Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Facebook mobile, Venezuelan wages, T-Mobile CEO, America’s best tippers

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What to watch for today

Venezuela ups its minimum wage. The minimum wage in Venezuela will get a 30% boost, rising from 3,270 to 4,252 bolivars, or $520 to $676 monthly. Opposition figures claim the increase doesn’t go far enough, seeing as inflation in 2013 was at 56.2%.

Exxon reveals its Russian risk. Analysts expect the energy giant to report an 11% drop in earnings per share despite a slight rise in revenue, largely due to lower oil prices earlier in the quarter. Investors will want to hear whether Exxon’s holdings in Russia will be hurt by sanctions.

May Day clashes in Turkey. Workers will descend on Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest the government’s attempted ban on doing just that. The public labor day celebration was banned between 1977 and 2010 after dozens were killed by unidentified gunmen.

Fat Face looks to get fatter. The UK clothing retailer will announce its intention to IPO and will name three new board members, including Darren Shapland, the former boss of Carpetright and ex-finance director of Sainsbury.

Details about Malaysia’s missing airplane. Following criticisms about its lack of transparency, Malaysia is set to publish a report about the disappearance of flight MH370 almost two months ago. It’s thought the report will be the same one that was submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

While you were sleeping

Sprint’s little-concealed efforts to acquire T-Mobile appeared to advance. Bloomberg reported that Softbank-owned Sprint could make a formal offer this summer and tap the fourth-placed-US carrier’s unconventional CEO John Legere to run the combined organization.

Facebook dialed up some aggressive mobile moves. CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new way for users to try out mobile apps without revealing their identities, and released a service that lets mobile apps more easily link to each other. Facebook also launched its new mobile ad network.

US economic growth took a winter vacation. The US printed its slowest GDP growth since 2012, expanding just 0.1% in the first quarter due to a particularly brutal winter—a far cry from the 2.6% growth at the close of 2013. Despite this, the Federal Reserve decided to knock a further $10 billion off its monthly bond purchases.

Portugal looked to financial independence. Portugal is preparing to exit its three-year €78 billion ($108.2 billion) bailout after successfully raising cash in the private markets, rejecting an emergency back-up line of credit (paywall) from its European lenders. It would be the second European Union country (after Ireland) to exit its bailout without third-party help.

General Electric closed its fingers around Alstom. The board of struggling engineering group Alstom endorsed GE’s $16.9 billion all-cash offer for the company’s energy division, despite objections from the French government. It’s not over yet, though; Siemens has until the end of May to propose a counteroffer.

Mining firms fought over Africa. Rio Tinto launched legal proceedings against Vale and BSG Resources, alleging that the mining companies cheated it out of its rights to Simandou, a major iron ore deposit in Guinea, Africa. Rio Tinto claims it lost billions of dollars in assets.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on how the biggest money at technology companies is often made by their chief finance honchos. “Coding whizzes may be the rockstars of the tech world, but accountants are often more consistent earners. This is particularly true for companies looking to go public, of which there are many at the moment. Founders of fast-growing firms typically come from a technology or marketing background, and hire dedicated finance staff only after their companies reach a certain size. This is sometimes done grudgingly, as there can be resistance to the structure and discipline imposed by finance managers on a freewheeling startup.” Read more here

Matters of debate

Facebook’s new features should scare the pants off Google. The social networking company is quickly becoming to mobile internet what Google is to the web.

Women have a long way to go in the executive suite. In 25 years, women will still account for just one-third of new CEO appointments.

Silicon Valley has a stake in India’s elections. Many campaigners and voters are using what they learned while working in the US.

Even sustainable energy has an environmental cost. Solar plants are killing birds—some say at a rate of one every two minutes. 

Surprising discoveries

Nevada has America’s worst restaurant tippers. The national average is 16.5%, but West Virginians average 20.1%. Our infographic names and shames tippers by state.

There’s no US-government standard for labelling fish as “organic.” And food can contain pesticides and antibiotics and still garner a “certified organic” label.

Using the word “congratulations” will boost your Facebook post.

 The company 

tweaked its algorithm

 after a friend’s birthday was higher on Zuckerberg’s feed than the birth of his niece.


People with pronounceable names are deemed more trustworthy.

 They’re also perceived as more familiar and less risky—which could 

lead to biases in hiring

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, things that should scare Google, and organic fish to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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