%, down half a percentage point from earlier forecasts. Other cities may follow suit.

Russia pardoned the Greenpeace 30. Activists protesting Arctic drilling, who were arrested in September, have all been granted amnesty by the Kremlin as part of efforts to improve the country’s image in the run up to the winter Olympics next year.

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. Authorities accuse the Brotherhood of orchestrating a suicide bomb that killed 16 people earlier this week, even though a different group claimed responsibility. The move is the military’s latest crackdown on the Brotherhood, which was ousted from power in July and outlawed in September.   

Turkey’s corruption scandal worsened. Three senior ministers—of the interior, economy and environment—resigned after their sons were arrested as part of a graft investigation. One minister encouraged prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to quit as well.

Edward Snowden resurfaced. The whistleblower appeared on the UK’s Channel 4 to deliver the “alternative Christmas message” (as opposed to the official one from the Queen). ”A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all,” Snowden said. Previous luminaries to deliver the message have included Jesse Jackson, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz imagines what management consultants might say to the Pope. “Might the church find synergies with the Santa Claus enterprise? Claus already seems to be leveraging your brand equity to publicize his just-in-time gift delivery model, although we are still confused about the prospects of monetization. Amazing supply-chain (though we note with concern the potential impact of recent labor legislation on elf wage costs), and a top candidate for potential M&A activity. Win-win acqui-hire?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Gift-giving is fraught with danger. Behavioral economics can teach you to avoid the pitfalls.

Jesus was “brown”. That’s the best way to skirt the increasingly charged debate about his ethnicity.

The PC isn’t going anywhere. A billion people will still use old-fashioned, immobile computers to get things done in 2014.

Surprising discoveries

When CEOs need advice they go to Bill Campbell. The chairman of Intuit is also an adviser to everybody from Larry Page to Jeff Bezos.

There is such a thing as too much cinnamon. And the Danes may have to stop sprinkling so much of it on their pastries—or face the EU.

The holidays are agonizing for app developers. Even though it’s the the busiest day of the year for app downloads.

Mikhail Kalashnikov designed a lawnmower. The late inventor of the AK-47 rifle wished he’d been able to focus on farm tools instead.

Iron Maiden’s ingenious response to music piracy. It found out where its songs were most pirated, then went and played there.

Justin Bieber is retiring. Or is he?

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Iron Maiden MP3s and lawnmower designs to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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