Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Glencore’s iron dreams, Slovakia’s new president, Taiwanese protests, cash-saving fonts

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What to watch for today

Apple and Samsung go head to head again. Jury selection begins in the latest legal battle between the tech giants, with Apple accusing Samsung of stealing its “slide to unlock” idea, among others. Samsung is also counter-suing. Apple wants $40 per Samsung device using its technology, which could adds up to $2 billion if it wins.

A referendum, of sorts, on Erdogan. Although the Turkish prime minister is not on the ballot paper for this weekend’s mayoral elections, several of his AKP party members are, so the ballot is being touted as a vote on his 11-year-long rule. With 70% of ballots counted, the AKP had 46% of the vote.

Deflation rears its ugly head in the euro zone. Analysts expect the flash CPI estimate for the bloc to drop to 0.6%. That would be the lowest inflation since October 2009 and its sixth month in the European Central Bank’s “danger zone,” which might prompt some action from the bank at its Thursday policy meeting.

The deadline to sign up for Obamacare passes. After reaching its 6 million target last Thursday, the US government is expecting to see almost 7 million people enrolled in Obamacare by today. Uninsured people could be fined 1% of their income, but surveys show that isn’t prompting everyone to jump on board.

More testy talks on Ukraine—but talks, at least. US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov meet in Paris. Kerry turned his plane around after president Putin phoned president Obama on Friday to talk about diplomatic solutions. Here (paywall) is a list of Russia’s demands.

Over the weekend

Glencore got one step closer to its iron ore dream. The mining giant agreed a $1 billion deal with Mauritania for access to its railway and port facilities (paywall), ending two years of negotiation. Iron ore is a key profit maker for Glencore’s rivals, and represents 25% of the west African country’s economy.

Slovakia picked its first non-communist president. The tycoon and philanthropist Andrej Kiska won 59.4% of the national vote—leaving prime minister Robert Fico with just 20.6% of support, an ominous sign ahead of Fico’s campaign for reelection in 2016.

Taiwanese protestors said it with flowers. Wearing black and clutching sunflowers as symbols of hope, more than 100,000 people rallied in Taipei against a deal that would open up Chinese and Taiwanese trade sectors to each other. Opponents worry about Chinese influence and a threat to Taiwanese businesses.

Cuba took a giant leap towards capitalism. Havana’s rubber-stamp parliament approved a bill that halves taxes on profits to 15% and exempts new investors from paying taxes for eight years, in one of its biggest ever moves away from communism since the 1959 revolution.

Some overly ambitious criminals were caught. Italian police arrested a US citizen and a Dutch national who were trying to deposit €3 trillion ($4.1 trillion) worth of fake bonds in an account at the Vatican Bank. On Friday a Rome judge cleared the bank’s former president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, in a money-laundering probe.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on why the rich keep getting richer, as explained by pop culture. “Modern pop culture tends to portray America as a meritocracy, where people with special skills do well. [French economist Thomas] Piketty illustrates this by turning to American television, citing the medical mystery-solving of House, the forensic investigators of Bones, and the brainy politicos of West Wing, with a president who has won the economics Nobel […] This meritocratic pop culture is behind the times, Piketty argues.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t focus on the 1%. They haven’t been getting that much richer; the real source of wealth inequality is the 0.01%.

Pretentious job titles are worth something. Thanks to the rise of LinkedIn, your job title is now more than ever a symbol of status (paywall).

“Hot streaks” exist. Not just in sports—the idea that someone doing well will continue to do so works in finance, too.

Putin’s actions can be explained by evolutionary biology. They might seem like a bad move politically, but territorial disputes are often illogical.

Abstract ideas don’t deserve patents. Courts are handing out patents too liberally, protecting “inventions” that aren’t true scientific advances.

Surprising discoveries

The US government could save $136 million a year if it switched to Garamond font. A 14-year-old kid from Pittsburgh figured it out.

Sparkling wine will get you drunkest on the fewest calories. These charts prove it.

You can tell a man’s intelligence by looking at his face. It doesn’t work on women, though.

Darth Vader could be the next president of Ukraine. The Internet Party submitted the Sith Lord’s candidacy, including the payment of 2.5 million hryvnias ($226,000).

Flirting is more effective than being good-looking. Men, ask yourself: What would James Bond do?

This pill makes your brain return to a child-like state. It allows an adult to pick up new skills faster, which can help treat developmental disorders.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, intelligent facial expressions, and skinny font suggestions to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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