Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Malaysia’s missing plane, North Korean elections, banning “bossy,” fitness trackers

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What to watch for today

Japan revises its GDP estimates. The Bank of Japan kicks off its policy meeting today and is expected to announce revisions to its fourth-quarter GDP, after saying last month that the economy missed growth estimates, increasing by 0.3% in the fourth quarter.

Urban Outfitters’ profit plan. Urban Outfitters is set to post fourth-quarter earnings-per-share of $0.56, the same as last year, on 8% increased revenues of $927.71 million. Investors will be looking out for how the clothing retailer can continue to grow sales without damaging profits, which has had short term benefits but isn’t sustainable.

Transatlantic trade gets a boost. The EU and the US meet for the fourth round of transatlantic trade negotiations, following what was deemed a successful third round in December. The week-long meeting, held in Washington DC, aims to boost jobs and aid economic recovery by encouraging trade and investment between the two blocs.

SafeCharge hits the stock exchange. Israeli tech billionaire Teddy Sagi plans to raise $100 million when SafeCharge, the payment provider of which he currently owns 90%, lists on London’s alternative stock exchange today (paywall). The IPO will value the company at up to £230 million ($384.7 million).

Over the weekend

Russia ramped up pressure on Crimea. Russian forces tightened their grip over Crimea, surrounding their 11th Ukrainian base in 10 days and offering to hand over 40 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) in financial support if Crimea votes to join Russia. A White House spokesperson said the US would not recognize next weekend’s referendum, while Angela Merkel called it illegal

A Beijing-bound plane mysteriously vanished. A Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing an hour after takeoff on Saturday morning and hasn’t been heard from since. Search officials spotted oil slicks and an object that could be a plane door, suggesting the plane crashed. At least two of the 227 passengers boarded with stolen passports, sparking speculation of terrorism

North Korea held a single-candidate election. North Korea reported a perfect turnout (paywall) in its first national election under Kim Jong Un, but offered only one candidate on ballot papers. The rubber-stamp election serves as an unofficial census and a check-up on officials’ loyalty to the regime.

Scientists discover more damaging man-made gases. Scientists identified four new gases that are gnawing away at the already-depleting ozone layer, which is crucial in protecting humans and animals from harmful UV rays. They’re not sure where the gases are coming from, but said the source could be insecticide chemicals and cleaning solvents.

Europe’s banks better start saving. Five of Europe’s biggest banks could face an extra €10 billion in legal costs (paywall)—in addition to the €16.4 billion they have already set aside—to deal with allegations of foreign exchange manipulation. Experts believe the forex investigation could cost these lenders more than their payouts from the Libor scandal.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how Deutsche Telekom, which has long been looking to exit the US, could be having a change of heart. “Speculation has been rife for months that T-Mobile, the smallest of America’s four wireless carriers, which almost merged with AT&T in 2011, could soon be bought out by Sprint, which is owned by Japan’s Softbank. That would give Deutsche Telekom the exit it has long desired. But over the past year things have changed pretty dramatically for T-Mobile, and suddenly the messages coming out of Deutsche Telekom sound different.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Ban the word “bossy.” The b-word is mainly used for confident young women (paywall), and it can hold them back.

The euro is the king of currencies. It might not be pretty, but the euro is the least ugly option out there

Stop asking people “What do you do?” The job market is changing, and people no longer define themselves by their professions.

The future of TV is online. Top content that’s cheaper than cable, multi-device friendly and personally organized? Sign us up.

It’s time to end daylight savings. Here are several reasons, but if those don’t convince you, maybe the lost hour of sleep will.

Surprising discoveries

Americans are turning back to paper. Paper companies are far outperforming the S&P500 thanks to sales of luxury stationery and photo books (paywall).

MIT researchers want to translate Shakespeare into GIFs. They’re making a database of emotions.

The yakuza is losing members. Japan’s organized crime group is at its thinnest in more than 20 years.

Fitness trackers aren’t great at counting calories. And other lessons from wearing four at once.

Scientists invented a post-workout beer. Called “recovery beer,” it contains just 77 calories and 0.5% alcohol content.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, daily calorie counts, and letters on personalized stationery to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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