Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Corporate food fights, China’s war on pollution, Detroit’s demolition, insect snacks

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What to watch for today

Michael Kors stays in fashion. After reporting its first ever billion-dollar quarter in February, trumping even the highest analyst estimate by some way, the New York-based fashion house is set to post a 52% rise in earnings and a 44% jump in sales for its latest quarter.

A job opens up on the Federal Open Market Committee. When Jeremy Stein resigns from the board (paywall) of the US central bank to return to his previous job at Harvard, there will be three vacancies among the committee’s seven seats. Former Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer was confirmed to the board yesterday.

Edward Snowden speaks up. The NSA whistleblower filmed his first interview with a US television network in Moscow last week. Considering Snowden’s hour-long seesion at tech conference SXSW in March, some are asking whether the media is giving him too much airtime.

While you were sleeping

Meat makers ramped up their food fight. Pilgrim’s Pride, the world’s second biggest chicken processor, made a $6.4 billion all-cash offer to buy Hillshire Brands, forcing Hillshire to drop its recent $4.3 billion bid for Pinnacle Foods. Shares in Hillshire rose by 22% on the news.

Mining strikes hacked away at South Africa’s economy. Strikes in South Africa caused activity in the mining sector to drop the most in 46 years, dragging the country’s economy to its first contraction since the world financial crisis (paywall). South African GDP shrank by a worse-than-expected annualized 0.6%.

More bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. Some 40 people died in clashes between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops around Donetsk airport, just after newly elected president Petro Poroshenko called for negotiations. Bizarrely, fighters on the pro-Russian side include a squad of Chechen militants (paywall), who bitterly fought Russia for their own independence a few years ago.

US stocks hit a record high. Fresh off the back of its Friday peak, when it closed above 1,900 for the first time, the S&P 500 ended the session at an all-time high of 1,911.91. The bourse was bolstered by the takeover bid for Hillshire Brands and a string of strong data.

Detroit’s demolition bill came in. The cost of dealing with the bankrupt city’s 85,000 substandard buildings could total $1.9 billion, or $2,600 per resident, according to a new report from the blight team tasked with the job. More than a fifth of all Detroit’s properties need some sort of repair.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why China’s war on pollution is bad for its economy. “Recent analysis of economic data by Wei Yao, an economist at Société Générale, found that “Chinese policymakers are getting serious about air pollution.” So serious, in fact, that those efforts are already hurting GDP performance—something the government has so far shown to be its biggest priority. Yao says GDP will slow 0.35 percentage points cumulatively from 2014 to 2017 because of air pollution mitigation efforts, and she expects the economy to take the biggest blow this year. The biggest indicator comes from China’s industrial output—the output of China’s manufacturing, mining and materials sectors—where growth has slowed significantly since September, when China’s cabinet rolled out its air pollution action plan.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The internet no longer serves the public interest. Tech giants’ relentless corporatization and winner-take-all attitudes are making a mess of the web.

“Global warming” is a more effective term than “climate change.” The latter is more accurate, but “global warming” sounds scarier.

Italy could teach European leaders a thing or two. While the rest of the EU was electing euroskeptic parties to the European parliament, prime minister Matteo Renzi’s centrists dominated the Italian vote.

Amazon is putting customers last. It’s punishing them for its failure to reach agreements with suppliers, and that’s going to lose it business.

Mixing football and politics is a risky game. Latin Americans no longer accept (paywall) that “football and glory are a plausible substitute for healthcare and good governance.”

Surprising discoveries

It can take 45 days to create a single corporate tweet. In this case, the tweet got zero retweets and two favorites.

Seoul is the most Starbucks-saturated city. With 284 locations, it just beats the second-ranked city: New York.

A farm that breeds insects for human consumption just opened in Ohio. Crickets, for example, are a high-protein snack.

Tinder is being overrun with tiger photos. So many men have posed with big cats (paywall) in their dating profile pictures that a backlash has begun.

Indonesia has the highest rate of entrepreneurs working in the shadow economy. For every legally registered business, there are 130 shadow economy firms.

American CEOs are earning more than ever. The median pay packet is now above eight figures, a 9% increase from the year before.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, requests for new Starbucks, and insect snacks to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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