Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Russia sanctions, Facebook’s firearms, e-smoking bans, ninja turtles

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What to watch for today

A tetchy US-Russia meeting. US foreign secretary John Kerry meets his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Rome, even as US House leaders vote on a resolution that would support economic sanctions against Russia in light of its military movements against Ukraine.

Costco’s cold-weather report. Analysts expect the US bulk retailing firm to post a 6% rise in earnings per share, on 7% higher revenues. But investors will be looking out for how Costco is toughing out the cold season and signs that it can continue to outperform Target and Wal-Mart.

Europe hints at its next steps. The European Central Bank’s main refinancing rate is expected to remain unchanged at 0.25%, but president Mario Draghi’s speech could shed light on how the bloc plans to tackle inflation and unemployment, and what measures the bank could take to boost private investment.

While you were sleeping

Europe coughed up cash for Ukraine. Europe offered an aid package worth $15 billion (paywall)—equal to the loan Russia had promised before its relations with Kiev went belly-up. Russia meanwhile stymied peace talks by refusing to acknowledge Ukraine’s interim government and insisted that it has no control over “self-defense” forces in Crimea.

Yet more bank price-fixing allegations. There seem to be precious few benchmarks left that global banks haven’t been accused of manipulating, after a lawsuit was filed in US federal court charging Barclays, Deutsche Bank, SocGen and others with fixing international gold prices.

Facebook cracked down on gun sales. The social network said it will no longer allow users to post offers on Facebook or Instagram to sell firearms illegally, such as advertising that no background check is required. It will also block users under the age of 18 from seeing posts about gun sales.

Target’s CIO threw in the towel. Beth Jacobs, the retail chain’s chief information officer since 2008, resigned over the data security breach during the holiday shopping period. Hackers who breached the point-of-sale system stole 40 million credit and debit card accounts and 70 million consumers’ personal details.

Vaping lost its steam. Los Angeles banned the use of electronic cigarettes in the city’s public places, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs, in a unanimous vote by city councillors. New York, Boston and Chicago already limit the use of e-cigarettes; second-hand vapor may not be entirely harmless.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how Facebook and WhatsApp have killed Europe’s chat apps. “WhatsApp’s growth has come at the expense of native European social networks. According to research from GlobalWebIndex cited by Macquarie Equities today, some of Europe’s original social networks experienced sharp drops in active user numbers in the last six months of 2013, due to the growth in chat apps such as WhatsApp, and of course the relentless spread of Facebook.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Workers see their bosses as parent figures. We learn how to deal with other people at home, and struggle to keep those emotions out of the workplace (paywall).

Europe is less likely than the US to sanction Russia. The bloc depends too heavily on Russian money and energy.

Wall sockets have no place in the future of technology. Energy is everywhere, and wireless power is on its way.

Surprising discoveries

This site wants to get more women into Silicon Valley. But not as entrepreneurs—as dates for all the single men.

Where have all the turtles gone? Scientists have finally been able to track turtles during their formative early years.

Ninja miners are messing with Mongolia’s gold. They carry green bowls on their back, resembling the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (paywall).

Indian men don’t do housework. Japanese, Korean and Turkish men rank nearly as badly.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, baby turtles, and ninja turtles to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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