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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Bitcoin arrests, Egyptian politicking, Obama’s rhetoric, Dorsey’s silence

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Obama’s State of the Union address. The US president delivers his fifth annual address to Congress members who shut down his government a few months ago. Obama is likely to discuss immigration and income inequality; pundits will be watching how he handles the delicate issue of Obamacare.

American Airlines flies out of the red. In its first quarterly results since the merger with US Airways to form the world’s largest airline, American is expected to post earnings per share of 55 cents, against a loss of 23 cents a year ago—but most of the costs from the merger won’t be accounted for this quarter.

hold an emergency meeting after the lira fell to fresh record lows yesterday. Policymakers will discuss raising rates to stem the lira’s decline, which has hurt Turkish firms with foreign debts and deterred international investors. 

Mohamed Morsi faces trial, again. The deposed Egyptian president is back in court over his and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders’ escape from prison during the riots that brought down Hosni Mubarak in January 2011. The trial is taking place on the three-year anniversary of the jail break.

Economic growth in Britain. The UK releases a preliminary reading for fourth-quarter GDP, which is expected to have risen by 2% on the year before—well on its way to the IMF’s prediction of 2.4% growth for the UK in 2014. The UK has seen a solid few months of recovery.

While you were sleeping

A bitcoin champion was arrested. Charlie Shrem, vice chair of the Bitcoin Foundation, was arrested in New York for money laundering. The US government alleges Shrem sold bitcoins to another man knowing they were being used to buy drugs on Silk Road, the online black market. 

News Corp could be sued for phone-hacking. Actor Jude Law has claimed the News of the World, Rupert Murdoch’s defunct British tabloid, hacked his cell phone while he was on American soil. That could open the door to a lawsuit against News Corp in the US.

Egypt’s military chose its presidential favorite. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt’s ruling military body, approved army chief and defense minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s eligibility to run for president, essentially endorsing his candidacy.

Chile and Peru drew a line under their sea squabbles. The two countries set a new maritime boundary after years of quarreling over almost 15,000 square miles of water. The UN handed part of the Pacific Ocean to Peru, leaving Chile with a bounteous fishing zone.

RBS is still paying for its mistakes. The Royal Bank of Scotland said it would put aside an additional £3 billion ($5 billion) to pay for legal fees and compensation claims relating to the financial crisis—contributing to a total yearly loss of £8 billion for the bank, which is 80% taxpayer-owned.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on how Intel’s voice recognition system will trump Apple’s Siri—by ditching the cloud. “The result could be voice-recognizing devices with which we can have an actual conversation. That could mean something as simple as telling our phones to “please email Mike,” followed by the phone asking which “Mike” we mean. It will also, inevitably, mean something like the artificially intelligent conversation systems pictured in Iron Man, transforming our computers into something like true personal assistants.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

François Hollande’s love life is the least of his problems. While Europe’s other sickly countries head toward recovery, France inches nearer to its fourth recession in six years.

Obama needs less talk and more action. His impressive rhetoric—particularly on education reform—is empty and fails to achieve meaningful results.

Now’s the time to ditch your Facebook shares. The social network’s growth is flatlining and its users aren’t logging on as much, so sell now before Wednesday’s quarterly earnings.

Surprising discoveries

Jack Dorsey’s strange silence. The co-founder of Twitter hasn’t tweeted in three weeks. It could be nothing. But it might be something.

Most Italian olive oil has been contaminated with cheaper oils. But the corrupt industry has shot itself in the foot, because olive oil prices are dropping.

The civet coffee craze is killing civets. Unscrupulous farmers are trapping wild civets to harvest coffee from their feces, which can fetch $80 per cup.

Someone stole the Pope’s blood. Thieves took a holy relic believed to contain blood from Pope John Paul II from a church in central Italy.

Find out how much time you waste on Facebook. Try this calculator at your peril.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, secret Dorsey tweets and intel on stolen relics to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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