Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Russia sanctions, Underground strike, Toyota shakeup, health drinks

What to watch for today

Broader US sanctions against Russia. The US plans to inflict travel bans, asset freezes, and other measures on companies and individuals close to president Vladimir Putin, amid the Ukraine crisis. Lenders Gazprombank and Vnesheconombank, and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin are among the likely targets, according to Bloomberg.

Earnings for China Telecom. The country’s third-largest mobile carrier has seen growth slow in recent quarters amid aggressive competition from market leader China Mobile.

A shakeup at Toyota’s US operations. Bloomberg reports that the Japanese automaker plans to move its US sales headquarters from California to Texas.

A two-day strike by workers in London’s Underground. Barring a last-minute breakthrough, union rail workers are expected to walk out Monday evening UK time, bringing a subway system serving about three million commuters to a virtual standstill.

Over the weekend

South Korean prime minister Chung Hong-won resigned in connection with the passenger ferry sinking. Chung said he was taking responsibility for government lapses in accident prevention and mishandling of its early response to the tragic April 16 accident.

Siemens attempted to spoil General Electric’s bid for Alstom’s energy assets. Bloomberg reports that the German company proposed giving France’s Alstom its train manufacturing activities and cash in return for Alstom’s energy business, which represents more than 70% of Alstom sales. The French state, which has no direct stake in Alstom, wants to examine all of the options.

More than half a million people attended the historic double-papal canonization in Rome. Pope Francis proclaimed his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints, calling them “men of courage” who “were not overwhelmed” by tragic events of the 20th century.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on whether US universities are choosing rich Chinese students over Asian Americans.American universities, especially elite schools, have been suspected of admitting a disproportionately low number of Asian-American students given their high test scores and academic performance. Over the past five to six years, these schools—faced with less private and public funding—have also started depending on international students who pay full tuition to pick up the bill.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The finance industry should look to Canada for leadership. Canadians are better at raising their children to believe that it’s more important to be decent than to be rich—and finance needs that moral fiber more than extra regulation.

Social media isn’t driving television viewership. NBC Universal found (paywall) during the Olympics that a show’s ratings are more likely to determine online activity rather than vice versa.

Hillary Clinton has cracked the authenticity code. The presumptive US presidential candidate has showed she’s learned how to turn her Washington-insider status into an asset.

Nonstop, fleeting interactions are the future of humans’ usage of computers. We can look forward to sessions of 10 seconds each, a thousand times a day.

Surprising discoveries

The average man 7,300 years ago was as fit as a teenage cross-country runner today. And cross-country running is one effective way for our enfeebled selves to regain some of their robustness.

Americans are drinking less soda and more coconut water. Sales by the three-biggest players in the US market for the potassium-packed drink have risen nearly 600% since 2009.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, moral fiber, and candidates for the next health-drink craze to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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