Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—India’s election result, World Cup riots, another GM recall, ancient cat pictures

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What to watch for today

India announces a result. The world’s largest exercise in democracy comes to a head as India counts around 550 million votes cast over nine phases during the last two months. The BJP and its controversial candidate Narendra Modi are expected to surpass the 272 seats in the Lok Sabha that would make him prime minister. Here’s how it looked on Twitter.

China’s annual fishing ban begins. To prevent overfishing, northern parts of the South China Sea will be off limits to fishing vessels until August 1. The Philippines has rejected China’s claim of sovereignty over a region of the sea and does not recognize the ban, but will likely implement its own.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s story is back in the limelight. Midnight on a private beach in the south of France seems an appropriate place for the first screening of the movie about the former IMF chief’s sex scandal. Welcome to New York stars Gerard Depardieu as DSK.

While you were sleeping

A mixed bag for European growth. Russia’s first-quarter GDP grew by 0.9% year-on-year, down from 2% last quarter (though better than expected), as foreign sanctions and tensions with Ukraine sent investors running. Germany’s GDP growth doubled to 0.8% (paywall). The euro zone economy as a whole grew by 0.2%; France’s didn’t move and Italy’s contracted slightly.

Blackstone took a gamble on Vegas. The private-equity firm will buy the Cosmopolitan, a Las Vegas hotel, from Deutsche Bank for $1.73 billion in cash, as part of the German bank’s plan to sell its non-core assets. The resort hasn’t been profitable since it opened in December 2010.

Pre-World Cup riots ripped through Brazil. A month before the soccer tournament kicks off, demonstrators in Brazil blocked highways and set tires on fire to protest the money being spent on it, which they would rather see put toward housing and education.

GM issued yet another recall. The number of cars General Motors has pulled back this year now stands at 12.8 million, after it recalled a further 2.7 million vehicles (paywall), mostly Chevrolet Malibus. Potential faults affected brake lights, headlamps, stopping distances and even steering control.

The shareholder spring sprung again. Chipotle’s investors rejected the fast-food chain’s proposed executive pay plan; 77% of shareholders voted against the package. In 2013, co-CEOs Steve Ellis and Monty Moran made $25.1 million and $24.4 million respectively.

Uber tripled in value. The car-booking app is reportedly in talks to raise up to $1 billion in a new round of funding. It would be one of a handful of startups not publicly traded that are valued at more than $10 billion—a significant markup from its $3.5 billion valuation at its last funding round in August.

Quartz obsession interlude

Rachel Feltman on why Samsung’s foray into drugs should worry other drugs companies. “Big pharma has largely ignored the possibility for app-enabled medical devices. Moreover, many consumers are wary of the industry’s focus on the bottom line. It’s likely that no one would want to offer up reams of health data to the companies that design their drugs. However, people trust Samsung as a brand, and are already growing accustomed to tracking and using their health data on mobile devices. With a foot in both industries, Samsung could be poised to create smart, innovative medical tech that’s designed to win over physicians, consumers, and regulatory agencies alike.” Read more here

Matters of debate

Venezuela is Latin America’s wayward trust-fund kid. “Gauche, confused, spending more money than it has, addicted to oil revenues and in denial about that addiction too (paywall).”

Newspaper loyalty is dead. Instead of readers seeking out news via a homepage, they’re increasingly  going directly to articles via social media.

Bond traders should keep a close eye on the FIFA World Cup. There could be good arbitrage opportunities (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Facts are useless when it comes to winning arguments. People think with their guts, not their brains.

Send smells to your friends. A Harvard professor plans to launch an “oPhone” that generates a customized aroma based on a code sent to it via an app.

Make money from millennials. Goldman Sachs has a strategy: Go long on sports and organic food brands, and sell shares in junk-food companies.

Your city could start paying you to be late for work. Easing congestion saves the city money, and you’ll get to skip rush hour.

Chickens could wear virtual-reality goggles to make them think they’re free-range. And other silly ideas meant to make us think twice about how we use technology.

Cute cat pictures were a thing long before the internet. Here are a whole bunch of them from 100 years ago.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, baseless arguments, and ancient cat pictures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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